Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent greetings to the people of Karnataka on the occasion of Onake Obavva Jayanti on November 11.
“I bow to the courageous 'Onake' (pestle) Obavva on the special occasion of her jayanti (birth anniversary). No one can ever forget the courage with which she fought hard to protect her people and culture. She inspires us as a symbol of our nari shakti,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
'Onake' Obavva is hailed as a woman who fought the forces of Hyder Ali in Chitradurga in the 18th century.
She was married to a guard of Chitradurga fort. She is said to have fought the troops of Hyder Ali, a ruler of Mysuru and father of Tipu Sultan, when they invaded Chitradurga Fort. The region was then ruled by a chieftain, Madakari Nayaka. The story goes that she showed presence of mind and took on the forces when her husband was away from his post.
According to ballads, when she learnt that enemy forces were planning to enter the fort through a small hole in the wall, she used a onake (pestle) to hit the head and kill each enemy soldier who crawled in through the hole. She is believed to have killed several enemy soldiers before Madakari Nayaka's troops repelled the attack.
This story was popularised by well-known director Puttana Kanagal through a song in his 1972 classic film 'Naagarahaavu'.
Earlier this month, Karnataka Government announced celebration of her birthday as a State-sponsored event. However, the public celebrations were later cancelled owing to the model code of conduct being in place because of elections to the Legislative Council , which are scheduled for December 10.