So, Yeddiyurappa has done what we expected from him. The Karnataka CM has banned Tipu Jayanti. The honourable CM, who has captured power through most dishonourable means, is convinced that Tipu Sultan was a blood-thirsty tyrant who persecuted Hindus. Before discussing Tipu, we should discuss Yeddiyurappa first.
A Lingayat leader, Yeddi can’t look beyond his caste. His earlier term as Chief Minister saw corruption at its worst. The Reddy Brothers of Bellary looted the state to their hearts’ content. The then Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde called the district the Republic of Bellary. Yeddiyurappa resigned after the Lokayukta’s report. But the BJP found him indispensable, given his hold on the Lingayats. So Yeddiyurappa is again the CM through blatant horse-trading and suitcase politics.
A lady called Shobha Karandlaje controls Yeddiyurappa through remote. Yeddi is a puppet and Shobha is his puppet-master. The bachcha-bachcha of Karnataka knows this but the conspiracy of silence prevails and nobody utters a word. Yeddiyurappa Govt is full of turncoats, the Aya Rams and Gaya Rams. Chameleons who change colors at the drop of a hat! And now these third-rate chameleons are targeting the Tiger of Mysore, the one and only Tipu Sultan! And chameleons are having an upper hand. They have put the Tiger on backfoot, banning his birth anniversary celebrations. Mera Bharat Mahan.
I read about Tipu Sultan in my history books. Then, I read his story in Amar Chitra Katha, one of my favourite comic books. And then in 1990s, I watched the serial on Doordarshan: The Sword of Tipu Sultan. As power played hide and seek, I stayed up late in the night to watch Tipu, played so convincingly by Sanjay Khan. And I turned into a die-hard Tipu fan.
Last year I read the book :The Sword of Tipu Sultan. Written by Bhagwan Gidwani. It is an amazing book on Tipu and his father Hyder Ali. The most striking aspect of their character was their liberal, secular values. The father-son duo was way ahead of its time. Hyder Ali was an ordinary soldier but rose to become the Sultan of Mysore, thanks to his bosom friend Purnaiyya Pandit, a Brahmin and a Sanskrit scholar. Purnaiyya convinced Hyder that the latter had king-like qualities. When Hyder Ali ascended the throne of Mysore, he appointed this Sanskrit pandit his Prime Minister. And to the end, Purnaiyya served both Hyder and Tipu with utmost loyalty.
When Tipu turned five, Hyder Ali engaged a Maulvi and a Pandit to tutour him. And Tipu was tutored for seven years by Maulvi Obedullah and Govardhan Pandit! Tipu had immense faith in “Sarva Dharma Sambhaav” (equality of all religions). There was a temple dedicated to Lord Ranganath within the campus of his palace!
In the end, Tipu was betrayed by his close confidant Mir Sadiq. The British promised Mir Sadiq the throne of Mysore. But a Hindu loyalist of Tipu, Shekhar put Mir Sadiq to death. Tipu Sultan was the ONLY king in the history of India, who attained martyrdom fighting the British. Most of Indian rulers became bootlickers of gora sahebs. When Tipu’s corpse was recovered from the Seringapatam Fort, he had his sword still clutched in his hand. He fought like a tiger, admitted his British enemies.
Tipu was no ordinary ruler. He corresponded with Napoleon Bonaparte. Tipu was ecstatic to learn about the American Independence in 1776. He had a copy of the American Declaration of Independence brought to Mysore. And when APJ Abdul Kalam visited the headquarters of the American space agency NASA, he saw Tipu Sultan’s portrait on the wall. Kalam Saheb was told that Tipu was a pioneer of rocket technology!
Karnataka is an Andher Nagri, ruled by a Chaupat Raja. Yeddiyurappa and his gang of small-minded bigots have banned the Tipu Jayanti. Sometimes dark clouds gather and the Sun can’t be seen. But these clouds are swept away by winds and the Sun comes out shining. Similarly, Yeddiyurappa can ban the Tipu Jayanti but when this CM will be thrown into the dustbin of history alongwith the infamous Reddy Brothers, Tipu Jayanti will again be celebrated in Karnataka. Chameleons can’t eclipse the Tiger for long!
(Mr. Amitabh Kumar Das is a 1994 batch IPS Officer. His views are personal.)