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The Legend of a Female Indian Warrior

Who is warrior woman Onake Obavva

Who is Warrior Woman Onake Obavva The Legend of a Female Indian Warrior

Who is warrior woman Onake Obavva?

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

From this year, the Karnataka government has decided to celebrate ‘Onake Obavva Jayanti’ on November 11 throughout the state.

Who is Onake Obavva?

Onake Obavva is a woman warrior who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly with a pestle (‘onake’ in Kannada) in Chitradurga in the 18th century.

She died protecting the Chitradurga Fort, which was ruled by Madakari Nayaka in the 18th century.

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Legacy and relevance today:

Obavva is considered to be the epitome of Kannada pride and celebrated along with other women warriors of Karnataka state.

Onake Obavva’s courage and quick thinking have been praised by the people of Karnataka, especially in the Chitradurga region, where a stadium is named after her.

Inspired by Onake Obavva, in 2018, the Chitradurga police

Who is Onake Obavva?

Onake Obavva was an Indian female warrior who used her strength and weapons to fight British forces during the 18th century.

Most history books refer to her as ‘Karnataka’s First Warrior Woman.’

Onake Obavva also inspired the 'Kannada warrior women' a line of women fighters who fought the British during the 19th century.

History of the Chitradurga Fort

Onake Obavva’s bravery was demonstrated in the Chitradurga fort. It is also a memorial to the brave woman.

Onake Obavva’s descendant speaks

“I was very young when Onake Obavva died, and my mother didn’t tell me much about her. Even after I became an adult, I’ve been told that my ancestor was a great warrior, so it’s in my nature to excel in fighting.

What is the legacy and relevance of Onake Obavva today?

Her bravery is still admired by people from Karnataka, particularly in the Chitradurga region.

The name Onake Obavva is still popular in the region, and is used to refer to bravery and resistance.

This year, a statue of Onake Obavva was erected at a stadium in Chitradurga, by the Chitradurga police department.

Some people had suggested that her legacy be celebrated worldwide. However, it is unlikely that her legacy will have any significant impact in the rest of the world, as she is not as well-known as her male counterparts.

Unfortunately, she is not the only woman warrior in Kannada history to have been overlooked.

She does have a lesson to teach women across India, as a major battle fought by women and inspired by women heroes of Karnataka deserves attention.

Why was she celebrated?

Kannada poet Ullas Karanth wrote a Kannada short story (‘Onake Obavva Kote’) in 1942.

“Onake Obavva was my role model. Her courage was beyond belief. She was fearless,” said Karanth, a towering figure in Kannada literature.

Onake Obavva is also one of the 12 great female warriors of the first century who fought the Mughal army.

According to the 2011 Census, Karnataka has 15,811 women warriors, who hold an average of six weapons.

The legend of Onake Obavva

Legend says that Onake Obavva’s father, Rukmini Nayaka (also known as ‘Gangubai Mestry’ or ‘Gangubai Nanjappa’), was a Yadava king of Ramnad in modern Tamil Nadu. After him, she was the wife of a tenant farmer who lived on her father’s estate.

Why is she being celebrated now?

Onake Obavva is being celebrated in India for the first time since 1999 on 11 November as Karnataka celebrates the formation day of the state.

November 11 is also celebrated as Women’s Day by women in the state.

In the recent years, women of Karnataka have made tremendous progress.

Entrepreneur Lakshmi Pujara, a Gujarati woman from Andhra Pradesh, is the second Indian woman to have sold an equity stake in a company.

Other successful women from Karnataka include Sudha Vaidya of Bangalore, Balakrishna of Hyderabad, Mahalakshmi of Bangalore and Manda Krishna.

whose surnames literally mean ‘service of women’

these women believe that they were ‘supposed’ to be housewives but are breaking norms, scaling new heights.

Each of these women have forged a path to freedom.


Since 2018 is the bicentennial of the first battle of Panipat (1861), a lot of things are being explored in terms of re-telling stories from the past. One such telling of history is the one based on the life of a fearless warrior woman, on whose name the modern city of Chitradurga was established.Onake Obavva was born into the Kota House, the most powerful royal house of the time and was a princess of this clan. In 1798, when Hyder Ali attacked Chitradurga, she joined her brother to fight the troops of the Maratha army. The brave woman is believed to have attacked a large cavalry brigade of the enemy army, single-handedly.

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