The statue of Rani Abbakka installed at Yeshwanthpur in Bangalore. (Photo Nagarj Gadekal | The New Indian Express). Below: The Indian Coast Guard Ship Rani Abbakka which was commissioned recently. (Photo: MoD)
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) put the pride of Kannada one notch up with the naming of their first inshore patrol vessel (IPV) after Rani Abbakka, a legendary queen of Ullal in Mangalore. Rani Abbakka is the first of a series of five IPVs, designed and built by Visakhapatnam-based Hindustan Shipyard Limited.
The news of the IPV being named after a Kannada braveheart was welcomed by former Karnataka Ithihasa Academy president Suryanath U Kamath. “It was during my tenure that a resolution was passed that Rani Abbakka should find a prominent place in today's time and space. She was a lady who defeated the Portuguese during the fierce naval battle in 1618. She belonged to the Chawta family, originally from Moodbidri. We are happy that our request to name one ship in memory of her naval victory is finally fulfilled,” Kamath said.
Kamath says that along with the Samithi, the Kannada Shakthi Kendra too wanted a ship named after the queen. “We had published our resolution in local dailies then and was extremely happy to see a newspaper advertisement recently announcing the commissioning of ICG ship Rani Abbakka. This is a matter of great pride for each one of us in Karnataka,” Kamath, former chief editor of Karnataka State Gazetteer (1981-1995), told Express.
Giving a glimpse of Rani Abbakka's exemplary will in taking on the mighty Portuguese, he said that here planning and war tactics left the invading forces clueless. “The Portuguese (over 200) came to coastal areas of Karnataka and demanded goods be sold at a price fixed by them. Rani Abbakka (whose mother was also a Queen in Ullal), protested the demand. She asked the people not to yield to the men and with the help of Prince Venkatappa Nayak of Keladi (a town in Shimoga district), she took the Portuguese head on,” Kamath said.
Today, a statue of Rani Abbakka (riding a horse) is installed at Ullal, while another one of her's (standing next to a canon), is erected at Yeshwanthapur in Bangalore. "It is a matter of great pride for the people of Karnataka that a Coast Guard ship now carries the name of the great warrior Rani Abbakka. I am delighted that the announcement of the ship's commissioning came at a time when the whole nation is gearing up for Republic Day. Her story is really inspiring and I salute the spirit at which she took on the Portuguese," Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj told Express.
If Rani Abbakka's is a story of valour, then the ship boasts of state-of-the-art features. It has onboard navigational/communication sensors and equipment of next generation. Among the special features are an integrated bridge system, machinery control system and a home-grown gun mount with fire control system. To be manned by five officers and 34 men under the command of Commandant C Vivekananda, Rani Abbakka will be based at Chennai.
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