Conservation and protection of the sword of Dhondia Wagh
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The sword of Dhondia Wagh who had putforth a very strong resistance to the Britishers during 1799-1800 is in the temple of Sri Hucharayaswamy (Hanuman), Shikaripur, Shivamogga District, Karnataka. The sword which is more than 200 years old has historic and religious importance. It is a pity that our children are not taught about great heroes like Dhondia Wagh in schools. Because of Dhondia, Britishers had to be alert always and spend many sleepless nights. He was a great threat to them and a big hurdle in the expansion of British empire in Karnataka. A special force led by Arthur Wellesly had to chase him for nearly a year and a half along with the support of Maratha and Nizam’s soldiers, before he was killed on 10th September, 1800 in the battle.
Dhondia was once cornered by British near Kumudvati River in Shivamogga taluk. He had no option but to jump into the river along with his horse which he did successfully and escaped. It was rainy season and the river was flowing with speed and nobody would have dared to cross at that time. He had prayed God Hucharayaswamy for his rescue before jumping into the river. As a mark of respect, he had offered his sword to the Hanuman diety of Shikaripur during August, 1799. The sword is in the temple since that time.
The sword is being used by the Tahsildar and Taluk Magistrate, Shikaripur on Vijayadashami every year to cut ‘banni’ as a mark of destruction of evil force and triumph of good force, in a religious function. It is not known when this practice was commenced. The sword is about 5 ft long, the handle itself is 1.25ft in length. It has sharp edge on both the sides and weighs 2.25kgs. It is painful to learn that the sword was cut by about 5 inches at the top and trimmed a few years back for making it usable to cut the ‘banni’ during Vijayadashami. This sword is the only reminiscence of the great warrior Dhondia and is required to be conserved and protected carefully.
The Archaeology Department in Karnataka should take the responsibility immediately to conserve and protect this valuable memory of Dhondia Wagh. The sword may be preserved in the Museum at Keladi which is under the supervision of Kuvempu University, Shivamogga or at Shivappanayaka palace at Shivamogga which is under the direct supervision of the Archaeology Department. We pray for the immediate action by the Government to protect this valuable property which is of great historical importance.
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