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How BJP is trying to malign Tipu Sultan hailed in every house as a National Hero

It is common in every household of South Karnataka to address their kids as Tipu Sultan till date. Read More

Saturday August 27, 2022 10:56 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

How BJP is trying to malign Tipu Sultan hailed in every house as a National Hero

Bengaluru: It is common in every household of South Karnataka to address their kids as Tipu Sultan till date. In Mysuru, the historical and cultural capital of Karnataka, Tipu Sultan is known to be a valiant king who faced the British with all his might.

Even though people from the Kodagu region had reservations over the massacre of Kodava community members by Tipu Sultan, the bitterness never spilled over to the streets. The situation is however, different today.

Unlike contemporary rulers, Tipu Sultan used modern weapons such as Mysorean rockets to pound the British army. The rocket technology was the basic inspiration for the discovery of the Bangalore Torpedo, which was used extensively in World War I and II.

Also Read | BJP leaders dress like Tipu Sultan while party opposes the Martyr’s jayanti

Tipu Sultan also tried to forge an anti-British alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte. Historical evidence has etched a special place for Tipu Sultan in the history of the country's struggle for freedom against the British.


Matters took a political turn with the Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah deciding to celebrate Tipu Sultan's birth anniversary. The BJP, then in the opposition, had rallied against the decision and challenged the Congress that it will not allow the celebrations to take place.

Also Read | BJP's Tipu Sultan Politics: A long list of double standards

The Tipu Jayanti, however, was celebrated with fervour across Karnataka. In Kodagu, it led to widespread violence and death of a BJP worker. The bitter debate started over Tipu Sultan as a tyrant, a religious fanatic who tried to convert all Hindus to Islam.

BJP leaders quoted the letters said to be written by Tipu Sultan describing how he captured and converted Hindus to Islam in the Malabar region of Kerala. Congress and progressive leaders gave examples of how Tipu Sultan contributed to temples and saved Sringeri Mutt from the onslaught of Marathas.

They even argued that the temple of Ranganatha Swamy, located close to the palace of Tipu Sultan, managed to survive. However, the BJP government came to power in 2019, then Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa declared that Tipu Jayanti would not be celebrated.

Also Read | Tipu Sultan died a heroic death while fighting the British: President Kovind

Pratap Simha, BJP Lok Sabha MP from Mysore-Kodagu, maintains Tipu Sultan is wrongly interpreted as the Tiger of Mysuru.

"He never fought a war and died inside the fort. Tipu Sultan was indulged in religious conversion and treated Hindus with brutality."

However, Congress accuses BJP of double standard, sharing the images and videos of the saffron party leaders where they are seen wearing headgears and robes like Tipu Sultan.

Making the situation worst for the BJP, former President Ram Nath Kovind while addressing the special session of Karnataka Assembly to mark the 60th anniversary of Vidhana Soudha on October 25, 2017, hailed Tipu Sultan. Much to the embarrassment of the BJP, Kovind also said Tipu Sultan died a heroic death while fighting the British.

Also Read | Tipu Sultan: Diverse Narratives

Nazia Kousar, author of yet-to-be-published 'Bharatada Huli Tipu Sultan' (Tiger of India Tipu Sultan) stated that Tipu Sultan's tolerance is reflected in his annual grants to no less than 156 temples, which included land deeds and jewellery.

"His army was largely composed of Shudras. When the famed Sringeri Mutt, established by Shankaracharya, was invaded by the Maratha army, he issued a firman to provide financial assistance for reinstallation of the holy idol and restoring the tradition of worship at the Mutt," she explained.

Also Read | How British Media Reported Tipu Sultan

His donation to the famous Srikanteshwara temple at Nanjangud; the donation of 10,000 gold coins to complete temple work at Kanchi; settling the disputes between two sects of priests at the Melkote temple; and gifts to Lakshmikanta temple at Kalale are all well-known.

Interestingly, Srirangapatna, a temple town, remained his permanent capital till the end of his rule. He was also instrumental in constructing the first-ever church in Mysuru. Incidentally, well-known historian B.A. Saletore calls him "defender of Hindu Dharma", Nazia Kousar explains.

The allegation of forcible conversions has to be seen in the background of political exigencies -- either they were with the colonialists such as in the case of Christians of Dakshina Kannada, or were waging a protracted guerrilla war as in the case of Coorg.

Here, historians have distorted the facts by reducing political exigencies to the "communal ideology" of Tipu, she says.

After Ganesh festival, which is likely to create a crisis situation in the state in the backdrop of the row over Savarkar, organisations are gearing up to celebrate Tipu Jayanti on November 20, challenging the ruling BJP government.


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