Tipu Sultan was the son of Hyder Ali, who established the Mysore Sultanate. The two ruled over the Mysore region and offered stiff resistance to British expansion during their lifetime.
Interesting Facts About Tipu Sultan
Mandyam Iyengars Massacre
Around 1,500 members of Mandyam Iyengars community members were allegedly killed by the Tipu’s army. It is said that Tipu ordered the killing of 800 families in Srirangapatna when he learned that two members of the community were trying to dethrone him, siding with the British. A section of the community will not celebrate the 1st day of Diwali, even today, as it was on that day the massacre took place.
Source – Times of India
Renaming of Places
During his reign, Tipu renamed many places. For instance: Mangalore was changed to Jalalabad, Bepur to Sultanpatanam, Mysore to Nazarabad, Cannanore to Kusanabad, Dharwar to Quarshed-Sawad, Gooty to Faiz-Hissar, Dindigul to Khaliqabad, , Kozhikode to Islamabad, Ratnagiri to Mustafabad, and Dindigul to Khaliqabad.
Source: India Today
Tipperudraswamy and Tipu
According to Stalapuranaor or Nagalamadaka, the Sultan was born with the blessings of Tipperudraswamy, a Hindu saint. Hyder was camping near the Samadhi of Tipperudraswamy while he was battling Madakari Nayaka of Chitradurga. One day the sage appeared in his dream and told Hyder that he will have a brave son. It is believed that Tipu was named after Tippeswamy.
Note: Stalapuranaor or Nagalamadaka are stories passed down to generations
Source – Deccan Herald
The Sultan used iron-cased rockets during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. The wars were fought against the British to protect his kingdom.
Source – Deccan Herald
He also built and maintained a robust navy system in 1970 consisting of 20 battleships with 72 cannons and 20 frigates with 62 cannons.
Source – Wikipedia
Tipu Sultan sought the help of Zaman Shah Durrani, the ruler of the Durrani Empire in Afghan, to defeat both the British and Maratha. Help was offered initially, but due to the Persian attack on his country’s border, Zaman Shah could not help the Sultan. The Mysore king also requested the help of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid in 1787 to beat the British.
Source – Wikipedia
Restoration of the Sringeri Sharada Mutt
Tipu’s relationship with other religions is controversial. However, he helped restore the Sringeri Sharada Mutt, which the Marathas destroyed. The Sultan writes 30 letters to the then Pontiff to regarding the renovations.
His Early Years
Tipu Sultan was born in Devanahalli, located in the Kolar district, on November 20, 1750. He was the eldest son of Hyder Ali and Fakhr-Un-Nissa or Fatima.
While Tipu was still a child, Hyder Ali seized power from the ruler of Mysore and established the Mysore Sultanate. Besides being skilled in warfare from a young age, Tipu was also a scholar and proficient in many languages.
Tipu Sultan’s Military Exploits
At 15, Tipu participated in the First Anglo-Mysore War in 1766 during his father’s reign. He also commanded a cavalry corps during the Carnatic invasion in 1767. The French had entered into an alliance with Mysore rulers, and Tipu stationed some troupes at Mahe, a French port. In 1771, Tipu and Hyder Ali were defeated by Madhav Rao Peshwa, the ruler of Maratha at the time.
When the British captured this fort, Hyder Ali dispatched an army under Tipu, who advanced against Colonel Baillie. At Pollilur, Tipu encountered Baillie and defeated him in a decisive battle. Tipu defeated Colonel Braithwaite near Tanjore and seized Chittoor from the British. At the time of Hyder Ali’s death in December 1782, Tipu had consolidated his position, and the British forces had been driven back.
Tipu Sultan assumed power on December 22, 1782.
The Third Anglo-Mysore War
In 1789, Tipu Sultan launched an attack against the Raja of Travancore in a dispute over two forts in Cochin, but he met stiff resistance from the Travancore troops. The British, along with the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas, came to the aid of Travancore.
Later, British East India Company forces under Lord Cornwallis seized Coimbatore, but they were prevented from advancing further by Tipu Sultan.
In 1791, British troops took Bangalore and tried to advance on Srirangapatnam. But Tipu, following the scorched earth policy, destroyed local resources, denying the British forces access to supplies in this way. However, the well-supplied British troops laid siege to Srirangapatnam the following year. Tipu was forced to enter into a humiliating treaty, ceding half of his territory and two of his sons as hostages.
The Fourth Anglo Mysore War
In 1799, the British again laid siege to Srirangapatnam, aided by the Hyderabad Nawab and the Marathas. Tipu was killed during this siege and he was buried next to his father.
Tipu Sultan’s Achievements
Tipu was known for his innovative use of rocketry in his military tactics. These rockets, fitted with swords and spears, were fired at the enemy from long distances. These weapons were used very skillfully by Tipu Sultan during the Anglo-Mysore wars.
Tipu introduced a new currency (coin) and a new calendar. He was a good administrator and set up seven new departments in his government.
Some Controversial Incidents
Tipu Sultan was a devout Muslim, but he was generally reputed to have treated people of other religions well. He even built a church at the request of the French and is said to have made many grants to Hindu temples. Tipu Sultan had close associations with Nanjangud.
However, his treatment of people from other religions in conquered regions was not always so benevolent. His treatments of Hindus and Syrian Christians in Malabar, South Canara and Kodagu are the subject of still raging controversies.
The famous Krishna Idol of Guruvayoor was shifted to Amabalapuzha, fearing an attack from Tipu Sultan. It is said that there was a mass migration of Hindus to Travancore from Malabar, fearing Tipu’s persecution.
Tipu Sultan’s Legacy
Despite the controversies, Tipu Sultan is still viewed as a patriot who played a huge part, along with his father, in delaying the British from taking over the whole of Deccan. He fully understood the threat posed by the British and resisted their advance till his last breath.