Karnataka

Tipu Sultan championed the conservation of Amrit Mahal breed

Amrit Mahal cattle in a conservation centre at Bidare in Arasikere taluk. Prakash Hassan

Amrit Mahal cattle in a conservation centre at Bidare in Arasikere taluk. Prakash Hassan   | Photo Credit: PrakashHassan

Tipu not only gave the name to the breed but also drafted regulations for its welfare which is followed even today

Amrit Mahal, a native breed of cattle known widely for its distinct features, was recently in the news for the pathetic condition of its breeding centre in Rayasamudra in Channarayapatna taluk. This would most likely have pained Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan for he not only played a crucial role in its conservation, but also christened the breed Amrit Mahal, from its earlier name Benne Chavadi.

At present, 63 grasslands spread over 68,267 acres, meant for grazing the breed, are located in six districts of the State.

“Among the breeds found in Mysore, the first place is undoubtedly taken by the Amrut Mahal,” says the book ‘The Cattle of Mysore’, by A. Kristanasamiengar and Captain H.T. Pease, published in 1895.

The breed draws its history from the period of the Vijayanagar empire and later the Wadiyars. After that, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan took a keen interest in the breed, known for their stamina in warfare. It was Tipu who put in place a system to take care of them.

Tipu also drafted Hukumnama — regulations for the administration of the cattle department in his State. As part of the regulations — Hujur Muster — systematic count of heads of cattle is done regularly even to this day. During his period, Tipu used to attend the muster regularly and distribute rewards.

System continues

“The system introduced by Tipu Sultan continues. Once a year, we take the systematic count of heads of cattle in the presence of all the staff,” said S.L. Rajashekharaiah, Assistant Director of Amrit Mahal Cattle Breeding Centre, at Ajjampura in Chikkamagaluru district.

This centre was set up in 1929 under the British rule, taking the Tipu legacy forward. Hundreds of people were working at the centre, the headquarters of the Kavals located in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Tumakuru, Mandya, Davangere and Chikkamagaluru districts.

Every year, an open auction of male calves is done at the Biruru centre. “In the auction held in January this year, the highest price quoted for a pair was ₹1.85 lakh. The government earned about ₹1.04 crore through the auction,” said Ramesh Kumar, deputy director of the centre.

However, over the years, the staff strength has decreased, leading to poor management of Kavals.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 6:08:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/he-championed-the-conservation-of-amrit-mahal-breed/article29933703.ece

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