Chokkanatha Nayak - Attacked By Mysore and The Marathas

Attacked By Mysore and The Marathas

Soon afterwards, Chokkanatha was forced to turn from aggression to the defence of his own kingdom. The famous Chikka Deva Raya, king of Mysore from 1672 to 1704, had for some time been massing troops on his frontier, and now burst upon Coimbatore and spread havoc far and wide. Chokkantha did little to repel him, the country was moreover visited with famine and pestilence, and in despair the ministers of the State deposed their incompetent ruler in favour of his brother.

The change was not for the better, and the perilous state of Madura and its territories in 1678 may be gathered from the following passage in a letter written by one of the Jesuit missionaries in that year:

"The capital, formerly so flourishing, is no longer recognizable, Its palaces, once so gorgeous and majestic, are deserted and falling to ruin. Madura resembles less a town than a brigand’s haunt. The new Nayakkan is essentially a do-nothing king. He sleeps all nights, he sleeps all days; and his neighbours, who do not sleep, snatch from him each moment some fragment of his territories. Nations who would profit from a change of rulers do not trouble to repel invaders and everything foretells that this kingdom, so powerful twenty years back, will soon be the prey of its enemies, or rather the victim of the insane policy of its own government."

Chokkantha was replaced on his tottering throne about 1678 by a Muslim adventurer who during the next two years usurped the whole of his authority, and even the ladies of his and his fallen brother’s harems, and at last was slain by Chokkanatha himself and a few of his friends. But Chokkantha’s position still was far from enviable. In 1682 his capital was besieged by Mysore; was shadowed by forces belonging to the Marathas, who, while pretending to be on his side, were only waiting for a chance to seize his territory for themselves; and was threatened by a body of Maravans who norminally and hurried to his assistance, but in reality had only come to share in the booty which the sack of Trichinopoly was expected to yield.

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