Ghee & the Modern Man

 

Known as Ghrit or ghrta in Sanskrit, ghee is considered is a staple in Indian cooking and has been a host of good health for thousands of years. I love both butter & ghee, & growing up have eaten loads of it. After she was done churning, my mother kept the butter floating in a dish of water on the dining table & every time we passed by a portion of it went into mouth!! Both Butter & Ghee are usually solid in cooler conditions & melts as it warms. The smooth texture, melting in the mouth gives that classy feeling like the melting chocolate. Butter, Sri Krishna’s favourite dish, has a limited shelf life but a simple process turns the same butter into ghee (Clarified butter, we call it “Nei” & Kannada “tuppa”). Ghee’s own shelf life is almost one hundred years if stored properly!!! That’s makes it survive longer than us.

Boiling the butter on low fire yields the ghee. My mother added few betel leaves for flavor towards the end. The butterfat is bottled after cooling, leaving the proteins (casein, way & other milk solids such as lactose, etc.) collected at the bottom. We kids waited for the chance to collect the bottom solids & ate with banana or simply dhal which is prepared in the same vessel and smelt so good.. became so tasty… my mouth is watering. We fought for the lion share of the betel leaves cooked crisp.

Food for the Mind & Spirit

Unfortunately, modern science came up with the idea that ghee is bad, corrupting every mind & until recently not realizing the value of it. So ghee became a No… No in the modern meals…. In a way they might be right too because their study came from the cows eating all sorts of manmade concoction including plastic & ground bones (powder) of other dead animals. On the other hand, in Aryurveda, our Rishis spoke of the cows which ate grass straight from Mother Nature’s lap. I think that when the cows eat the fresh grass roaming freely in the meadows, the grass smells so good – like how the mowing brings out the unusual smell, enhancing good feeling in ourselves – making the cow happy & calm. That pleasantness (of the mind – which makes us believe either we are happy or sad) is then radiated into the entire body of the cow like the sweet fragrance, including the udder (perhaps mainly udder because cow produces milk for its baby, the calf not for us the thieves).

Everyone knows that Body & Mind of the beings works in unison when the conditions are pleasant, communicating through chemical signals creating harmony with each other. Even though we cannot see, we can experience it! Also it is noteworthy that when we are happy, small little problems just does not get any attention from us which shows that positive thinking & healthy mind condition could also reduce negativity in us. The milk in the udder comes to man, then it is converted into many different forms such as curd, buttermilk, butter, cheese, etc., etc.

Now the scientists are turning around & says its goooodddd…. Mr. Ghee is trust worthy… after Mr. Ghee, Mr. Coconut also got a praise… Lol… wonder whether Indians & Ayurveda really need certificate from the Modern Science & their chameleonic theories.

Mrs. Cows graze mainly on grass & other greens, fruits & vegetables or rice, etc. So all the vitamins & medicinal properties of the food consumed is absorbed & transported to milk. So we get the nourishment like taking a supplement in modern terms!! It’s an antioxidant & has antiviral properties too. It contains Omega 3 (so called good cholesterol) & 6, which are boosters for brain & nervous system for smooth functioning. Let’s see some of the qualifications of Mr. GHEE.

In Ayurveda it is considered as a Satvic food & like all the Satvic foods, it promotes positivity, growth & expansion of the consciousness. Even though it is a diary product, coming from another body, like mother’s milk it is accepted by everyone including pure vegetarian Brahmins. That’s one of the main reason Cow is respected & regarded highly in India. Sadly, people think it is related to religion & kill them… losing long term benefits for less than an hour’s craving…

Ghee has a high smoking point (about 250 Degree C) so it will not break down into so called free radicals like other oils. It is rich in oil soluble Vitamin A & E, K2 & CLA as well as medium chain fatty acids, which are absorbed directly by the liver like carbs & burned as energy, which does not result in fat storage. It is rich in butyric acid (so named because it was first discovered in butter & it increases its concentration in ghee), which is considered beneficial to the digestive & immune systems in many ways.

It protects the body, aids digestion & strengthens immune system. In Ayurveda, ghee is used as a carrier for the nutrients in herbs & to lubricate the intestinal tract & all the tissues inside the body. Bowl movement & Digestion related problem, is a big problem for many people in the modern world. Our body is designed to digest. However, many suffer from digestive stress & it is said that an estimated one in four Americans suffers from gastrointestinal (GI) track & digestive maladies! (no study is done in India…)

Ghee preventing onset of body ache, joint pain, alzimers, cancer, etc., etc. So don’t feel bad if you want to consume gheeeeee….. However, people suffering from heart ailments & diabetics should be little careful & if doctor says no then please don’t eat it!!

Finally, the ghee enhances the taste & flavor of the food. Cook dhal, chicken or biryani with ghee & see how great it tastes & smells!! My mother used to narrate this fable: Kai guna Mavayya or nei guna Mavayya (is it merit of the cook’s hand or the ghee). A wife had been cooking for her husband all her married life. He never really appreciated or perhaps did not show openly. Time passed, her son grew up to be nice young man & got married, & the daughter-in-law, let’s call her Asha came home. Once wife was away for few days & the Asha cooked the food. The food was so tasty… Mava (father-in-law) could not believe his tongue. When his wife returned, all that she heard was that how good was Asha’s food… all her dishes. Suddenly/sadly the old man felt wife’s cooking was not good, nothing in front of Asha!! Poor Mavi (mother-in-law), a good cook herself could not understand how come her food is not tasty to her husband any more. So one day she hid herself & watched Asha cooking everything with ghee. So next day the smart lady hid the ghee container. Asha could not find the ghee & unable to ask anyone, finished cooking with oil. After tasting Mava said why Asha did not cook today.. the food is not tasty…. Wife was waiting for this & told her husband to ask Asha “Kai guna or nei guna”? Asha shyly answered “Nei guna Mavayya”, ending Mava’s nagging of his wife for good!

Lord Ganesha – Why he has an elephant head and why he’s the first to get a pooja?

Mr.Ganesha… Adhya-Poojita (first to be worshipped), my husband’s favourite whom he lovingly calls our Ganapanna, & whom a Kannadiga householder would have lovingly addressed (him) as Nam-Ganeshaa.. as if talking about a child who has gone out to play & may return any time soon!! An artists’ delight towards imagination… Often woven funny stories around, {even sometime ridiculed by other religious salesmen.. anything for gains/commission I guess}. Yet He somehow somewhere fits in to any mold. It’s a freedom enjoyed by the followers of Sanatana Dharma what is today known as Hinduism. A liberty to perceive the Devas & Devatas as they reckon with.

It is said that when Sage Vyasa wanted to write the Great Epic Mahabharata, the only one who was able to grasp & note the dictation was none other than Mr. Ganesha.  Ganesha is said to have agreed to write only if Vyasa never paused in his recitation & on the other hand, Sage Vyasa agrees on condition that Lord Ganesha takes the time to understand what was said before writing it down! A grandeur beyond human contemplation. In the Indian culture since yore, the scriptures are passed from Guru to Shishya. Indian civilization is the oldest surviving culture & the knowledge is passed from mouth to mouth, a tradition which seems to have started from Ganesha. His teachings seem eternal & fit in best today even more so. So Who is He in reality?

Everyone says he was born out of Mother Parvathi’s palm-dirt (or the turmeric from the body), to guard her bathroom & Lord Shiva cut off his head when not allowed to go inside his own house. Later to calm a furious Parvathi (who challenged to destroy the entire creation itself) & to appease her, He got his head fixed with a baby elephant’s head as the original head could not be located… perhaps rolled down the slopes of Kailash. When Lord Shiva’s Gana (army) went in search of the head they could not locate it. Then Lord Shiva told them to get the head of anybody sleeping with their head to north. The only being sleeping with its head to north was the baby elephant. So is it really factual? An era when they could travel between Lokas (world) & create at will was having a bathroom door or getting a head a problem or impossible task?

When young, everyone (at least 99.5%) loves their life & do not want to lose their head at any cost… So Mothers often recite this tale to discourage youngsters from sleeping with their head to North, which is considered bad as the magnetic field in the north could affect the blood flow to brain in the longer run.

According to scriptures, Mahadeva (highest among the Devas) was the first tribal head who lived in Mount Kailash & was known as Adinath (he has one too many names like Shiva, Vrishabadeva, etc., etc.,). Lord Ganesha (Ganapati, Vinayaka, etc., etc.,) was the eldest son of Adinatha & Parvathy & born as a handsome regular boy. As a son of divine beings, he was very gifted & spiritual. As he grew up his spiritual knowledge grew along with him making him one of the most powerful in terms of spirituality. He was the master of all the Vedas & Upanishads, an erudite of every Vidya in totality. So much so even the Mahadeva himself had accepted his teaching & considered him as his Guru. It’s not an easy task for a father to accept his son as his teacher as it’s a well-known fact that a father is considered as Guru & not son.  Lord Ganesha was an exceptional case & Lord Shiva out of love & respect had said to him, “you will be worshiped even before me always!”. True to that, even to this day Lord Ganesha is the first one who receives the offerings, & worshipped everywhere. And in every Shiva temple for that in every temple there is Lord Ganesha’s idol & everyone offers their obeisance first to him. He is considered as the remover of obstacle, bestower of knowledge & it is believed that if he is happy everything goes smoothly with his grace.

One of his most powerful teaching was that humans & animals should live in harmony otherwise there will be an imbalance in nature. In other words, symbiotic relationship is the Universal secret of Survival. Compassion towards the fellow creature will not only create harmony & peace but will also maintain the balance of nature. For example, if all the insects particularly bees disappear then it’s very unlikely that human race would survive. So even though we humans presume that most of the insects & animals around us are useless & purposeless, we are gravely mistaken. In the play of things, in the very fabric of creation everything is inter-linked & balanced together. Directly or indirectly everything has a role to play. It is something man took too long to understand because of his selfishness & ignorance but now slowly everyone is realizing its truth.

After understanding this reality, to pass on this secret of survival to the future generation, his early followers created the stone statue of Lord Ganesha in the form of man with the head of an animal. They captured the essence in stone idol expecting that in case of disaster like fire or any other calamity, the statue would still remain carrying his eternal message. Guess they under estimated human ability (remember Bamiyan Buddhas??) They also made Mushika (Rat) as his Vahana (vehicle), to represent parity that whether big or small they have a role to play, a dignity & importance of their own & all beings are equal. (We can even consider the same application to gender, wealth, etc., whichever differentiate, as all imparities are human creation). Unfortunately, we have managed to wipe out scores of animals & insects in our journey towards modernization & still continue to do so…

When I think of the animal killings in India, the very culture where this truth was revealed, it astounds me as to how the illusion of proving that they are better than others, draw men mad. In this RAT-race (of what I still don’t understand), we are becoming not just the undisputed predators in the creation but also we will end up ruining our own future.

 

His second most important teaching is that the detachment from Vyamoha*… he says attachment is unhealthy. Attachment even to the God itself will not take you to God because one gets obsessed with the attachment hindering the very purpose of God realisation. For example, we are so attached to our body, family, food, comforts, wealth, etc., etc., we would go to any length to hold on to that attachment even to the extent of committing the heinous crimes. This part of detachment is showcased by his early devotees which are followed even to this day without even knowing the very purpose of it. What it is.. Take a pick!!

Every year after Ganesha Chaturthi, after worshiping Lord Ganesha to one’s heart’s content his idol will be immersed in water body what is called Visarjane. Those days it was made out of simple clay & then immersed in water which had no environmental effect. But now it’s become a fancy… & all sorts of chemical colours, etc., are used. Sadly, even with God we have created our own competition… who spends more money or who creates the biggest or who does it with fanfare. It’s so funny… in the name of progress & competition we are even selling our own souls. If the almighty God & Devas-Devis are so powerful & plentiful, materialistically what would they want from us mortals? Do they really want shelter, food & protection from us? All that they need is for us to live like human beings.. the real crowning glory of creation.

Ganapati literally means leader of all the Ganas (classes of beings ranging from insects, animals & humans to the subtle & celestial beings) & is considered as the destroyer or remover of the darkness created by ignorance & guide us towards ultimate truth. Hope the humanity understands the secret of survival before it is too late.

No wonder he commands love & respect without demand.

{Vyamoha… there is no equivalent in English something like cocktail of lust, whim, desire, etc…)

Me& the Kodava Mapila

January 2016, just 10 days after coming back from India, I was going again to India as my brother was unwell… It’s been two decades since I traveled by Kuwait Airways… they had started a direct flight to Bangalore lately. Departure from Gate No.8 in the basement.. it was crowded… a group of Indians were returning from Omrah… strangely majority of them were coughing… as if there was a coughing competition. Like some times during the rainy season when a group of frogs starts croaking in one location, the minute it stops the sound from another batch in another place will start as if they are in to Olympic size competition. Same way they coughed nonstop… Then magically a lady, new comer who just came at the same time as me started coughing… instant transferring of coughing… Wow so much so I started regretting that I was making a trip by KAC as I was afraid that I would be carrying the transferring-cough to the hospital with me making everyone sick including my brother. But I had no choice but to wait as the synchronized coughing bout continued.

Finally, we reached the aircraft to be waiting yet again for another hour or so as the conveyer belt had some problem. Thanks to whatsapp, I spent that extra hour messaging my family voicing my fear about transferring-cough. The lady who caught the cough at the airport was sitting next to me & started complaining how she got the cough. In the meantime the gentleman who was on the other side of the isle who was also going home from Saudi was trying to assure me that it’s not contagious & they drank chilled water in the cold weather which effected their throat. I had no comments… I was stressed.. tired & too worried about what must be happening back home?

The woman next to me spoke nonstop during the flight, with breaks to cough every now & then… baffling me with her personal history. An adventure par excellence & beyond imagination, one of the most fascinating persons I have ever met! To my utter surprise she was an illiterate shepherdess, who never stepped into a classroom in her life!! Spending 6-1/2 hour with her was like a life time… In return all that she wanted from me was to fill her information in the immigration form… and point to her where to sign & assist her to talk to the custom office when landed regarding the 32” TV which she was carrying with her!! But the world she opened around me was infinite.

Still coughing in synchrony, most of the passengers slept off after the meal…. Somewhere in between I heard someone talk in a strange Kodava-dialect.. I thought I imagined it & ignored. After a while I heard again but I could not get up & look as it was dark… after the dinner the lights were off… anyway we landed in Bangalore late… While getting up I saw this lady wearing manly-looking, shiny gold-rings in 3-fingers.. just joked with her so you got a new ring… wow.. nice… in English… she gave me a weak smile without answering back but her husband from behind said yes.. in Riyadh… then I picked up a conversation & learnt that they were from Kodagu & 35 of them went to Omrah as part of a group … When I understood who they were, it was a strange feeling… while growing up I had heard of them but never really bothered to find or talk to them as there was simply no need & the priorities were different then.

They were a gang of Kodava-Mapillas, the progenies of Tippu’s malice…… who are still known as Kodava-Mapillas in Kodagu, speak the language (though with a slightly different accent/dialect) but their ways, life style & behavior were different… clothing was different.. Ironically they still have clan names too… I had such mixed feelings…after all, we shared the same DNA in a different past yet we were poles apart… somewhere inside my heart, it pinched me… I know its history yet I wondered what if it did not happen all those years ago.. what if maniac Tippu’s father never came hitch-hiking to India? Perhaps I would have known some of them personally, some of them may have been my relatives. {as a small community which does not allow inter-marriages, the whole community is somehow distantly related to each other.} I would have spent time with them & enjoyed their company. So many if & buts… it was a far-cry & a question which will never have answers…. I couldn’t even imagine myself fitting into their shoes…

According to Indian belief the “runau-bandha” (there is no equivalent word in English… the unexplained relationships something like unseen & unwritten DNA), lasts for 7-lives… doesn’t expire even when the physical body expires!! There was this elderly lady & a middle aged man was helping her out… he said it was his aunt. When I reached the escalator they were in front of me & the man was trying to convince her to go with him… waited for a minute or so & offered to help her… that man left her hand immediately & moved forward, the lady did not put her feet down properly & along with her I too fell down on the escalator… perhaps God was watching as both of us were unhurt.. Finally we ended on top of the escalator & I requested one of the guys around to arrange for a wheelchair for the lady. Later found them near the luggage area again & spoke to them …to make sure the old lady now on wheelchair was safe & comfortable. Our acquaintance ended there… it was a strange feeling… it had been a long stressful day from the time I heard about my brother early morning… meantime so much had happened in a different way.. I met so many people & learnt so much about the life.. When we landed something strange happened, which perhaps even Mr. Ripley can’t find an answer… all of a sudden everyone stopped coughing!! LoL it just vanished into thin air of Namma-Bengaluru.

Forcible conversion is a funny thing… a cruel joke, treating humans like lifeless objects without any personality… Gold can be converted to bangle, chain, necklace, ring, etc… but the gold always remains the same only it’s shape & quality changes. I remember whenever we twisted & turned while explaining or doing something, my mother would say.. if you take the food straight from the plate (Indian enjoy eating with hand) it will go to your mouth… supposed you take your hand (with the food) around your head & eat, it still the food goes to your mouth… so speak straight! Similarly whether one convert or not the physical body does not alter, the body function does not alter, DNA remains the same… perhaps all that happens is the way they dress, food/drink habits & change in praying style.. but the prayer will be still towards the same God… only thinking process differs. People cannot alter God. God does not belong to anyone and we belong to God and it is the ultimate fact of life. God is beyond anyone’s perception or reach unless one becomes a real human in deed & thinking… Feel sorry for those pathetic, purposeless, sadist salesmen of God who acts like a monkey who is given charge of maintaining the beautiful garden. No matter how much hungama one creates to prove their religion or faith is better than others they will not be born or created differently… they will not eat or bring out the waste product differently. They cannot progenate differently.. That’s how it meant to be because God is only one… that’s the first second & the third fact!!

 

 

Tippu Series Part 9: Was he really a Sultan, Whats in a name?

 

Even though it was his ultimate dream/aim to be one, Tipu Sultan was neither a Sultan nor Mysore ever was a Sultanate… It was just part of his given name. In any case, strong enough to confuse many people to this day.

Even Wikipedia says Hyder was the Sultan of Mysore… When was Mysore a Sultanate? I never expected Wikipedia to publish such garbage in their page!! Should I cry or laugh… is it a joke or reality? Tippu’s ghost must be laughing & dancing around Karnataka.

If you look at their page on Hyder Ali:

Born Hyder Naik…. Naik (Kannada Nayaka) means a leader. The word can be used from a petty leader to a national leader (like Gandhiji). The Naik must have attached after he was promoted from foot soldier to a Dalvaye.

Father: Fath Muhammad

Son: name Hyder Ali Khan…. Born Hyder Naik

Grandson: Tippu Sultan…

They never even had a proper family name for God’s sake!! When one has money they can even buy a whole Island. Similarly it’s not hard for a barbarian to say, “I am a Sultan” or “build a mausoleum or palace”. If you see the picture of Hyder… he looks like a Saint or someone above saint with Halo around him…. hahahahahahah I couldn’t stop laughing. Should I sue Wikipedia for publishing such inaccuracies glorifying criminals & misguiding our future generation?

Tippu Sultan – Kodavas – British : A Triangle of skepticism. Tippu Series Part 10: Tippu as a father (Indian?)

Tipu’s childhood experience became the foundation for his cruelty, dispassion, aloofness… A soft delicate body with the cold stone heart… one can have a glimpse of it in the episode of the return of his sons from 2 years of captivity.

As Tipu’s reputation preceded himself, at the end of the third Mysore War {1792 Treaty of Seringapata war} the British exacted harsh terms from Tipu. Under Cornwallis, the Company had initiated a war of conquest, annexed a great deal of territory, demanded a huge indemnity of Mysore, & taken 2-young boys as hostages until the further terms of the treaty were carried out. This was a very unusual treaty article; although the taking of hostages to safeguard the peace was common during the 18th-century, these individuals would typically constitute military or political advisors of a ruler, adults who were part of the administration of the polity in question

It was a rather mean move but for British it was sort of tit for tat since Tipu had taken the sons of Britain as prisoners & converted them in the previous decade, his own sons would be forfeit to the Company in the wake of its victory in the 3rd Mysore War. That was the only way British could ensure or guarantee the peace. The hostages, Abdul Khalik & Moiz-Ud-Din, 2-young sons of Tipu Sultan aged 8 & 5-years old, would spend the next 2-years as the captives of the Company – honored & well treated captives, but still captives nonetheless.

An event highly publicized by media… boys departed without much ado with Cornwallis… While 21 gun salutes was rendered, Tipu watched departing from the rampant…

after the term, upon their return, on their entrance into the pavilion, the young Princes sprang forward to the throne where their Royal Father sat, & prostrated themselves before it. & here the etiquette of Asiatic courts put nature completely to flight; for the father, instead of advancing to embrace his darling children, contented himself with coldly placing a hand on the neck of each; & on the instant the Prices arose, & respectfully retired. It is a remarkable fact, that not a syllable was exchanged at this extraordinary interview.

Tippu Series Part 7: Force Conversion in Coorg & beyond

Tippu’s Life Mantra was expansion.. & expansion… & expansion by any means… by forcible conversion to ensure loyalty. His first, second & the third languages were barbarism. His world revolved around expansion & would go to any length to fulfill his wishes, sometimes with vengeance.. as if possessed by some satanic powers. He would do anything & everything to conquer the world. At least Alexander the great went to grave as a Wiseman but Tipu’s cruelty was beyond imagination. He was also a man of many passions… blood was his main passion… Out right cow slaughter was yet another passion… His theory of killing the cows was to deprive people of the essential milk, manure for the crops & indirectly indicating you are next if you don’t obey my orders!! What ingenuity!!

Another passion was “penies trimming” (early days in Kodagu Tipu’s nick name was bith..-muripava… (bith = penis) it may sound strange but I remember that when I was young, we used to visit our clan homes (maternal & paternal) during summer holidays. {Clan homes are something like a group of individual homes surrounding the main home which is like the substratum of the clan). Those nostalgic memories even today brings a warm feeling… going to my mother’s “Balyamane” (clan home) was the best.. my Mum’s parents were dead even before I was born but we went to her Uncle Konerira Devaiah Thata’s house. His wife was a very fine woman… She was my favourite among all the older women I knew… a frail & gentle woman with the mental strength of a horse ran the house so well… she always had something nice to offer us kids to eat. I would sleep with her some times to listen to stories. Older men told us stories.. including clan stories.. War stories… Sometimes we heard the discussion among the men… there was no dearth of anything… there was always someone to cater to our requirement of any kind. Women fed us, the ones with bottom less pit for a stomach. All the other older men & women even my Mum’s 50th cousin also treated us like their own. Evenings whichever kitchen sent the best aroma attracted us most!!Evenings after lighting the lamp… all the kids said their ‘Baayepata” (alphabets, tables, counting, etc…) then it would always be story times. Sadly those kind of set up is almost extinct.. It was so much fun… there were no dearth of uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins… we were welcome in every home, could eat or play wherever we wanted… if any elders see a little boy running around without shorts, would yell at them.. odu mummyra pakka chaddi itta baa.. Tippura kuli bandruva.. The terms for the young boys used were “kokmani Murchiruva” or Kokmani katturuva” (muri = cut, katturva = will steal). Go immediately to mamma & wear shorts.. Tippu’s ghost might come. Even his ghost was not trusted. Such was the scar left behind.

I remember hearing the words, “aa nichangu narakatulu jaga ille..” (for that …. even in hell there is no place… I don’t know the equivalent word for nicha in English). Now as I learn more about him I understand what the elders said has some meaning… I am sure his soul wonders on the street after being kicked out of hell for nasty behaior, often catching up with some weak soul & sometimes wonders off to Vidhana Soudha & comes in the dreams of the sleeping politicians. That’s why you can see them coming up with words like “Mannina maga”, Great rulers, etc….

The Captivity of Kodavas at Seringapatam speaks chiefly of the capture & imprisonment of Kodava Hindus by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, during a number of attempts to suppress their rebellion in the 1780s. These captives were forcibly deported, some of them were converted & some were killed. The estimated numbers of the captives vary according to different sources, from 500 (according to Punganuri) to 85,000 (according to B. L. Rice). During the Third Anglo-Mysore War (1789-1792) 5,000 Coorg men along with their families, amounting to 12,000 people escaped from prison in Seringapatam (Srirangapatna) & came back into Coorg.

Kodavas are a race, relatively small but close knit community with unique culture. They practice caste endogamy and family exogamy to ensure healthy off-springs. Hence every individual clan is related to all the other clans too. Kodavas are born & conversion is not acceptable. Hence loss of a single member means a lot to the community. To the Kodavas, maniac Tipu’s bigoted dance of death & ethnic cleansing at their homeland remains a wound that will never heal. Like the Kodava proverb goes “Chuttava markalu, chuduchittavangu marivakaiyule” (the one set fire can forget but the one who got burnt can never forget). As a way to remember, many Koadvas had their dogs named as Tippu!! Street dogs in Coorg are contemptuously called Tipu a measure of how intensely he is reviled there. Poor dogs…

Guess he could not tolerate anyone having a happy family life, which irked the malicious Devil’s Advocate Tipu the most… bringing out the worst in him, which eventually shattered the happy families.

Tippu Series Part 6: How did the Tiger became LAME?

In January, 1790 Tipu launched an attack against Travancore but due to certain unexpected turn of events he ended up with a humiliating defeat. Tipu & his army were camping on the banks of the Alwaye River before launching the attack on the Travancore defense lines (Nedunkotta Fort). The Travancore army was no match for the huge Mysore army & the monsoon season was 4 – 5 months away. Therefore, a temporary bund was constructed way up on the stream by a team headed by Mr. Kalikutty Nair under the guidance of Raja Kesavadas, the Prime Minister of Travancore. When the Mysore army launched its assault & Nedunkotta was penetrated, the temporary bund was breached in the midst of heavy fighting, causing an unexpected flood which drowned many Tipu’s soldiers & rendered the gunpowder wet & useless causing panic & confusion in the Mysore army. {Sadly even the valiant Kalikutty Nair was also drowned in the sudden surge of water & became a martyr}. The triumphant Nair forces of Travancore inflicted heavy casualties on the invading army. In the confusion Tipu Sultan fell down from the ramparts of the fort into the ditch below along with his palanquin. The fall made him permanently LAME.

It is recorded in Travancore history & also confirmed by the local folklore that as the wounded Tipu was lying unconscious in the battlefield he was rescued by a Nair soldier who quietly carried the unconscious Sultan to the Mysore military camp during the night & left quickly (p. 518). The brave Nair soldier could have easily killed the unconscious Tipu but unlike power hungry maniac Tipu, killing a wounded was against Nair’s ethical beliefs.

Later on, the Travancore forces recovered from the ditch, the sword, the palanquin, the dagger, the ring & many other personal effects of Tipu & presented them to the Dharma Raja. Some of Tipu’s personal weapons & ornaments were sent to the Nawab of Arcot on his request (Travancore History by P. Sankunny Menon, published by Kerala Bhasha Institute, Trivandrum, pp. 191-92).

According to Mr. Powney, who was the Resident Representative of the English Company in Travancore, Tipu’s attack was not only effectively stopped by the Travancore army, Tipu himself fell down from the rampart, was seriously wounded, & was rendered permanently lame during the counter-attack by the Travancore forces.

Tippu Series Part 5: What’s with Astrology & Tippu?

He was an unusually unpredictable character & a delusional soul… he claimed that he was a Muslim. However, since his passion for expansion weighed greater, he was addicted to astrology. He consulted astrologers, believed in omens, sought answers for his dreams… on behest of astrological predictions observed some Hindu believes to ward of trouble… Even spared some temples from destruction to avoid curse!! Yet he used conversion as a tool… perhaps he must have thought that they would be loyal?

He enjoyed the destruction of temples… His destruction of Hindu temples were innumerable. The intensity of Tipu’s raid was so terrifying that hundreds of temple priests from Kodagu fled to Mangalore along with their families. Many Priests had to dump the idols & the other holy artifacts into temple wells to protect it. Many priests lost their lives. Worship came to a permanent halt in several temples. Like the Maletirike Bhagavati temple at Virajpet some temple were covered with leaves in order to conceal their presence. The famous Omkareshwara (Shiva) temple of Madikeri faced mortal danger. To avert it from Tippu’s wrath the ruler of Madikeri removed the existing tower (Kalasha) of the temple & replaced it with a dome so that it appeared like a Mosque from afar. To this day it stands with its dome as a testament to Tippu’s destruction spree!

On the other hand it is on record that the Tipu addressed the head of the Sringeri Math, Sachchidananda Bharati, as Jagadguru (“World Teacher”; Saletore, 1999, p. 127) &, according to an eyewitness account, “went barefoot to [the] . . . Math to receive the Swamy’s blessings & to ask him to pass on a letter to the Marathas requesting them to take his side than that of the British” (Subhan, 2002, p. 43). Tipu patronized the temples of Sri Gandeswara & Sri Ranganatha. Subbaraya Chetty (1999) cites a list of grants from the Sultan to the Hindu temples & priests.

As the an astrology freak he consulted Hindu astrologer to find out right time to travel, start & wage wars, gave Brahmins dakshina to clear any bad omens. So much so, he was wearing a 41.2 gm oval yellow gold ring with the name of the Hindu God Rama inscribed in raised Devanagari given by Sankaracharya of Sringeri Math. He must have hoped that by wearing such a ring, he would reach the status of reverence like Lord Rama & his lies will be covered. {The famous ring was sold in Christie’s auction as part of the Raglan Collection on May 23, 2011 for 1.5 crore rupees. It was taken off the finger of the dead ruler by the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, as his personal spoil of war after the Battle of Seringapatam in 1799.} Astrologers obliged him fearing for their lives, their family & to protect their deities. Because of Tipu’s trust in astrology, astrologers managed to convince him that offering poojas on behalf of him at Sri Ranganath temple will give him immense power that he seeks. That’s one of the reasons few of the temples like Sri Ranganatha is still standing! Not because he was an apostle of secularism, peace & religious tolerant! {Sri Ranga did pay his debt by saving Tipu’s life once… read further!) Also it is said that Tippu used to dream & would seek meanings & solutions for his dreams from both Hindus & Muslim astrologers….. it is not surprising!! How could one sleep in peace after the evil destruction?

In 1960s when there was heavy rains & flooding in Lakshmanathirata River, many artifacts such as lamps washed up from the sand near my cousin’s home. He not only destroyed the two temples (there were very few temples in Kodagu) near my ancestral home in Napoklu, Kodagu but also along with it, set fire to the  homes of Kodavas & burnt everyone inside alive by not allowing anyone to leave. The atrocities meted out on Nairs (in general it is referred as Nairs but it is inclusive of all the Hindus of Kerala), Kodavas, Brahmins, Catholics in Mangalore, is beyond imagination. Interestingly, according to the folk lore, the origin of Badaga community of Coonoor (Tamil Nadu) with their uniquely beautiful culture & songs originated when their revered “Hethai“ managed to escape Tipu’s advances with handful of trusted people from Karnataka. Luckily they managed to make a living & to keep their culture & tradition alive. There are one too many untold tragic calamities befell on so many communities & families.

Tipu’s correspondences with the Sankaracharya of Sringeri Math reveal his scare for the foreboding of doom that he tried desperately to counter (Sharma, 1991). A firm believer in astrology, he often resorted to religious rituals & wore apotropaic objects & trinkets—Hindu as well as Islamic—either to avert a disaster or to attain success in his undertakings. A near contemporary historical account describes how, on May 4, 1799, the day Tipu died in the battlefield, he had ordered for all the ceremonies prescribed by the Brahmins to be duly performed, & having given them several presents, requested their prayers for the prosperity of his government. He also ordered to be slaughtered two elephants with all their golden trappings; . . . & large sums of gold mohurs were distributed amongst the beggars. (Maistre De La Touche & Mohammad, 1855, p. 307)

When the morning of May 4th came, Tipu was told that, the omens were not propitious. Since fighting was inevitable, He tried to ward off misfortune. Perhaps his black soul was so huge, even the elephants souls could not carry it away which stayed behind to welcome the death personally!! He appears to have developed a defeatist mentality of a doomed man several months before the siege of Srirangapatnam. Lieutenant Wilks writes of the Sultan’s apprehension of an impending dissolution of his empire based on a folk tale of cephalomancy he sincerely believed. {Cephalomancy: Divination by the study of the skull or head of a donkey or goat. Sometimes mentioned as the roasting of an ass’s head on hot coals}. According to this tale, the mysterious power of a crushed human skull showing some cracks caused the death of 40 persons. When Tipu noticed some cracks on the mast of the ship the Frenchman Ripaud had taken to the Isle of France, he was convinced that these cracks foreboded the destruction of his empire & thus “he readily made up his mind to throw himself unconditionally in his Lordship’s [Wellesley’s] compassion” after he had read the Governor General’s letter of January 9, 1799 (Wilks, 1810-1817/1869, Vol. 2, pp. 332-333). {Wilks does not mention how he obtained the information on Tipu’s reaction to Mornington’s letter of January 9, 1799.}

It’s very odd to write this… for all his offering to Hindu Gods & God men (Brahmins)… Sri Ranaga did save his life once, in the form of a Nair!!

 

Tippu Series Part 3: Tippu’s Tiger obsession

Did Tippu really fight (& get a LIMP?) with a TIGER?!? Britishers had merely nicknamed him Tiger of Mysore because of his OBSESSION with the TIGERS & also to describe his ferocious personality. Tipu’s reverence for tigers was well known & his slogan was: Better to live for two days like a Tiger than drag out an existence like a Sheep for two hundred years. Did this slogan stem fourth from his experience at the age of ten?!? His throne was shaped & striped like a tiger, so did many other objects. His elite troops wore tiger badges, a mortar shaped like a tiger, the hilt of his sword was in the form of a snarling tiger. Tippu also had the notion that Tiger brings good luck & blessings; hence the famous hulivesha (man dressed like tiger) preceded the procession of any kind!!

But the most interesting was his favourite toy, the mechanical pipe organ now standing at Victoria & Albert Museum known as Tippoo’s Tiger. Captured & brought back from India by the East India Company’s soldiers, the apparatus consists of a huge tiger lying atop a prostrate man, the tiger sinking its fangs & claws into the helpless individual who, with his pale skin, red coat, & military attire, is easily identifiable as a British soldier. The tiger is also an organ, however, which when wound up would growl & roar menacingly to all nearby, although the passage of time has today robbed this fierce customer of his prior voice. Created by local artisans during the 1790s on the specific order of Tipu, it was designed to encapsulate the fear & terror that the Sultan inspired in Europeans, the savagery of the tiger goring its unfortunate victim a reflection of Tipu’s own military prowess.

Tipu was perhaps pioneer “Robot Master” (or was he a child with lost childhood owning a toy?!?) in the recent history!! No wonder he is been “ideal” for many without proper childhood. Sometimes early in the morning when I see the youngsters with catapult aiming & chasing the cats & kitten, I wonder what is their future going to be? Why the heck they are out so early in the morning …. where are their parents?

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…