Tippu Sultan – Kodavas – British : A Triangle of skepticism. Tippu Series Part 2: What other Western historians have said of Tippu

The British historian Wilks has managed to describe Tipu realistically. He criticizes Tipu as vain & arrogant, mediocre soldier & statesman, a despot to his English prisoners & Hindu subjects. Wilks declares: the leading features of his character were vanity & arrogance; no human being ever so handsome, so wise, so learned, so brave as himself. Resting on the shallow instructions of his scanty reading, he neglected the practical study of mankind. No man had ever less penetration into character, I accordingly no prince was ever so ill-served. Emphasizing Tipu’s religious fanaticism, Wilks states that Tipu promulgated his religion, by force.

Like Wilks, Bowring points out that Tipu urged on by religious bigotry, innate cruelty & despotism, though little of sacrificing thousands of lives to his ardent zeal & revengeful feelings. Various British texts, testimonies by British soldiers who had been Tipu’s prisoners, & others portray Tipu as barbaric Eastern ruler who abused his British & local prisoners, forcibly converting them to Islam, circumcising them, & enslaving them.

Mr. Sewin B. Bowring, formerly Chief Commissioner of Mysore in his work Hyder Ali & Tipu Sultan (1899) has given a number of instances of cruel treatment that was meted out to the Hindus in Mysore state. Lieutenant-Colonel William Kirkpatrick (1756-1813) also mentions the incident: In a letter written to his brother-in-law Burhanuddin Khan by Tipu during the siege of Nargund, Tipu ordered: “In the event of your being obliged to assault the place, every living creature in it, whether man or woman, old or young, child, dog, cat, or anything else must be put to the sword…” This is in stark-contrast to what Khande Rao did to Tipu himself. When Khande Rao plotted the destruction of Hyder Ali, the latter realizing that his life was in danger, escaped from the capital on the night of August 2, 1760 leaving behind Tipu & rest of the family who were placed by Khande Rao, to a guarded house near the mosque inside the fort of Srirangapatana. He however treated them kindly (within the rule of war). Later on the re-conquest of Srirangapatana, Hyder shifted his family to Bangalore palace for safety. On that day the young boy of TEN had learnt three lessons simultaneously from his father & Khande Rao. Abandonment from father (that’s why obsession with tigers); a God fearing Brahmin (Khade Rao) will not breach the trust & what is the meaning of power & wealth. The fear, guilt & scar of abandonment seem to have shaped his behavior towards humanity till his death. Also this is one of the reasons he enjoyed cruelty against other happy families & also had Purnaiya (Brahmin) as his Prime Minister!?!

Kirkpatrick (1811) writes further, “Colonel Munro [Sir Hector, 1726-1805] assures me, that it is an absolute fact that on one occasion he [Tipu] ordered all the male population of a particular village which had given him offence, to be castrated.

Professor Sir Thomas Arnold was a well-known scholar of Islam. He had taught at MAO College, Aligarh in the 19th century. He wrote: For India has often been picked out as a typical instance of a country in which Islam owes its existence & continuance in existence to the settlement in it of foreign conquering Muhammadan races, who have transmitted their faith to their descendants, & only succeeded in spreading it beyond their own circle by means of persecution & forced conversions. Thus the missionary spirit of Islam is supposed to show itself in its true light in the brutal massacres of Brahmans by Mahmud of Ghazna, in the persecution of Aurangzeb, the forcible circumcisions effected by Haider Ali, Tipu Sultan & the like. Tipu Sultan most systematically engaged in the work of forcible conversions.

In 1788, he issued the following proclamation to the people of Malabar:  From the period of the conquest until this day, during 24- years, you have been a turbulent & refractory people, & in the wars waged during your rainy season, you have caused number of our warriors to taste the draught of martyrdom. Be it so. What is past is past. Hereafter you must proceed in an opposite manner, dwell quietly & pay your dues like good subjects; & since it is the practice with you for one woman to associate with ten men, & you have your mothers & sisters unconstrained in their obscene practices, & are thence all born in adultery, & are more shameless in your connection than the beasts of the field, I hereby require you to forsake these sinful practices & to be like the rest of mankind; & if you are disobedient to these commands, I have made repeated vows to honour the whole of you with Islam & to march all the chief persons to the seat of Government.

The above proclamation led to an uprising. Tipu Sultan sent an army of more than 20-thousand to enforce the general orders that “every being in the district without distinction should be honoured with Islam, that the honour of such as fled to avoid that honour should be burned, that they should be traced to their lurking places, & that all means of truth & falsehood, force or fraud should be employed to effect their universal conversion.

Sir Thomas concludes: The history of Islam in Southern India by no means always continued to be of so peaceful a character, but it does not appear that the forcible conversions of the Hindus & others to Islam which were perpetrated when the Muhammadan power became paramount under Haider Ali (1767-1782) & Tipu Sultan (1782-1788), can be paralleled in the earlier history of this part of India. (The Preaching of Islam, London, 1913).

Today there is no harmony among people & the world peace hangs with a thin strand of thread not because of any religion but because of mushrooming barbarians like Tippu. Tippu died like a street dog & it should be lesson to every barbarian…

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Even though the coorgstories’s lady calls me “SAKUI” I have absolutely no idea what my name is.. But I am definitely not from Japan. Let me tell you little about me…

I am a desert termite … after coming to Kuwait from the Red Sea area of Saudi Arabia I managed to propagate.. a quantum leap in the game of evolution the secret of which I cannot tell you.  You have to figure out yourself… but first learn to live in harmony which is the substratum of creation. I hitch hiked from Saudi aboard a Conocarpus tree because it’s my favourite food. This tree is as tough as I am & it’s fast-growing as well as tolerant to heat, draught & salt.

If you are wondering how am I helping evolution? Well I am a super bug… I am functioning under harsher climate & managed to survive & expanded my family from scratch.

How do I help Mother Nature? Well I am creating fertile top soil. If I get a place with trees & water I can convert the place into fertile land within a decade or so. That’s my story in a nutshell….

One fine day I stumbled upon this beautiful fascinating artwork with array of vivid shades of brown under Conocarpus tree but could not make out what it was. I never saw something so unique before. A well-planned nest, as if someone had painted a canvas with array of different shades of brown, starting from fresh wood colour to light brown to chocolate brown. And the water was dripping constantly from the drip irrigation pipe without disturbing the pieces. There was small vent for the excess water to drain too. The fresh wood turns brown eventually, guess because of the chemicals in the glue turning the wood there by creating different shades of brown.

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Took a picture & asked around sent to my family members, colleagues & friends, no one could guess what it is. Everyone said it’s something they never saw in their life. That’s when my curiosity increased & the nest became a passion… whenever possible I went to see the nest & spent few minutes there yet I could never see the owner of the nest.

I could see the ants running around in & out of their nest nearby in couple of places where somebody usually puts some gains or sugar. But none near these beautiful nests… it looks more like the owners are the termites than the ants. When I sat down beside it, I could see the wood pieces were gleaming as if each tiny piece is polished individually. Out of curiosity I tried to touch it to pick one to show my family only to realize that it was glued permanently.

How did the termite ended up in Kuwait? Perhaps hitch hiked while importing the tree from Saudi… but I can’t understand how did they get a queen? Did they manage to breed one? So how many of them came here?

Initially there were only three nests & gradually they started expanding. One fine day, the workers who were repairing the compound wall had disconnected the water supply & that’s when I realized no water no nest. It’s a great miracle that they manage to survive in this heat but water is the most important source of survival. Since there is no underground water in a desert like in the forest, they solely depending upon the artificial water supply. Perhaps to grow mushrooms, their food. Once the water supply is cut, the nest became bone dry & within days they started their nest elsewhere but still under their favourite tree, the Conocarpus ….

Then in a sudden move they also found comforts under the date tree but only two trees so for. There are Cuba palm, bear fruit & other different trees but they are untouched. The latest one is an ideal location & they are planning to build a larger nest as the foundation seems pretty large. The one under the date tree however is growing in height faster compared to others. Perhaps the roots of the date tree decays faster than the other trees degrading into soil quicker. what  is note worthy is that none of the plant or tree is dying or died… so it seems like they have a symbiotic relationship like ants & aphids or cattle & egrets.

Conocarpus lancifolius, derives its name from its cone shaped berries but does not have a proper English name. However it is known as Damas in Arabic & Qalab in Somali languages. A mangrove shrub it is found in the costal & riverine areas of Somalia, Dijbouti & Yemen, etc., etc. Also found in the mangroves of Saudi Arabia & now a days becoming a popular ornamental as well as hedge plant all around Middle East.

The interesting character of the tree seems to be its adaptation. Kuwait is one of the hottest countries in the world & in summer it grows as if possessed … it is hardy tree that grows well in sandy or rocky, alkaline soils as well as wet, saline conditions. Fast & symmetrical growth habit makes it the perfect hedgerows as well as landscape trees & maintenance seems to be practically zero except trimming when over grown as well as water supply…. However if let it grow straight it breaks easily whenever there is heavy winds.  (I have seen it happening couple of times). Flowers are inconspicuous, with clusters of greenish white flowers mostly 1 to 3 inches long. They appear at the end of twigs & at leaf axils. There are no petals, & the sepals are fused. The tree seems to be having either the flower or fruits all the time!! Even though there are thousands of seeds it’s odd that I never saw one sprouting anywhere near!! The brownish red fruit look like old leather buttons & earned the nickname button wood.

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However one of my Kuwaiti boss, who is very fond of plants & gardening, just hates this plant because he says his asthmatic allergy increases because of this tree!!

I nick named the termite as “Sakui” because born in Saudi Arabia, raised & propagated in Kuwait & found by an Indian… These nests are located in the northern side of the garden & I have no idea if it is by chance or choice may be to avoid direct sun.

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To point out how these are different from ants nests, here’s pics of what ants nests look like:

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I AM SAKUI!

Our ephemeral memories on monuments

On June 6th 2014, the world witnessed the 70th celebrations commemorating the D-Day landing of allied forces on the shores of Normandy. An event commercially romanticized by the Hollywood & the media. Anything for publicity & cash in! The who & who of the big nations were present & news coverage went on & on. Old habits die hard…. Some avoided the hostile encounter so the host president got to eat many meals lunches/dinners in separate quarters. But I guess the French never complain about eating food!

Every time I hear of WWII three different persons comes to mind. First one is my late father who told me that India would never have got independence but for the Second WW, a tide which positively hastened the process for Indians. Otherwise the British would never let go a golden goose… & would still be sponging India of its riches. In a cruel twist, Indians owe thanks to Mr. Hitler, at least we are free from Gulamgiri! Born in free India I did not share much of his sentiments THEN but when I think of it NOW, it makes so much sense to me. Hitler certainly boosted the Cause of the Liberation by shaking the rock & creating financial crisis helping us free from the clutches of imperialism & a win against the racial inequality, & to help the sun to finally set in the British Empire. Something good comes out of everything that happens is true after all at least to few Asian & African countries!!

Second one is my late dear cousin whom I was very fond of, for a different reason. Celebrating the dead. She was the youngest among the seven siblings. Her mother lost 2 of her children when they were in their twenties. From then on the drama started. Every time there was any kind of function or festivities or any gathering, big or small, even at weddings, the mother would conjure her dead children. She would either cry nonstop or keep on praising the dead children. In the beginning it was ok but then it became an irritating affair. Every one misses the loved one & they have the right to be remembered but the ones living needs a life too. Any function among family was a doldrums & all the five remaining dreaded any celebrations, big or small. My cousin once told me I am afraid to die because I hate the thought of my mother crying & making my living siblings more miserable. It is not their mistake that they are alive!

Finally my cousin’s sister-in-law, whose husband suffers from PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), once a lovely young couple, now they are divorced as his depression & night mares led him to substance abuse, violence & abusive combined with paranoia. The gap between his life of defense & the civilian society had a big dent. He lost two of his best friends in the war & he felt guilty because he survived them. She tried her best to help him but his both biological as well as psychological changes were too much for her to handle. They had no children & she realized that she could not baby sit or wet nurse her husband all her life.

My cousin’s mother & her life is a drop in the ocean; imagine the fate of thousands of soldiers returning home after fighting a proxy war. In the grand scheme of warfare who really gains is a trillion dollar question? Colour red seems to be the universal colour these days. It is said that at least every one in five returning from war front suffers from PTSD. How many comes out from it is no one knows. People are always connected by slices of the event. And sadly either bad or sad experiences are securely stored than the happy ones in human psyche. Unfortunately when one individual suffers the effected is on the entire family. Moreover the mental wound just does not end there!!

There are so many monument built in so many countries & spent millions on celebration of commemoration. Sadly, more concentration on the cement & brick than on the flesh & blood still standing & walking. Ironically no one seems to learn any lesson from the past either & history keeps repeating itself. The concrete cannot teach & the warm blood does not have any face or mouth to speak. Perhaps the money could be utilized for the welfare of the survivors & their families. May be every country which prefers sending their soldiers should spend on establishing sizable acreage of land and resources as a cradle for recovery for PTSD soldiers. An open place with peace, tranquility, fresh air, beautiful flowers &, knowing & sharing that there are more people with the same problem combined with yoga & meditation could do wonders for them.

During the WW I, large number of Indian soldiers were forced to fight the war which was not their own. Almost 130,000 Indian either lost or wounded in that time. Compared to the world population of that time it’s a big number. British government built (designed & constructed by Lutyens) the 42-meter high India Gate (originally called the All India War Memorial) to remember bearing the names 90,000 who laid their life, located astride the Rajpath (formerly called Kingsway), on the eastern edge of the ceremonial axis of New Delhi. It’s all conveniently forgotten in the sand of time. Ironically this monument has become a place for relaxation area during summer & a picnic spot during winter & I wonder many of them even knew what monument stood for? I agree that protecting the boarders as well as the interest of the nation is everyone’s duty but Wars mostly happens because of some rabies infected rulers. Hope some vaccine will be invented to cure such disease in the future.

Indians had paid heavy prices for the part of code of conduct “athithi devobava” meaning guest is like god & has to be treated well along with some greedy rulers seeking expansion through outside help had made Indians the victims of outside oppression in the past. A lesson to be remembered… leant… contained!!

Note: PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares & flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, & feel detached or estranged, & these symptoms can be severe enough & last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life.

Black Ivory – The 2nd most expensive coffee – (6/9)

Well, it’s from poop again! What’s with man and his association with animal poop? This coffee is from Thailand, and is among the most expensive coffees in the world, at $1,100 per kilogram. Coffee sold in some luxury hotels in South East Asian countries like Thailand, the Maldives, etc for USD50 a cup!! Not too bad, would love to try it!

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Canadian born Mr.Blake Dinkin is the one who came up with the brilliantly ingenious idea of elephant coffee or Black Ivory Coffee I guess imaginations can run wild but can pay rich dividends eh? According to him, Blake thinks of the elephant as the animal kingdom’s equivalent of a slow cooker : It takes between 15-70 hours to digest the beans, which stew together with the bananas, sugar cane and other ingredients in the elephant’s vegetarian diet. This infuses a unique earthy and fruity flavor to the coffee (or the poop). He said “When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness. You end up with a cup that’s very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee.” The result is similar to civet coffee, but the elephants’ massive stomach provides the bonus of smoothness and flavour. Dinkin said an elephant takes 72 pounds of raw coffee cherries to produce 2 pounds of Black Ivory coffee. The majority of beans get chewed up, broken or lost after being excreted. He uses pure Arabica beans hand-picked by hill-tribe women from a small mountain estate. Once the elephants do their business, the wives of elephant riders collect the dung, break it open and pick out the coffee. After a thorough washing, the coffee cherries are processed to extract the beans, which are then brought to a gourmet roaster in Bangkok. Mr. Dinkin is supposed to have spent $400,000 developing the idea!

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My business idea, angels (investors) welcome!

Civet is small – elephant is large – what is in the middle a cow or a human? When I said human, my wonderful husband says “Yuck!!, that’s awful.” My argument was what’s wrong? There are many vegetarians, won’t their poop be same as an animal? But then humans are not as organic as animals so I will settle for the cow. When I retire I am looking forward to try my hand on cow coffee and also search for elephant dung in and around Nagarahole National park! Perhaps I can sell the dung as organic manure too. However there is a catch, elephants does not digest properly and the dung is raw (that’s why elephant is one of the main seed dispersers in African plains) which may be the one of the main reasons coffee bean stays whole. So how am I going to achieve the same rawness with cows (or even humans?) Any suggestion/advice/solution from you readers? It’s high time I change my perception of pooooooo!! (Part 6 of 9) (Edits made after corrections/inputs received from Mr Blake!)

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