(Last Updated on : 28-09-2012)
Political Influence on Thanjavur made a clear impact cultural aspect of the place. Political life of the district was fast disintegrating at Tanjore in the time period under reference. The banners of merchant ships of the foreigners from the Western Hemisphere were already fluttering thick in the Indian waters. This signalled the entry of Tanjore into a fresh political hegemony. It was a period of intermittent wars and short-lived successes. Kannadiga and Maratha immigrants poured into the region of Tanjore. The first Maratha colony was planted during Ekoji's rule and was by Brahmins. Tanjore enjoyed government and benevolent administration under Shaji (AD 1684 to 1712). Sarabhoji I (AD 1712-28) and Tukhoji (AD 1728-36) enjoyed the fruits of the labour of Shaji. Ekoji II (AD 1736-9), Pratapasimha (AD 1739-63) and Tulaja II (AD 1763-87) preceded Amarasimha. The Maratha rule continued up to AD 1799.
The British interference into the politics of Tanjore begins in AD 1749 during the reign of Pratapasimha. The Nawab of the Carnatic looked at Tanjore as an Eldorado and was scheming to invade it. Between AD 1773-6, the Nawab did control Tanjore. The principality was plunged into confusion until the company restored it to the Maratha Raja. Hyder Ali
invaded Tanjore in 1780. Tyagaraja was in his teens at this time.
When exactly Tyagaraja
started composing kritis, we have no means to know. An interpretative imagination perceives spiritual value on significance and renders objects by presenting those parts or qualities in which spiritual value resides. Bitter memories of terrific historical realities undergone find no mention in musical compositions of Tyagaraja
. It is understandable since the composer's mission is to save people from being sucked up in the morass of the historical situation's particularities. Nevertheless a ravenous inquisitor wearing an historical magnifier can locate the historical aroma in the poppy of devotional literature. Thyagaraja was fully conscious of the blessing that made him native of a region, for he proudly sings of the Tanjore region as 'Chola Sima'. The disastrous aftermath of historical happenings between AD 1749 and AD 1780, to which Tyagaraja was an eyewitness, are conceived by the composer as the 'dance of Kalipurusha' (Kalipurushudu Natakamunugatta Dalachinadu). In another composition he valourizes soldier imagery. He prays to Lord Rama
to bless him to be His faithful servant having the insignia of a horripilate hair as armour, the appellation of Ramabhakta as the metal badge of the livery and Rama nama as the sword.
Tyagaraja's grandfather and father had much contact with the Thanjavur
court. Based on the kritis 'Nidhi Chala Sukama', a tradition had gathered that it is the response to the invitation to perform in the court of Sarabhoji. Whatever be the quantum of truth in the traditional account, the reported incident is thought provoking. About the Nayaka kingship that preceded the Marathas of Tanjore is held as 'a tension between inflated claims and the limited scale of kingship'. Maratha court culture assumes Nayaka political symbolism, the king still identified as an Avatara