A bigot called Tipu Sultan

| | in Oped

Who was Tipu Sultan? A social reformer or a religious fanatic? A dismally corrupt Congress which refuses to look beyond vote-banks calls him a freedom fighter!

My victorious sabre is lightning for the destruction of the unbelievers… Oh Lord, make him victorious, who promoteth the faith of Muhammad. Confound him, who refuseth the faith of Muhammad …”   The sword of Tipu Sultan has this spine-chilling inscription on it. 

“With the grace of Prophet Muhammed and Allah, almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. Only a few are still not converted on the borders of Cochin State. I am determined to convert them also very soon. I consider this as Jihad to achieve that object.” The above is an extract of Tipu's letter to Syed Abdul Dulai dated January 18, 1790. These amply describe Tipu's life mission as a soldier of Islam. As history reveals, he played that role faithfully and never pretended to be a secular ruler of a state. In 2015, the Congress government in Karnataka decided to observe Tipu's birthday every year. The Congress party describes Tipu as a freedom fighter because he fought against the British. Unfortunately, for the Congress Government, there is enough evidence that Tipu was no freedom fighter but a ruler who did what was essential to preserve his kingdom and nothing more — a point that even the Karnataka High Court observed.

A French newspaper, Le Moniteur, reported Napoléon Bonaparte's ‘conversion to Islam’ in 1798 AD. His Muslim name was reportedly Aly (Ali) Napoléon Bonaparte. During his Egyptian campaign, Bonaparte had positioned himself as an admirer of Islam, for political reasons. Tipu, however, believed that Bonaparte had converted to Islam and, therefore, invited him to bring the French Army to defeat the British and conquer India. He also sent invitations to the Shah of Persia, the Caliph in Turkey and the kings of Arabia and Muscat to join him in defeating the British and to take control of India. Would a ‘son-of-the-soil’ freedom fighter invite Islamic rulers from other continents to invade and colonise India in order to counter an existing colonizer?

In  a civilized world, liberty and equality have been established as requisites for human dignity. These values were embedded in most native cultures across the world. Societies lost those values when organised religions arrived and exterminated native cultures across the world. But societies have evolved since then even though organized religion continues to play a destructive role in today's world. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, human rights, democracy, secularism and gender equality are held high in the modern world. Modern society honours personalities who have striven to establish these values and condemns anyone who undermines them.

But the exact opposite happens in India due to a dismally corrupt political class that refuses to look beyond vote-banks. Oppressive rulers of the past and foreign invaders have been accorded hero-status even though they have massacred locals and perpetrated atrocities through forced religious conversions, slavery and heavy taxation. Aurangzeb Road, Tughlaq Lane are some of the many major thoroughfares in Indian cities, named after such rulers, while Tipu Jayanti is the commemoration of a south Indian tyrant. There is possibly no other society in the history of civilization that has celebrated the tyranny of an invader or a religious fanatic, except India. Even though the Hindu society has shown great resilience and preserved its culture despite several attacks from foreign invaders and missionaries, Hindus, who are the majority community in India, have to still bear the ignominy of glorification of the enemy, an unforgivable political tradition started by the Congress.

The hypocrisy in the celebration of only some heroes is telling because the selection criterion reeks of political bias. If Mahatma Gandhi is the Father of the Nation, Bhagat Singh and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose receive step-motherly treatment from academicians, history text books and ‘secular' political parties — it happens because Gandhi had a well-known dislike for revolutionaries and was stubborn about achieving freedom only through a non-violent struggle.

The Mahatma has been accused of not doing enough to stop Bhagat Singh's hanging by the British, even though both Gandhi and Bhagat Singh were fighting for the same cause — the liberation of India. This is one of the shocking facts that have been cleverly hidden by historians appointed by the Congress. The Congress, which is nothing but a political vestige of the colonial British Raj, was created to continue the British agenda of colonizing the Indian mind and harvesting the Hindu soul. The party was happy to continue the narrative of a historic non-violent movement led by Gandhi, who ‘gained' freedom for India. Even though in theory it promotes narratives of non-violence, the Congress practices the aggrandizement of genocide-committing and war-mongering rulers such as Tipu Sultan.

India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. In fact, Indira Gandhi, the venerated leader of the Congress, introduced ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in 1976 into the Preamble of the Constitution through the 42nd amendment. Secularism was relevant to the Christian world where there was a need to separate the church from the state. It has no relevance in the Indian context except to serve the Congress's purpose of damaging the fabric of our country for vote-bank politics. In India, secularism has come to mean equal treatment of all religions by the state. Even if one were to set aside the real intent of Indira Gandhi, isn't the decision by the Congress Government, to observe the birthday of a religious fanatic who massacred Hindus and Christians against the principles of secularism?

(This is the first of a two-part series on Tipu Sultan. The concluding part will appear in these columns tomorrow. The writer is with non-profit organization, ‘Samartha Bharata’, Bengaluru)  

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