Amidst the controversy and protests in Karnataka surrounding the state-sponsored celebration of Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary and Lyricist Javed Akhtar didn’t want to be left behind.
Many debates regarding the 18th-century ruler of Mysuru have taken place in media. On social media too, while many condemned the tyrant ruler for his massacre of Hindus, several others have supported the birth anniversary celebrations and hailed Tipu Sultan as a ‘great freedom fighter’.
Lyricist Javed Akhtar took his veneration of Tipu Sultan a step ahead and claimed that Tipu Sultan had not only fought against the British in India, but he also played a role in the American war of Independence.
Benjamin Franklin had sent a copy of Declaration of Independence to Tipu Sultan who in return sent lot of money to the American freedom fighters . Even Tipu ‘s worst enemies Britishers have how ever grudgingly shown their respect for his courage and integrity .
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) November 10, 2018
Many called out Akhtar’s claims. Many claimed that there is no recorded evidence that suggests so. Several Twitter users ridiculed the very idea.
Did you dream it up while writing the script for Sholay? Show the evidence or delete your account.
Let me tell this to your face – you are an Islamist in the garb of an atheist. https://t.co/ODWh3vfb4V
— Sanjay Dixit संजय (@Sanjay_Dixit) November 10, 2018
Author Aneesh Gokhale pointed it out that Tipu Sultan’s had tried to aide the French in the Anglo-French war which was connected with the geopolitical incidents of the American revolution.
He was just aiding the French in Anglo French war which was connected to American Revolution.
It is called Begani Shaadi mein Abdullah deewana. https://t.co/AjB8AtJgrl
— Aneesh Gokhale (@authorAneesh) November 11, 2018
Benjamin Franklin begging Tipu Sultan for money needed to fight American war of Independence.
— THE SKIN DOCTOR (@theskindoctor13) November 11, 2018
Tipu was also about to send a man to the moon but then the British engaged him. https://t.co/PZSdidnbi1
— VikasSaraswat (@VikasSaraswat) November 11, 2018
Javed Akhtar, however, did not take Vikas Saraswat’s tweet kindly and responded by claiming that the RSS was in favour of the British government. He also said that their hero Veer Savarkar had written a mercy petition to the British government, a claim that is often used by the opponents of RSS. Political and ideological opponents of RSS often forget to take the inhuman and barbaric conditions in the cellular jail of Andaman that many freedom fighters had to endure.
Replying to Javed Akhtar’s Tweet, writer Vikas Saraswat brought up an unexpected detail from Akhtar’s own family history. Saraswat Tweeted that while Akhtar mocks the mercy petition filed by Savarkar, he had conveniently forgotten the mercy petition filed by his own great-grandfather while he was lodged in the cellular jail of Andaman known as Kaala-Pani.
Now this is poetic. Javed Akhtar took a pot shot at Savarkar by claiming Savarkar wrote a mercy petition to Britishers to escape Kala Pani. Turns out Akhtar’s great grand father Moulvi Fazle Haq Khairabadi did the same. Thanks @DriverRamudu for the input https://t.co/v1k84eiDZZ https://t.co/tG6hvm5f3C
— VikasSaraswat (@VikasSaraswat) November 11, 2018
It is notable here that Akhtar’s great-grandfather Falz-e-Haq Khairabadi was a renowned scholar of Arabic and Urdu and had participated in the 1857 struggle. Maulana Khairabadi was jailed by the British government for urging his fellow Muslims to do ‘Jihad’ against the British.
Saraswat shared an archived research article published by the International Multidisciplinary Research Journal that detailed the life of Khairabadi and his court trial after the 1857 revolution. The International Multidisciplinary Research Journal published an article titled “The revolt of 1857 and Maulvi Fazle Haq Khairabadi” in its July 2014 issue. The essay was written by Aijaz Ahmad, Associate Professor in History, YMD College, Nuh, Mewat, Haryana.
The research article states that Khairabadi had pleaded not guilty of the charges against him during his court trial in Lucknow. It also stated that he had claimed that he is being falsely implicated and the person who actually committed the crime has the same name as his.
The article also details that even after being sent to the cellular jail, Khairabadi had again petitioned for mercy by writing to the Secretary of State of India.
Hundreds of revolutionaries were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment in the cellular jail. The jail in Andaman was infamous for its barbaric torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners.
The unhealthy conditions and brutal physical labour used to result in disease and deaths of many prisoners within months of imprisonment. Many criticised Akhtar’s attempt to malign Savarkar for something his own great-grandfather also reportedly did.
And no, even this historic act of mercy petition can’t take away the fact that your grandfather was a great freedom fighter. As was Mr. Savarkar. We are nobody to judge these heroes. Nobody. https://t.co/V8Jqwrd2ql
— Yashwant Deshmukh (@YRDeshmukh) November 12, 2018
While Akhtar has had Twitter meltdowns several times in the past and is often criticised for his biased opinions.