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Musunuri Kaapaaneedu

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Title: Musunuri Kaapaaneedu  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Muhammad bin Tughluq, Kakatiya dynasty, Musunuri Nayaks, Pemmasani Nayaks, Ravella Nayaks, List of Telugu people, List of Kammas, History of Andhra Pradesh
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Musunuri Kaapaaneedu

Musunuri Kaapaaneedu
Reign 1327 - 1370 CE.
Occupation Leader of confederation of Telugu nobles who united to liberate Telugu country from Muslim rule.
Religion Hinduism

Musunuri Kaapaaneedu, also known as 'Kaapaya Nayak', Krishna Nayak or Kanya Nayak, was the chosen leader of the confederacy of several sovereign Telugu nobles who united to liberate Telugu country from Muslim rule and protect Hindu dharma. He ruled Warangal (modern-day Andhra Pradesh)and Telangana from 1327 to 1370 CE[1]


Musunuri Kaapaneedu was one of the few, successful kings who revolted against Muslim rule and liberated their region from them. Although short-lived, the reign of Kaapaaneedu inspired the founding of the Vijayanagar Empire, thus protecting Hinduism in south India for over three centuries. Kaapaaneedu had the titles Managanti Puravaradheeswara, Kaanchirakshapalaka, Vishamadaadi Panchala, Iruvetthuganda, Gandagopala, and Moorurayajagadala, probably given by the Kakatiya emperor in recognition of his services. He was a devotee of Visweswara.

The revolt

The forays of Muslims into south India commenced from the time of Ala-ud-din Khilji who occupied Devagiri (Daulatabad) in AD 1296. The conquest of south India was completed when Ulugh Khan ascended the Delhi throne under the name Muhammad bin Tughluq and sent Malik Kafur to subdue the south (Deccan). Warangal was captured in 1323 CE and King Prataparudra was taken prisoner.

The following years witnessed all round misery and plunder. The Telugu country was in great turmoil and ferment.[2] Two patriotic souls, Annaya Mantri and Kolani Rudradeva united the Nayak chieftains. They instilled a sense of unity and sacrifice to protect the Telugu country. A dynamic Nayak by name Musunuri Prolaneedu was chosen as their leader. He was the son of Pochinayaka who had three brothers namely Devanayaka, Kammanayaka and Rajanayaka. The son of Devanayaka was Kapayanayaka (Kaapaaneedu) who was the right hand man of Prolaya. Battles were fought at all levels and independence was achieved after many a sacrifice. Kaluvacheru inscriptions mention that fifty-seven Nayaks had sworn their allegiance to him. The Nayak armies liberated Warangal by 1326 CE. The cousins strengthened the forts, rebuilt temples, restored village grants to Brahmins and encouraged arts and literature. The ageing Prolaya retired to Rekapalli fort (East Godavari district) after vesting the power with Kaapaya.[3]

The reign

The undaunted sultan led a huge army southward in 1327 CE but had to make a hasty retreat. Kaapaya utilized the opportunity to liberate the whole of Telangana including Bidar. He sought the help of the Hoysala king in this endeavour. Kaapaya succeeded in capturing the Warangal fort and liberating Telangana from the invaders. The flag of Andhradesa was unfurled on the Warangal fort. Kaapaya was given the titles “Andhradesaadheeswara” and “Andhrasuratraana”. The Telugu empire extended from Srikakulam to Bidar and Siripur to Kanchi. Kaapaya actively encouraged other Hindu kingdoms (Kampili, Dwarasamudram and Hoysala) to unite and help each other against the Sultanate. Vema Reddy of Addanki marched in defence of Kampili and repulsed the Sultan’s attack. Kaapaya and Vema Reddy helped Somadeva of Araveedu to liberate many forts in the Krishna-Tungabhadra region.

Kaapaya was always wary of attacks by the Sultan’s armies from the north. A new and bigger threat loomed on the horizon. A revolt by a group of Muslim nobles against Muhammad bin Tughluq that began in Devagiri in 1345 culminated in the foundation of the Bahmani kingdom by Hasan Gangu. He assumed the name Alauddin Bahman Shah and moved his capital to the more centrally located Gulbarga in 1347.

The decline

The unity fostered by the Musunuri cousins among the Nayaks started showing strains, fuelled by envy. The Recherla Velama Nayaks led by Singama Nayaka raided Addanki which was under the control of Vema Reddy. Vema Reddy sought the help of Kaapaya who intervened and forced Singama to accept the confederation. Singama was unable to reconcile to this act. Singama and his sons induced Alauddin to interfere in the affairs of Warangal. The Bahmani king was only too eager to oblige. Telangana was invaded in 1350. Kaapaya’s army fought an unexpected but heroic battle, in vain. He concluded a treaty with Alauddin and surrendered the Kaulas fort.

The death of Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1351 emboldened Alauddin to achieve his goal of expanding his kingdom in Deccan. He marched into Telangana in 1355 and captured many forts including Bhuvanagiri. Mohammed Shah succeeded Alauddin. At this time Kaapaya sent his son Vinayaka Deva to liberate Kaulas and Bhuvanagiri from the Bahmanis. The Vijayanagar king Bukka Raya actively assisted him in this campaign. Vinayaka Deva had initial successes but was eventually defeated, captured and killed, in a cruel and ghastly manner.

Kaapaya along with Bukka Raya planned a great expedition against the Bahmanis. Mohammed Shah got enraged and invaded Telangana again. Golconda and Warangal were subdued. Bukka Raya died during this time. Lack of support from Vijayanagar and non-cooperation from the Devarakonda and Rachakonda Velama chiefs also contributed to the fall of Warangal. Historians feel that the Velama chiefs surreptitiously helped the Bahmani king. Golconda was chosen as the border between the Bahmani and Warangal kingdoms in 1365. Kaapaya had to present the turquoise throne and large amounts of tribute to Mohammed Shah.[4]

Singama Nayaka's sons took advantage of the situation and declared independence. Singama's sons Anapota Nayaka and Rao Madhanedu marched against Warangal ruled by a weakened Kaapaya. Kaapaya met Anapota Nayaka’s army at Bhimavaram .The armies clashed fiercely, Kaapaya met Anapota in a personal combat and became a martyr . Thus ended the short but glorious reign (1326–1370) of the great patriot Kapaaneedu.

The aftermath

After the demise of Kaapaya Nayak there was an en masse migration of Nayaks to the Vijayanagara Empire. These Nayaks formed the bulwark of the Vijayanagar empire and defended South India and the Hindu religion. Kaapaya's territories were occupied by Recherla Velama chiefs but the relatives of Kaapaya such as Mummadi and Anavota briefly controlled small areas in the coastal districts which were eventually absorbed into the Reddy kingdom.


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