NEW DELHI: Tipu Sultan, also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore. He ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1783 to 1799. History has it that he was a ruler who took on the British and died fighting them in 1799. While the critics say Tipu was an intolerant ruler who forcefully converted Hindus and persecuted Christians.
Like last year, the Karnataka government's decision to celebrate his birth anniversary on November 10 has become controversial after Union minister Anantkumar Hegde asked the state government not to invite him to the "shameful" event.
Hedge termed Tipu as a "brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist".
Tipu's descendants also considered taking legal action against Hegde for his alleged "derogatory" comments against the 18th century Mysore ruler.
The right-wing groups including RSS are of the opinion that Tipu forcefully converted Hindus and prosecuted his people.
"To know about Tipu, you must read his letters. In one of his letters he said that he has converted four lakh Hindus in Malabar. In another letter he said that he has converted majority of the Hindus in Calicut. He also demolished temples and churches," RSS thinker Rakesh Sinha said.
Contrary to the right-wingers' belief, the leftists consider Tipu as a true patriotic ruler.
"The Britishers used to publish a gazetteer every year from each district. If you see gazetteers of Tipu's time, it's written there that Tipu used to talk about India's freedom. It's mentioned in those gazetteers that he was determined to drive out the Britishers from India," senior CPI leader Atul Anjan said.
"History will remember Tipu as a ruler who fought for India's freedom, a man who challenged the British empire, a king who battled the Britishers putting his life on stake. He lost his life, his kingdom but he never bowed down to the British rule," he added.
Both leftists and rightists have their own views about Tipu. Now let us see what historians have to say about him.
Commenting on this controversy, senior historion Irfan Habib said Tipu neither converted Hindus nor did he destroy any temples.
"There was a revolt against Tipu in Malabar which he crushed and majority of the population of Malabar were Hindus. He suppressed those who revolted. However, his minister/commander was also a Hindu," Habib said.
"Tipu did not destroy temples, not even in Malabar (where the revolt took place)," he added.
In Viral Sach, the claim of Tipu being a rapist, traitor and an anti-Hindu ruler was proven false. Though, he did commit atrocities upon his people as a ruler to suppress revolt.