Mysore to host International Conference on Tipu Sultan:
Scholars from India and abroad will discuss and present papers on
various facets of Tipu Sultan at an international conference to be
held in Mysore from January....
Tipu Sultan's heirs get financial assistance
from India and abroad are expected to discuss and present papers on
various facets of Tippu Sultan at an international conference to be
held in Mysore from January 16 to 18.
conference has been organised by
Directorate of Archaeology and Museums
as part of the 150th anniversary of the 1857 uprising.
The Government of India
in 2007-08 had organised a series of program to commemorate
150th anniversary of the
Here is a
beautifully articulated biography of this great Indian Hero of 1857
by Dr. K.L. Kamat.
Sultan, by a circle in India and abroad, is regarded as a
controversial ruler but Dr. Kamat has tried to evaluate him
historically and above controversies.
Childhood and Parentage
was born in Devanahalli (in Karnataka) on Friday, November 20th,
1753. At the age of fifteen he used to accompany his father Hyder
Ali, Ruler of Mysore State, to different military campaigns. He was
a devout Muslim. He had a very inquisitive mind and fascination for
learning. His personal library was consisted of more than two
thousand books in different languages. Tippu was a man of simple
habits, eating common food and leading pious life. He had a very
dignified personality and impressed the people who came in contact
with him. He was an extremely active man and worked from dawn to
midnight for the welfare of his subjects. He himself drafted all his
correspondence. He took over the kingdom after his father's death in
Fighting the British
He could foresee the (British) East India
Company's design to get entrenched on Indian soil, and took a vow to
foil it. For this purpose he negotiated with the French and
sheltered the Frenchmen who preached the French revolutionary
doctrines to the public. A "Jacobean Club" was established in
Tippu's capital Srirangapattana, and the French tricolor was
hoisted. He also sought assistance from the Amir of Afghanistan and
the Sultan of Turkey. He had already
defeated the British at Wandiwash in 1783. The British were very
scared of Tippu's growing strength, and they formed an alliance with
the Nizam of Hyderabad State and Marathas of
Maharashtra State. The French deserted Tippu after signing of
the "Versailles Treaty" in Europe in 1783 when the American War of
As long as the British fought alone,
Tippu always defeated them. But he was no match for their diplomacy,
conspiracy and intrigue. Thus he was defeated in his Capital of
Srirangapattana, and forced to sign a humiliating treaty on March
22nd, 1792. As a result he had to concede half of his kingdom and
pay an indemnity of thirty three million Rupees to the English and
their allies. Frequent wars had drained his treasury, and hence he
had no hard cash to pay this huge amount. He was compelled to pledge
two of his sons to the conquerors. Governor General Conrnwallis took
away these two youngsters to his headquarters in
Calcutta in Bengal. However, they could not suppress Tippu's
spirits for long, and he rebuilt his war machine in shortest
possible time. He built a fine army and modernized his
administration on the European model. He was an able and fearless
He built a chain of excellent roads, and
constructed tanks and dams to promote agriculture. He introduced the
new industries, promoted trades and commerce, established factories
in Cutch, Masquat, and Jedda, and sent commercial missions to Oman,
Persia and Turkey. He invited foreign know-how to build factories to
produce glass, mirrors and ship-building.
He aimed at making his kingdom the most
prosperous state of India. Hence he was also interested in latest
scientific research all over the world. He introduced sericulture on
a large scale, and mulberry cultivation was started at twenty one
centers. He encouraged the textile industry by banning the export of
cotton. The weavers from Tamilnadu were invited and settled in his
kingdom. Growing of sugarcane and producing of sugar and candy were
encouraged in Channapatna, Devanhalli and Chikkaballapur. High
quality tempered wire required for the string instruments was
produced in Channapatna. The livestock development got special
attention. Tippu prohibited the production and distribution of
liquor and other intoxicants in his state of Mysore.
Tippu Sultan adopted the tiger as his
emblem. His throne was shaped like a tiger, carrying the head of a
life-size tiger in solid gold (see also the boxed toy above). He was
an enlightened ruler who treated his non-Muslim subjects generously.
He appointed them to different positions of authority, and gave them
complete freedom of worship. He conferred liberal grants to Sringeri,
Srirangapattana, and Mangalore temples. He gave funds for the
consecration of idols and presented them with gold and silver
articles. He also encouraged arts like music and dance and learning
Tippu's accomplishments and popularity
among his subjects and in the neighborhood states were eyesore, for
imperialistic designs of the English. Hence they decided to finish
him once for ever. Fourth Srirangapatanna war came very handy to
them to physically liquidate Tippu on May 4th, 1799. A small
monument has been erected where his dead body was found. Tippu had a
good collection of weapons, but a particular sword was his favorite.
He fought his last war with the same sword. When he was critically
injured, a British intended to snatch sway the weapon, but Tippu
killed him with the same sword which he intended to possess! The
victorious General Harris sent Tippu's war-horse, the palanquin, and
a howdah to the king of Coorg who sided with the British. After
confiscating most of the Tippu's territory, the famous sword was
sent to London. This was brought back after India's Independence
(1947), but was about to be smuggled out of the country when it was
intercepted, and was retained in the country.
Tippu, the Builder
The most famous and beautiful artifact
from Tippu Sultan's period is his summer place, the Daria Daulat. It
beautifully depicts some of the heroic wars Tippu fought and also
many social themes of the period.
Tippu built the "Gumbaz" at Srinagapattana in 1784 which is a square
shaped mausoleum with ivory-inlaid doors and black marble pillars.
Tippu is buried here by the side of his father
and mother Fatima Begum. Outside the tomb are the graves of his
relatives and commanders. Nearby the "Mashit-e-Aqsa" mosque, with a
pair of small minarets is located. A solar clock could be found
outside this building.
Tippu built and fortified numerous forts, but unfortunately most of
them are either destroyed or are in ruins because of poor
maintenance. The Bangalore fort, located in the heart of the city
has a temple of Ganesh where devotees offer prayers regularly. Tippu
also built many palaces which were demolished by the British after
his death. However his Bangalore Summer Palace is a great tourists'
is completely made of wooden structures with five well decorated and
of Tippu Sultan
On the verge of
defeat, Tippu lay critically injured in the battlefield. But he
still had his favorite sword with him. It is said a British soldier
tried to snatch away the royal sword, but Tippu killed him with the
same sword that he intended to possess!
After the war, the sword was sent to London with other loots. After
India's independence, it was brought back to India, only to be
smuggled out as a collectible. The federal authorities seized it in
1988 and retained in India.
"Sword of Tippu Sultan" is also the name
of a novel by Bhagwan Gidwani based on his life. Based on it, a
serial was telecast by Doordarshan (the state run television in
India) which became both popular and controversial. On the 4th of
May, 1999 Tippu's death bicentenary will be celebrated in India on a
Though the historians of India are of
different views about his role to dislodge the British from Indian
soil, the common people have great admiration for his heroic deeds.
It is very interesting to note that seventh generation descendants
of Tippu Sultan have arrived at Srirangapattana, all the way from
Calcutta to claim their ancestral properties!
The Daria Daulat Bagh is a national
monument and can be visited by tourists (1999).
The article was created on May 04, 1999. It was later updated on