Tipu anniversary: fissures wide open in TN

The portrait of Tipu Sultan painted in 1792 A.D. by G.F. Cherry at Dariya Daulath at Srirangapatna near Mysuru.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

The portrait of Tipu Sultan painted in 1792 A.D. by G.F. Cherry at Dariya Daulath at Srirangapatna near Mysuru.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM  


While Muslim organisations insist on celebrating the event, Hindu outfits oppose it tooth and nail.

After causing a storm in Karanataka, the Tipu Sultan controversy has emerged as a flash point in Tamil Nadu with Muslim organisations insisting on celebrating his birth anniversary and Hindu outfits adamant in their opposition to the event.

Sensing trouble, the State government has taken the extraordinary step of denying permission to the anniversary celebration planned by the Tamizhaga Makkal Jananayaga Katchi in Vellore.

Justifying its position in the Madras High Court, where the outfit proceeded against the administration order denying permission, the police cited intelligence reports that warned of miscreants who could provoke trouble. The court will hear the matter again on Monday.

Tipu Sultan who fought the British has been a controversial figure for long. While he is hailed as a freedom fighter, Hindu organisations have long painted the picture of a religious fanatic.

Tamil Nadu has a unique connection with Tipu, since it was here that he wreaked havoc on the British ranks at the Battle of Pollilur, considered the biggest defeat for the East India Company. Tipu ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1782 to 1799 and controlled parts of Tamil Nadu.

Manithaneya Makkal Katchi president M.H. Jawahirullah said the denial of permission to the celebration came as a “shock”.

“They have gone against their own position. After demands from us, the AIADMK government agreed to build a memorial for Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in Dindigul. But suddenly, they do not want to allow an anniversary celebration,” he pointed out.

In September, Electricity Minister Natham. R. Viswanathan participated in the Bhoomi Pooja for the construction of the memorial. The CPI (M) too welcomed the memorial construction.

Mr. Jawahirullah said Tipu was a great patriot who fought the British with valour. “The Sringeri Mutt is a standing example of his secular credential. When the Marathas destroyed the Mutt, it was he who helped put it back on its feet. There was an exchange of at least 30 letters between the Sankaracharya of Sringeri Mutt and Tipu that showcase his tolerance,” he said, adding that vicious and false campaigns have been mounted on the emperor by fanatical Hindu outfits for political mileage.

Recently, the Hindu Munnani had warned actor Rajinikanth against agreeing to play the character of Tipu Sultan even before the filmmaker had made any proposal to the superstar.

The BJP too appealed on similar lines.

BJP national secretary H. Raja said the party opposed the decision to construct the memorial as well. “We said that the memorial would be an insult to the memory of MGR. In an autobiographical series he wrote in a magazine, he had mentioned about how Tipu’s atrocities forced his family to move from Coimbatore to Palakad,” the leader contended.

‘Autocratic control’

Mr. Raja said Tipu fought the British not for getting the country freedom but to save his autocratic control. “There is enough evidence for his atrocities against Hindus. Celebrating his anniversary is against the interest of the nation,” he said.

Former IAS officer M.G. Devasagayam said denying permission for any event was akin to banning it and this was an “extraordinary” move that should be resorted to in only the rarest case.

“If everything is banned, what is the necessity for an administration? All sides should be called for a meeting and a peaceful event should be held. That should be the idea,” he said, contending the Karnataka situation cannot be used as an excuse for the police to stop the event in Vellore.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 3:30:41 PM |

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