Tipu sultan (November 1750 – May 1799) famously known as “The Tiger of Mysore”, ruled the kingdom of Mysore. Prominent for his various administrative, revenue and military reforms, Tipu sultan was noted for innovations during his rule like new coinage system, calendar and land revenue system. Tipu was the pioneer of rocket artillery, which he used to check the advance of British forces and its allies during the Anglo-Mysore wars.
The French commander-in-chief, Napoleon Bonaparte, sought an alliance with tipu and used its trained army against British just like his father. Apart from these reforms and innovations, Tipu was criticised for repression of Hindus of Malabar and Christians of Mangalore for both religious and political reasons.
Controversies on Tipu Sultan
Though many sources regarded him for religious tolerance as a Muslim ruler of predominantly Hindu country, many controversies arise regarded his atrocities against Hindus.
Many sources mentioned his land grants and endowments to many Hindu temples, appointing Hindu officers in his administration. On the other hand, many sources mentioned about his massacre, imprisonment and forced conversions of Hindus and Christians into Islam, not to mention the destruction of temples and churches.
Brittlebank, Hasan, Chetty, Habib, and Saletare and various otherhistorians rejected the controversies regarding persecution of Hindus and Christians by Tipu sultan, they argued that most of these controversies are derived from the works of British officers who basically are against the sultan’s independent rule.
But François Ripaud, a French soldier who fought along with tipu sultan against the British forces mentioned in his diary on 14 January 1799: “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.”
There is also evidence showing his invasion on Malabar and forcefully converting over 4,00,000 Hindus to Islam. Besides Tipu sultan, his father Hyder Ali evidently showed religious intolerance by killing, forcible conversion and destruction of religious monuments.
An edict issued by Tipu sultan claims that he destroyed temples in his dominions except those of Srirangapatna and Melukote. He resolved to destroy every monument erected by the former Government.
Lewis Rice, a British historian and archaeologist in his work Mysore Gazetteer estimated that tipu destroyed 8000 Hindu temples, which was confirmed by colonel R.D. Palsokar. The figure was confirmed by many other historians in their works.
Recently, the BJP leaders of Andhra Pradesh protested against the erection of Tipu Sultan’s statue in the district of Kadapa. Who even said that they will demolish the statue if erected without permission. Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, Andhra BJP leader, called Tipu an Islamic barbaric king and projected him as a secular king who killed many Hindus and destroyed various temples.