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Krishnadevaraya’s citation found

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Copper plate citation of 1515.
Copper plate citation of 1515.

B.V.S. Bhaskar

A copper plate with a Telugu inscription dating back to around 1515 was found in Pithapuram

Farijallipeta (East Godavari Dt.): A copper plate with a Telugu inscription weighing around two kg and dating back to around 1515 was found in Pithapuram.

The citation was given to Mala Mashtis, some sort of modern-day gladiators, by emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya. The hand-written citation on the copper plate has an interesting tale to it.

The Mala Mashti and Madiga Mashti communities were nomadic communities with a history of over 300 years and made a living by showcasing their martial skills. Krishnadevaraya recruited soldiers for his army from among the men of these communities, who were mostly over 6 feet tall and with a hefty build. The community has preserved one of the copper plates given to their ancestors by Krishnadevaraya, who certified them as dedicated soldiers of his army.

This copper plate is now with Kaki Rambabu, a Mala Masthi of Farijallipeta of Rajanagaram mandal. S. Sudarshan, a teacher from the village, is credited with bringing this artefact to the limelight.

The head of Oriental Manuscript Library, Jayadheer Tirumala Rao, has also certified the veracity of the copper plate’s inscription.

Hoary tale

The citation tells the interesting story of a certain Mala Masthi’s challenge to the residents of a village in Krishnadevaraya’s kingdom to a wrestling bout. At stake were the wives of the entire community of the village! It is believed that the wrestling matches went on for three days and finally the challenger came out victorious but refused to claim his prize.

Instead, he wanted a citation to be presented by the emperor. This citation is the same one, which was written by Nagoju Suryakantam and given to Malisetty Peda Ramalingam Mala Masthi, it is stated.


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