Tippu Series Part 11: Tippu’s downfall – Krishnacharya Purniya & Mir Sadiq

Who was Dewan Purnaiya? Purnaiya (1746-1812), a poor Madhwa Brahmin boy hailing from a village near Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) who learnt to fend for himself & take responsibility on his shoulder, after losing his father at a tender age. He was a self-taught scholar & linguist with sharp and agile brain & extraordinary administrative & accounting skills with perfect handwriting. As a shrewd strategist blessed with prodigious memory, one of the most enigmatic & influential characters was considered as the Chanakya of Karnataka, served as a Diwan under Hyder Ali, Tipu & the Wodeyars. Even though some reports suggest that wounded Tippu was killed in the battle ground for his jewelry, during my college days I learnt that Purnaiya was loyal to Tipu until the devil named Tipu struck his own home… it is said that Tippu once had gone to Purnaiya’s home to meet him on some urgent work. Purniah was away & his beautiful daughter treated the guest with honour (atithi devobhava). Tippu smitten by her beauty offered to marry her. When she refused, he raped her. When Purnaiya confronted him, he offered to take her to his Heram…. {Some suggests that the soldiers did it (knowing her father it is highly unlikely that soldiers would dare do it) & laughed at Purnaiya & told him to convert too… Eventually the daughter killed herself. In any case a few seconds of pleasure cost Tippu his life along with his dream, becoming one of the most expensive rapes to this day!!!

When his loyalty clashed with thinly stretched royalty, hitting the home ground … Purnaiya woke up with a jolt… till then it was someone else’s daughter now it’s mine. It’s ironic that the very instrument (sorry guys) he used to brand people brought him the death too. Guess he ran out of luck or finally God got tired of his wickedness!! Poorna means complete… no wonder he managed to complete the task & gotten rid of a monster out of this beautiful earth. May 4th what a glorious day for Kannadiagas!

Purnaiya plotted with the help of Mir Sadak, a good Muslim who was fed up of Tipu’s barbarianism & misuse of his religion. Also for Mir Sadak it was the chance of a life times as he had already negotiated through Nizam for a hefty reward & good books of British!! The plot was simple nothing to attract attention from any quarters including Tippu. Operation was smooth as silk… Just send all Tipu’s guards to collect their salary at the same time!! Without much resistance, it was a cake walk for Sherbrooke & Dunlop to capture the breach & fann out. Even the fort commander Mir Nadim was taken into confidence who had managed to close the water gate & blocked to prevent Tipu from escaping from fort. No wonder he was a great strategist! Modern media may call Purnaiya & Mir Sadak as traitors but logically they were the little windows, God opened to the prayers of millions of innocent people. Their descendants should be proud of their forefathers for helping get rid of an evil from mother earth. On the other hand I am ashamed of the ones who cover things for personal gains just like Tippu’s guise though in a minor way. What goes up always comes down; it’s the law of the nature. So did Tippu. But the saddest part is the misinterpretation of his action & glorification of this monster in disguise.

Tipu’s death is explained in many ways. The sequence of death could have been manipulated in anyway by the then ruling British wanted & no one would want to wash their laundry in public. Letting the world know of treason…. would have been an insult to their very imperialism… & bring shame. Purnaiya, Mir Sadak & the rest loyalists involved never wanted to be called traitors.

Nothing much is known about the life of Mir Sadiq other than that he held the post of a minister in the cabinet of Tipu as well as a General in the Mysorean Army. In the 4th Anglo-Mysore War, he collaborated with Purnaiya to get rid of Tipu, the evil from earth, the monolithic block of cruelty without a second. (Thank god for that & instead of terming him cunning & betrayal, he needs medal for his bravery!) Hyderabad Nizam was the mediator between them & the British. During the siege of Seringapata, he reshuffled the most trusted palace guards like Laxman Rao, etc., & sent the new appointees to collect their salaries paving the way for British to kill Tippu. Ahmad Khan a henchman of British-Nizam killed Sadiq before he reached his palace. Ring a bell 1963 – President John Kennedy’s assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald & Jack Ruby killing Oswald when he was under police custody?

So the major event of the century simply went with fiction. {Just like, in the recent history if during the Operation Red Dawn, the Americans really found Saddam Husain hiding on his own in the ditch or whether the Kurds captured & put him there to be found, will always be a mystery. When Saddam was caught, many said that Kurds had captured him to avenge the rape of their daughters & put in there}. After all everything is fair in Love & War…

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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 8: Why the “HERO” term?

His hunger for expansion reflected on the great seal of Tipu found in Major Alex Dirom’s comprehensive account of the Third Mysore War published as early as 1793 in London, The translation reads: “I am the Messenger of the true faith. “I bring Unto you the Edicts of Truth. “From CONQUEST & the Protection of the Royal Hyder, comes my tide of SULTAN & the world under the Sun & Moon is subject to my Signet.”

Tippu wanted to replace Kannada with Persian language… our beautiful Kannada language is one of the oldest languages… recently joined the rank of the oldest living language in Guinness Book of Record. Said to be in use for more than 2500 years. “Siri Kannadam gelge” Jai Bhuvaneshwari mate (thank you for sharing your name with me). Tipu Sultan & his father Hyder were no real manninamagas (“sons of the soil”) as claimed by lawyer turned politician held position both in state & central governments in 1999. How a Persian became true sons of the soil.. only Karnataka politicians can come up with such cruel jokes!! Another one went further with proposal to name Bangalore International airport after Tippu. LoL… some politicians snore during session… Karnataka has managed to produce some real cari-creatures for politicians!!

Many consider him a hero based on the theory that he fought against the British. Their attitude seems to rest everything including barbarism as collateral damage!?! Was this contention true or was it a one way traffic… if he was against white-man why did he invite the French, another white-race? What is the different between French & British? Doesn’t that actually MAKE HIM THE BIGGEST TRAITOR OF INDIA? He risked his life to fight with English & defeat them so that he can fulfill his own dream of becoming Padshah!! {Padshah is a superlative royal title, composed of the Persian “pad” (master) & the widespread shah (king) roughly equivalent to the ancient Persian notion of “The Great” or “Great King”}.

The renowned historian & one of my relatives, Dr. Ichettira. M. Muthanna, says in his Tipu Sultan X-Rayed that Tipu was a traitor as he invited the French to invade India. The letter, dated April 21, 1797, written by Tipu & classified as No. 4 in the Persian File of Records, & quoted by Muthanna in his book, reads:

“Citizen Representatives:

Since I manifested my friendship in writing to you, my messengers have arrived with the following intelligence which will not be displeasing to you.

“The Nizam, an ally of the English, & the Chief of the Mughals, is very ill & his age leaves no prospect of his recovery. He has four children who are disputing the right of succession. One of them is much attached to me, (he) is the favourite of the chiefs of the people & is expected to succeed him.

“I inform these events in order to prove to you that it is now the moment for you to invade India. With little trouble we shall drive the British out of India. Rely on my friendship.

“Your ally (Sd) Tipu Sultan.”

At this juncture Before I proceed further I would like to ask an important question to my fellow countrymen… hope someone comes up with the right answer… was Tippu Sultan really an Indian to begin with? His originless Grandfather came hitch-hiking perhaps as a porter with some businessman before landing in Kolar. So that makes Tippu a Second Generation illegal-immigrant. Hence he was as much a foreigner as the British who were there before him. If Tippu is acceptable as a hero, then why did Britishers have to leave India? Other than the skin colour what else did the Barbarian, Tipu have in common with Indians? Hyder himself claimed descent from the Arabs. Tippu had strong Persian obsession. What a mangling of Indian history… OMG. This is what is called MAYA (illusion)….

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 4: The marauding Tiger

Roderick Mackenzie (1793) commented on Tipu’s march to Trinomaly & his mayhem there in 1790: Here neither respect, for the grandeur & antiquity of their temples, nor veneration for the sacred rites of a religion whose origin no time records, proved any protection for the persons or property, even of the first Brahmins. Their pagodas, breached with sacrilegious cannon, were forcibly entered, their altars defiled, their valuables seized, their dwellings reduced to ashes, & the devastation was rendered still more horrible by the scattered remains of men, women & children, mangled beneath a murderous sword. (Vol. 1, p. 203).

On his raid of Napoklu near Madikeri, Tipu destroyed the temples in the the surrounding villages of Betu & Kolakeri. He set fire to the house of the Biddatanda family. Forty members of this family were captured as prisoners & transported to Ganjam. After a few years, two members of this family escaped from Ganjam & returned to their hometown. One of them was a warrior named Appanna. However, the people of his hometown decided that he had now become a Mapila (Muslim), & excommunicated him. Appanna built a hut near the town-lake & spent the rest of his life there. This lake was in existence till recently, & was known as the Appannajja kere (Lake). Like the siege of Nargund letter (quoted earlier), he left nothing in the path of destruction. Remnants of the savagery that Tipu inflicted upon the hapless Kodavas are visible even today. His actions could dwarf every event from Afghanistan to Middle East combined. (Sandeep Balakrishna- Tipu Sultan The Tyrant of Mysore page 105).

Even today, we find the descendant of these Kodavas who were forcibly converted during Tipu’s time. these Kodava mapilas till recently used to celebrate Coorg festivals, built houses (called ain-mane) like the non-Muslim Kodavas, bore the same arms, the same kind of jewelry, & carried similar surnames. We have surnames like Alira, Cheeranda, Chimma Cheera (this surname is shared by non-Muslim Kodavas), Duddiyanda, Kaddadiyanda & Kolumanda in Virajpet. In Davanageri village, we have Muslim family names like Puliyanda & in the regions surrounding Virajpet, we have Muslim family names like Kuvalera, Italtanda, Mitaltanda, Kuppodanda, Kappanjeera. Similarly in the Madikeri taluk, we have Kalera, Chekkera, Charmakaranda, Maniyanda, Balasojikaranda & Mandeyanda.  Intriguingly, in the Hoddur village in Madikeri taluk, there is a Muslim family with the surname of Harishchandra… (Sandeep Balakrishna, Tipu Sultan the Tyrant of Mysore page 108).

Being Kodava – “No Thank you”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going against the theme of this blog by saying “no thanks” to being a Kodava. That’t not what this is about. Often I get asked where I’m from and more often than not people haven’t heard about Coorg. I also sometimes explain to people how and why the culture is so different from those that surround us.  There’s a lot of hype about our origins, including that we’re somehow connected with the Greeks of Alexander’s time. “Being Kodava” is my take on what it is to be a Kodava, and some of the things we should be proud of.

Someone once asked me how do you say thank you in your language. I told them in my language, we do not have words for “Thank you, Please, or Sorry”. We have never been taught it, and as far as I know, these words don’t exist. Did they once exist but were got rid of once the brits took  over our educational system? We’ll never know. But what I was told was the reason for this paucity of “Golden words” is because for kodava’s,  it’s our duties as family, community and friends to help each other out at all times, to always be there for anything, without having to ask please if you want something, say thank you when you have been helped, or say sorry if you have hurt.

kodava coorg traditional wedding jewelery men peeche odi kathi

This is quite deep if you think about it. Western education is steeped in the use of golden and kind words almost mechanically, sometimes without really meaning it. Making helping others a duty is really unique in our culture, and it really has to do  with the unique clan setups we have in Coorg: Clans typically helped each other with everything from planting crops, defending them against wild animals, celebrations, festivals, weddings, wars, etc. Every traditional wedding begins with the close family members getting together to cook for the entire wedding. It is our duty to help.

See there is more to being Kodava than coffee, Greeks and our weddings!