Love Godse, Hate Tipu Sultan

Why the ‘Tiger of Mysore’ Still Troubles the Saffrons

image : http://www.tntmagazine.in

The saffrons have done it again.

They have once again showed utter contempt towards the legacy of legendary Tipu Sultan, (20 November 1750  – 4 May 1799) one of those rare kings who was martyred on the battlefield, while fighting the Britishers at the historic battle at Srirangpatnam and whose martyrdom fighting the colonials preceded the historic revolt of the 1857 by around 50 years. Not very many people even know that he had even sacrificed his children while fighting them.

The immediate reason for stigmatisation of Tipu Sultan, by the leaders of Hindutva Brigade, concerns move by the Karnataka state government led by the Congress to celebrate Tipu Jayanti or Tipu’s birth anniversary. The Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had made this announcement releasing a book ‘Tipu Sultan: A Crusader for Change’ by historian Prof B Sheik Ali.

A ruler much ahead of his times Tipu Sultan, a scholar, soldier and a poet, was an apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity, was fond of new inventions, and is called innovator of the world’s first war rocket, one who felt inspired by the French Revolution and who despite being a ruler called himself Citizen and even had planted the tree of ‘Liberty’ in his palace. History bears witness to the fact that Tipu sensed the designs of the British and tried to forge broader unity with the domestic rulers and even tried to connect with French and the Turks and the Afghans to give a fitting reply to the hegemonic designs of the British and had defeated the British army twice with his superior planning and better techniques earlier.

An interesting episode in his eventful life throwing light on his character which the saffrons love to forget is worth emphasising. It was the year 1791 when Maratha Army raided the Sringeri Shakaracharya mutt and temple, plundered the monastery of all its valuables and even killed many. The incumbent Shankaracharya wrote to Tipu Sultan for help.  He immediately ordered the Asaf of Bednur to provide help to the mutt. An exchange of around thirty letters written in Kannada is available which took place between Tipu Sultan and the Shankaracharya, which were discovered in 1916 by the Director of Archaeology in Mysore.

Expressing his indignation at the raid Tipu had written

“People who have sinned against such a holy place are sure to suffer the consequences of their misdeeds at no distant date in this Kali age in accordance with the verse: “Hasadbhih kriyate karma rudadbhir-anubhuyate” (People do [evil] deeds smilingly but suffer the consequences crying).”

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It is evident that the proposal to celebrate Tipu Jayanti has stirred a fresh controversy in the state. BJP, the main opposition party, has termed it ‘vote collection’ exercise. One of their senior leaders, called Tipu a ‘tyrant’ and even questioned the government’s move to celebrate the day. Another saffron leader D H Shankaramurthy called Tipu “anti- Kannada” as he “was not a Kannadiga”. He also blamed him for ‘replacing Kannada – which was supposedly the official language before Tipu ruled Mysuru- with Persian.’ People can brush up their memories and can find that this was the same gentleman who as higher education minister had announced his move to ‘obliterate the great Tipu Sultan’s name from the pages of Kannada history.’ It is a different matter it was a time when BJP shared power with JD(S) then and this move faced stiff opposition from different sections of society and had to be dropped ultimately.

It need be reminded that last year the decision of the Karnataka government to honour him with a tableau at the Republic Day parade had provoked the Hindutva Brigade. They had also felt agitated when the then central government was contemplating naming a central university after him. It was the time when UPA II government had decided to set up a non-religious central university bearing Tipu’s name in Srirangpatnam – the very place he was martyred.

Two years back when countdown had already begun for the BJP led government in the state another stalwart from the saffron family – the then education minister of Karnataka – had unashamedly compared Tipu  to Britishers and called him “a foreigner” like British (Jan 25, 2013, 16:38 IST , DNA).

It is worth looking into why the saffrons love to hate Tipu Sultan and what is the basis of their allegations against him. But before that it would be opportune here to look into how ‘falsification of history’ to suit the ‘divide’ and ‘rule policy of the Britishers vis-a-vis Tipu has been going on since quite some time. In this connection Prof B N Pandey’s speech in the Rajya Sabha, titled ‘History in the Service of Imperialism’ is worth quoting (1977). Professor B. N. Pandey, Professor of History in Allahabad University, who later became Governor of Orissa, had narrated his experience. In his speech he mentioned how way back in 1928

 “..[w]hen he was a Professor of History in Allahabad University some students came to him with a book written by one Professor Harprasad Shastri, Professor of Sanskrit of Calcutta University in which it was mentioned that Tipu Sultan told 3000 Brahmins to convert to Islam otherwise they will be killed, and those 3000 Brahmins committed suicide rather than becoming Muslims. On reading this Professor B. N. Pandey wrote to Professor Harprasad Shastri asking him on what basis have you written this? What is the source of your information? Prof. Harprasad Shastri wrote back that the source of information is the Mysore Gazetteer. Then Prof. Pandey wrote to Prof. Shrikantia, Professor of History in Mysore University asking him whether it is correct that in Mysore Gazetteer it is mentioned that Tipu Sultan told 3000 Brahmins to convert to Islam. Prof. Shrikantia wrote back that this is totally false, he had worked in this field and there is no such mention in the Mysore Gazetteer, rather the correct version was just the reverse, namely, that Tipu Sultan used to give annual grants to 156 Hindu Temples, he used to send grants to the Shankaracharya of Shringheri, etc.”

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“it is perhaps ironic that the aggressive Hinduism of some members of the Indian Community in the 1990s should draw upon an image of Tipu which, as we shall see, was initially constructed by the Subcontinent’s colonisers.”

Page 2, Brittlebank, Kate (1999). Tipu Sultan’s Search for Legitimacy. Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-563977-3

Anyone who has closely followed stories of Tipu Sultan’s alleged religious persecution of Hindus and Christians would find that works of early British authors – like Kirkpatrick and Wilks – acts as a basis for all of them who were very much against Tipu Sultan. In fact they had strong vested interest in presenting Tipu Sultan as a tyrant and project Britishers as the ‘liberators’. In her recent work Brittlebank also writers that both Wilks and Kirkpatrick had taken part in the wars against Tipu Sultan and were closely connected to the administrations of Lord Cornwallis and Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley and therefore ‘must be used with particular care’.

Mohibbul Hasan, in his monograph ‘The History of Tipu Sultan (Delhi) 1971, p 36, sheds light on this demonisation of Tipu. He writes

“The reasons why Tipu was reviled are not far to seek. Englishmen weire prejudiced against him because they regarded him as their most formidable rival and an inveterate enemy, and because, unlike other Indian rulers, he refused to become a tributary of the English Company. Many of the atrocities of which he has been accused were allegedly fabricated either by persons embittered and angry on account of the defeats which they had sustained at his hands, or by the prisoners of war who had suffered punishments which they thought they did not deserve. He was also misrepresented by those who were anxious to justify the wars of aggression which the Company’s Government had waged against him. Moreover, his achievements were delibrately belittled and his character blackened in order that the people of Mysore might forget him and rally round the Raja, thus helping in the consolidation of the new regime” The History of Tipu Sultan (Delhi) 1971 p368

And this one sided presentation of history is not limited Tipu only. In fact, on further studies one finds a deep resonance between how the colonial historians understood/packaged Indian history and how the communals used it to their convenience. James Mill in his book ‘The History of British India’ divided Indian history into three periods Hindu, Muslim and British. This problematic characterisation not only silenced/invisiblised the Buddhist/Jain and various other groups role/contribution but it also tried to present a very homogenised view of the periods – discounting any possibility of fissures within them. Interestingly it also took care not to mention ‘Christian’ in case of ‘British’ while dividing Indian history. Prof D N Jha in one of his interviews (www.countercurrents.org) tells :

When Majumdar authored a multi-volume Indian history published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, he devoted much space to “Hindu period,” promoting revivalism and communalism. It was the communal history produced by colonial historians that influenced views about Muslims being “foreigners” and Hindus being “indigenous”.

History writing in post-independent India, which drew on colonial writings, did talk about  “the great Indian past”. RSS and its ideologues today are busy propagating this very myth of “Greater India” Prof D N Jha further tells :

The anti-Muslim attitude of the RSS was shaped by the colonial historians such as H. M. Elliot and John Dawson, who compiled The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians . They denounced Muslims, contending that they destroyed temples and prosecuted Hindus. The real purpose of Elliot’s formulation was to inject a heavy dose of communalism in the minds of people of the 19th century.

It is now history how the colonials distorted our history to suit their imperial interests. One very well knows they called our uprisings as mutinies, our heroes as villains, and our freedom fighters as usurpers and terrorists.

For a formation like RSS and its allied organisations, which kept away from the heroic anti-colonial struggle supposedly to concentrate on building organisation and was in fact engaged in breaking broad unity of people cutting across community lines against the Britishers this move to have a biased view of Tipu does not appear surprising. Perhaps by attacking Tipu Sultan, and presenting a distorted version of his legacy, the saffrons think that they would be able to avoid discussion on their not so glorious role in the anti-colonial struggle. But can anyone forget that there is enough documentary evidence to prove that Hedgewar – founder of RSS and Golwalkar, one of its chief ideologue, who shaped the organisation, asked/instructed the RSS members not to participate in the anti-British campaigns/struggles.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who is held in high esteem by them, even went to the extent of asking Hindus to join the British led military when on the one had the ‘Quit India’ movement was at its peak (1942) which had posed tremendous challenges before the Britishers and on the other Azad Hind Fauz led by Subhash Chandra Bose was delivering mortal blows to it in the war.  In fact Savarkar went on an all India tour holding public meetings with due support from the rulers then and tried to mobilise the Hindus – under the slogan ‘Hinduise the Military, Militarise Hinduism’ – to join British forces. Not only that the Hindutva forces had no qualms in joining hands with Muslim League and other Islamist Parties to form coalition governments in Bengal and Punjab and other adjoining states during that tumultous period. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, who was instrumental in establishing Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the first political outfit launched by RSS, who is revered by the saffrons was a member of the cabinet led by Shahid Suhrawardy then in Bengal. It is clear that when there was time to fight the anti-colonials, the saffrons stayed away from it and when they were facing crisis because of people’s struggles they went to the extent of propping their regime by providing legitimacy to their actions.

The continued stigmatisation of Tipu by the saffrons and their refusal to honour the sacrifices he made fighting the Britishers presents before the Hindutva Brigade another set of dilemma. What to say of all those Hindu kings and warriors– whom they rever – who committed atrocities on ordinary people and looted. In fact, one of their most revered Maratha king had raided Surat – a main trading town in those times – and plundered it like a marauder more than once. If Tipu is a ‘bigot’ in their view then what would they say about the Marathas led by the Peshwas then who had raided the Sringeri Shakaracharya mutt and temple and plundered it ? And it was not the only attack by Hindu Kings on Hindu religious places, one can cite n number of examples from pages of history which demonstrate other similar attacks undertaken by these kings at different places. What would they say about the Peshwas under whose regime Shudras-Atishudras were denied all human rights and Dalits were even compelled to wear a earthen pot so that they even their spit does not fall on the streets?

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“We plan to lay the foundation stone of a temple for Akhand Bharat Mata and Godseji on January 30. We also plan a big congregation of people where the ashes of Godse ji, currently kept in Pune, will be brought to this temple in Sitapur. We are working towards creating a Hindu Rashtra and an undivided Bharat is our dream. We will immerse his ashes only after his dream has been realised,” Hindu Mahasabha’s working president Kamlesh Tiwari told Headlines Today.

(http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/godse-temple-hindu-group-gandhi-killer-nathuram-ghar-wapsi-akhil-bharat-mahasabha/1/408811.html)

The ‘Hate Tipu’ syndrome much visible in the ranks of the RSS and all its affiliated as well as like minded organisations needs to be seen also in the backdrop of the growing euologisation of Nathuram Godse, the Hindutva terrorist who assasinated Mahatam Gandhi. (for more details on this episode see http://kafila.org/2013/11/15/first-terrorist-of-independent-india) and their continued silence over it.

Not some time ago BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj stirred a huge controversy when he called Godse a nationalist and a patriot. In October, a Malayalam mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had said that Nathuram Godse should have killed former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and not Gandhi. The writer was none other than a BJP leader who had contested elections to the Parliament . Forget taking any action against this glorification of Godse, RSS tried rather unsuccessfully to distance itself from this article saying that it was his ‘private opinion’. We also know that moves are even afoot to build this ‘great Patriots’ temples all over the country.   (http: //www. thehindu.com/ news/national/other-states/meerut-villagers-rally-against-godse-temple/article6754164.ece) The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha – whose most prominent leader Savarkar was the main conspirator in Gandhi’s assasination (Thanks to the painstaking investigation done by Jeevanlal Kapoor Commission) – also plans to establish Godse’s busts at different places in the country.

A close look at this ‘Love Godse’ campaign and RSS-BJP’s silence over it can be construed in two ways.

One, it wants to send a message to the core constituency which yearns to carve out a Hindu Rashtra that they should not get misled by the talk of ‘development’ which became necessary because of electoral compulsions.

Secondly, by avoiding any discussion on Gandhi’s assasination and the role of Godse and other Hindutva organisations in it, they want to move ahead unhindered in co-opting Gandhi.

It is a different matter that people are slowly waking up to the real meaning glorification of Godse and are coming forward to challenge their machinations. A rally was held in Meerut recently which was attended by thousands of people is an indication of the brewing storm.

13 thoughts on “Love Godse, Hate Tipu Sultan”

  1. Mr Subhash,
    Finding and listing paragraphs suitable to central theme of a thought is said to be the biggest sin by you in this article however you are guilty of doing the same.

    Have you verified whether Tipu ordered conversion of Hindus when he conquered Northern Kerala. You might just be surprised that he did do such acts.

    As for fighting British, please list down one Deccan power that was not confronted by East India Company (I refuse to call them British as it sounds more under direct control of British Monarchy of the time). Tipu did not invite fights with East India Company in order to protect people of India from the outsiders. East India Company and Tipu’s interests clashed when the former wanted to expand in Deccan. Tipu was fighting a war of survival and nothing else. His sons died in battle of Srirangapantam but then that was the last stand, like many of his loyal soldiers his sons also dies in the battle. I am not sure why is the special significance attached to death of sons of Tipu.

    Godse on the other hand had no particular survival requirement to go after Gandhi. He did it out of certain conclusions that he had drawn regarding the nearly unchallenged powers acquired by Gandhijee during the time. If you are someone who is considering Gandhijee to be the holier than cow then look at the history again. It was Gandhijee who broke the aliance between Nehru and Subhashchandra Bose when the pair was driving full Independence demand with success against Gandhijee’s self rule. Gandhijee was the one who left Congress as soon as Congressmen elected Subhashchandra Bose as President of Congress fully knowing that doing such thing would bring about an untold amount of pressure on the Netaji and he was proved extremely correct. Subhashchandra Bose had to resign from post of President of Congress and seek his chances with Stalin, Hitler and Tojo. Jatin’s 60 days plus fast to actual death was never recognised by Gandhijee because before going to jail he had not subscribed Gandhijee’s views of the world. Same is the story with Chandrashekhar Azad. When Azad died in gun battle there was not a word from Gandhijee but when Irwin, then Governor General of India suvived a train blast he with Irwin long life and thanked God for saving Irwin. This was not because of love for Irwin but because Chandrashekhar Azad presented an alternate thought to that of Gandhijee on how to obtain Independence.

    When India became independent Gandhijee was in India and became citizen of India. He should have from that point onwards acted in interests of India and India alone. Instead of that he was trying to act as leader of both India and Pakistan with a philosophy that India was big brother and Pakistan was little brother. Little brothers are allowed to be little mischievous right! This obviously was taken advantage of by other global powers which were unsure of what it means by an independent India. This was a que for Nehru who followed Gandhijee in discounting interests of India when so called world image was at stake. What would have happened if Nehru had allowed our army to first take entire Kashmir, Baltistan and Gilgit and then offered a referrendum? Obviously some interested parties would have called him an aggressor but in reality we would not have required to pay through our nose to guard highest battlefield in the world. 60 plus years have gone by and we still suffer from that mistake made in order to make Nehru the first politician to have brought the issue to UN for resolution when he enjoyed the upper hand on battlefield. Those from west who lauded him as a great statesman actually derided him in private for being foolish and ignorant in foreign policy.

    1. Mr. Sujit

      I totally agree with your deeply insightful analysis. We must all shed our attachment towards small town thugs and localised feudal warlords like Tipu Sultan, Babar, Akbar, Ashok, Rana Pratap and Sivaji who cared two hoots about India, respect for citizens, equality before law, fraternity and the idea of India. These feudal thugs did nothing but loot the local population, unleash terror and marry many times over. When met with imperial aggression they shat in their pants, ran away or died fighting. Did these morons even have an idea of what citizenship is, or what republicanism is? Bloody undemocratic thugs!

      Modernity has given a chance for a modern society like India to become a truly modern hindu society. We must not lose time over these stupid discussions on thugs. The job of RSS, the owner and proprietor of all Hindus of India is clear ie to throw the evil of caste to the dustbin of history.

      The idea of India, as we very well know, has remained unchanged since Manu outlined it billions of years ago during our glorious vedic age when Indians were going up and down the moon to shit, pee and fart and helicopters were all over the place. As I am sure you are aware of that in prachin times it was we Indians who invented masturbation. In the meanwhile Indians were beej-ganiting, astrologing, mathematiciking, geneting elephant heads over human babies all over.

      There is no option now. RSS has to has to take the lead. I am convinced if we look closely we can even find evidence chaddi is a truly a praachin Indian invention. As a mal-dar chaddi boy Mohan jee must immediately show the way by making love as a central emotion of RSS. He must unleash love on India. He must make India modern where we love equality before law, justice, dissent while hate producing institutions like caste must go away. Caste is the only game in town, all other games are mere distractions.

      yours,

      Feudal hating modern citizen (FHMC)

      1. Is there point to this bile ? And to see that it was found worthy of publishing reflects on the moderators and their pluralistic school of thought

    2. Mr Sujit

      So according to you I am guilty of committing a ‘sin’ because I provided enough proof to butteress my viewpoint.Definitely I am not of those type who move on hearsay, making bold statements without any basis to it. One comes across such people in daily lives who will make one statement today and its exact opposite the other day. And the ’56 inch chest’ Superman who is the custodian of this country at this moment is no exception to it. But that is beside the point.

      As far as Tipu’s alleged fanaticism is concerned I have already mentioned the important work by Brittlebank, Kate (1999). Tipu Sultan’s Search for Legitimacy.which was brought out by OUP and it exposes in detail the basis of all this propaganda.You can also refer to works of Irfan Habib Habib (State and Diplomacy Under Tipu Sultan: Documents and Essays, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, ISBN 81-85229-52-X) and other scholars like Hasan, Chetty, Saletare and others who similarly ‘argue that controversial stories of Tipu Sultan’s religious persecution of Hindus and Christians are largely derived from the work of early British authors’

      Perhaps an important assessment of Tipu is also provided by Gandhi (Young India January 23, 1930) which I have mentioned in commenting on Mr Ram’s mail.

      Secondly, your inadverent or so ‘justification’ of Godse’s act is reprehensible to say the least. In my earlier article which appeared on Kafila itself ( First Terrorist of Independent India) I have mentioned how Godse – as part of his divisive ideology of Hindutva – had been trying to assassinate Gandhi since mid thirties, and the last attempt proved ‘successful’. There is a tendency within the Hindu Right which tries to rationalise Gandhi’s killing on the basis of his alleged ‘magnamity’ towards Pakistan.It is just a post facto justification of a criminal/terrorist act, nothing else.

      1. Sir , you mentioned about Prof. Irfan Habib , & though I stand humbled before his knowledge , yet I find his own writings are as biased & untrustworthy as that of RC Majumdar — he rebuffs Shivaji as just a feudal & glorifies Tipu . Is Tipu Sultan’s letter false: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captivity_of_Nairs_at_Seringapatam

        It is as much true as his patronage of Shankarachryas. He deserves to be seen as part of Kannadiga Hindu-Muslim unity & applauded for that, but cannot be accepted a Secular icon outside Karnataka.
        . If Hindutvavadis want him to be portayed as “completely Communal & thus all bad” , why are many Secular Historians bent on making him “completely Secular & thus all good”. Why cannot we see him in “greys”.He was tolerant to his Hindu subjects (he ruled a Hindu-majority kingdom afterall) but nevertheless used the tactics of forceful conversions against Nairs. Moreover the British only made a brute out of him , but at least as long as that letter exists it is difficult to accept him as an “Akbar” . Rather Pathans like Sher Shah Suri were actually secular as compared to Tipu , though his pluralism is rarely talked about.
        I request you to plz respond

  2. Is it necessary that Godse and Tipu be exalted to the rank of great Indian heroes ? In one case a miniscule number of the people wants to construct temple and in the other a state government a birth day celebration. Don’t you see communalism behind both? Whether you believe me or not, the Godse Temple will find little support among Hindus, but honoring Tipu will sure do little good to Muslims except for fooling them for political reasons.

    1. For all those people who want us to usher in a Hindu Rashtra terrorists like Godse will always remain hero but for the broad section of Indian people who are still keen to maintain secular fabric of society and state great men like Tipu Sultan would always remain a source of inspiration. So you see it is a question of opposite view points.

      Recently I came across this quote from Mahatma Gandhi himself who while writing in Young India (January 23, 1930), exposed the Hindu and British lies about Tipu Sultan being a fanatic Muslim ruler: “Fateh Ali Tipu Sultan is represented by foreign historians as a fanatic who oppressed his Hindu subjects and converted them to Islam by force. But he was nothing of the kind. On the other hand his relations with his Hindu subjects were of a perfectly cordial nature. The Archeaological Department of Mysore State is in possession of over thirty letters by Tipu to the Shankaracharya of Shringeri Math. These letters are written in the Kannada characters. ln one of the letters written to the Shankaracharya in 1793 Tipu acknowledges receipt of the Shankaracharya’s letter and requests him to perform TAFAS (i.e., to undergo self – purificatory discipline) and to offer prayers for the welfare and prosperity of his own realm as for that of the whole universe. And finaly he asks the Shankaracharya to return to Mysore, for the presence of good men in a country brings down rain and makes for good cultivations and plenty. This letter deserves to be printed in letters of gold in every history of India. Tipu made lavish gifts of land and other things to Hindu temples and temples dedicated to Shri Venkataramanna, Shrinivas and Shri Ranganath and located in the vicinity of Tipu’s palaces still bear testimony to his broad-minded toleration, and indicate that great martyr at any rate for a real martyr he was in the cause of liberty was not disturbed in his prayers by the Hindu bells calling people to worship the same Allah whose devotee he was.” (http://rehmat1.com/2008/08/18/tipu-sultan/)

      I do not agree with your assessment that ‘only miniscule number of people’ are keen about Godse’s temple. The so called lunatic fringe may look inconsequential but reality is that it is the mainstream today. Imagine some Khalistani group announcing building temples/gurudwaras dedicated to Bhindranwale in different parts of the country, whether the government would have remained silent.

      1. Again it highlights Tipu & his Kannadiga Hindu subjects . Does that prove that the letter is wrong as well as Malayalee Historian CK Kareem had pointed towards Tipu’s fundamentalism in Kerala. The conclusion is he was neither completely a Communal man nor a tolerant man , but showed traits of both at different times.

  3. Given his not-so-glorious doings in the Malabar and in Coorg and given his penchant for territorial expansion Tipu Sultan comes across as just another power hungry monarch who cannot be an ally in building a more harmonious and egalitarian society.
    Saying that he gave generous grants to the Shankaracharya of Sringeri is hardly any defence of his secularism given that the Shankaracharya is the most potent symbol of brahmanical power right up to this day and would most certainly have been at that time also, a fact that would not have escaped Tipu’s notice either. I am sure that Mr. gatade isn’t a supporter of that power.
    Compared to Tipu, the last mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II comes across as gentle t man with a refined poetic touch, a benevolent ruler and a much better human being. Too bad he lost nerve and didn’t die a martyrs death alongwith his sepoys who were majorly Hindu but were commanded by a Muslim general. For this sin even the minority community is unlikely to forgive him and wouldn’t accept him as a nationalist icon in favour of the more vigorous Tipu.
    The most balanced commentary on Tipu’s legacy that I have come across can be found here :
    http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/bO9Ma9Sb2g4aUvIUT29fCP/Why-we-love-to-hate-Tipu-Sultan.html

    To Quote some lines :

    “”With an acknowledgement of excesses and with no albatross of guilt on the members of any community today, one needs to move on. Glossing over history or, worse, creating a false one even as facts stare you in the face, is lethal. In between black and white is a huge continuum of grey, and being as human as any one of us, Tipu belongs to this zone of grey too. For all our liberalism, religious identity is enmeshed in our political discourse today. But this does not seem to have been the case 200 years ago—religion was used as a tool for cultural subjugation of the conquered. Else, would the Marathas have plundered Sringeri? Would the nizam and Tipu not have been natural allies? Historical figures need to be freed from the clutches of contemporary politics and left to academic study by historians, and be judged as products of their time and circumstances. Identification of a ruler’s legacy with a community is dangerous, especially when fragile sensitivities get so easily offended.””

    I generally like reading Mr. Gatade’s posts but in this one he comes across as someone cherry picking stuff to bolster his hypothesis just as the Hindutvavaadis scramble to whitewash the legacy of Savarkar and Golwalkar.

    Also, a paragraph from the above post :

    “”A ruler much ahead of his times Tipu Sultan, a scholar, soldier and a poet, was an apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity, was fond of new inventions, and is called innovator of the world’s first war rocket, one who felt inspired by the French Revolution and who despite being a ruler called himself Citizen and even had planted the tree of ‘Liberty’ in his palace. “”

    This same paragraph has been lifted almost verbatim from an earlier post made by the same author in 2013 :

    http://kafila.org/2013/01/26/who-is-afraid-of-tipu-sultan/

    “”It may be recalled here that Tipu was an apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity, was fond of new inventions, and is called innovator of the world’s first war rocket, who felt inspired by the French Revolution and despite being a ruler called himself Citizen and even planted the tree of ‘Liberty’ in his palace.””

    The author has written a number of fine pieces unfortunately the one above is not one amongst them.

    1. “But this does not seem to have been the case 200 years ago—religion was used as a tool for cultural subjugation of the conquered.”

      I think the case was the opposite. Religion then seemed to have primarily been seen in the context of community law and family traditions. The Marathas probably plundered Sringeri for the same reason Ghazni plundered Somnath: money. The use of religion for cultural subjugation is more typical of modern South Asia. Otherwise I agree with Mr. Sampath’s article. We need to stop judging yesterday’s political actors by today’s politics.

      1. The Marathas probably plundered Sringeri for the same reason Ghazni plundered Somnath: money. Also neither Marathas were followers of Shankaracharyas nor Ghazni follower of Hinduism . Ghazni is also known for his hatred towards Shias too. Also it should not be forgotten that Hinduism & the subsequent Hindu identity are modern day dogmas , & were not concrete even in medeival era.

  4. Dear Country men,

    I am a keralite and totally agree with subhash Gatade on his view with Tipu…Having a passion in history , science research and trekking,I had gone to most of tipu’s fort,palace and places of battle…

    To some of the above statements about conversions,British tried and were very successful in creating a rift between Hindus and muslims….Tipu never allowed anybody(Whether Hindu/Muslim rulers) to have allegiance with British….As a case of rule of land,he had waged wars against Nizams and Pazhassi…This has to be taken a case of wars and not conversion…Most of the Generals,soldiers and even ministers in his army and court were hindus….Can anyone in there wildest of the wildest dreams think of converting an occupied land of hindus using an army of Hindus!!!!!

    All his forts and palaces(except outposts or bastions) had a temple and mosque…i really dont understand how he can convert hindus to muslims and ask to them to show royalty(as a citizen/employee),when he openly promotes hindu-muslim harmony.

    Pls take the case of Vijayaynagar empire….This empire was defeated by a “Muslim” army…thousands of soldiers of Vijayangar were muslims and fought against these “Muslim” army… There were memorials at Hampi till date and dedicated to Muslim warriors….Who made it……………….Hindus(As simple as that).

    Most of mysore’s neighbours were in war with Tipu/Hyderali…It was obvious that,Tipu has to be citizen friendly.Tyrant ruler can never survive with unfriendly neighbours.

    Pazhassi raja helped British and failed to understand their intentions.It was only after some point,Pazhassi raja resorted to Guerilla warfare and had a heroic death at the hands of British….Tipu at any point of time helped British and very well knew the crooked intentions…He would have had terms agreed upon a treaty,but never an ally…time proved who was right.

    Bottomline is ………history is written by winners…… that is most of India’s modern history is written by British…Hence rather than propagating communal tensions or popular beliefs about conversions,most of the allegations about Tipu sultan is fabricated and without references..rather we appreciate(Tipu as a great administrator,one who introduced science in army),Subhas Chandra Bose as Man of Word, we must understand their sacrifice to this country..

    Jai Hind

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