For the last two years, the Congress Government
in Karnataka has been going overboard to convert Tipu Sultan, the tyrant monarch of Mysore, to a State icon. The historical records and Tipu’s own letters sufficiently establish his Jihadi mindset that saw destruction of temples and churches, killing thousands of people for not following his dictat to convert to Islam. The decision to commemorate Tipu by the State Government is nothing but vote bank politics aimed at placating a particular community
“My victorious sabre is lightening for the destruction of the unbelievers”, declares the engraving on the sword of Tipu Sultan. True to these words, Tipu tyrannised the entire populace of the regions under his reign for nearly two decades. Be it the public hanging of Madhyam Iyengars of Melukote on the day of Deepawali, forceful conversions of Hindus in the Malabar region, or the capture and conversion of 60,000 Syrian Christians of Mangalore, Tipu was a tyrant whose brutality mirrored all around.
Nevertheless, the Congress government of Karnataka under Siddaramaiah has chosen to commemorate Tipu Sultan Jayanti every year on November 10 with an aim to placate its vote bank, disregarding protests from various organisations and distinguished scholars.
While Siddaramaiah’s government has been attempting to portray Tipu as a messiah and a freedom fighter, the historical facts are on the contrary. Records available at the Mysore Palace, inscriptions at places he invaded, letters he wrote to his commanders, and scores of other historical references of different regions that suffered under him are a testimony to his brutality. The inscription on a mosque at Srirangapatna which was built after demolishing a Hanuman temple reads, “Males should be put to the sword, women and children made slaves and their goods should be shared among Muslims”.
Jihadi to the Core
In a letter he wrote to his commander in Calicut on 14-12-1788, Tipu writes “I am sending two of my followers with Mir Hussain Ali. Along with them you should capture and kill all Hindus. Those below 20 years may be kept in prison and 5000 from the remaining should be killed by hanging from tree tops. These are my orders”. On 18-01-1790, in a letter to Abdul Dulai, Tipu writes, “With the grace of Prophet Mohammed and Allah, almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. Only on the borders of Cochin state, a few are still remaining and I am determined to convert them too very soon. I consider this ‘Jehad’ to achieve that objective.”
Not Hindus alone, even the Christian populace of Mangalore had to suffer Tipu’s brutality. Robert Rosario, social activist and a Christian leader has said on record that the Konkani speaking Canara Christians never suffered in their 500-year history as much as they did under Tipu Sultan. Ironically, even the book sponsored by the same government’s department contradicts the views of the Congress leaders.
The book titled ‘Mangaluru Darshana’, published by Mangaluru Urban Development Authority and sponsored by the Kannada and Culture department of the state government gives extensive historical details of Karnataka’s coastal region.
The book states that Christians from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts were chained and taken to Srirangapatna from Mangaluru by Tipu’s troops. It continues to state that many among the captured died on their way to Srirangapatna and those who were able to make the treacherous trip were compelled to accept Islam as their religion. In addition, the book also states that Tipu destroyed 27 churches in Mangalore and 23 to 40 churches in the Mysuru region.
While the Ministry of Minority Affairs of the state government organised the Tipu Jayanti for the last two commemorations, this year it’s the Kannada and Culture department which is organising the event state over. Nothing can be more ironical than this as Tipu, a Kannada-hater and one who strived to replace it with Persian during his administration, is being celebrated in the same month. Karnataka observes its formation day on November 1 every year and promotes Kannada throughout the month. Tipu made Persian the language of his court and all his firmans were in Persian. He also renamed the Kannada names of many places with Islamic names which is a testimony to his anti-Hindu and anti-Kannada stance as well.
Monikers for Tipu like ‘Tiger of Mysore’ falsely spread by erstwhile historians to further their agenda and propagated by the present state government in the run-up to the commemoration do not stand the scrutiny of historical facts either. Tipu faced defeat 31 times at the hands of the brave Kodavas. Each time he retreated, Kodavas expected that Tipu would mend his ways. Alas,
tasting no success despite numerous attempts, Tipu resorted to treachery and deceit to capture and kill the Kodava chieftains in 1785 at Devatiparambu. Hardly a brave conduct!
The shameful murder of Kodava leaders was followed up by the massacre of thousands of men, women and children at the hands of Tipu’s troops to avenge their earlier defeats. Every year, the state government imposes curfew in Kodagu district knowing very well that every household here still remembers the atrocities of Tipu and would never welcome any move to glorify the tyrant, let alone celebrate.
Attempt to whitewash history by glossing over facts to appease a community by an adamant government is detrimental to the very fabric of the state.
The present Congress dispensation in Karnataka is known for its minority-appeasing measures at the cost of security of the state. In a bid to win over the Muslims of the state, in 2015 Siddaramaiah’s government dropped 175 cases related to rioting and damage of public property against 1614 activists belonging to the nefarious outfits of Popular Front of India (PFI) and Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD).
The proposed celebrations dedicated to the tyrant Tipu Sultan are only the subsequent step of the Congress government which has chosen vote bank over security and animosity over good will among different sections of the society.
With elections due in 2018, more such minority-appeasing measures can be expected from the current Congress dispensation. One expects the mature and informed voter to exercise his/her franchise wisely, lest people of Karnataka might be forced to observe ‘Aurangzeb Jayanti’ in the years to come.
The Mysore Gazetteer says that the ravaging army of Tipu Sultan had destroyed more than 8000 temples in South India. The History of Cochinby K P Padmanabha Menon and History of Kerala by A. Sreedhara Menon narrate some of them:
The Guruvayoor Temple was destroyed only partly because of the pleadings by Hydrose Kutty who was a favourite of Hyder Ali Khan besides being a devotee of Lord Krishna before his conversion. The damage that can be seen even today on the installed presiding deity of Triprayar Temple is believed to have been caused by Tipu Sultan’s army.
Tipu’s letters depicting his venom against Hindus and the atrocities he committed on them
1. Letter dated March 22, 1788, to Abdul Kadir: “Over 12,000 Hindus were 'honoured' with Islam. There were many Namboodiris (Brahmins) among them. This achievement should be widely publicised among the Hindus. There the local Hindus should be brought before you and then converted to Islam.”