Friday, October 30, 2015

Tipu Sultan


Tipu Sultan lived in an era when the British Crown wasn’t ruling India. India was on its way to reviving and restoring its ancient ideals and way of life after the prolonged darkness of the Islamic era ended with Aurangzeb’s death in 1707. The Marathas had emerged as the most powerful and the largest political force then. It’s therefore both a misleading and a fraudulent claim that Tipu fought the British in the sense of the then British Government. Tipu waged war against the British East India Company. He waged the war purely for territorial and imperial purposes and not because he was spurred by patriotism towards India as a nation. He was primarily an immensely cruel Muslim zealot motivated by the goal of establishing Islam in India. Indeed, the notion of India as—roughly speaking—a nation state took root in the minds of the early crop of Indian freedom fighters after the British Crown took over the country and declared it as one of their colonies. This fact is intentionally blanked out by our clever-by-half historical frauds of the Marxist school in their vile endeavour to project Tipu as some kind of a valiant saviour. If Tipu is indeed this heroic freedom fighter who fought against British tyranny, why don’t our secular scum extend the same logic to the Marathas as well?
Another popular myth is in wide currency as far as Karnataka is concerned. Girish Karnad among others has played a huge part in recent times to perpetuate this myth that Tipu Sultan was an unsullied patron and promoter of the Kannada language. About 4 years ago, he frothed at the mouth in a Kannada daily when the then Education Minister D.H. Shankara Murthy correctly claimed that Tipu was an opponent of Kannada.
Dr. S L Bhyrappa then tore into Girish Karnad’s perverted history concerning Tipu’s life and deeds. Here are some excerpts from that piece by Dr. S.L Bhyrappa (translation mine):
Kannada was the official language of the Mysore state when the Wodeyar dynasty ruled over the Mysore kingdom…When Tipu took over, he changed the administrative language from Kannada to Farsi(Persian). We can witness this till date. Karnataka Government’s land and revenue records use Farsi terminology. For instance, a usage like “Ramesh’s son Suresh” is written as “Suresh bin Ramesh.” Our state has retained terms like “Khata,” “Khirdi,” “Pahani,” “Khanesuvari,” “Gudasta,” and “Baranamoona,” a direct holdover from Tipu’s times. Not just that—Tipu changed the names of entire cities and towns:
Gopal Rao had written all these on the basis of the writings of Tipu’s own son, Ghulam Muhammad, and Muslim historians like Kirmani. Even the Hindu names of places, the Sultan could not tolerate. Therefore, Mangalapuri (Mangalore) was changed to Jalalabad, Cannanore (Kanwapuram) to Kusanabad, Bepur (Vaippura) to Sultanpatanam or Faruqui, Mysore to Nazarabad, Dharwar to Quarshed-Sawad, Gutti to Faiz-Hissar, Ratnagiri to Mustafabad, Dindigul to Khaliqabad, Calicut (Kozhikode) to Islamabad,Brahmapuri to Sultanpet,Coorg to Zafarabad, Devanahalli to Yusufabad,Krishnagiri to Phalk-il-azam,Penukonda to Fakrabad,Sira to Rustumabad. Sankridurga to Muzaffarabad,Sakleshpur to Manjarabad and Chitradurga to Farook yab Hissar.It was after the death of Tipu Sultan that the local people reverted to old names.
Though Muslims in Malabar speak, read and write Malayalam even today just as Tamil Muslims in Tamil Nadu read, write and speak in Tamil. Thanks to Tipu, Muslims in Karnataka speak only Urdu. This is the direct result of Tipu’s insistence that Farsi and Urdu were the only permitted mediums of instruction.
This linguistic assault apart, we need to examine the full extent of the unfettered barbarism Tipu Sultan unleashed in serving the cause of Islam. Here’s what comes out of the mouth of this Islamic zealot par excellence, someone who belongs in the same Hall of Islamic Savagery that Aurangzeb occupies.
We can turn to S L Bhyrappa again:
A collection of papers entitled Tipu Sultan’s Dreams was recovered by the British Colonel William Kirkpatrick from the Srirangapatanam palace after Tipu was killed in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799. These are written in Tipu’s own hand in Farsi. Kirkpatrick himself translated several of these from Farsi to English. The India Office in London still retains the original and some translations. Tipu himself speaks in these papers, the strongest and firsthand evidence of his fanaticism. He always refers to Hindus as Kaffirs and the British as Christians. In some of these papers, he recounts a recurring dream in which a a long-bearded Maulvi frequently appears. Tipu goes to Mecca on a pilgrimage; Prophet Mohammad tells a long-bearded Arab, “Tell Tipu that I shall not enter Heaven without Tipu.” Tipu then embarks on a mission to convert all non-Muslims to Islam and then Islamizes all non-Islamic nations…. He talks nothing about modernizing India and fumes that the Christians (British) are the biggest obstacle that he must urgently remove.
The most glaring instance where Tipu’s Islam-inspired savagery played out in all its cruel glory is his brutal Malabar campaign. He managed to do in a very brief span what centuries of Islamic incursions had failed to do to large parts of Kerala.
The account of his savage raid of the Malabar region makes your stomach churn. Here is how he gloats about it in a letter to the Governor of Bekal written in January 1790:
Don’t you know I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over four lakh Hindus were converted to Islam? I am determined to march against that cursed Raman Nair (Rajah of Travancore) very soon. Since I am overjoyed at the prospect of converting him and his subjects to Islam, I have happily abandoned the idea of going back to Srirangapatanam now.
Equally, the Malabar Manual written by William Logan, the Collector of Malabar makes for painful reading. A horrified Logan describes in detail the kind of barbarism Tipu’s hordes inflicted on the Hindus of Kerala. To read a sample, head here. In fact, the extent and scope of Tipu’s cruelty appalled even the British who had by then developed imperial ambitions in India.
Here is how the Preface of G.A. Henty’s The Tiger of Mysore describes Tipu:
…our struggle with Tippoo Saib was…marked by a long endurance of wrong, and a toleration of abominable cruelties perpetrated upon Englishmen and our native allies….Tippoo…revelled in acts of the most abominable cruelty. It would seem that he massacred for the very pleasure of massacring, and hundreds…were killed by famine, poison, or torture, simply to gratify his lust for murder. Patience was shown towards this monster until patience became a fault, and our inaction was naturally ascribed by him to fear.
He wanted to become an Emperor after defeating the British. He wanted to achieve his ambition after consulting the astrologers. There were a few Brahmin astrologers in Sree Ranganatha Swami Temple. They predicted that if some of the suggested remedial rituals were performed, Tipu would achieve his cherished ambition. Believing that he could become the undisputed ruler of the whole of South India, after defeating the British, he performed all the suggested rituals in the Sree Ranaganatha Swami Temple, besides giving costly presents to the astrologers. This act is being widely interpreted by secularist historians as love and respect for Hindu religion and traditions! They also doubt if there were any Hindu temples which were desecrated or destroyed by Tipu Sultan and his Islamic army in Malabar.
M.A. Gopal Rao, stated a few years ago in one of his articles: ‘In a deliberately designed taxation scheme, the religious prejudice of Tipu Sultan became quite clear. His co-religionists, Muslims, were exempted from house tax, commodity tax and also the levy on other items of household use. Those who were converted to Muhammadanism, were also given similar tax exemptions. He had even made provisions for the education of their children. Tipu Sultan discontinued the practice of appointing Hindus in different administrative and military jobs as practised by his father, Hyder Ali Khan, in the past. He had deep hatred towards all non-Muslims. During the entire period of sixteen years of his regime, Purnaiyya was the only Hindu who had adorned the post of Dewan or minister under Tipu Sultan. In 1797 (two years before his death) among the 65 senior Government posts, not even a single Hindu was retained. All the Mustadirs were also Muslims. Among the 26 civil and military officers captured by the British in 1792 there were only 6 non-Muslims.
In 1789, when the Nizam of Hyderabad and other Muslim rulers decided that only Muslims would be appointed henceforth in all Government posts, Tipu Sultan also adopted the same policy in his Mysore State. Just because they were Muslims, even those who were illiterate and inefficient, were also appointed to important Government posts. Even for getting promotions, one still had to be a Muslim under Tipu Sultan’s regime. Considering the interest and convenience of only Muslim officers, all the records relating to tax revenue, were ordered to be written in Persian rather than in Marathi and Kannada as followed earlier. He even tried to make Persian the State language in place of Kannada.
The Muslim officers, occupying important posts at all levels, were all dishonest and unreliable persons. Even when people complained to him with evidences against those officers, Tipu Sultan did not care to inquire about the complaints lodged.”
The cruelties which Tipu Sultan committed in Coorg, has no parallel in history. On one occasion, he forcibly converted over ten thousand Hindus to Muhammadanism. On another occasion, he captured and converted to Islam more than one thousand Hindu Coorgis before imprisoning them in the Sreerangapatanam fortress. In the period of confusion and anarchy prevailing in Sreerangapatanam during the last war of Tipu Sultan against the British, all the Coorgi prisoners escaped from the prison and became Hindus again after reaching their native kingdom. Against the solemn oath given to the Raja of Coorg, Tipu Sultan forcibly abducted a young princess from the Coorg royal family and made her his wife against her will.
The atrocities committed by Tipu Sultan in Bidnur in North Karnataka during and after its capture by him, were most barbarous and beyond description. Ayaz Khan who was Kammaran Nambiar from Chirackal Kingdom before his forcible conversion to Islam by Hyder Ali Khan, had been appointed as Governor of Bidnur. Tipu Sultan was jealous of and opposed to Ayaz Khan from the very beginning because Hyder Ali Khan had considered the latter more intelligent and smart. When Ayaz Khan learnt that Tipu Sultan was scheming to kill him secretly, he escaped to Bombay with plenty of gold. Tipu Sultan came to Bednur and forcibly converted its entire population to Islam. The people accepted Islam for the sake of their lives.
After the capture of Mangalore, thousands of Christians were also forcibly sent to Sreerangapatanam where all of them were circumcised and converted to Islam. Tipu Sultan’s justification was that during the Portuguese domination, prior to the arrival of the British, many Muslims had been converted to Christianity by their Missionaries. He proudly proclaimed his action as a sort of punishment for the conversion of many Muslims by the Portuguese.
Then he marched upto Kumbla on the northern borders of Kerala, forcibly converting to Islam every Hindu on the way. This time, his argument (repeated by the Muslim and secularist historians of today) was that if all belonged to one religion – Muhammadanism – there would be unity and consequently it would be easy to defeat the British!
In Malabar, the main target of Tipu Sultan’s atrocities were Hindus and Hindu temples. According to Lewis B. Boury, the atrocities committed by Tipu Sultan against Hindus in Malabar were worse and more barbarous than those committed against the Hindus in Hindustan by the notorious Mahmud of Ghazni, Alauddin Khalji, and Nadir Shah. He disputes in his book Mukherjee’s version that Tipu Sultan had converted only his opponents. Normally even a cruel person kills or tortures only his enemies. But that argument does not justify the cruelties committed by him against innocent women and children.
According to the Malabar Manual of William Logan who was the District Collector for some time, Thrichambaram and Thalipparampu temples in Chirackal Taluqa, Thiruvangatu Temple (Brass Pagoda) in Tellicherry, and Ponmeri Temple near Badakara were all destroyed by Tipu Sultan. The Malabar Manual mention that the Maniyoor mosque was once a Hindu temple. The local belief is that it was converted to a mosque during the days of Tipu Sultan.
Vatakkankoor Raja Raja Varma in his famous literary work, History of Sanskrit Literature in Kerala, has written the following about the loss and destruction faced by the Hindu temples in Kerala during the military regime (Padayottam) of Tipu Sultan: “There was no limit as to the loss the Hindu temples suffered due to the military operations of Tipu Sultan. Burning down the temples, destruction of the idols installed therein and also cutting the heads of cattle over the temple deities were the cruel entertainments of Tipu Sultan and his equally cruel army. It was heartrending even to imagine the destruction caused by Tipu Sultan in the famous ancient temples of Thalipparampu and Thrichambaram. The devastation caused by this new Ravana’s barbarous activities have not yet been fully rectified.”
As per the provisions of the Treaty of Mangalore of 1784, the British had allowed Tipu Sultan to have his suzerainty over Malabar. ‘In consequence, the Hindus of Malabar had to suffer the most severe enormities the world had ever known in history,’ observes K.V. Krishna Iyer, in his famous book, Zamorins of Calicut, based on historical records available from the royal house of Zamorins in Calicut. “When the second-in-line of Zamorins, Eralppad, refused to cooperate with Tipu Sultan in his military operations against Travancore because of Tipu’s crude methods of forcible circumcision and conversion of Hindus to Islam, the enraged Tipu Sultan took a solemn oath to circumcise and convert the Zamorin and his chieftains and Hindu soldiers to Islamic faith,” he adds.
L.B. Boury writes: “To show his ardent devotion and steadfast faith in Muhammaddan religion, Tipu Sultan found Kozhikode to be the most suitable place. It was because the Hindus of Malabar refused to reject the matriarchal system, polyandry and half-nakedness of women that the ‘great reformer’ Tipu Sultan tried to honour the entire population with Islam.” To the Malabar people, the Muslim harem, Muslim polygamy and the Islamic ritual of circumcision were equally repulsive and opposed to the ancient culture and tradition in Kerala. Tipu Sultan sought a marriage alliance with the matriarchal Muslim family of Arackal Bibi in Cannanore. Kozhikode was then a centre of Brahmins and had over 7000 Brahmin families living there. Over 2000 Brahmin families perished as a result of Tipu Sultan’s Islamic cruelties. He did not spare even women and children. Most of the men escaped to forests and foreign lands.
Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai wrote in the Mathrubhoomi Weekly of December 25, 1955: “Muhammadans greatly increased in number. Hindus were forcibly circumcised in thousands. As a result of Tipu’s atrocities, strength of Nairs and Chamars (Scheduled Castes) significantly diminished in number. Namboodiris also substantially decreased in number.”
The German missionary Guntest has recorded: ‘Accompanied by an army of 60,000, Tipu Sultan came to Kozhikode in 1788 and razed it to the ground. It is not possible even to describe the brutalities committed by that Islamic barbarian from Mysore.” C.A. Parkhurst also noted that ‘Almost the entire Kozhikode was razed to the ground.”