Tippu Jayanthi… Birth of Mysore Tiger Tipu Sultan’s TIGER – Part 4

Finally Tippu took a larger army and marched towards Kodagu. On the way towards north of Kushalnagara to reach Kodagu, he saw large trees felled on the narrow, rugged paths and covered with thorny bushes. Anticipating a larger attack, Kodavas had created the obstructions. On the outer part of the path large trenches were dug. The dug up mud was used to create a wall from where the Kodagu people fired shots and arrows and managed to retract two contingents.

Then Tippu gathered the bravest men from his army and under the command of French man Lally, sent to Kodagu. These men with great difficulty killed many from Kodagu people and managed to defeat them. Then Tippu entered Kodagu with his army and pitched his tent at Uluguli santé-malaa. There he remained fifteen days. Within those fifteen days, he called the mukyastas of Kodagu and told them that he would rule the land justly without troubling the people and made oppanda {agreement} them saying they will not revolt.

At that juncture, {while Tippu kept the leaders of Kodagu busy} Jainullabdeen Susthri came from Bettadapura via Kushalnagara looting and set fire to the place, imprisoned and dragged the men, women and children to Tipu’s tent. There Tipu gave Susthri four contingent and loads of ammunition, food and ordered him to carry it to Madikeri alias Jafarabad fort. Tipu was at Uluguli from Ashwaja month three to Kartika shudda fifteen that is third week of October till November first week of 1795. Then he headed to Madikeri along with the army. Before departure the forest between Uluguli and Madikeri was cleared.

In Madikeri, Tipu pitched his tent on an elevated place at the eastern section. He stayed there for fifteen days. During that time he made the elders whomever he met to promise him that they will not oppose his rule.

{Tippu knew very well that honourable Kodavas never went against their words and sadly the Kodava elders thought him in par with them and failed to understand the cunningness of a greedy man from the street}.

But before Tipu reached Madikeri from Uluguli, most people from around and from southern and western nadus had vacated their homes fearing the consequences if caught by Tipu’s army and reached impenetrable hills and forests. Angered by this Tipu sent his commanders with men to all parts of Kodagu to catch and bring the escaped people.

French officer Lally was sent to the most difficult part of West and South cardamom male, Husain Ali Khan Bakshi to North Kodagu, Meer Mohammad to Bhagamandala nadu and Imam Khan and others towards Kushalnagara side. They were sent with the orders to bring the captured prisoners to his next camp.

Then Tipu left Madikeri on margashira shudda padya day that last week of November reaching Bhagamandala in two days. There after meeting and inspecting his men went to Iyangeri area and pitched his tent at the large field called Devati Parmbu*along with his army. When he was at Devati Parmbu, queen of Kannur {Cananore} Ballia Banu sent elephants, horses and other valuable items as kappa to show her respect. In return Tipu sent her an expensive dress.

{*Devati Parmbu is a large ground at Ayangeri grama near Bhagamandala. It is the very place where Kodavas backed by Veraraja I, the founder of Haleri dynasty had fought with Nayaka Karnembahu, in which two of my own ancestors were the well known fighters, Commander Manicha and Madaiah. Commander Manicha’s gallantry was so powerful, unable to withstand him; Karnembahu’s men threw chili powder to his eyes to immobilize him and killed him cunningly. It is said that with the recording of Manicha’s bravery, the recording of viragathe, viramarana started in the form of folk songs}.

The Officers and Munshis who accompanied Tipu to Kodagu were astonished to witness and experience the forest, rain, cold of Kodagu. Felt difficulty with the experience too.

The historian accompanied Tipu wrote about Kodagu this way:
What can I write about this astonishing kadu-sime {forest area}, with the very mention of its name my pen shivers. Its bamboo bushes, so dense and impenetrable like the curls of Abyssinian sheep. Its large paths and small paths are squeezed like the paths in-between the stars in the sky. It is impossible to pass through the hills and valleys of this country. The crops in the paddy fields of plains are as high at chest level. Sun, even though with self heating ability, afraid of the cold here, everyday covers himself with clouds and slips away as fast as he could. Every night, fast moving moon veils himself, covering his face under the blue sky. If summer is like this, in winter God only has to save us. During rainy season, for six months, the rain is so heavy that like the tears in the eyes of a sad person, the earth is filled/soaked with water. From evening to until after two hours of sun rise, mist covers hills and valleys. Many tall, muscular and active young men, losing their body heat in cold, sleeps in their hut pulling their legs close to their chest. For six month, farmers cover from head to toe with old blankets or thick cloth and work in the fields for nine to ten hours. During this period, the leeches from trees and fields will suck enough and more blood from them and their cattle before leaving them. Even before I describe the cold of here, my hand which is holding the pen is frozen as if dipped in the frozen sea. The tongue which describes the weather, even though hiding behind the lips, is frozen like ice cube with fear and astonishment.

While stationed at Devati Parmbu camp, Tipu invited all the Kodavas from around and assured them that he will take good care of them and will be good ruler to them. However, his talk was all mosagarike {cheating andr dishonest} only. However, most people did not come to him voluntarily. But within fifteen days of Tipu’s camping, the commanders whom he has sent to captured the fled people returned with ample prisoners.

The military commanders with great difficulty captured thousands of people and brought them to Tipu. Lally managed to bring not only civilians but also few leaders too. Like this until margashira bahula panchami day that is tenth to fifteenth of 1785, eighty thousand men, women and children were brought in writes Tipu’s royal historian Mir Hussain Ali Kirmani.

Marks Wilks writes in his History of Mysore about it and writes seventy thousand men, women and children were captured. {Perhaps because a list was not made, it was difficult to give the exact number}.

Tipu sent the prisoners under the guard of his army to Srirangapatna. Then strengthening all the garrisons at Kodagu forts, returned to Srirangaptna via Siddapur.

{A French report says that a good number were butchered at Devati Parmbuand too many died on the way.}

Once in Srirangapatna, he converted the entire captured lot from Kodagu and distributed them to different borders of his country. These convertees were called as Ahmaddiyas. Before that well built selected men from the convertees along with their family were kept at Srirangapatna and formed eight tukadis {regiments}. To train the newly joined recruits in warfare and strict life, he appointed the experienced senior officers. These people from the rugged hills of Kodagu were well trained within no time. Tipu honoured the trained officers with neck belts stitched to their uniform made of gold and silver according to their ranks.

The Ahmaddiya soldier got the uniform in Tiger-stripes* specially commissioned and stitched for them. Before that, on the day the Eighty-five thousand {this number might be the correct figure} captured men, women and children were forcibly converted to Islam was deemed a Holy Day and he conferred the title of Badshah on himself and proclaimed that he was free from the control of Moghal Badshahs of Delhi.

{Perhaps that was the origin of the expression of famous Tiger-stripe mania of Tipu.

Tiger and tiger stripes were part of the decoration of Tipu’s possession and anything made to proclaim his rule or personal association. His throne, his coinage, his swords, guns, small bronze mortars made for his army, the men who fired lethal iron-cased rockets against the British wore tunics with stripes woven into their fabric. Even though Tipu never killed a tiger, he must have fulfilled his desire of killing a Royal Tiger by leashing Kodavas, the brave people of hills where both men and women killed tiger}.
Before British took over the control of India completely, most parts of the India including modern Pakistan, most part of south India including Northern Mysore and Arcot in Tamil Nadu. Those days, both those who were under and those who were not under Mughals paid tribute to Mughals, and expected birudu {titles}. Until the middle of nineteenth century, even British Governor Generals wore the titles such as Nawab, Mali ul Alkab kurshid janab ummar, etc., etc., before their profession. Hence, the other rulers of Hindustan were under the impression that British were dependants of Mughal until the beginning of nineteenth century. Hindu rajas of Mysore had sent gifts Mughal and gotten titles. Therefore, until then Tipu was under the impression that he was under Mughals. But with the conversion of Kodavas, Tipu declared himself Badshaw.
End of translation

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