Purniah - page1
was born in 1746 in a taluk of Coimbatore district. His father, Krishnacharya was a
Madhava Brahmin well versed in Sanskrit literature and the philosophy of
Madhavacharya. Lakshmi Bai was the mother of Purniah. He had a younger brother,
Venkata Rao. Purniah lost his father when he was 11 years old. In 1760 the family moved
out to a larger town where Purniah got a job with a merchant who was who was
supplying ancillaries to the military stores of Hyder Ali in the Palace and other
merchants in Seringapatnam. Purniah started with "accounts" and soon he became
indispensable to the merchant in many ways as the latter's business started growing. About
1764, when Purniah was hardly 18, he impressed other merchants with his shrewdness and
skill. He joined the leading merchant and soon entered Hyder Ali's treasury department,
became a junior treasury officer, ultimately coming into personal contact with Hyder Ali
himself to clarify the accounts. In 1770 he was made Treasury Clerk. ( Note: Hyder
Ali was illiterate but had an excellent memory and grasp of details. Purniah could
not read or write in English, though he could understand the language. He knew Kannada,
Sanskrit and Persian !). Soon Hyder Ali made him his Head Accountant and finally a trusted
member of the Nawab's Darbar. He impressed Haider so much that he was presented with a
golden umbrella. The next stage was to accompany Hyder to the battle field as officer
in charge of the Commissariat .(Head of Army Supplies and Logistics).
From then onwards , his life upto 1799 was made up in serving Hyder Ali and later his son Tipu Sultan in their fight against the British. During Tipu's time he helped Tipu to draft treaties and both soon had total faith in each other. Thereafter he served the Raja of Mysore as Regent, as senior most Minister and as Dewan.. The history of Purniah will not be complete unless we know about the 4 wars fought against the British . Since Purniah was one of their chiefs serving as their Head of Army Supplies, Finance and Emissary, apart from being a Dewan, these 4 wars will enable you to understand his ability; especially so since he was a Brahmin serving the Mohammedan King.
( See the HYPERLINK HISTORY for a fuller account of the 4 wars)
The First Mysore War:1767-69
: Here the British concluded a humiliating pact with Hyder Ali.
The Second Mysore War (1780-1784) : The
British defeat Hyder Ali.