Tipu Sultan (1750-1799) - Biography

Tipu Sultan (1750-1799) - Biography

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Tipu Sultan


Nizam The Title of Nizam was conferred by the emperor of Delhi. Nizam means the ruler. The Nizam of Hyderabad was one of the richest men on earth.
Tipu Sultan was a Muslim ruler of Mysore (now Karnataka). He was an astute diplomat and the most powerful of all native princes of India. Tipu was the greatest threat to the English position in southern India and when he realised that the British were about to colonise India, he invited the other native powers -- the Marathas, the Nizam to support him, and to put forward a united opposition to the British.

Born at Devanhalli, in Mysore, the son of Haider Ali, Fateh Ali Tipu (his real name) ascended the throne in 1782.father was an efficient commander and a wise ruler who made Mysore one of the leading Indian powers. Haider gave his son Tipu a prince's education and a very early exposure to military and political affairs. From the age of 17, Tipu was given independent charge of important diplomatic and military missions. He was his father's right arm in the wars for which, Haider emerged as the most powerful ruler of southern India.

In 1782, when Haider died during the Second Anglo-Mysore War, Tipu was very effective in bringing the West coast under his control. He refused to come to any understanding with the British and continued  the war until the English were forced to make peace with him. Tipu never made any compromise with the English with regard to the sovereignty. In fact, when he lost a battle to Lord Cornwallis, he paid three crores of rupees and had to give away his two young sons as hostages to keep his independence.

Tipu repeatedly told all the Indian states, "The English are our common enemies. Let us unite for a joint action and drive them completely out of India. We shall settle our differences thereafter." But nobody listened. The Marathas and the Nizan turned deaf ears to his plea. Isolated from his neighbours in India he sent his diplomats to France and to the Caliph at Constantinople to gain their support, but little real benefit came of it.

Tipu tried to secure the help of France against the English in India. With this aim he enrolled himself as a member of the Jacobian Club and permitted nine Frenchmen in his service to elect 'Citizen Ripaud', a lieutenant in the French navy as their President, to hoist the flag of the recently established French Republic, and to plant a Tree of Liberty at Srirangapatnam. He also sent emissaries to Arabia, Kabul, Constantinople, Versailles and Mauritius. The French Governor of the Isle of France, Monsieur Malartic, welcomed the envoys and sent some volunteers to Mangalore in April, 1798 to help Tipu in expelling the English from India.

The English did not wait any more, for, Tipu was becoming too dangerous. They instigated the Nizam to attack from the north and the Marathas moved from the south. The English infantry and cavalry charged from the east as well as west. Tipu was surrounded by the enemies in his Srirangapatnam fort. But he stood steady to fight back. His fighting spirit stunned everybody. However, he died valiantly while fighting with the British in 1799. His death left behind numerous stories and legends of his bravery.

Mysore made great progress under Tipu's efficient and dedicated administration. He tried to change with the times and introduced many reforms. He was a learned ruler and his personal library contained a fine collection of books on various subjects. He disciplined his army on the Western military model and tried to build a modern navy. He also tried to introduce modern industries and sent missions to various countries to develop trade and commerce. He was tolerant towards other religions and made generous grants to Hindu temples. Mysore made great progress under Tipu Sultan.

"However, Tipu's power developed not only on his large, excellent army but also on the great prosperity of the state through humane and systematic agricultural and mercantile policies." God-fearing, exacting himself for his subjects, he firmly wiped out all stubborn disloyalty from the state without partiality to caste or creed.