Tipu Sultan Hero or Villain

Tipu Sultan Hero or Villain?

Tipu Sultan the ruler of Mysore was he a hero or a villain?

Tipu Sultan the ruler of Mysore from 1750 - 1799 was he truly a courageous fighter who rallied against the British defending National Interest?


or Was he a fanatical and uncompromising person on religious ideology who massacred the Hindus and Christians by thousands indulging in widespread forced conversations?


can we praise him as a Kannada icon?

or is he a mere an unfortunate victim of a modern-day campaign orchestrated by the right-wing?


There are the few million-dollar questions that need to be addressed in light of the decision made by the Karnataka Government in prolonged contentions commemoration of Tipu Sultan.  


Firstly, Tipu Sultan stands condemned for religious intolerance and not motivated by the accusations made by his antagonist by his own actions and words.


Listed below are few of the pieces of evidence noted in Basha Poshini Magazine by renowned Historian K.M.Panicker in 1923. (Tipu Sultan: Villan or Hero, edited by Sita Ram Goel.)

1. Letter dated March 22, 1788, to Abdul Kadir: 'Over 12,000 Hindus were honored with Islam. There were many Namboodri Brahmins among them. This achievement should be widely publicized among the Hindus. Then the local Hindus should be brought before you and converted to Islam. No Namboodri Brahmin should be spared.'

2. Letter dated December 14, 1788, to his army chief in Calicut: 'I am sending two of my followers with Mir Hussain Ali. With their assistance, you should capture and kill all Hindus. Those below 20 may be kept in prison and 5,000 from the rest should be killed from the tree-tops. These are my orders.'

3. Letter dated January 18, 1790, to Syed Abdul Dulai: '... almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. I consider this as jihad.'

These experts indicated Tipu Sultan's unpardonable brutality that cannot be let away as reminiscent of time which involves killing people in a large number of religious ideology.

Moreover, these facts were published in 1923 time when there wasn't any raging controversy on the role of Tipu Sultan and hence no doubting motive of any publication house and that increases the credibility of these statements.

Coorg also known as Kodagu a district in Karnataka has witnessed strident opposition to this question in recent times, was another area bearing the burns of his religious monstrosity.


Tipu Sultan  X-Rayed, Usha Press Mysore 1980 IM Muthanna 'His raid wasn't that of an emperor intent on expanding his empire. It was a cultural and religious invasion... He followed the policy of Islam or death... Tipu targeted and assaulted temples... Some historians claim that he killed about 40,000 Coorgis and converted an equal number...'

Christians too were the victims of Tipu Sultan's religious xenophobia.


(A Voyage to the East Indies) A book is written by Fra Bartolomeo, a Portuguese who happened to Mysore in 1790 writes,"  'Tipu was riding on an elephant behind which another army of 30,000 soldiers followed. Most of the men and women were hanged in Calicut, first mothers were hanged with their children tied to necks of mothers.'

'That barbarian Tipu Sultan tied the naked Christian and Hindus to the legs of elephants and made the elephants move around till the bodies of the helpless victims were torn to pieces.'

'Temples and churches were ordered to be burned down, desecrated, and destroyed...'

A French soldier Francois Fidele Ripaud de Montaudevert who traveled from Mauritius to Mysore to aid Tipu Sultan against The British was total disappointed with him.

'I'm disturbed by Tipu Sultan's treatment of these most gentle souls, the Hindus. During the siege of Mangalore, Tipu's soldiers daily exposed the heads of many innocent Brahmins within sight from the fort for the zamorin and his Hindu followers to see.' Francois writes in a document which was discovered in Paris in 1988

'Kozhikode was then a center of Brahmins and had over 7,000 Brahmin families living there. Over 2,000 Brahmin families perished as a result of Tipu Sultan's Islamic cruelties. He did not spare even women and children.' (The Tyrant Diaries)

Finally, the image of Tipu Sultan as a proclaimed icon of Kannada seems to be much shaky until one digs and scrutinizes the pages from history. In fact, he made all efforts to make Karnataka as Persian Lingua Franca at the cost of Kannada.  

Karnataka Itihasa Academy Chairman Dr.Suryanath Kamat refers to a book written by historian Kirmani, Tipu's contemporary, which indicates that in 1972 Tipu Sultan passed an order to make Persian to be the official language of Karnataka replacing Kannada.

Tipu must definitely be  credited for the valor he had shown fighting against the British but considering his wrongdoing which is so overwhelming he ranks inferior in Indian history.

In response to the PIL Chief Justice Mukherjee of The Karnataka High court questioned Congress government intention to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti.What is the logic behind celebrating Tipu Jayanti? Tipu was not a freedom-fighter, but a monarch who fought the opponents to safeguard his interests.'

Justice Mukherjee questioned on the wisdom and intention of such a move that was bound to escalate communal tension in Kodagu & other parts of Karnataka were several deaths were rerecorded with similar incidents in the past.

According to  Vivek Ghumaste the original source of this article says," 'Tipu Sultan was no doubt a valiant fighter who vigorously opposed the British but that cannot mitigate the fact that he was also by all accounts a religious bigot -- a figure incompatible with modern secular times,'



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