Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan (1750-1799) was the de-facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He is better known as the 'Tiger of Mysore'. His full name was Sultan Fateh Ali Tippu and he was born on 20th November, 1750 at Devanahalli, in present-day Kolar district, near Bangalore, Karnataka .
He is the eldest son of Hyder Ali and Fakhr-un-nissa (Fatima Begum). Tipu ascended the throne of his father after his death in 1782, following the Second Mysore War, to then rule the Kingdom of Mysore. Tipu Sultan was a benevolent and instrumental leader, whose constant valiant efforts against the British oppression in southern India resulted in his name being etched in the annals of Indian history.

Since his childhood, Tipu Sultan pursued his strong interests in academics and various languages. Besides being well-educated Tippu was also adept as a soldier, learning the art of warfare, at the young age of 15, by attending numerous military campaigns, accompanying his father. He was also a devout Muslim who accepted other religions as well, contrary to certain theories describing him as a religious persecutor of Hindus and Christians. Tipu worked hard for the welfare of his subjects and his numerous contributions include his construction of roads, building tanks and dams, several ports along the shoreline, fortifying numerous palaces and forts, promoting overseas trade, commerce and increase in agricultural output.

Tipu Sultan, with his dignified personality and simple lifestyle was more than just an ordinary leader. He was greatly respected by his people and earned the trust of various international allies such as the French, the Amir of Afghanistan and the Sultan of Turkey, to assist him in his fight against the British. Tipu Sultan was the founder-member of the 'Jacobin Club' that served allegiance to the French. A true patriot like his father, Tipu visualized the forthcoming danger of the expanding British's East India Company. Tipu and his father Haidar Ali proved successful in defeating the British in the First Mysore War in 1766 and in the Second Mysore War of 1782, thus negotiating the Treaty of Mangalore with them. While the British became aware of Tipu's growing strength, they made alliances with the neighboring Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas, leading to the Third Anglo-Mysore war in 1790. Despite signing the Treaty of Versailles, the French however deserted Tipu and the combined forces proved immense for Tipu, and he was defeated in this war at his capital of Seringapatam, thus forcing him to sign a treaty in 1792 that witnessed half of his kingdom being confiscated along with a huge war indemnity. After the British broke allegiance with the Nawab, eventually defeating him in 1795, they once again sought to attack Mysore, leading to the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1798. Tipu, being an able military strategist was prepared this time with his longstanding and successful military tactic of rocket artillery in war and a better army to thwart his adversaries. Fighting with all his valor, Tipu Sultan eventually died defending his capital Srirangapattana on 4th May, 1799. Tipu Sultan is buried alongside his father and mother, in a mausoleum built by him in 1784, known as 'Gumbaz', in his capital city of Srinagapattana.

Besides Tipu's grand legacy, he also left behind royal memoirs that include his exquisitely ornamented weaponry, the mechanical 'Tippu's tiger', his golden 'tiger-head' throne, Tipu's coinage, as well as the famous engraved royal 'Sword of Tipu Sultan' which he fiercely possessed until after he breathed his last. The majestic Sword has even undergone numerous international possession controversies, to finally being brought back to India for public display by industrialist-politician Vijay Mallya, after nearly two centuries. The royal sword even has numerous documentaries and television serials created after it that portray the life of Tipu Sultan. Also famous is Tipu's construction of the 'Daria Daulat Bagh', his summer palace, which is now a national monument and a tourist hotspot. Tipu Sultan's patriotic spirit burned brightly within the hearts of future Indian freedom fighters, paving the path for overthrowing the British Rule in the years to come.

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Last Updated on : February 1, 2014