Historians call for nuanced evaluation of Tipu Sultan

Historians feel that the contemporary politicisation of Tipu Sultan’s legacy has not only led to communal unrest in the State, but has also distorted history and has come in the way of an objective evaluation of his tenure and legacy.

Historian S. Settar criticised a section of scholars who, he said, deliberately distorted history to suit the present day’s political ends. “Tipu Sultan is an enigmatic complex personality, who needs a nuanced holistic and objective evaluation,” he said, adding that a ruler’s position in history should not be evaluated on the basis of present day’s constructs.

“We need to take into account the political context of the times. Though there is evidence that Tipu Sultan did some excesses in Coorg and Kerala, it was political and the community is only incidental here. History needs a broad open-minded reading,” he said.

Folklore scholar Krishnamurthy Hanur, author of novel Agnatanobbana Atmacharitre , said any endeavour to pile up evidence to vilify or glorify Tipu will find sufficient supportive evidence. “But is it wise to rake up these old wounds?” he asked.

Shaik Mastan, historian from Bangalore University, draws attention to the ruler’s administrative reforms like liquor ban, land reforms and introduction of silk, which he lamented was clouded due to communalisation of his legacy. “The silk he introduced sustains the arid regions of Kolar and Ramnagaram even today,” he said. Mr. Settar and historian Ramachandra Guha critiqued the government’s move to celebrate Tipu Jayanti. “A democratically-elected government should desist from celebrating monarchs. People and private institutions can do so if they wish to,” Mr. Guha said.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 1:33:46 pm |