Tipu Sultan was no freedom fighter – R. Sampath

Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan was guided by selfish motives in his so-called “freedom fight” against British rule. The very fact that Pakistan has named three of its war ships as PNS Tipu Sultan speaks volumes of his “secular” credentials. – R. Sampath

With an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah is only stirring the communal cauldron by organising official functions in memory of Tipu Sultan. The government is doing this for vote bank politics and to spite the main opposition party in the state, the BJP.

Siddu of course would not have failed to take the nod of the Congress high command before celebrating with pomp and glare the birth anniversary of Tipu, who according to him, was a “freedom fighter”. Tipu did fight against the British rulers. But it was with an intent to drive them away and not to usher in a secular rule. He was interested only in expanding his kingdom.

It was certainly not his intention to liberate and carve out a “free India”. He cannot be considered a “freedom fighter” at all. In fact, he sought an alliance with France, to not only fight against the British but also to use the French army to invade and settle scores against the Maratha, Malabar, Carnatic and Travancore kingdoms.

The pages of history can’t be simply obliterated by Siddu according to his convenience and advantage. Tipu had the dubious distinction of being an epitome of religious intolerance. He forcibly converted lakhs of Hindus to Islam after his war against the Malabar. Tipu had destroyed the Milagres Church in Mangalore built in 1680. In fact, he did not spare Christians as well.

He had imprisoned at least 60,000 Catholics, suspected of being British spies. Siddu’s suddenly-turned-secular-icon Tipu made the captive Christians walk all the way to Mysore without any food or water. Thousands perished midway. Tipu always engaged himself in expansionist attacks against his neighbours. Though he always remained a rancourous enemy of the British Raj, it was only to perpetrate his own regime where he ruled. He had no love lost for the secular ethos.

The Karnataka CM is eulogising Tipu who was squarely guided by selfish motives in his so-called “freedom fight” against the British rule. The very fact that Pakistan has named at least three of its war ships as PNS Tippu Sultan speaks volumes of his “secular” credentials. If Pakistan and the Congress party were to share a “secular icon” in Tipu Sultan for their own reasons, they certainly have the right and no one can stop them from doing so.

As for the BJP, it has valid, genuine and sensible reasons to keep away from Tipu Jayanti celebrations, as otherwise it will amount to compromising its known consistent stand against Tipu Sultan. – The New Indian Express, 28 October 2014

» R. Sampath reports for The New Indian Express in Chennai.

Louis XVI receives the ambassadors of Tipu Sultan in 1788.

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