Statues and the Case of False Unities: Visakhapatnam (Tandra Papparayudu)
The case of false unities is most severely tested with this statue of Tandra Paparayudu. He was a member of the court at Bobbili in the middle of the eighteenth century. He is remembered as the sole survivor of the siege at that fort by Bussy and the Raja of Vizianagaram. Tandra Paparayudu used this circumstance then to murder by disembowelment the Raja of Vizianagaram three days after the fall of Bobbili. This is certainly his main claim to fame, and is substantiated both in current memory, and in representations of that event (see chapter on Bobbili Katha in this work). Nowhere, however, is mention made of this act on the inscriptions connected with this statue. In fact, even the century is indicated incorrectly on the English inscription. And the Telugu inscription explains that he fought against the French armies (failing to mention that Vizianagaram and the French fought together). Such elision supports an attempt at unity, but strikes observers as disingenuous. In a less fatuous claim of representation, a statue of Tandra Paparayudu stands in the middle of the town of Bobbili and boldly proclaims his achievement.