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Chinnayya Naik


Chinnayya Naik arrived as a stowaway on a ship to Copenhagen in 1795. He told the captain that the purpose of his visit was to complain to the King of Denmark about the bad treatment of his caste meted out by the Governor, Peter Anker. With in a few days of his arrival, he got an audience with the King, and presented his complaints. The King gave instructions to the Government that Chinnayya should stay in the country until his claims were examined. Initially, Chinnayya got a Dane to write the letters for him, but soon, he could formulate his own letters. The case dragged on until about 1800. In the meantime, Chinnayya got married to a Dane and got a daughter. During his stay, he borrowed a large amount of money which he spent on expensive clothes, and mode of travel, as he pretended to be from a noble family in Tranquebar. He told his creditors that his family would send him diamonds with the next ship. The courts decided at the end that he was a fraud and should be sent out of the country. He left Denmark in 1802, and disappeared in South Africa where he had to change his ships to get to either India or Bantam.

The first two images (Chinnayya_Tamil_1 and Chinnayya_Tamil_2) constitute the only Tamil letter written by him in the National Archives. It is extremely difficult to find out what he is trying to say. Chinnayya_list and Chinnayya_list_2 display the list of goods and materials that Chinnayya and his wife were planning to take with them on their voyage to India. At the end, she did not accompany him. Caroline_Siringamalia is the image of the birth certificate of Chinnayya's daughter. There is an extensive article in Danish written by Knud Waaben (" Et sendebud fra Tranquebar. Sennapa Naik i KÝbenhavn, 1795-1801", Historiske Meddelelser om KÝbenhavn , KÝbenhavn 1995, s. 42-96)detailing the story of Chinnayya. He is referred to as Sennapa in the Danish literature.
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