Agoli Manjanna is the Bhima of Tulunadu. It is said that all his adventures and achievements were super human. Panje Mangesh Rao had written many stories for children based on the life and deeds of Agoli Manjanna. Manjanna had superman strength. Heaps of rice he ate. He was endowed with rare tolerance. These qualities in him made him a wonderful personality.Duggu, the sister of Chelaru Guthu Baggana Adyanthaya was married to Narayana Shetty of Kattabalike. She had no issues for a long time. She offered prayers to Ullalthi of Bappanadu, the result of which she got a male child named Manjanna.
One Baggana Adyanthaya had to wage a war against his neighboring country. During that period he asked his nephew Manjanna to look after the administration of the Guthu.It is said that Manjanna ate too much of rice at a time. He used to eat one ‘Agoli’ of rice (a measurement which is equal to 20 K.G. rice) from which he got that super power. Therefore he was rightly called Agoli Manjanna.Manjanna was deprived of the love of his mother. He lived with his paternal aunt. Once he expressed his desire with his aunt like this – ‘The kodinje rock should have been the Kadubu, the water of Gujjarakere should have been the milk’It shows his desire to eat.
Manjanna supervised the cultivation in Chelaraguthu. Manjanna had to bring large quantity of green leaves to cowshed daily. His aunt was never satisfied with what he brought. She wanted him to bring more and more. Manjanna collected so much of green leaves that he did not notice a wild pig in the hill-sized heap of green leaves he carried on his head. The weight of this heap was so much that when he put it down in his courtyard, the grinding stone which fell beneath it went down the earth. The people around wondered at this. People were frightened and ran into their houses when the wild pig ran out of the heap screeching aloud.
Once there was no stock of hay fodder to feed the bullocks and buffalos. Manjanna’s uncle told him to go to Panjaguthu and bring the hay stock. People at Panja told Manjanna to carry hay as much as possible to him. Manjanna remembered that the Panjaguthu people had taken some muras of rice from his uncle and had never returned. Thus he bundled up the hay stock with some muras of rice in it and carried it home. Such was his Hercules power.
There was no buffalo race (Kambla) in Mulki region. The king of Mulki Dugganna Sawantha wanted to conduct Kamba (Buffalo race) in his kingdom. But he did not find any one capable of doing the spadework for this sports event. Preparing the track for Kambla is not a simple task. Manjanna came forward to do this venture. He went to Panambur to measure the buffalo race track and looked into the details of this sports event. After collecting full information of Kambla he started his work. Thus he was the key person for buffalo race in Mulki. The people of Panambur developed hatred against him as Panambur began to lose its importance in Kambla. People were jealous of his strength and hard working nature.
Manjanna, once had been to Yermal festival. There was a challenge for him in the bundle of sugar cane stalks an iron rod was kept and it was declared that if any one who broke the stalks would get a good reward. They did it with a specific purpose to test the strength of Manjanna. They were of the opinion that Manjanna would not be able to perform the task and it would be an insult to him in front of a large gathering. But Manjanna knew the conspiracy hatched against him. He was strong and brave. He came forward with full confidence. He was aware of his strength. He lifted the stalks and without any difficulty broke them into two including the strong iron rod in it. Those who had challenged him quietly vacated the place without giving any reward to him.
Manjanna was not that sort of man to take revenge. Instead he wanted to exhibit his strength to general public in Yernal. He lifted a slab of granite piece on his right hand, and on the left hand he lifted another slab of granite piece, which was being used as the bridge to cross the stream in Yermal. He brought both the pieces to Bappanadu temple and kept it across the stream as a bridge in front of the temple. This was done only to prove his strength to people at Yermal who cheated him. These two granite slabs are found even today in front of Shri Durga Parameshwari Temple at Bappanadu, Mulki. You may wonder at the breadth and length of these slabs – 4 feet wide and 15 feet long. If it is to be lifted today no less 50 strong persons are required.
Manjanna had never been a ruler. He had not made a name in education, skill or intelligence. Like Bhimasena in Mahabharatha, he used his unique strength for the benefit of public and for noble cost. He had never used his strength for wicked activities or to do injustice to others. Both Bhima and Manjanna were sincere to their elders. Manjanna kept himself miles away from envy and jealousy. He was humble and noble. He was helpful and cooperative. He liked peace in and around him.
Manjanna was not worshipped as a Bhootha after his death, as other heroes of his time. Still his deeds and conduct are appreciated and acclaimed by one and all. It is said that he plucked coconuts not climbing up the tree but simply shaking the tree!. Manjanna was born at Katla in Surathkal village. At present, this place is called Manjanna Barke. Still a large slab of stone is found in Manajanna Barke, which his mother used to bath him. The stone grinder, which sunken into the ground when he put down the heap of green leaves, is now found in the guthu house of chelaru. Besides Kulur Kavoor road you find Manjanna Gudda, a hill named after him. Today, it is being demolished. No doubt Manjanna was a rare great personality that Tulunadu has seen. We should feel proud of such great adventures and brave people who played the role of a role model to the future generation.