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Tipu Sultan and unending controversies

  • Category
    History
  • Published
    26th Jul, 2021

Tipu Sultan is now the centre of controversy in Maharashtra over a proposal of naming a two acres garden after him.

Context

Tipu Sultan is now the centre of controversy in Maharashtra over a proposal of naming a two acres garden after him.

Background

  • In January, 2021 a corporator from Govandi wrote a letter to the Market and Garden Committee suggesting that a newly developed garden spread over two acres be named after Tipu Sultan as he was a “freedom fighter” and had fought against the British East India Company.
  • The demand was accepted by the BMC administration in June and sent to the Market and Garden Committee for approval.

Analysis

Early life of Tipu Sultan

  • Tipu Sultan was the son of Haider Ali Khan.
    • Haider Ali Khan wrested control of Mysore from the Dalwais, or Commanders-in-Chief, who themselves had already usurped all effective power from the previous Wodeyar king, Chikka Krishna Raj XI.
  • Tipu Sultan was born on 01 December 1751 at Devanahalli in present-day Bangalore Rural district.
  • He was named "Tipu Sultan" after the saint Tipu Mastan Aulia of
  • At age 15, he accompanied his father against the British in the First Mysore Warin 1766. He commanded a corps of cavalry in the invasion of Carnatic in 1767 at age 16.
  • He also distinguished himself in the First Anglo-Maratha War of 1775–1779.
  • From the age of 17, Tipu was given independent charge of important diplomatic and military missions. He was his father's right arm in the wars from which Hyder Ali emerged as the most powerful ruler of southern India.

Tipu Sultan and British Raj

  • During the First and Second Anglo-Mysore Wars, Haider Ali had brought the British to their knees.
  • Tipu would come to inherit a formidable burden: his father died during the Second Mysore War that he successfully concluded, but two more wars with the British followed in the Third and Fourth Anglo-Mysore Wars.
  • In 1792, at the end of the Third War, Tipu was corralled into ceding nearly half of his territory to the British and its Indian allies; was placed under a crippling debt; and gave two sons as hostages to the British until the debt was paid.
  • He was defeated and killed only in the Siege of Seringapatam on 4 May 1799.

How different sectors were ruled under Tipu Sultan?

Economy

  • The peak of Mysore's economic power was under Tipu Sultan in the late 18th century. Under his reign, Mysore overtook Bengal Subah as India's dominant economic power, with highly productive agriculture and textile manufacturing.
  • Tipu Sultan laid the foundation for the construction of the Kannambadi dam (present-day Krishna Raja Sagara or KRS dam) on the Kaveri river
  • The Mysore silk industry was first initiated during the reign of Tipu Sultan. He sent an expert to Bengal Subah to study silk cultivation and processing, after which Mysore began developing polyvoltine silk.
  • He encouraged the establishment of state-run factories at Bangalore and Seringapatam, Bednore and Chitaldurg, Chennapatna and Chickballapur, for the production of everything from cotton and silk cloth to cannons and sugar, from paper and glass to guns and muskets

Foreign relations

  • Tipu Sultan was the master of his own diplomacy with foreign nations, in his quest to rid India of the East India Company and to ensure the international strength of France
  • After facing substantial threats from the Marathas, Tipu Sultan began to correspond with Zaman Shah Durrani, the ruler of the Afghan Durrani Empire, so they could defeat the British and Marathas

Judicial system

  • Tipu Sultan appoints Judges from both communities for Hindu and Muslim subjects. Qadi for Muslims and Pandit for Hindu in each province. Upper courts also having similar system

Mysorean rockets

  • He deployed as many as 1,200 specialised troops in his army to operate rocket launchers. The rockets deployed by Tipu during the Battle of Pollilur were much more advanced than those the British East India Company had previously seen, chiefly because of the use of iron tubes for holding the propellant; this enabled higher thrust and longer range for the missiles

Navy

  • In 1786 Tipu Sultan, again following the lead of his father, decided to build a navy consisting of 20 battleships of 72 cannons and 20 frigates of 65 cannons. In the year 1790 he appointed Kamaluddin as his Mir Bahar and established massive dockyards at Jamalabad and Majidabad
  • Tipu Sultan ordered that the ships have copper-bottoms, an idea that increased the longevity of the ships and was introduced to Tipu by Admiral Suffren.

Conclusion

Tippu was an able general and administrator, and, though a Muslim, he retained the loyalty of his Hindu subjects. He proved cruel to his enemies and lacked the judgment of his father, however.

Despite preserving the image of a devout Muslim throughout his life, in post-colonial Indian subcontinent he is applauded not only as a ruler who fought against British colonialism, but also for his progressive attitude towards religious diversity, although he has also been criticised for the repression of Hindus of Malabar and Christians of Mangalore for both religious and political reasons

 

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