Tipu Sultan: A man of unfathomable character
He was a man of spotless character, matchless courage and of firm determination
Syed Mustafa Ahmad
Sultan Fatah Ali, well-known as Tipu Sultan, was an illustrious son of a worthy father, Sultan Haider Ali, the founder and architect of the kingdom of Mysore. The lion-hearted Sultan Tipu came off as a martial race. His father Sultan Haider Ali began his life as an ordinary soldier, but being gifted with extraordinary virtues and daring, rose to the throne of Mysore by his own achievements. Mysore always remained a Hindu kingdom. It was Haider Ali who made it a Muslim kingdom.
Sultan Tipu was born in December, 1751. Sultan Tipu grew up to be a stout personality. He acquired all the great virtues and talents of a great soldier and of a great statesman from his great father under whose able and wise guidance he was brought up. He was well-educated and was well- versed in literature. He was an expert horse man and an excellent swordsman.
He was a man of spotless character, matchless courage and of firm determination. He had unbound zeal and extraordinary vigour and dashness. He was praised and admired for his undaunted courage and bravery. He was greatly honoured for his great foresight and wisdom. God gifted Tipu with great administrative ability and great political acumen and sagacity.
It is reported that from the age of six to the death of his father, Tipu always went with his father in all the battles. And thus he learnt in practical field the art of warfare and its tactics. He was placed in the command of selected soldiers when he was sixteen years old. At this young age, he had to face the English army at Bangalore and he gave a crushing defeat to the English.
After his father’s death, when he ascended the throne of Mysore, he had to fight valiantly against three powerful enemies- the English, the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad and against the powerful combination of these three. He was a great fighter and would have succeeded in defeating them and driving the English from India, had not treachery, conspiracy and mean perfidy on the part of his own people and the base plotting and perfidious role of his relatives stood in his way. He suffered much by such vile acts and had to sacrifice his precious life for the freedom of India. With him ended the last hope of India’s deliverance from foreign rule.
Tipu was an invaluable asset to the Muslims of India- nay to the whole of the Islamic world. Tipu Sultan was an ardent champion of liberty and freedom and greatly resented the domination of any foreign country over any Islamic State and Asia. His motto and maxim in life was” The lion’s one day’s life was better than that of Jackal’s hundred years’ life”. With this zeal, he fought against the foreign domination. He raised his voice against exploitation. He was a true Muslim to the core. He harboured a burning desire to unite all the Muslims of the neighbouring countries to smash and destroy the nefarious designs and evil intention and plotting and plans of the foreign imperialists’ powers, such as the English, the French to dominate the Asiatic Countries.
Sultan Tipu was a foresighted statesman of his age. He clearly foresaw the coming danger of foreign subjection of Asia and Africa and to avert it and to take time steps to check it, he sent his best Emissaries to Turkey, Egypt, Persia, Afghanistan, etc., inviting them to unite together for a common cause namely to combat and prevent the foreign subjection of Asia and Africa.
The noble character of Tipu Sultan and his very generous treatment of Hindus have been distorted and falsely written and misrepresented by his enemies. He has been represented as a Muslim zealot who forcibly spread Islam among the Hindus. It is a damned lie and perversion of truth. The truth is something different. It is only to malign the Muslims and communalize the society. It is a nefarious design of those who are hell bent up on to alter the demographic structure of our country. By the grace of God, they will never get success.
If we compare the freedom of conscience, religion, free worship, political, social and economic equal rights given by Sultan Tipu to his non- Muslim subjects with that of the treatment of the modern democratic countries to their minorities and backward subjects, it will be clear as day light that the treatment meted out to Hindus by Tipu was more generous, more humane and more just and equitable.
Tipu was a pious Muslim. He was well versed in the Quranic injunctions. According to one injunction, “There is no compulsion in religion”, and also the holy Prophet’s precept to treat non-Muslims generously.
The noble- minded Sultan never attempted to convert any non-Muslim to Islam by force and he never maltreated the Hindus. Documentary evidences reveal that Sultan treated the Hindus very humanely and generously. The letters written by Tipu in 1791 to a Hindu Guru (preacher) of Seringapatam and pecuniary aid rendered to him, coupled with grants of land, clearly testifies the magnanimity of heart and nobility of soul.
When a detailed history of Indo- Pakistan’s freedom struggle comes to be written, a place of very high distinction will be found for Sultan, who stood up against the British and fought and died in the battlefield, this symbolizing one of the brave soldiers this country has ever produced.
Tipu fought against aliens not for his dominion but for freedom of India. Tipu was not only a great champion of then India’s independence but he was the first martyr for the noble cause of national freedom. He was a great enlightened monarch of Asia. It is our responsibility to put forth his true image. He did what he was supposed to do. He didn’t bow before the so-called mighty empire of the world but fought bravely and left a legacy that should never be communalized. Instead, we collectively should remember Tipu Sultan and acquaint our future generations who Tipu Sultan is. I think it will soothe his soul for a moment.