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Rani Chennamma: Kittur Rebellion


Prelims: Indian History (Personalities in News), Rani Chennamma, Kittur Rebellion, Doctrine of Lapse.

Mains: General Studies-I  Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Why in the News ?

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Rani Chennamma’s rebellion against the British, various social groups across the country are organizing a national campaign called “Naanoo Rani Chennamma” (I am Rani Chennamma too). The campaign aims to empower women to oppose patriarchal, anti-democratic, and casteist forces in the country, inspired by Rani Chennamma’s legacy of bravery and defiance.

Source: IE 

📌 FYI on Prelims

Kittur Utsav:

  • Kittur Utsav is a three-day festival which celebrates the Queen Rani Chennamma’s victory over East India’s company in 1824.
  • The festival organizes sports, cultural programmes and lectures by resource persons on the kingdom of Rani Channamma.


  • Rani Chennamma 

    • She was an Indian freedom fighter and Rani of the Kittur, a former princely state in Karnataka.
    • She led the Kittur revolt of 1824, which stands as one of the earliest woman-led anti-colonial struggles against British rule in India.
    • Birth: She was born on October 23, 1778, in Kagati, a small village in Belagavi district of Karnataka.
    • Marriage: She married Raja Mallasarja of Kittur at 15 and played a crucial role in defending her kingdom after his death.
    • Struggle against the British:
      • She initiated a rebellion against the British in 1824 after they declined to acknowledge her adopted son as the successor according to the ‘doctrine of lapse’.
      • Although she was initially successful, the British captured Kittur Fort in their third attempt in December 1824, resulting in Rani Chennamma’s imprisonment and eventual death in 1829.
    • Significance: Her brave resistance to colonial oppression has made her a symbol in Karnataka’s political imagination and an important figure in Indian history.
  • Doctrine of Lapse

    • The doctrine of lapse was an annexation policy applied by the British East India Company in India until 1859.
    • Under the doctrine, the ruler of an independent state died childless, the right of ruling the State reverted or ‘lapsed’ to the sovereign.
    • The policy is most commonly associated with Lord Dalhousie who was the Governor General of the East India Company in India between 1848 and 1856.
    • However, it was not solely his invention. The East India Company had annexed Kittur in 1824, Mandvi in 1839, Kolaba and Jalaun in 1840 and Surat in 1842 by imposing a ‘doctrine of lapse’.


Mains: PYQ/FAQ

Q. The role played by women in Indian freedom struggle has been that of ‘helpers’ rather than ‘crusaders’. Critically examine. (250 words)

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