All you need to know about Sardar Papanna Aka Sardar Sarvayi Papanna Goud

Sardar Sarvayi Papanna Goud also known as Sardar Papanna was the 17th-century king of Quilashapur located in Telangana. He was born in Goud Community at Quileshapur Village, Raghunathpally Mandal, Jangaon District. Sardar Papanna lived during the time of the Mughal Empire expansion in South India. Sardar Sarvayi Papanna Goud remained in history as he fought against Muslim rule in Telangana.

Sardar Sarvayi Papanna Goud
Sardar Sarvayi Papanna Goud

Sardar Papanna built a fort in Quileshapur during his regime and which was considered the capital city. Sardar Papanna also popularly called Papadu was a bandit of the early 18th century. His brave deeds have been praised by the historians like Barbara and Thomas Metcalf as “Robin Hood-like”. Another historian, Richard Eaton, compared him to a good example of a social bandit.

It is during his time, the Mughal Empire had expanded its interests in South India and when tensions between the Muslim ruler Aurangzeb and his Hindu populace were rising. 

After the death of Aurangzeb and amid the subsequent power struggle for succession, Papadu has been successful in exponentially enhancing his fortunes by raiding the wealthy city of Warangal. Although the origin of Papadu was of humble origin, he assumed some of the manners of a king.

Papadu did not want to do the same traditional work that is inherited from him with the caste. His refusal to work in the traditional occupation of his caste was one of his early acts of defiance. Later, Papadu married a woman who was from a higher caste, since she was the sister of a faujdar(military governor).

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In the 1690s he even stole money and property from his wealthy widowed sister, assaulting her in the process. He managed to build a hill fort at Tatikonda with these funds. He has been successful in gaining a band of men around him who were willing to become highwaymen, and then proceeded to rob traders. They used to stole property from people who used the nearby route between Hyderabad and Warangal, the erstwhile capital of Golkonda. 

In this way, the opposition of the zamindars was to become a theme of his life. Having seen the oppressions and atrocities committed by the Mughals, Pappanna raised a small army out of warrior castes through guerilla attacks on them.

On 31 March 1708, he initiated an attack on the heavily fortified former capital city of Warangal with a force of between 2500 and 3500 men. This action was planned to coincide with the eve of the Muslim celebrations of Ashura when the city walls would be poorly manned.

In 1709, Papadu showcased his desire for recognition with the audience when he visited Hyderabad with Bahadur Shah I. That time was beginning to assert some authority as emperor in the fractious post-Aurangzeb court power struggles.

The bandit gave the emperor an array of wealth in his search to be recognized as a tribute-paying chieftain, and he was rewarded with an honorific robe. Loud protests followed this recognition, especially from influential Muslims of the area whose relatives had been kidnapped and people who decried that an emperor would recognize a person of such low caste.

Yusuf Khan, the Hyderabad governor, sent a force of several thousand to besiege Tarikonda and this lasted until March 1710. Yusuf Khan even took personal charge, doubling the number of imperial forces to around 12,000 and at least 30,000 soldiers – cavalry and infantry – supplied by local landowners.

Papadu claims that he was a “Hindu warrior” and his group included Muslims and non-Hindu tribal peoples in almost equal proportion to Hindus.

Papadu ran out of gunpowder and was forced to flee in disguise. Although wounded, he was able to reach the village of Hasanabad and was captured by the brother-in-law who had previously been his prisoner. He was killed a few days later.

He was captured and executed in 1710. The traditional accounts say that his body was cut into pieces and his head was sent to Delhi. Between 1702 and 1709 Papadu and his men were besieged four times while occupying the fort at Shahpur. 

Papanna during his reign of 30 years ruled Buvanagiri of Nalgonda, Thatikonda of Warangal, Kolanupaka, Cheriyala, Karimnagar, Huzurabad, and Husnabad regions.

However, in his tenure of 30 years, Papadu ruled boldly and brought Socio-Economic Equality to society!

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