A Revised and Enlarged Account of the Bobbili Zemindari/The Founder of The Samasthanam/VII. Rajah Venkata Ranga-Rao Bahadur Garu

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Rajah Venkata Ranga-Rao Bahadur Garu.

Rajah Venkata Ranga-Rao (born on the 14th October, 1751), the son, and the only surviving member of the family, of Rajah Gopala Kristna Ranga-Rao Bahadur, was saved by an old man contrary to his father's wishes, from the fate which overtook the rest of the family during the disastrous battle of Bobbili at which his father was killed. He was then a lad of very tender years (about 3 or 4 years old), and was presented by the old man, his tutor, to Mr. Law on the battlefield, whilst the latter, with the remainder of his army, was contem- plating the slaughter spread before him. M. Bussy received the sacred captives, the boy and the tutor, "with the humanity of a guardian appointed by the strongest claims of Nature, and ordered them to be strictly guarded in the camp from the malevolence of their enemies." It is also said that M. Bussy appointed the young Rajah lord of the territories (which, however, have not been named in any documents now available) which had previously been offered to his father in exchange for the districts of Bobbili. However, after the whole affair was over, his uncle Vengal Rao, who was wounded in the battle, regained by force of arms the estates of Kavitey and Rajam, and lived at Rajam a determined opponent to the authority of the Pusapatis and doing everything in his power to effect the recovery of the entire Zemindari of Bobbili, until his death in 1765. Chinna Ranga-Rao, as Venkata Ranga-Rao was called by the historians, also lived at this time at Rajam under his uncle's care. Till then it seems that according to the "Settlement of Bussy in the year 1757," the estate of Luckwarup-Cotah was under the Bobbili Samasthanam. In the above book M. Bussy calls Venkata Ranga-Rao Sirdar of Bobbili and Luckwarup-Cotah. It is stated in the Madras Manual that, after Vengal Rao's death, the Vizianagaram family at last compromised with their rivals and leased the Kavitey and Rajam pergunnahs to them, but this can scarcely be believed from the other information available, and for the following reasons. By this supposed compromise Chinna Ranga-Rao, instead of receiving any consideration from the hands of the Vizianagaram family, would lose the absolute right over these pergunnahs, which had been regained by force of arms by his uncle, and would become a subsidiary chief under Vizianagaram. Moreover, if the Vizianagaram family had secured proprietary rights over those pergunnahs, why did Dewan Sitarama Raj invite Chinna Ranga-Rao to Vizianagaram on some pretext and keep him there under restraint?

Chinna Ranga-Rao lived at Rajam under his uncle Vengal Rao's care till 1765, and afterwards was under the care of another relative, Inuganti Chinna Narasayya. While he was under the guardianship of the latter, Sitarama Raj, the brother and Dewan of Chinna Viziaramaraz, a grandson of Pedda Viziaramaraz, endeavoured to get hold of Chinna Ranga-Rao, and several times invited him to Vizianagaram, promising to re-assign to him the Bobbili and Sitanagaram pergunnahs, which had been annexed to the Vizianagaram Zemindari after the battle of Bobbili. These invitations were, however, not accepted, and for several years Inuganti Chinna Narasayya was able to influence Chinna Ranga-Rao and to make him disbelieve the promises held forth ; but at last, when he had attained the age of fifteen, he neglected his relative's advice and went to Vizianagaram, where he was detained for nearly two years. After he was taken to Vizianagaram, the Kavitey and Rajam pergunnahs came under the Pusapatis till Chinna Ranga-Rao was restored to his ancestral Zemindari. He then fled to Samarlakota, where his aunt, Jaggamma, a sister of Mallammadevi, who was killed at the battle of Bobbili, was living with her husband, Niladri Rao Bahadur Garu, the then Rajah of Pittapur, who, for fear of Ananda Raz, had left Pittapur and lived at Samarlakota. Here Chinna Ranga-Rao stayed for a few days till some of the Velama Doralu and Telagas were called from Bobbili, and then went to Haidarabad, and stayed there for many years. By the time he succeeded in gaining the good-will of tne Nizam, the authority of the English Company was established in the Northern Circars (1794). Then he was called back by the Collector of the Northern Division, to whom, it is said, he brought letters of recommendation from the Nizam, and was restored to his ancestral estate with all the honours and privileges enjoyed by his predecessors, the former Rajahs of Bobbili. It is also said that the Nizam presented him a horse with Dhanka when he took leave of him. He built for himself a fort at Bobbili, now called the Old Fort, about a mile from the site of the Old Fort where the battle took place. The Dewan- Khana, the upstair house, and the zenana apartments close to it, which he built, are still in good order. His rule, which extended over seven years, was chiefly remarkable for the many agraharams he formed, for the large irrigation tanks he dug, and for the gardens he laid out. Nearly all the tanks west of Bhyrisagaram and Padmarayaningari Cheruvu were dug in his days. Mallamma Cheruvu, Mallamma Peta, and Mallamma Tope owe their existence to him, and bear the name of his mother, Mallammadevi. Being childless, he adopted a boy named Rayadappa from the Ravu family of Palteru, which was supposed to be a branch of the Bobbili family. He died on the 7th March, 1802.