Tipu Sultan, prominently known as Sher-e-Mysore (Tiger of Mysore) is also given the sobriquet of Sher-e-Hind and Sher-e-Mashriq (Tiger of the East). A legendary ruler, he not only opposed British rule in South India but also played a major role in keeping the British forces away from South India . He was one of those rare rulers who had the gumption to challenge the British Government.
No wonder, the mighty Tippoo Sahib (as addressed by British) defeated the foreign invaders in the First and Second Anglo Mysore War and even dictated terms to the British in the subsequent Treaty of Madras and Mangalore respectively.
Tipu was born in the Bangalore area of Devanhalli to a military officer Hyder Ali in the kingdom of Mysore in the year 1750. Hyder Ali and his wife Fatima Fakhr Un Nisa named their baby as Fath Ali but often called him as Tipu after the local saint Tipu Mastan Aulia. Tipu Sultan’s full name was Sultan Fateh Ali Khan Shahab. Soon, Hyder Ali’s career progressed and in 1761 he became the ruler of Mysore. Since, Hyder Ali had a political alliance with the French, Tipu studied military tactics and strategies from the French.
He had some of the best tutors to teach him various subjects like shooting, riding and swordsmanship. Perhaps that is why Tipu at a very young age of 15 with only two to three thousand force could capture the family of the Malabar chief. No wonder, the Malabar ruler surrendered to only Hyder Ali because of Tipu Sultan’s successful invasion of Malabar.
Ghazi Khan, one of the main officer in the military of Haider Ali and also a great warrior himself, personally tutored Tipu Sultan. He gave Tipu the necessary military education which not only made Tipu a great soldier but also a great General.
Tipu Sultan, the Great Ruler of Mysore
After Hyder Ali died due to Carbuncle in the year 1782, Tipu became the new ruler of Mysore. This new ruler who had already fought two war – First Anglo Mysore and Second Anglo Mysore War under the leadership of his father knew that British forces were a great threat to the independent Kingdom of Mysore. He therefore focused more on military advances especially Mysorean rockets which were successfully used by his father in the Second Anglo Mysore War against the British.
The Famous Mysore Rockets
Mysorean missiles were iron cased rockets fitted with swords in them. These rockets used to travel long, covering various kilometers up in the air before launching down – attacking the enemies with sword. Although there were missiles in the Europe, Mysorean Missiles became famous due to their coverage and destructive capacity. Hyder Ali’s Mysore rockets, undoubtedly, were very advanced missiles than what the British had seen. Tipu Sultan had written a Military Manual Fathul Mujahidin in which he explained the operation of these Mysore Rockets. This was mainly due to the iron tubes which were used for holding the rocket propellant. No wonder, it enabled greater thrust and extended distance up to 2 km.
Mysore Missiles, the Father of Congreve Rockets
In the year 1801, several of the Mysore rockets were sent to England in the Royal Arsenal lab for R&D by Col. (Later Sir) William Congreve. Roughly, 4 years later in the year 1805, Royal Arsenal came up with their first Congreve rocket only due to the Technology devised by Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. These Congreve Rockets helped the British troops in the Napolenic Wars and also in the War of 1812. Not to forget, the Battle of Baltimore in the year 1814 was won mainly due to these rockets.
Congreve Rocket therefore was no brainchild of William Congreve as widely considered. It is nothing but a modified version of Mysore Rockets, invented by Haider Ali and widely used by Tipu Sultan, the pioneer when it comes to utilizing rocket artillery. Congreve only did what Mahesh Bhatt and Pritam do today.
Palaces of Tipu Sultan Across Bangalore
Bangalore Fort although built by Kempe Gowda of Vijaynagar Empire in the 16th century, was renovated and made into a stone fort by Haider Ali in 1761. At one point of time when British bombed the fort, Tipu Sultan repaired it completely. However, the fort was captured by the British after the third Anglo Mysore War. Currently, Delhi Gate and remnants of bastions are the only two parts remaining of this once so powerful fort.
Within the Bangalore fort, there is a palace made of wood famously known as Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace which though started during the period of Hyder Ali ended during the reign of Tipu Sultan. An example of Indo-Islamic architecture, the walls of the palace are embellished by pretty flower motifs. Currently, the fort is a tourist place in Bangalore near the Kalasipalyam Bus Stand.
Tipu Sultan in his tenure also finished the construction of Lal Bagh Botanical Garden in the Bangalore area which was started by his father Haider Ali. The garden has a large collection of tropical plants as well as a lake and an aquarium. Located in South Bangalore, it is one of the major hot spot of Bangalore. The garden is made in the Mughal style and comprises several plants and trees from various nations.
The Fourth Anglo Mysore War that led to the Death of Tipu Sultan
Srirangapatnam, the island fortress was the capital of Mysore during the 18th century. It was so well organized with good trade routes that British feared terrible consequences. In addition, the ruler of Mysore had an effective army as that of British army. This led to four wars back to back. Although the first two wars were won by the Ruler of Mysore, the third had dire consequences – Tipu’s two son aged 8 and 10 were detained by the British forces. Finally, in the fourth, Tipu Sultan the ruler of Mysore breath’d his last in 1799 at Srirangapatnam.
The Sword of Tipu Sultan
After the death of Tipu Sultan the British forces took away the Sword and Ring of Tipu Sultan as war trophies. Both the remnants of Tipu Sultan where displayed in the British Musuem till 2004 after which Vijay Mallya, the liquor baron bought the sword of Tipu Sultan in an auction.
Tipu Sultan’s one of the very first swords which he lost during the wars with the Nair of Travancore is displayed at Manchester Square, London.
Why some in Karnataka love to Hate Tipu Sultan?
Though Tipu Sultan is the hero of Mysore and South India, he is considered as a villain in the region of Malabar, Mangalore and Coorg. All the supporters of the ex Mysore king the Wodeyar strongly hated Tipu Sultan as they blamed his father of betraying the king.
The Coorgis hate him too as they were of the opinion that Tipu Sultan was trying to interfere in their kingdom. The people of Malabar hated Tipu due to his invasion in the area at an early age. This was also one of the reasons why British could invade the state of Mysore because the people of these three areas helped British forces against Tipu. Yes, they considered British as their friends and Tipu Sultan as their enemy.
By: Deepti Verma
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