All you need to know about the controversy surrounding Tipu Sultan Jayanti

Tipu Sultan's life has always been a talking point

Ever since the Karnataka State Government decided to celebrate November 10 as Tipu Jayanti in 2015, the event has become a bone of contention between Karnataka government and BJP. While BJP and RSS, who consider Tipu a Muslim tyrant, have incessantly protested against the proposal to celebrate his birth anniversary, Congress is determined to make the event happen.

Who was Tipu Sultan? 

Tipu ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1782 to 1799 and is known as the Tiger of Mysore. Born in 1750, Tipu Sultan was the eldest son of Haider Ali, a soldier. At the age of 16, he accompanied his father in the First Mysore War against the British in 1766. He also distinguished himself in the First Anglo-Maratha War of 1775. He ascended to the throne of Mysore when his father died in the Second Mysore War against the British in 1782.

Also, he has been a controversial figure in the history of India. While he had earned accolades as a ruler who fought against British colonialism and has been credited for strong military reforms and economic power under his reign, most famously using a rocket in his wars against the British. He was also slammed for being ‘religious bigot’ who killed thousands of Hindus and Christians, gave Islamic names to many places. He is termed as a Muslim tyrant by many.

It is also heard that Tipu invented a calendar of his own, whose Year 1 began with the founder of Islam, Mohammad’s claim to prophethood rather than his migration to Medina. He also named coins for Shia Imams as well as Sunni Caliphs.

Why does the BJP have a problem with Tipu Sultan?

It is to be noted that BJP and the Right-Wing groups consider Tipu Sultan as a religious bigot who destroyed temples as well as forced conversions of Hindus and Christians mainly because of their ideology.

Recently, protesting Tipu Jayanti and slamming the state government, Amit Shah, the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party had said that,

Yesterday was November 1. It was Karnataka’s formation day. Karnataka Mahotsav (Rajyotsava) celebrations had to happen with grandeur, but Siddaramaiah government had no interest in Karnataka Mahotsava, they are more enthusiastic towards celebrating Tipu Jayanti on November 10.

Celebrating Tipu Jayanti and “doing vote bank politics” won’t benefit the people of Karnataka, he added.

President Ram Nath Kovind’s contrasting remark:

In a contrasting remark, while addressing the joint session of the Karnataka Legislature to mark Vidhana Soudha’s Diamond Jubilee on October 25, President Ram Nath Kovind said,

Tipu Sultan died a heroic death fighting the British. He was also a pioneer in the development and use of Mysore rockets in warfare. This technology was later adopted by the Europeans.

Hitting out at the state government, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council K S Eshwarappa alleged that the government has ‘misused’ the office of the president by getting Tipu’s name mentioned in the speech.

He said,

I condemn it….it is an insult done to people of Karnataka by the state government. If we had raised objections when the president mentioned Tipu, it would have led to the violation of protocol…

Reacting to the allegations, state Congress working president Dinesh Gundu Rao said the BJP should be ashamed. He said,

by trying to say that president has just read out a speech written by somebody, they are insulting the office of the president and the president.

PIL questioning the celebration on Tipu Jayanti:

In the latest development in the Tipu Jayanti controversy, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Karnataka High Court questioning the celebration on Tipu Jayanti on November 3. Pavan Chandra, an advocate for the litigant, had questioned over the fund spent for this celebration as there is no approval from the legislature.

Descendants of Tipu Sultan planning to sue Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde:

Sahebzada Mansoor Ali, Seventh-generation descendant of Tipu Sultan planned to sue Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde after he tweeted criticising the Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebrations in Karnataka. He had said that he did not want to be invited for the event, and tweeted that the celebrations were a “shameful event of glorifying a person known as a brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist”.

Quote–The Indian Express