PM Modi’s effect…. Swach Bharat, itchy hands and leaky members…..

While in Mysore, I like to do two things religiously every morning: one is go to Kukkarahalli-kere (lake) and the second is to drink tender coconut right after. One fine morning in mid January when I landed in Mysore, I was happy to see mass cleaning on the South side of the lake. Then, I saw the road in front of the Crawford hall closed as the road was being widened and everywhere spick and span.

I was telling my husband the MUDA (Mysore Urban Development Authority) was really taking a sudden interest in keeping the city clean. Guess they are vying to claim their title of “India’s cleanest city” back. When I stopped for my tender coconut, my husband said there were hardly any coconuts and it must be from the previous day.

When I asked the old man who cuts the tender coconut, he said boss is not bringing more.

I asked him why?

He said because of PM Modi’s arrival….

I was surprised and told him, PM Modi came to Bengaluru and why the boss is not bringing in Mysuru?

Showing his missing teeth, he said I don’t know Amma….

He is an innocent hired villager and he had told me that on a good day he sells up to 150 tender coconuts. He had also told me that weekly his boss pays Mamuli (usual bribe) to three different persons and every Sunday they come religiously to collect. If someone is around that time they will wait till the coast is clear and then collects it!

Later I spoke to his boss and he confirmed what the old man had said and gave me the list too.

Someone from Abhai (MUDA) collects Rs.300, traffic police Rs.300 and another police collects Rs.100. So Rs.700 total weekly payment. He also told me that they will drink tender coconut and if they find it fresh they will also pack 2 each to take it home! (Each tender coconut costs Rs.25).

Sad there is always room for black money and different avenues and channels available…

After two days the old man was moving his cart when we stopped by. He said Amma we are not allowed to sell on the pavement, the municipality people warned us and told us to stay away until after PM Modi’s visit on 18th and 19th of February 2018. Swachh Survekshan people will inspect…

So the mamuli does have its benefits and the less stocking was not because of the previous visit but preparation for the future visit… the whole system is a vicious circle and goes back to the roots…

I was also told that the cleanup operation and kicking the peddlers out was limited to the route PM Modi will be taking. I hear there are no rooms available at Lalith Mahal Palace hotel as it’s fully booked by a retired bureaucrat for his son’s wedding. So from where ever PM Modi is staying (mostly Radisson Blu)… going to Railway station and then to Maharaja’s College ground, the order will be maintained…

Wish PM Modi also visited the Kukkarahalli Lake so that the human waste coming in to the lake would stop and the little paradise would shine further.

Cleaning also brought to my mind the leaky privates some men sport besides the charandi (ditch at the kere)… or even in other open places. To this day I wonder why they can’t simply go at home before they set out on their journey. Interestingly I don’t see poor people doing that or a villager doing that. The middle class who travels in two wheelers or cars does that. Why do they really do it? Do they want assurance that their man hood still intact. Or is it just force of habit?

Wonder what might discourage them to do it? Does it help if everyone starts clicking their pictures in action and start posting in the social media… if they are shameless to do what they do why not take the picture?

Sadly there is this small breed of specimens who considers themselves as the leaders in such smelly business and presume their action justified. I see there is only one place remains which poses competition in this respect… however there is a minor difference. There the specimens have four legs. It’s at the world’s foremost city… Manhattan, New York. City of dogs, where the dogs are treated better even than the children or spouses.

The handsome, fancy dogs in leash, taken for walk, is a feast to the eye and the love and affection they receive is enviable. This perhaps is the reason they are also tolerated when they pee around. Most of the time their poop is collected and disposed but no effort is done to stop the pee. Everywhere they sport the little boards: Please Curb your Dogs… wonder what could be the befitting board for the educated fools here? A question and comparison which bothers me whenever I am in Manhattan!

The other city, the city of love which had the long standing tradition of drink and wild peeing, since before the day of Napoleon has finally put an end to the adventure and tradition with the introduction of Uritrottoir. Well you guessed it right, it’s Paris. Wild peeing was another tradition along with haute cuisine and chic fashion, they were wilder than the leaky dicks in India. So when will we be able to call it quits in India?

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 12: Glorifying the King of Atrocities:

The question of why the Karnataka government wants to glorify him… It is a wishful thinking & an age old effort to impress the vote bank… sadly even the educated mass falls for it!! Britishers divided & ruled India, messed up during departure. India never been populated by Indians… it is always a country with MINORITY & MAJORITY… not Indians!?! In what way we are better than Saddam Hussain…?

Sadly mighty Indian history is so very twisted-contoured-mangled to fit into where…. I have absolutely no idea?!? Unfortunately the Indian who took over continued the same philosophy & also still act like slaves under white supremacy. Ever since the independence they have been working hard to prove Churchill’s prophecy was right after all.. Churchill said: Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low caliber & men of straw. They will have sweet tongues & silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power & India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air & water would be taxed in India.

Honouring Tippu is like giving Nobel peace prize to both Saddam Hussain & Adolf Hitler together!!

It’s interesting to note that Tipu was a role model for a section of Pakistanis…… One of the British built Pakistani Carrier operated by Pakistani Navy was named PNS Tippu Sultan!! Interestingly, it is said to be one of 7 Pakistani naval ship set sail to bomb the tiny town Dwaraka in Gujarat as a bait to lure the major naval ships docked at the Bombay port during the India-Pakistan-Bangla crisis!! Later sped away with zero success claiming a PSYCHOLOGICAL victory…  it’s a weird world after all…

I like to conclude with a weird thought: I think Tippu’s ghost (or is it the tortured souls chasing Tipu’s soul?!?) still roams in & around Karnataka with incomplete dreams, sometimes even visiting Vidhana Soudha & the leaders. Remember when Sanjay Khan made the TV serial glorifying Tipu, the Premier Studio caught fire & he was burnt badly? The projection was an utter lie… The studio stands vacant to this day. Then Mr. Malya bought “The Sword” & ended up with chapter 11 of Kingfisher!? Now with our Vidana Soudha’s “Nidde Sundara” (sleeping beauty)… wonder what’s in store for him? Best of luck with his plans for implementation of Tippu Jayanthi… Wonder which sect is forcing him for the celebration as Tipu’s origin is confusing. Hope Mr. Rajanikanth will not accept the role in the planned Tippu movie. Even though he looks tuff he is a good soul who doesn’t deserve to suffer….. I am not a fan of Rajanikanth… still I wish him good luck.

What is the moral of the story? As a crowning glory of creation, be a human first. Respect every creation. Harmonious living is the only solution to the entire problem on earth. Last but not the least: Don’t try to justify or Godify Barbarians for personal gains. Buy some good-proper books & educate yourself.

Jai Hind.. Jai Karnataka. God Bless All & Peace be with you.

 

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…

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 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…

Tippu Sultan – Kodavas – British : A Triangle of skepticism. Part 1: Who exactly was Tippu/Tipu Sultan? Is his ghost still floating in Karnataka?

My inferences are based on the cruelty meted out on certain communities in the Southern Deccan peninsular by Tipu Sultan (Fateh Ali Khan), the so called “Tiger of Mysore”… the atrocities he committed on innocent people including my own Kodava community are beyond words. This is an attempt to show that brutality was his passion, nothing else as claimed by some people who try to portray him otherwise….Being a Kodava, I have learnt that humanity, compassion, love.. are the face/reflection of God, there is only one God but there are many ways to reach that GOD.

I am dedicating this article in honour of those innocent victims who lost their lives & had their families thrown in to misery for no fault of theirs & in fond memory of one of my HEROs, my adopted “Tottajja” Biddatanda Appanna (I will write about him sometime in the near future…. along with main question Tippu-Kodvas-British connection). After reading this article, if it touched you in anyway PLEASE take a minute on November 1st (Karnataka Rajostava Day) at 9 am each year wherever you are to pray for those beautiful souls not only in Karnataka but all around the world who lost their lives to such barbarism.

What prompted me to write this? One of my colleagues BB told me that he wants to visit Coorg with his family & when he checked around he came to know that Kodavas hate Tippu Sultan & likes/loyal to Britishers… there was a sly smile on the face! Well I was taken back… I said I am a cent-percent Coorg & been for generations… I never heard of this comparison & I can tell you Kodavas definitely dislike or loath Tippu Sultan for the atrocities he committed on our forefathers…, a Satan in the guise of human who did not really succeed fully in destroying us despite his torture & killing perhaps because we were brave & too stubborn for Tippu’s palates!! My forefathers considered him a psychopath… an outright mass murderer.

The old gramophone sang again,… “yeh that means you hate him”… I said “NO we don’t hate him because he simply is not WORTH it… My colleague still could not understand why I don’t accept that we hate Tippu!! Then BB said if he is bad then why does Karnataka Government want to celebrate his birthday? I retorted, didn’t I tell you Tippu Sultan was worthless?!? Not even worthy of hatredness… That’s when I realized that as a grandmother I have to write what I heard, seen & read for our future generation… I wish I could go back in time & bring the details from the horse’s mouth.

First let me write briefly about Tippu Sultan…..

Where do I begin… he was one of those freak accidents of nature in an Evil way. It’s hard to describe if he were human or manifestation of terror itself!! A small, plump man with a round face with black moustache, bejeweled clothing & ornaments. He was forceful, warlike, ruthless, dogged mind, blood thirsty & a hard core liar. The only credit I would ever give him is that he was a military man & his willingness to fight with the Britishers who had a larger army & were riding on a string of success across the sub-continent!! However, his wonton cruelty & ausuric/demonic behavior surpassed all other qualities.

To my understanding & years of personal experience, Islam is a Religion of peace & giving. So how can he be one? He reeked of brutality… he spoke, ate, drank & slept on violence. Tipu was the diplomat for the Devil.. Nexus of evil… Somehow somewhere he just managed to jump from FIRE to DIRT! God has given thinking & discriminating capacity to each individual &, when anyone acts in monstrous way it is their individual action & perhaps bad karma from past life.

His atrocities were so gruesome even holocaust sound like a minor accident!! Just one gory description of his army by the world-famous Portuguese traveler, Fr. Barthoelomeo, could skip a heartbeat & makes one wonder how could someone be so inhumane?!? When you read, for a while pretend you were in 1780s & 1790s a happy man with a fine, happy family… Read the first para again.. close your eyes, take a deep breath & try to relive the experience… with you as a witness,

In his book Voyage to East Indies Fr. Barthoelomeo writes: “First a corps of 30,000 barbarians who butchered everybody on the way… followed by the field-gun unit under the French Commander, M. Lally… Tipu was riding on an elephant behind which another army of 30,000 soldiers followed. Most of the men & women were hanged in Calicut; first mothers were hanged with their children tied to necks of mothers. That barbarian Tipu Sultan tied the naked Christians & Hindus to the legs of elephants & made the elephants to move around till the bodies of the helpless victims were torn to pieces. Temples & churches were ordered to be burned down, desecrated & destroyed. Christian & Hindu women were forced to marry Mohammadans & similarly their men were forced to marry Mohammadan women. Those Christians, who refused to be honoured with Islam, were ordered to be killed by hanging immediately. These atrocities were told to me by the victims of Tipu Sultan who escaped from the clutches of his army & reached Varappuzha, which is the centre of Carmichael Christian Mission. I myself helped many victims to cross the Varappuzha River by boats.

I know there is no further writing required… yet I will continue. Sadly “The world suffers a lot, not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people!

Was Tippu really an Indian? His faceless grandfather came hitchhiking perhaps as a porter with some businessman seeking livelihood to India from somewhere in Persia (his origin is not certain!!). Hyder himself claimed descent from the Arabs. So that makes Tippu just a Second generation migrant. So he was as much a foreigner as British ever were!! Other than the colour of the skin what else he have in common? OMG…. that’s why he could mercilessly kill or punish Indians, waste flora & fauna. He was an immigrant’s grandson; anyway Indians were not really his blood, so kindness was not required! I think His major problem was he had faulty wiring in his brain.

Tippu’s father Hyder Ali was born in Budhikote in Kolar district to an unknown father…  & Hyder’s birth date is also not clear. Tipu’s migrant grandfather was a care-taker in the local mosque. Being poor he had no education & managed to become a foot soldier. As a favour for saving the life of Mysore ruler, he was promoted to the rank of Nayak, a kick start upgrading in life,.  Being street smart he learnt the art of war & soon excelled in military war tactics… with the first opportunity he managed to topple the king in deceit & became de facto ruler of Mysore. So he became the ring leader of betrayal in the saga of Mysore!!

Hyder was too busy with expansionist policy & unlike his son he did not have much time to think about bulldozing people….. but he still had a very strong street rules imbedded in him… kill or get killed.  Bowring writes that Haider Ali was equally ferocious in the treatment of his enemies. For example: When he defeated Khande Rao, the Hindu general, he kept him in an iron cage  like a tota (parrot) & fed him rice & milk till the end of his life. What contrast between both the characters!!

However, Tipu had tasted comforts as his father Hyder Ali was progressing in life. With the new found wealth & power of his father he had the material comforts & privilege of education to certain extent but never had a proper upbringing with his father around. Most of his military training came from his father’s friend Khan who stayed with him till the end. Hence he lacked morals in his life & if a person can’t determine right from wrong then he lacks empathy. First five years of the child’s life is very important where the child gets the love & good teaching of the parents. For a boy presence of father is very important. Most probably based on what he heard about his father all that he wanted to was to please his father, aggrandize more & get appreciation from his father. Even though it is said that when he was 15 he used to go with father on military missions, question remains how much attention he really got from his father? And also where was the time for some decent education?

Founding of Mysore State The disintegration of the Mughal Empire was accelerated after Nadir Shah sacked Delhi in 1739. The Marathas under the Peshwa Baji Rao had unwisely decided to march towards the North instead of consolidating its power in the South. Baji Rao felt that the future of Maratha power lay in conquering Delhi. In Baji Rao’s words: Let us strike at the trunk of the withering tree & the branches will fall themselves. Maratha flag should fly from Krishna to Indus. It had adverse consequences in the South. The state of Mysore was ruled by the Wadiyar dynasty from the 14th century. Mysore was a viceroyalty of the Vijayanagar Empire. However between 1731-34, the government of the state was usurped by 2-brothers, Devraj & Nanjaraj who reduced the royalty to a puppet. Haider Ali then was only a horseman in the service of Nanjaraj. Between 1750-60, Haider Ali came steadily into prominence; as Mysore was invaded by the Marathas in 1753, 1757 & 1759. Nizam-ul-Mulk regarded Mysore as Mughal territory & the state was drawn within the circle of conflict between the Peshwa & the Nizam.

When the Marathas invaded Mysore in 1757, the Mysore Raja Nanjaraj agreed to pay them Rs.32 lakhs but could pay only six lakhs & for the remaining amount, he handed over 15-taluks as security. The Marathas came again in 1758, Haider took personal responsibility for the payment of arrears & he was also placed in charge of the field army. Haider Ali took advantage of the uncertain conditions prevailing in the state & assumed all powers of the king under the cover of being an officer of the Hindu ruler. Haider Ali died of cancer.  In 1786 Tipu assumed the title of Padshah or king. Thereafter he began to call himself ‘the resplendent presence’ & his army was designated as ‘the holy camp’. His government was called the ‘God given State’. The climax of his arrogance was reached when he ordered that the ‘Khutbah’ or daily prayer be read in his name. The name of Devanhalli, was changed to Yasufabad. The castle of Chitaldurg was changed to Farukh-yab Hisar or the propitiously acquired castle et al. {Lewin B. Bowing: Rulers of India – Haider Ali & Tipu Sultan page 209 (210)}.

His father Hyder’s first wife suffered from dropsy (oedema) during child birth & remained paralyzed till her death. So when his second wife (Tippu’s mother Fatima, aka Fakhr-un-Nissa, daughter of the keeper of Cuddapah) was pregnant, they paid a visit to the tomb of Saint Tipu Mastan Aulia in Arcot seeking blessing for a son & safe delivery. Unfortunately other than the name, he never inherited any goodness from the great Sufi Saint!!

Even Hydrabad Nizam refused to give his daughter to Tippu’s family because of Tipu’s heritage & in defiance Tipu got a bride from the Arakkal Family for his son Abdul Khaliq. Once an Arayankulangra Nairs, Arakkal family still practiced Nair Matriarchal System!! They have the most unique conversions story ever… something like a Bollywood movie… I will write towards the end.