Tipu Sultan, the “Tiger of Mysore”- Why is it important to remember him?

November 10th celebrated as Tipu Jayanti

Some legends are not forgotten, how much ever some may want us to forget them. Tipu Sultan, the only Indian ruler to have died in the battlefield , fighting against the British is one such legend. His name is remembered in folk music since his death, written from the heart of common folk and his bravery cherished and commemorated in  dance, drama, opera, in novels and in paintings.

 No other ruler in the South has this distinction. In contrast the Mysore Maharajahs or the Wodeyars were tame puppets in the hands of the British . As proof of this fact, all the palaces of the Wodeyars are well preserved in Mysore whereas no traces of   Tipu remain. Even his body was not found after death(such was the fear of Tipu in the hearts of the British) and the place of his death is only pointed out in Srirangapatnam( few kilometres from Mysore).

tipu-sultan-1While this is the case in India, in United Kingdom the story is different. No other Indian ruler was feared when alive and then immortalized after death, in art as Tipu was. The  Victoria and Albert Museum is full of Tipu’s prized possessions.

Sir David Willkie, the famous painter’s poignant painting, “Discovering the body of Tipu Sahib on 4 May 1799” exhibited in the Royal Academy of Arts in London.


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