28 July, 2021

An Icon Besmirched

The Bajrang Dal and VHP now paint Tipu Sultan as a villain

An Icon Besmirched

Tipu Sultan’s was a story of an intrepid ruler’s fierce fight against imperialism. The Tiger of Mysore struggled to scuttle the British plan to move into the South Indian peninsula. For 17 years, he fought heroically against the encroaching white giant until he was betrayed—by his own men, on May 4, 1799. So he ought to be hailed on the bicentennial of his martyrdom, right?

Wrong, say leaders of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Tipu, they say, was a tyrannical despot and a religious bigot who oppressed his Hindu subjects and forced them to convert to Islam. They vow to disrupt the state-sponsored celebrations to mark 200 years of Tipu’s martyrdom. Says Harave Keshava Murthy, organising secretary of the Bajrang Dal unit in Mysore: "Celebrations for a pusillanimous soldier like Tipu, a hater of Hindus, is a waste of money and time. He doesn’t deserve such glorification. On May 15 (when the celebrations are scheduled to begin), our action will be swift and sudden." The vhp agrees. "Historical...

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