Bengaluru: Sahebzada Syed Mansoor Ali Tipu, a seventh-generation descendant of Tipu Sultan, is the founder-president of 'Tahreek-e-Khudadaad', and a social worker. He actively participates in all debates over his ancestor and has been in the news lately.
In an interview with IANS, Ali says he will initiate legal action against political parties, including the Congress, for playing politics using the name of Tipu Sultan.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
IANS: What's your opinion on the controversy surrounding Tipu Sultan in Karnataka?
Mansoor Ali: Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah compared Veer Savarkar to Tipu Sultan, which is not correct. Veer Savarkar has got his own history and Tipu Sultan has his own. Tipu Sultan gave good administration during his time. History recognises Tipu Sultan as a freedom fighter, who fought against the British and sacrificed his life for the motherland.
Why are you talking about his administration now? He pioneered missile technologies. His reforms in water management, administration, training of officers, and setting up of armoury houses are part of history. The BJP will have to give its progress report to the people. When they do not have a report card of achievements, they want to pull out things from history.
IANS: What are your views on Karnataka BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel's remarks that Tipu Sultan's followers should not stay in this land?
Mansoor Ali: Being a State President of a national party, such a statement does not suits his dignity. We are in a democratic country. Everyone has got their place and is paying their taxes. Whether it is in India or Karnataka, they have their rights.
It is a crime to utter such words. Sending descendants and followers to forests... How many of them will you send? Will you be able to send 30-40 crore people, including minorities and seculars, who are followers of Tipu Sultan?
IANS: How you see the move to tone down the content that glorifies Tipu Sultan from the syllabus?
Mansoor Ali: Who are they to glorify Tipu Sultan? The Britishers themselves, before independence Tipu Sultan gave the title of Tiger of Mysuru to him.
It is not that the title given to him by his father or by himself. The French and British, who failed to win against Tipu Sultan, told King George III in London that he is a tiger. That is how he got the title. Britishers lost three Anglo-Mysore wars from him. In the fourth one they won through betrayal.
They have not removed the lesson. The title - Tiger of Mysuru - has been removed. They have also removed the part which described him as the pioneer of rockets. History always remembers Tipu Sultan as the Tiger of Mysuru. It doesn't matter whether they keep it or remove it. Maybe it matters to them that they have removed something, but they can't take out the title which is in the hearts of people.
Former President Ramnath Kovind himself stated that Tipu Sultan is the pioneer of rockets. Will you change his statements or accept his statement?
The former President made this statement in the assembly, when he visited Karnataka. Former President Late Abdul Kalam when he visited NASA, he had written there that Tipu Sultan is a pioneer of rockets. Will you go (there) and remove it from NASA, America? The charges are baseless, the history can't be rewritten.
IANS: Tipu Sultan is projected as a freedom fighter as well as a religious bigot who killed people, your views?
Mansoor Ali: Tipu Sultan's father Hyder Ali was a soldier. It was through bravery they took over the kingdom. They fought against the British. It was about the kingdom. From thousands of years, from emperor Ashoka to old civilisations, there was a rule.
Whenever there was betrayal in his kingdom, he took action. Tipu Sultan not spared Muslims also. He went against Hyderabad Nawabs. If he was thinking on religious lines, he would not have opposed Nawabs. Why don't they take their example?
IANS: Salaam Aarati, the ritual which came to practice during the rule of Tipu Sultan, is renamed as Namaskara Aarati. How you see this development?
Mansoor Ali: When Tipu Sultan fought and won the Anglo-Mysore war, he came to Kolluramma and other few temples. Even today, when the PM or the CM visits religious places they will be highly respected. That time priests gave 'salaam' to Tipu Sultan and that tradition continued. He gave special grants to temples. That thing has continued, not for Tipu Sultan but for God. It just a change of name as 'Salaam' or 'Namaskara' have the same meaning.
IANS: What's your take on move to ban the celebration of Tipu Jayanti?
Mansoor Ali: On one side there is BJP which says Tipu Sultan is a tyrant and villain, on the other there is Congress which says they are with Tipu Sultan. The Congress party should show how they plan to be with Tipu Sultan? They are two sides of a coin. For 70 years you (Congress) didn't realise the importance of celebrating Tipu Jayanthi. Suddenly, when your party is seeing downfall, you want to celebrate it to attract minority and backward votes.
In 2015, you decided to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti. Fine, we are with you for Tipu Jayanti. But, what about universities and other institutions to be named after him? When you compare him with other martyrs like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru or any other Prime Minister, what is the place given to Tipu Sultan? You (Congress) too have failed to give him respect.
Using the post of Chairman of Wakf, the Congress leaders have enjoyed the properties of Tipu Sultan... Who is going to defend Tipu Sultan's descendants and followers? Who's going to protect us?
IANS: Amidst the ongoing controversy over Tipu Sultan, what you think, what will happen in the future?
Mansoor Ali: I don't want the Congress, the BJP or any other political party to use our ancestor's name again and again for creating negativity. None of them can do any good to Tipu Sultan.
We are quiet despite whatever is happening. They call Tipu Sultan a tyrant and mass rapist, how much do we have to take? The only way is to initiate legal action. Our entire family in Kolkata and here will initiate action. We can support and defend descendants and followers of Tipu Sultan.
IANS: The Tipu Sultan issue is being politicised ahead of the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls. What you have to say about this?
Mansoor Ali: Every party should have their own progress report. Being in Opposition, the Congress never stood for Tipu Sultan. Where was the Congress when the lessons were removed, the name of the train named after Tipu Sultan from Bengaluru to Mysuru was changed? Why did they not stood up?
They (Congress) started celebrating Tipu Jayanti and spoiled everything. Earlier, even BJP used to celebrate Tipu Jayanti; JD (S) and all political parties used to celebrate Tipu Jayanti. But all controversy started from 2015, when Congress started celebrating Tipu Jayanti.
IANS: What, according to you, are the biggest contributions of Tipu Sultan to Karnataka and the country?
Mansoor Ali: Tipu Sultan was a pioneer of rockets and also called the father of rockets. When he ascended the throne, he brought silk reforms; he introduced a milk system of gifting cows to farmers, and the gold imams (currency), which was the first currency in India. He banned the 'Sati' system.
For women of backward, SC and ST communities, who were not allowed to wear blouses or had to pay taxes for wearing blouses.
The blouse tax was abolished in Kerala. He ensured equality for women. Wherever he constructed mosques, he gave lands generously to temples such as Sringeri Sharadamba, Chamundeshwari in Mysuru and Thippeswamy temple in Nanjangud.
Moreover, for Christians, in the Srirangapatna region, the first Basilica Church was constructed by Tipu Sultan and given to French officers for praying. Do you call him as a religious tyrant?
IANS: Tell us about your family?
Mansoor Ali: I come from the seventh lineage of Tipu Sultan... Our entire family and elders stay in Kolkata. We have 35 members in our entire family.
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