Ever since the downfall of the Congress-JDS government and the coming into power of the Yeddyurappa government, the state of Karnataka has witnessed one massive change- Tipu Sultan is no longer celebrated as a hero, rather the BJP has made it a point to expose the real face of the tyrant and religious fanatic.
Last year, BJP MLA, Appachu Ranjan had demanded that the lesson on Tipu Sultan, the controversial 18th-century ruler of erstwhile Mysore Kingdom be removed from history textbooks. He had said, “Tipu was anti-Kannada Persian administrator. By teaching history lessons about such a personality to children, it will be like distorting history of the state and the country.”
The textbook committee had been tasked with considering the proposal and drawing up a report about it. However, Baraguru Ramachandrappa, a Kannada littérateur, who was appointed as the head of the textbook committee by the Congress government in 2017, had dismissed the controversy as unwarranted. He has also stated that Tipu Sultan couldn’t be removed from history textbooks.
Now, the Yeddyurappa government has decided to allow the Tipu Sultan lessons to be retained the upcoming academic year, but it has also formed another committee which will look into the matter of atrocities committed by the tyrannical ruler.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister, S. Suresh Kumar said, “Although Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan had demanded that the lessons be removed because of the atrocities committed in Kodagu, we want the committee to examine the injustice that was meted out to the people in Melukote and Chitradurga as well.”
Interestingly, the Minister had also said that there was a need for students to study both the “positive as well as negative” characteristics of Tipu. Yeddyurappa government is therefore committed to exposing the real face of the tyrant, contrary to the Congress government, which had made all possible efforts at glorifying the religious fanatic.
The former Karnataka CM, Siddaramaiah had commenced the tradition of celebrating the Tipu Jayanti in 2015. Although Tipu’s birthday falls on November 20, his Jayanti was celebrated on November 10, the day he executed Mandyam Iyengars at the temple town of Melkote in Mandya district as Iyengars supported the then Maharaja of Mysuru.
Tipu massacred more than 700 Mandyam Iyengar families in Melukote, including women and children. They had congregated at Narasimha Swamy temple on the banks of Cauvery at Srirangaptna town to celebrate Diwali when Sultan’s army massacred them. The town, to this day, does not celebrate Diwali and mourns the death and destruction that the horrendous Tipu Sultan wrecked the holy town.
Celebrating Tipu Jayanti was a cruel joke not only upon the Iyengars but also upon other communities like the Kodavas of Coorg, Nairs of Wayanad and Malabar, Zamorins of Calicut, the Mangalorean Catholics (Nasranis), the Jains of Dakshin Kannada, the Hindus from Dindigul and Coimbatore against whom the Muslim ruler had committed unspeakable crimes including forced conversions.
Celebrating Tipu Jayanti on a day when he had resorted to the absolute butchery of the worst kind against a particular community was vote bank politics of the worst kind on the part of the Siddaramaiah government.
One of the first decisions that the present Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa took after storming to power was to scrap Tipu Jayanti that was launched by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government. He ordered the Kannada and Culture Department not to celebrate Tipu Jayanti.
From celebrating Tipu Jayanti under Siddaramaiah rule to forming a committee that on Tipu’s atrocities, the state of Karnataka has come a long way. The BJP has time and again exposed the tyrannical character and fanaticism of Tipu Sultan. The Yeddyurappa government now remains committed to not only end the era of eulogising Tipu as a legendary ruler but also exposing the atrocities committed by the despotic ruler.