The Intrepid Queen - Rani Abbakka Devi of Ullal
By Dr. Neria H. Hebbar
Little is written about the valiant Queen of Ullal in the history books. In her infallible bravery and indefatigability she is in par with legendary Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi and Rani Chennamma of Kittur, who fought the British in the 19th century. Like them she fought imperial foreigners gallantly and roused her forces to do the same. People of all faiths responded to her call, with the common goal of preserving motherland and defeating the invaders. Rani Abbakka Devi was the only woman in history to confront and fight the Portuguese, handing them defeat repeatedly, thus foiling their designs for supremacy of the Western Indian coast. When the Portuguese tried to exact the tax (known as ‘kappa’), the Queen, incensed and exasperated, refused to pay. Thus began her heroic battles for freedom and honor. Yet, she is rarely mentioned in history, and her accounts of her encounters with the Portuguese are mired in ambiguity.