The death of Tipu Sultan on May 4, 1799, brought to close a fascinating chapter in Indian history; but his legacy continues to endure notwithstanding the controversy surrounding him in the present times.
Though it has been 216 years since the death of Tipu Sultan, historians are unanimous in pointing out that his initiatives in the socio-economic fields have continued to endure, though these were fast fading from public memory.
The expansion of sericulture in the Mysuru region has been credited to Tipu Sultan. The Mysore Gazetteer notes that Tipu secured the know-how from Bengal and introduced mulberry cultivation in 21 centres. In what could be described as a step to encourage local industry, he banned the export of cotton to ensure that local weavers were not denied the raw material.
The introduction of sugarcane on a large scale has also been attributed to Tipu Sultan for which he secured the assistance of Chinese experts, according to the Gazetteer, which notes that quality sugar and candy were produced with their assistance.
During the pause between the various wars he fought, Tipu Sultan took some reformatory measures including a ban on alcohol. Cattle being closely linked to agriculture, Tipu Sultan encouraged livestock breeding. Hallikar and Amrit Mahal breeds are believed to be products of this initiative.
Modern day historians also credit Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan with an elementary knowledge of missile or rocket technology, which is considered to be the prototype of present-day missiles and rockets. They were put to full use during the wars with the British. Some of these have been preserved at the Royal Artillery Museum in England. The paintings at Dariya Daulat, the summer palace of Tipu Sultan at Srirangapatana, are a clear indicator of the use of these missiles in wars.
A courtyard within the ruins of the Srirangapatana Fort was identified by archaeologists as the possible spot from where the missiles were launched. Scientists from DRDO have also visited the spot on many occasions in a bid to ensure better maintenance. Plans for a ‘missile museum’ are yet to materialise.
The expansion of sericulture in Mysuru region has been credited to Tipu Sultan