Hyder Ali/Tippu Thread

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by nrupatunga, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    Was really surprised that there was no thread on these two personalities who are heroes to some, villians to some but controversial personlitites for sure. Please let your views on these two people here.

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    As i mentined i think tippu is criticised from both ends of spectrum:

    - Islamists: though many non-believers were converted by tippu, he was also tolerant to hindus. Like he employed hindus in high positions, and he gave grants to lot of temples in Karnataka. At one stage he even gave protection to Sharada temple at shankara mutt, sringeri from peshwas.

    -Hindus: he converted lot of hindus in parts of country. If any silver lining is to be sought, he was ruthless to missionary's/catholic's as well (not sure how this statement would be interpreted here :wink: )

    Though one thing to be said about tippu/hyder is, economically many things were initiated to increase revenue of kingdom. Many things like introducing sericulture (Karnataka is leading raw silk producing state), increasing trade. He tried to build a dam on kaveri (at the same spot KRS today stands) to improve agriculture. Hyder ali established the famous lal bagh in bengaluru as an agricultural RnD center. Which could increase agri output which would inturn improve state finances. Since mysore was always in state of war (war was always round the corner), They needed money badly to fortify towns, modernise army etc.

    Tippu knew he was against foes, who were ahead in quantity and quality (both in techonolgy and military stratergy). Hence he also sought to induce modern techonolgy, he is supposed to sent many missions to west asia, french etc to bring home techinicians who could help him in his war machinery. Various modifications/innovations were introduced in his navy ships to be more resilient. He started more than 10 factories to manufacture guns, mortar and musket. The quality of products was of same quality as of Europeans. And also w.r.t innovations in rocketry i.e. the world famous mysore rockets are documented.

    Tippu/hyder ali were the only people(or very very few people) who were able to get treaties with british as "equal standings" more than one occasion (1st and 2nd anglo-mysore wars).

    Basically, both were product of time they were in. They was as good or bad as situations allowed.
     
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  3. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    As mentioned in above post.

    Second Anglo-Mysore war :- Treaty of Mangaluru
     
  4. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    As far as military genius is concerned, Hyder was indeed a visionary & bold strategist. His battle-acumen could be considered at par with some of the best military minds of that time in then region.

    Tipu tried to emulate his father but he was far too radical & not pragmatic enough. He could not form successful coalitions against his foes, instead everyone else ganged up against him, which speaks volumes about his statecraft. Anyway, his ideas & vision was excessively regressive & it was in everyone's interest that he was done away with.
     
  5. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes, there are also accounts/reports of them esp tippu forcefully torturing and converting large number of hindus esp in kerala to islam. He even has claimed to convert lakhs of hindus to islam in a letter written/signed by him. Tippu has even acted harshly on mangalore catholic community.

    Captivity of Mangalorean Catholics at Srirangapattana
     
  6. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    @TrueSpirit I don't think hyder was more "acceptable" than tippu to the powers that were present. But unlike hyder, tippu was more ambitious and in terms of economy, mysore was much more developed than in times of hyder. Hence tippu could wage more costly wars. And esp during the later years, british were worried if he could forge an alliance with napolean, then he could really trouble them in sub continent. So from an british pov , they had to finish him asap.
     
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  7. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Both of them were not acceptable. I only stated a military point of view.

    Between the two, Hyder was blessed with better military-acumen & tactical abilities. Also, he was less of a maniac than Tipu was.

    Tipu did some correspondence with Napolean but that did not amount to much on the ground. In fact, Hyder was already co-operating with the French even before Tipu. It has been a long tradition in the erstwhile Deccan. Even Vijaynagar empire employed a few of them & Portugese.

    British did the right thing in finishing-off Tipu (though, British gave of him lot of leeway in earlier wars).
     
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  8. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    @TrueSpirit When i mean that hyder ali was more "acceptable" than tippu was, for the powers that be i.e. british/peshwas/nizam , hyder was the upstart guy who could trouble you tomorrow. But by the time of tippu, mysore was a reasonably strong power on its own. And hence he had to be "taken care" before he could really start threatening their own positions. Of these powers nizams was the least powerful, he usually went in the direction where he felt it would be helpful for him.Nizams never threatened british, one of the 1st to throw himself under british protection (subsidiary alliance). So much for the so called "true blue turko-persian" elite.

    Though the 2nd anglo-mysore was started when hyder was still there, it was finished by tippu. Just before to the 2nd anglo-mysore war, british had just recently concluded the 1st anglo-marata war wherein they had extracted favourable terms from the biggies themsleves. But here it was a big humiliation for british that a new kid on the block (tippu) could outsmart them. So henceforth british concentrated more on mysore. With mysore rising, it was very important that tippu be crushed asap from british pov.
     
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  9. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    @Kunal Biswas @civfanatic @pmaitra @Virendra (Mentioning few who seem to be active/interested in military history ) and other every other followers of military history. If i have missed anyone, please invite them here.

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    Post anglo-mysore wars, is there any recorded usage of rocket/missiles being used in subcontinent??? If not used, any idea as to why so??
     
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  10. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

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    I will not less than one minute of my time to both Haider Ali and Tipu. They were both stalwarts of conversion after every local battle. They wished to be defeated by mostly Hindu soldiers lead by the British to put an end their cruel conversion activities.

    They appointed Hindus to the civil jobs only because there were no Muslim capable to take highly complex finanace, trade and treasury jobs.

    So stop lionizing Haider or Tipu. They were enemies of Hindustan.
     
  11. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    They wished to be defeated by hindus??? That too led by british?? :confused::confused:Please elaborate as why they themselves wished to be defeated by hindus led by british

    Mainly they retained the existing wodeyar bureaucracy. But this does mean that if they felt hindus do a better job, they were employed on their merits. It wasn't that, based on blind faith they appointed muslims everywhere.

    Certainly am not lionizing them for sure. My 1st post itself says that they did go against hindus in parts of country. But important thing to be noted, is that this was not uniform. They granted various gifts to temples as well. But yes, both hyder N tippu were very very controversial personalities. Both hard core islamists&hindus have problems with them. The bolded line is my basic point. Let there be more debate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  12. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    @nrupatunga

    First of all, one should understand where the present portrayals of Hyder Ali/Tipu Sultan come from, and who these portrayals benefit. These portrayals are mostly the product of 19th century colonialist history, and they benefited all three major groups of the time (and indeed, continue to do so):

    • The Muslims: The colonial portrayal of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan benefited the Muslims, because they got some more ghazi heroes to include in the Muslim historiography of India. The fact that Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were active in South India was an added bonus, because there were few other Muslim rulers in this area due to the success of Vijayanagar and the Nayakas in repulsing earlier Muslim intrusions. Thus, in Muslim historiography, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan represented the greatest extent of Islamic influence in India, where Islamic rule finally stretched from Kashmir to Kerala. Most Muslims were thus quite happy with the colonial portrayal of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan as fervent Islamic ghazis who upheld and spread Islam in South India.
    • The Hindus: The Hindus, especially those of Kerala, also had no problems with the colonial portrayal of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, as it supported their traditional view of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan as barbarian fanatics who ravaged their land and forcibly converted Hindus to Islam. Many Hindus simply regarded the sultans of Mysore as the last in the line of rapacious Muslim rulers going back as far as Mahmud of Ghazni, disregarding many other aspects of their reigns (just as the Muslims also disregarded aspects of their reigns). Thus, the Hindus benefited from the simplistic colonial portrayals of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, just as the Muslims did.
    • The British:: Finally, the British themselves benefited from their portrayals of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in the 19th century. By depicting him as a Muslim fanatic who ravaged other communities and caused untold misery upon the Hindu population, they justified the Anglo-Mysore Wars and the introduction of British colonial rule to South India. In a wider sense, these portrayals also supported the colonialist notion of pre-colonial India as being a constant battleground between the "Hindus" and the Muslims, and that effective law and order was introduced only in the 19th century when the British Raj came to dominate the subcontinent. Indeed, this notion was picked up even by many Hindus themselves, who argued that the British were the "saviours" of the Hindus from the Muslims, while other Hindus were opposed to both the Muslim and British rule.

    So, as we can see, the colonialist depictions of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan made almost everybody happy. Except, of course, for those interested in a non-biased appraisal of these personalities. Now, I am not saying that the colonialist portrayals are totally false. As with many other cases of propaganda, there is indeed some truth behind the accusations. Tipu Sultan in particular, rather than his father, appears to have engaged in some atrocities and questionable acts during his military campaigns, particularly in Kerala. Our purpose should not be to negate these events or distort the facts, but to bring to light more aspects of these persons which were either willingly or unknowingly ignored by the colonialist historians. In other words, we should aim for a more fair portrayal of the sultans of Mysore, and one that is not tarred by personal emotions and biases, which unfortunately much of the work on these two individuals is.
     
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  13. SilentKiller

    SilentKiller Regular Member

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    Well they might have done bad things not to deny that.
    but they were few who kept British at bay, brought foreign help to fight against them.
    For me they were heroes as far as the way they stood against british, most rulers only wanted to save their crown
     
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  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    @nrupatunga, thank you for inviting me here. Let me see how this thread progresses, and then I'll see whether there is any need to add fuel to fire.
     
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  15. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Accurate appraisal of contemporary reality as well as erstwhile historical landscape.
     
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  16. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    @civfanatic @pmaitra I did mention that there are acts committed by these two personalities which are against hindus. But they also did the shower grants on hindu temples as well. Actually both hindus and muslims have their own set of grouse against them i.e. they were not plural/secular enough or islamic enough. Thats why i mentioned that they are very very controversial.

    As i mentioned, since mysore was either fighting a war or was preparing for war during their time, from an economic/military pov, they tried their best to improve lives of common man which meant more revenue for state.

    Hopefully all aspects of their rule i.e. economic/military/religion/cultural aspects would be discussed here.
     
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  17. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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  18. nrupatunga

    nrupatunga Senior Member Senior Member

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    Folks, also repeating my Q, is there any documentation of rockets/missiles being used in warfare apart from anglo-mysore wars within the subcontinent.
     
  19. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Well, an interesting fact about Tipu Sultan is that his administration was praised by many of the British soldiers and travelers who had gone to South India in the late 1700s. Many of these accounts, for whatever reason, were disregarded by British colonialist historians when writing the "official" history of Tipu Sultan, which portrayed him as a barbaric religious fanatic. Obviously, the British historians had their own motives for doing so, which I elaborated in my Post #11.

    Here are a few of these accounts:

    -- Edward Moor, 1794
    Link: A narrative of the operations of captain Little's detachment, and of the ... - Edward Moor - Google Books

    -- Alexander Dirom, 1795
    Link: A narrative of the campaign in India which terminated the war with Tippoo ... - Alexander Dirom - Google Books

    -- Thomas Munro, 1790
    Link:Life of Sir Thomas Munro - George Robert Gleig - Google Books


    These descriptions are quite surprising when seen in light of the numerous accusations of oppressive tyranny thrown against Tipu and his father. Keep in mind that the British in the late 18th and 19th century were quite proud of their political system, and considered it to be the most just, humane, rational, and civilized in the whole world. So for the British to talk in such positive terms of the government of a foreign, Asiatic monarchy is quite astonishing. These first-hand accounts of the Kingdom of Mysore under Tipu cast considerable doubt on the notion that he was just a barbaric religious fanatic out to oppress Hindus. What we have instead, is a picture of a state that is meritocratic, impartial, well-governed, and prosperous, even by British standards.
     
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  20. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Yes, I remember reading that bamboo rockets were used by the Mughals in some of their battles. But these were quite different from the rockets of Mysore, which were made of metal and were apparently much more effective (enough so to even rout a column of British infantry, considered the most disciplined and advanced of the time). After the Anglo-Mysore Wars, the British developed their own military rocket system, called Congreve rockets, which were inspired/based on the Mysorean rockets. I don't know if the British used these rockets in other wars in the Subcontinent, but they used them in many other parts of the world from Europe to South Africa to New Zealand. So, in a way, an Indian military innovation helped to shape the fate of the globe and global military history in the 19th century.
     
  21. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    I couldn't find any instances of rocket use in British India after the Haider-Tipu episode.
    Reasons might be two :
    a) Time.
    Putting aside for a while the option of adopting new technology - it takes time if you want to work around a new completely technology.
    For example the open field light cavalry maneuvers against artillery. It took some time before the native cavalries learned how to ditch artillery fire.
    The British had soon after got most of India under their control any way.
    Further more, typical to the divided Indian house .. Tipu wouldn't have thought of sharing the technology with any other Kingdoms even in the worst of his mightmares.
    Needless to say, that upon sweeping into Srirangapattanam the British would also censor any access for native Kingdoms to such Technology. They took it and honed it for themselves.
    b) Attitude.
    The native Indian states with long term agrarian and sedentary background weren't agile enough to move along with changes like alien technological advancements. Contemporary beliefs and ideologies were out of synch with these changes and didn't pay attention. More so, some were against adopting such technologies.
    The same tendency is arrived at when we look at other but related questions .. why did the Indians continously fail to spy on foreign areas when people like Mahmud had proper operational Spying department for infiltrating into places like India?

    Haider and Tipu were rulers at the end of the day. Some are more humane, some are cruel, others are cunning. As for the actions of the father son duo, we know what K M Panicker and William Kirkpatrick, have unearthed in many of Tipu's letters. No use going there again and again.
    The Father-Son did whatever they had to do in order to save their seats. If diplomacy and caressing the Hindus on some occasions suits the agenda so be it. If it needed the use of Ghazi swords in cutting innumerable heads, still not a problem.

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
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