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Tipu Sultan: The Islamic tyrant who slaughtered the Hindus of Malabar and Kodagu, killed and converted lakhs of them

Tipu's letter to Budruz Zaman Khan, a military official in his service, reads as follows: “With the grace of Prophet Mohammed and Allah, almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. Only on the borders of Cochin State a few are still not converted. I am determined to convert them also very soon. I consider this as Jehad to achieve that object..."

With India’s history sanitised to suit a certain narrative, much remains to be unearthed in order to reinstate the country’s lost heritage and cultural values, as well as to tell the rest of the world about the truth. Similar is the account of Islamic tyrant Tipu Sultan, dubbed the “Warrior of India” by Indian leftists and hardline Islamists.

According to historian Lewis B. Boury, the devastation Tipu Sultan inflicted on the southern part of India was harsher and more barbaric than the atrocities performed against the Hindu inhabitants in India by the infamous Mahmud of Ghazni, Alauddin Khalji, and Nadir Shah.

Tipu Sultan’s 17-year reign, according to Sandeep Balakrishna, author of ‘Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore,’ was indeed a unified image of military, economic, and religious torment for the Hindu population. Tipu had declared openly that he would wage a Jihad against Hindus. Malabar was the place of most atrocities and anti-Hindu actions of Tipu Sultan. Malabar was simultaneously Tipu’s affluent and most chaotic territory. But, Tipu and his Moplah allies wreaked havoc in the region.

Tipu Sultan invaded Kodagu in 1788 and devastated many towns and villages. Mir Hussein Kirmani, Tipu’s courtier and biographer, has detailed how the raid resulted in the burning of hundreds of villages in Kushalapura (now Kushalnagar), Talakaveri, Madikeri, and other locations. Tipu brags in a letter to Runmust Khan, the Nawab of Kurnool, about taking 40,000 Coorgis as prisoners, forcefully converting them to Islam, and incorporating them into the Ahmadi army.

Tipu’s merciless invasion, followed by such a large-scale prisoner-taking, drastically depopulated Coorg, which was already a sparsely inhabited province. He forcibly relocated about 7,000 Muslim families from other places, especially from the Shaikh and Sayyid sects, in order to Islamize Coorg.

The depiction of the invasion Malabar region is a little murkier. Remnants of Tipu’s murderous assaults in Malabar, like in Kodagu, may still be seen in the region today. The Malabar city of Kozhikode bore the brunt of his attacks. The destruction in Kozhikode was so profound that it permanently altered the town’s fabric. In the city, there were about 7,000 Brahmin families and many more Hindu households. Tipu slaughtered about 2,000 of them, forcing many of the survivors to flee into the jungles.

To this day, the Mandyam Iyengars do not celebrate the festival of Deepavali, because over 700 members of their community were slaughtered on Tipu Sultan’s orders on the day of the festival.

Tipu Sultan demolished the Thrichambaram and Thalipparampu temples at Chirackal Taluqa, the Thiruvangatu Temple (Brass Pagoda) in Tellicherry, and the Ponmeri Temple in Badakara, as per William Logan’s Malabar Manual. According to the Malabar Manual, the Maniyoor mosque was previously a Hindu temple. According to locals, it was transformed into a mosque during Tipu Sultan’s reign.

Tipu Sultan’s military activities caused extensive damage to Hindu temples on an unprecedented scale. Tipu Sultan and his ruthless warriors enjoyed demolishing temples, smashing idols placed within, and chopping the heads of animals over the temple deity.

The Voyage to the East Indies by Portuguese missionary Fr Bartholomew gives us a basic sight of Tipu Sultan’s catastrophic attacks. “First a corps of 30,000 barbarians who butchered everybody on the way… followed by the field-gun unit… Tipu was riding on an elephant behind which another army of 30,000 soldiers followed. Most of the men and women were hanged in Calicut, first mothers were hanged with their children tied to their necks. That barbarian Tipu Sultan tied the naked Christians and Hindus to the legs of elephants and made the elephants move around till the bodies of the helpless victims were torn to pieces… These atrocities were told to me by the victims of Tipu Sultan who escaped from the clutches of his army and reached Varappuzha…” he recalls.

These genocides were, in Tipu’s mirthful words, devout acts in the interest of Islam. His letter to Budruz Zaman Khan, a military official in his service, reads as follows: “With the grace of Prophet Mohammed and Allah, almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. Only on the borders of Cochin State a few are still not converted. I am determined to convert them also very soon. I consider this as Jehad to achieve that object…”

There’s a lot more that exposes Tipu Sultan’s true nature, the megalomaniac who is venerated by a segment of ‘s populace. It’s also worth noting that, prior to his invasion, the Malabar area was a booming international centre for the pepper and spice industries. However, when Tipu destroyed scores of villages and towns ferociously, this commerce was effectively extinguished instantly.

Tipu’s hatred for evident from the fact that Colonel William Kirkpatrick discovered around 2000 letters written in Farsi in Tipu’s own handwriting in his palace following his death in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War and the British capture of his capital Srirangapattana in 1799. Tipu refers to Hindus as “kaffirs” and “infidels” in all of his letters, arguing that they must be cleansed if the dominion of Islam is to be securely established in India.

One of the most widely circulated myths is that Tipu was a patriot who battled the British. The India Office in London has Tipu Sultan’s various correspondences with the French, which demonstrate how he conspired with them to drive out the British and partition India. Tipu also asked Zaman Shah, the king of Afghanistan, to invade India and help the Islamic cause. The same is shown in his correspondence with Turkey’s Ottoman Sultan.

Even if we ignore the aforementioned facts, it is important to remember that Tipu Sultan slaughtered the entire Hindu population of several villages, including women and innocent children. Tipu’s over-glorified acts of alleged heroism are whitewashed versions of a tyranny that was suffered by lakhs of Hindu families who had fallen victim to a religious fanatic turned murderous ruler.

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Pallav
Pallav
Aristotelian and Platonic simultaneously. Interested in socio-political developments and the milieu.

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