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Tipu Sultan

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues. 

Tipu Sultan: 


Mysore King Tipu Sultan is at the centre of controversy in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation over attempts to name a garden after him in Govandi, a suburb in Eastern Mumbai. 


What’s the controversy? 

  • A local corporator had suggested that a newly developed garden 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 on July 15. 
  • The move, however, drew criticism from the opposition who claimed that Tipu Sultan was an anti-Hindu leader and naming a garden after him would hurt religious sentiments of the community. 


Who was Tipu Sultan? 

  • He was a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore and the eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore. 
  • In the wider national narrative, Tipu has so far been seen as a man of imagination and courage, a brilliant military strategist who, in a short reign of 17 years, mounted the most serious challenge the Company faced in India. 


Contributions of Tipu Sultan: 

  1. Fought the first Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69) at the age of 17 and subsequently, against the Marathas and in the Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84). 
  2. He fought Company forces four times during 1767-99 and was killed defending his capital Srirangapatnam in the Fourth Anglo Mysore War. 
  3. Tipu reorganised his army along European lines, using new technology, including what is considered the first war rocket. 
  4. Devised a land revenue system based on detailed surveys and classification, in which the tax was imposed directly on the peasant, and collected through salaried agents in cash, widening the state’s resource base. 
  5. Modernised agriculture, gave tax breaks for developing wasteland, built irrigation infrastructure and repaired old dams, and promoted agricultural manufacturing and sericulture. Built a navy to support trade. 
  6. Commissioned a “state commercial corporation” to set up factories. 


Why are there so many controversies surrounding him? 

There are concerns raised against Tipu Sultan on nearly every historical figure, perspectives differ.

  1. Haider and Tipu had strong territorial ambitions, and invaded and annexed territories outside Mysore. In doing so, they burnt down entire towns and villages, razed hundreds of temples and churches, and forcibly converted Hindus.
  2. The historical record has Tipu boasting about having forced “infidels” to convert to Islam, and of having destroyed their places of worship.
  3. The disagreement then, is between those who see the “Tiger of Mysore” as a bulwark against colonialism and a great son of Karnataka, and those who point to his destruction of temples and forced conversions of Hindus and Christians to accuse him of tyranny and fanaticism. 


Insta Curious: 

Did you know that the earliest mention of Mysore or Mahishur historically refers to the time of King Ashoka in 245 B.C? Know about the Kingdoms who have ruled Mysore state: Read here



Prelims Link: 

  1. About Tipu Sultan. 
  2. Wars he fought. 
  3. Outcomes of those wars. 

Mains Link: 

Why is Tipu’s name marred with controversies? Discuss. 

Sources: Indian Express.