Records throw new light on Kalakeri Desai family

Documents unearthed from a Mundaragi house

A research student and her guide from Dharwad have unearthed historical records and brass plates that are more than five centuries old from the house belonging to the descendants of Kalakeri Desai family at Mundaragi in Gadag district.

The research student, Vanajakshi N. Bharamagoudar, and her guide, R.M. Shadaksharaiah, in-charge Director of the Kannada Research Institute of Karnatak University, Dharwad, have translated the rare documents that were in “Halegannada” (old Kannada) and “Modi lipi” texts carved on brass plates and swords into Kannada.

According to Prof. Shadaksharaiah, the documents and brass plates have thrown new light on the Desai family of Kalakeri.

Some paper documents discovered by the research student date back to 17th and 18th centuries A.D.

The documents throw light on the relationship the Desai family had with the rulers of Vijayanagar, Keladi, Hagalwadi and Surapur; the Bahmani Sultanate, Adil Shahis, Tipu Sultan, Harapanahalli Nayakas and the British. The records also throw light on Acchappa Desai's participation in the war at Hampi in 1123 A.D.; the request made by the Bahmani rulers for military support from the Desai family; and grant of land for temples, mosques and monasteries.

The records also state that the Desai family descendants waged war against the British at Dambal in 1801, January 1818, and May 1818; and at Koppal in 1858.

“The role of the Desai family in the Koppal war is indeed an important issue for rewriting the history of the freedom struggle in Karnataka,” Prof. Shadaksharaiah has said.

According to Ms. Bharamagoudar, the records also state that the Desai family was ruling over 33 villages with Kalakeri as the capital.

She has also discovered five swords of different size and length and three rifles believed to have been used by the family descendants.

Appreciating the cooperation extended by the descendants of the Desai family, including Kotrappa Acchappa Desai and Raviraj Desai, Prof. Shadaksharaiah has appealed to the people having rare records or articles pertaining to the Desai family to hand over them to the department or allow researchers to study them.

Prof. Shadaksharaiah and Ms. Bharamagoudar can be contacted on 9741165035 and 9742537433 respectively.

  • Brass plates were also discovered in the house
  • ‘Desai family was ruling over 33 villages'

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