By Mansi Rawat:
November 10 every year brings along with it a host of controversies: whether the day should be celebrated as Tipu Jayanti (Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary) or not.
Tipu Jayanti has been severely condemned by the BJP and several Hindu forces because Tipu Sultan was seen as a “religious bigot”; whereas some view him as a popular figure and a freedom fighter.
This clash thus produces a conflict of opinion, creating a huge controversy. Year after year, these clashes come alive in the form of communal violence and protests.
Tipu Sultan, also known as the Tipu Sahib, was the ruler of Mysore. He was a very able administrator, but on the personal front he was a devout Muslim whose religious policies evoked a lot of controversies.
A lot of factions see him as a freedom fighter who went against the Britishers, while some see him as a “butcher of Hindus”. He is known to have crushed the minorities of Coorg and Malabar. His favour towards Persian has also been taken in a particular light.
Tipu Sultan is also known for his administrative changes. He introduced a number of administrative innovations during his rule including coinage and a new land revenue system.
He is also given the credit to have commissioned the military manual and is also considered a pioneer in the usage of rocket artillery.
The previous Congress government led by Siddaramaiah started celebrating Tipu Jayanti from November 10 2015.
Since then, protests have been taking place again and again every year against the celebration, often leading to a tiff. In 2015, two protestors were also killed as a result.
The issue since then has already gained a lot of attention. Even today (November 9) protests have been taking place and security personnel have already been called in order to resist any sort of communal violence.
A lot of historians also remain divided on this issue and thus have failed to take any one side of the debate. This question, of whether or not to celebrate Tipu Jayanti, has brought up discussions about a lot of cultural and regional identities and the importance of our historical icons.
As Congress was blamed for trying to appease Muslims of the state, it seems weird as to what might be the reason to still celebrate Tipu Jayanti despite looking at the sensitive nerve this issue touches.
Political agendas and ideologies are being cleared and history has only become a tool in the hands of these controversy makers.
Tipu Sultan, popularly known as the “Tiger Of Mysore”, was a ruler who in those times did the utmost to protect and lead his state. But how fair is it to loom at him through today’s lens?
Violence and destruction of temples cannot be justified; but placing these events in a certain context is also important to understand the situation.
A lot of locals and communities affiliate with Tipu Sultan, but a majority doesn’t. How do we solve this issue, which has now been turned into a huge political war of ideologies and questions the identity of a lot of people?
In the end, one can only conclude that history is a myth, history is not always the truth and most importantly whose history do we read and identify with?