An Excerpt form Haider Ali and Tippu Sultan
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RELIEVED from the pressure imposed upon him by the Marathas, Haidar began to recruit his means by exacting heavy contributions from all the wealthy persons he could seize.  On hearing of the dissensions at Poona as to the succession, on the death of the Peshwa Narayan Rao[1], he despatched Tipu to regain possession of the territory ceded to the Marathas, which he himself prepared to recover Malabar.  Between the Mysore country and Malabar intervenes the small mountainous district of Coorg now the field of active European enterprise in the production of coffee, and as its subjugation appeared to Haidar to be essential to his keeping open his communication with the coast, he suddenly entered the country towards the end of 1773.
Coorg, or Kodagu, is a most picturesque alpine region, heavily wooded, and bounded on the west by the great chain of Ghats, which look down upon Malabar.  It is inhabited by a sturdy and warlike race, the headmen living each on his own farm homestead, surrounded by the dwelling of his kinsmen, and his agrestic labourers, who were formerly serfs.  By religion the Coorg Rajas were Lingayats, and the word Brahman stank in their nostrils.  The mass of the people worshipped the sylvan deities, to whom many of the finest forests in the country were dedicated.  The Coorgs appear to have maintained their independence, only acknowledging the jurisdiction of their own local chiefs, till the early part of the seventeenth century, when a scion of the Ikkeri house, previously mentioned, settled in the country as a devotee, and gradually obtained an ascendancy over the people, who made him yearly offerings, and consented to guard his person by sending relays of watchmen.  In the course of a few years he felt himself sufficiently strong to declare himself ruler of Haleri and the surrounding districts; and somewhat later all the headmen acknowledged him as their chief, agreeing to pay him one-quarter of their rentals.
When Haidar seized Bednur in 1763 he affected to regard Coorg as tributary to that principality, and in 1765 sent a force to reduce the country, but was foiled in his attempt.  In 1770 a dispute broke out in Coorg as to the succession.  Lingaraj, uncle of one of the claimants, sought the aid of Haidar, who was only too ready to promise his support.  The Maratha invasion had caused Haidar to suspend his designs, but as soon as he had got rid of his powerful enemy, he proceeded with a large force to Coorg, and intriguing with both sides, succeeded in reaching Merkara, the capital, with little opposition[2].  Devappa, the antagonist of the claimant whose cause Haidar has espoused, fled, but was shortly afterwards seized and sent to Seringapatam, where he died in prison.  Haidar, having attained his object, at once despatched a force through Wainad to Calicut, and speedily achieved the re-conquest of the whole of Malabar.





[1] Narayan Rao succeeded his brother Madhu Rao in 1772, but was treacherously murdered in the ensuing year, at the instigation of his uncle Raghuba, who then classed the succession, to the exclusion of a posthumous son of Narayan Rao, named Madhu Rao Narayan.
[1] Some authorities state that on his first appearance on the frontier Haidar offered a reward of five rupees for the head of every Coorg which was brought to him, and that 700 heads were in consequence delivered. This account may, be true, and is paralleled by she conduct of General Avitabile, who, when in command at Peshawar, actually gave a grant of two villages to a leader of cavalry on condition that he brought in yearly the heads of fifty Afridis.  The writer has a copy of this assignment of land.

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