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Chennamma and Her Courage Dipped Out Loud of the Air

Growing up in the southern state of Karnataka in India meant that I heard and read stories of the courageous Queen of Kittur, Chennamma. I even portrayed her queen in a dance drama production by my school about India’s struggle for independence. It was an elaborate production and we performed it as part of the centenary celebrations of Pandit Nehru at Patna (in the northern state of Bihar, India). Chennamma and her courage especially, seems like the stuff of legends, and has rightfully earned her a place in India’s rich history. Kittur Rani Chennamma was the first ruler to fight against the British rule, and her rebellion sparked a revolution across the nation over time.

Ignore the weird makeup! Here I am wielding the sword as I play the role of Rani Chennamma more than a couple decades ago now… The dance-drama was titled Bharath Chethana…

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Chennamma and her Courage

Born in 1778, she
was skilled in swords, archery
too. Married a king at fifteen,
she turned out to be a great queen!

When her own son, she lost to death,
Cared for her subjects with every breath.
Toured her kingdom so she could see
her people were happy and healthy.

Rani Chennamma, Kittur’s queen,
A queen brave, fierce, just, and so bold
Her courage, a sight to be seen
Rani Chennamma, Kittur’s queen!

Defied oppressors, stood serene,
A warrior whose tale is told.
Rani Chennamma, Kittur’s queen,
A queen brave, fierce, just, and so bold.

Chennamma, this queen so brave
Her spirit fierce, will unbroken,
Defied British, refused to waive,
Chennamma, this queen so brave!

Her kingdom, she fought hard to save,
to ensure rights were unstolen.
Chennamma, this queen so brave
Her spirit fierce, will unbroken.

Chennamma, this mighty warrior
Fierce and fearless, she led with pride.
Sword in hand, never did she falter,
Chennamma, this mighty warrior!

Standing tall while facing danger,
Against the British, she didn’t hide.
Chennamma, this mighty warrior
Fierce and fearless, she led with pride.

Her rebellion sparked the light,
Inspired many others to fight,
Against oppressors with all their might…
So today her story for you I write…

~ Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites

Using the Triolet for Chennamma’s Story

For day 4, the team at NaPoWriMo have this optional prompt, and as you can see from the poem above, I used the triolet for Chennamma’s story in the stanzas aligned right in the poem.

Let’s try writing triolets. A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.

Sources and Additional Reading for Chennamma’s Story

Interesting Aside: Chennamma’s Oscars Connection

The Rani of Kittur has an Oscar connection – in a roundabout way. In the movie RRR that won the Oscar for best original song this year, another song from the movie (not the one that helped the movie win the Oscar) that pays tribute to many Indian freedom fighters features Rani Chennamma. You can watch the video below (at 1:43 of this video)

My C Books

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy: Poems Dipped Out of the Air by Ted Kooser (Poetry | University of Nebraska Press, September 1, 2022)

Description: Poems written in fun and now shared with the reader, Kooser’s playful and magical confections charm and delight.

My Quick Thoughts

When I saw this book, I wondered why the poet’s name was familiar and realized I had seen his illustrations actually in a poetry compilation Knock at a Star! The poems in Cotton Candy are as delightful and whimsical as the title (and subtitle) suggest. Read it, you are sure to enjoy it as much as you must have enjoyed this childhood sugar-spun treat!

Courage Out Loud

Courage Out Loud: 25 Poems of Power by Joseph Coelho with illustrations by Daniel Gray-Barnett (Poetry | 6 – 10 years, and up | Wide Eyed Editions, April 18, 2023)

Description: This compendium of 25 original confidence-building poems to read out loud will show children that their voice has FANTASTIC power.

My Quick Thoughts

I have read and featured this duo’s previous book Smile Out Loud earlier, and just like that one, Courage Out Loud is loads of fun and in this case, empowerment as well! Read it out loud (well, that it what the title says, right?) for best effects.

And Now, the End of This Post

Linking up to BlogChatterA2ZBlogging from A-to-Z April ChallengeNaPoWriMo, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Chennamma and Her Courage Dipped Out Loud of the Air
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13 thoughts on “Chennamma and Her Courage Dipped Out Loud of the Air

  1. Very interesting about the Valiant Freedom-Fighter. I particular loved your photo ~ “wielding the sword as I play the role of Rani Chennamma more than a couple decades ago now”. Fascinating! Diana

  2. Vidya, wow! Queen C was amazing! How fantastic that you got to play her when you were young, and you grew up to write a poem about her. You are an awesome integrator of literature, history, and the arts!

    1. Hi Elisa, thanks… My blog does have how-to posts for various poetic forms (My Sunday Scribblings posts as well as posts from the last two April NaPoWriMos.. ) your question does make me want to mark a few of them as good for newbies now..

  3. It is great to read a blog into which so much creative effort has been poured, the stories – told in poetic form, the poetry forms themselves – they keep me coming back…

  4. I loved reading your article about Chennamma and her inspiring story of courage. Your writing style is engaging and the way you highlighted the bravery of this remarkable woman is truly inspiring.

  5. I have not heard of her and am surprised at the history surrounding her. I will look her up in detail now and am hoping to read more about her. You look adorable in the costume and I am sure the play was a success with the audience.

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