TIGER OF MYSORE – is one of the titles in the history text books in Karnataka. The chapter glorifies Tippu Sultan as one of the greatest ‘Freedom Fighters’ and one of the earliest Freedom fighters to have waged a battle against the British. It also goes to the extent of saying that Tippu was one of the first person to use missiles by allying with the French.
They also glorify him by conferring him the title ‘Tiger of Mysore’ (even when there are several notes by noted historians and travellers that he was neither brave or led from the front)
Karnataka Government is now celebrating Tippu Jayanthi all over the state on November 20th, his birthday, to shower respect on Tippu Sultan. Incidentally, this is the third consecutive year wherein, the Karnataka Government is celebrating the ‘Government Birthday’ of a King whom historians describe as a cruel, merciless Tyrant who massacred Kodavas, Brahmins, Christians or forcibly converted them to Islam.
While there are lots of information available by foreign travelers and British Resident officers about the ruthless conversion, mass murders and killings of innocent women and children, the history text books give a totally different version by glorifying a Tyrant whose only ambition and motive was ‘Islamisation’
While crumbling infrastructure, deaths of farmers, water scarcity, Dengue deaths, deteriorating law and order continue to haunt Karnataka. The government headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaih is hell bent on organizing the Jayanthi which will cost Rs.60 lakh per district; this is a rampant waste of public money considering other priorities which need immediate attention.
Infact, Gauri Lankesh who was brutally murdered by unknown persons in August-2017 had also discouraged celebrating the Jayanthi of Tippu Sultan.
Birthday of a religious fundamentalist
It was infact the Wodeyars who had contributed for the overall development of Mysuru and not Tippu or his father Hyder Ali. Hyder Ali joined as an ordinary solider in the Mysore army and later got promoted as the commander-in-chief of Mysuru army. In 1761, he keeps Krishnaraja Wodeyar under house arrest. After being the King for 21 years he is succeeded by his son Tippu Sultan in the year 1782.
Appeasement Politics: BJP
Bharatiya Janata Party has vehemently opposed the celebration of Tippu Jayanthi calling it as ‘Minority Appeasement Politics’ and an insult to the Kodavas, Brahmins, Christians and thousands of others whose ancestors were brutally killed by Tippu Sultan. Tipu is considered a “treacherous tyrant” by the people from Coorg, Mangaluru, and certain parts of Kerala. November 10 also coincided with Naraka Chaturdashi, the day Diwali is celebrated in Karnataka.
Questions raised by Tippu Sultan
Pratap Simha, Member of Parliament and former Journalist who shot to fame with his columns ‘Bettale Jagattu’ in Vijaya Karnataka and Kannada Prabha has asked very relevant questions to the State Government.
1] The concept of celebrating ‘Jayanthi’ itself is barred in Islam. It is considered ‘Haram; so why does Siddaramaih want to celebrate the Jayanthi of the Tyrant?
2] Jayanthi of any individual has to be celebrated if that particular personality has contributed in great deal for the improvement of Nation or society. For e.g: Dr.Ambedkar, Basavanna, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi etc. In what way is Tippu a role model to celebrate his Jayanthi?
3] Tippu was a fanatic and a bigot who did not fight against the British for the cause of freedom of the country but because of his belief that only British stood in his way of establishing a pan-India level Muslim empire. How does this qualify him as a Freedom Fighter?
4] How does Tippu become a martyr when he died within his fort? Heroes fight for their motherland and die in battlefield, Timid Tippu died inside the fort without even waging a fight.
5] If Tippu was the pioneer of missile technology, why did he lose 3rd and 4th Anglo -Mysore War? Why didn’t he use them to defeat the British?
The last couple of questions tweeted yesterday by former Kannada journalist and Mysuru/Kodagu M.P. Pratap Simha came after Hon’ble President Shri Ramnath Kovind-ji in his address during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Vidhana Soudha lauded Tippu Sultan as a freedom fighter, praised his innovative fighting abilities on using the rocket technology and concluding by saying that he was a ‘martyr’ who died fighting the British.
Another firebrand Politician and Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship wrote a letter to the CM of Karnataka and the Chief Secretary of Karnataka State to drop his name from the invitation for Tippu Jayanthi. He further threatened that if the government does include his name in Tippu Jayanthi he would use the same platform to describe the tyrant rule and embarrass the government and organizers.
The Congress has counter-attacked the BJP of playing a ‘double-game’; as Former CM Yedyurappa had supported Tippu Jayanthi when he had quit BJP to float his own party – KJP couple of years ago.
Minority Appeasement to ‘cover’ losing ground in home turf?
Siddaramaih despite launching several populist ‘bhagyas’ for the state is still undecided from which constituency he shall contest the 2018 assembly elections. Siddaramaih has not even ruled out from contesting from North Karnataka. In Old Mysore region he has also plans to contest from his ‘bastion’ Varuna or Chamundeshwari. However, Anti-Incumbency, lack of development in his constituency; severe drought and other reasons might not work in his favour. So in order, to ensure his victory he is hell bent on celebrating Tippu Jayanthi with an ‘eye’ on Muslim votes, which will be the deciding factor as JD (S) and BJP might give severe competition after Srinivas Prasad and S. M. Krishna quit Congress this year.
The Old Mysore region a ‘bastion’ of the Congress and home turf of Siddaramaih is steadily losing its ground as many leaders have quit Congress and receding vote bank of Congress due to the divisive politics of the Congress Government. The opposition BJP has vehemently opposed the celebration of Tippu Jayanthi with protests from its senior leaders and MP’s threatening to boycott the ceremony and using the platform to embarrass the Congress government.
While Siddaramaih can score a few ‘political brownie points’ from celebrating this Jayanthi; the misplaced priorities of the government is being criticized by the public. Tippu Sultan was the first ‘Jehadi’ who banned ‘Nadahabba’ (State Festival) of Karnataka; he killed thousands of Melkote Iyengars on Narakachaturdashi (Deepavali), even today the Iyengars in Melkote do not celebrate the festival.
This Jayanthi could have been easily avoided and the funds earmarked for the celebration could have been used for the development of infrastructure or construction of toilets in the still underdeveloped villages in Old Mysuru region.