Tipu Sultan – A Hero or Villain

tipu sultan

Historical novels are usually an admixture of historical facts and imagination. As such they are not expected to truthfully portray all the historical events. However, authors of historical novels have the moral responsibility to present historical facts without blatant distortions.

Mr. Bhagwan Gidwani, the author of the controversial novel, The Sword of Tipu Sultan, does not seem to be bound by any such ethical obligations; he does not have any qualms even to deliberately falsify historical facts. Therefore, a tele-serial based on such a novel also cannot be otherwise.

Mounting opposition to this controversial serial also stems from this basic reason.


Mr. Gidwani claims that his novel is the result of thirteen years of historical research. He asserts that he has studied and scrutinized all the historical documents available from various sources in India and abroad. Then, why did not this researcher make any effort to visit Kerala, particularly Malabar region, the main area of Tipu Sultan’s cruel military operations for a decade, or to scrutinize the historical evidence available from Malabar regarding the atrocities committed by Tipu Sultan, or to study the ruins of temples destroyed in Malabar during that period?


When a serious author is collecting historical data for writing a historical novel on Tipu Sultan, does he not have ail obligation or responsibility to at least visit the Malabar region, the main area of the operations of Tipu Sultan, and try to understand the significance of his activities there? The mere fact that Mr. Gidwani did not bother to do so, is itself sufficient reason for suspecting the credibility and credentials of the author.


The major part of Tipu Sultan’s rule was spent in conducting military operations for subjugating Malabar. Wars of territorial conquest waged in Malabar by Hyder Ali Khan, with the assistance of Ali Raja of Arackal and his Mappila followers of Cannanore, were intended more for spreading the Islamic faith by killing and forcible conversion of Hindus coupled with widespread destruction of Hindu temples, than for expanding his kingdom.

Hyder Ali Khan had expressed his satisfaction for these cruel achievements. A broad picture of atrocities committed against the Hindu population of Malabar by the army of Hyder Ali Khan along with the local Mappilas can be had from the diary notings of a Muslim officer of the Mysore army as edited and published by the then surviving son of Tipu Sultan, Prince Ghulam Muhammed (Cited in Malabar Manual, William Logan).

Before his efforts to conquer the entire Malabar region could succeed, Hyder Ali Khan died in December, 1782. Tipu Sultan who succeeded his father, considered it his primary duty to continue this unfinished jîhâd started by Hyder Ali Khan. However, the Islamic fanaticism of Tipu Sultan was much worse than that of his father. His war-cry of jîhâd was “Sword” (death) or “Cap” (forcible conversion). This makes very clear the character of Tipu Sultan’s military operations started in 1783. The intensity and nature of sufferings which the Hindu population had to bear during the nightmarish days of Padayottakkalam (military regime) were vividly described in many historical records preserved in the royal houses of Zamorin and Kottayam (Pazhassi), Palghat Fort and East India Company’s office. There is no apparent reason to disbelieve them. It is absurd and against reason to describe all this evidence as being forged for the purpose of creating enmity between Hindus and Muslims (as presumed by Dr. C.K. Kareem and others).

During the cruel days of Islamic operations from 1783 to 1791, thousands of Nairs besides about 30,000 Brahmins had fled Malabar, leaving behind their entire wealth, and sought refuge in Travancore State (according to the commission of enquiry appointed by the British soon after Tipu Sultan’s death).

This report was prepared exclusively for the information of the British authorities and not for writing a book, or for discrediting or defaming Tipu Sultan. Therefore, according to the learned historian, Dr. M. Gangadharan, there is no point in disbelieving the validity of this report (Mathrubhoomi Weekly, January, 14-20, 1990): “Besides, there is enough evidence that a few members of Zamorin family and many Nairs were forcibly circumcised and converted into Muhammadan faith as well as compelled to eat beef.”

So far as the history of Malabar region is concerned, the most dependable book for basic historical facts is definitely the Malabar Manual written by William Logan. Serving in various administrative positions including that of a Collector for 20 years upto 1886, he had gone through and extensively researched a variety of documents for preparing his well-acclaimed book. The present edition has been scrutinized, edited and published by the reputed Muslim historian, Dr. C.K. Kareem, with the support of Cochin and Kerala universities. Therefore, the authenticity of its contents cannot be doubted.

There are plenty of references in the Malabar Manual about the cruel military operations and Islamic atrocities of Tipu Sultan in Malabar-forcible mass circumcision and conversion, large-scale killings, looting and destruction of hundreds of Hindu temples, and other barbarities.

If one accepts even a small portion of the Islamic atrocities described in this monumental work of history, then Tipu Sultan can be depicted only as a fanatic Muslim bigot. The historical works of Col. Wilks (Historical Sketches), K.P. Padmanabha Menon and Sardar K.M. Panicker (Kerala History), Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai (research articles) and others, also do not project Tipu Sultan in any better light. One of the leading Congressman of pre-independence days, K. Madhava Nair, observes on page 14 of his famous book, Malabar Kalapam(Mappila outrage):

“The communal Mappila outrage of 1921 in Malabar could be easily traced to the forcible mass conversion and related Islamic atrocities of Tipu Sultan during his cruel military regime from 1783 to 1792. It is doubtful whether the Hindus of Kerala had ever suffered so much devastation and atrocities since the reclamation of Kerala by the mythological Lord Parasurama in a previous Era. Many thousands of Hindus were forcibly converted into Muhammadan faith.”

Since the same Congressman admitted that Tipu had not discriminated between Hindus and Muslims in Mysore and administered his country well, his observations about Kerala could be accepted as impartial comments.

In 1789, Tipu Sultan marched to Kozhikode with an army of 60,000, destroyed the fort, and razed the town to the ground. Gunddart says in his Kerala Pazhamathat it is just not possible to describe the cruel atrocities perpetrated by the barbarian Tipu Sultan in Kozhikode.

William Logan gives in his Malabar Manual a long list of temples destroyed by Tipu Sultan and his army.

Elankulam Kunjan Pillai has recorded the situation in Malabar as follows:

“Kozhikode was then a centre of Brahmins. There were around 7000 Namboodiri houses of which more than 2000 houses were destroyed by Tipu Sultan in Kozhikode alone. Sultan did not spare even children and women. Menfolk escaped to forests and neighbouring principalities. Mappilas increased many fold (due to forcible conversion).

“During the military regime of Tipu Sultan, Hindus were forcibly circumcised and converted to Muhammadan faith. As a result the number of Nairs and Brahmins declined substantially.”

Atrocities committed in Malabar during the days of Tipu Sultan’s cruel military regime have been described in great detail in the famous works of many reputed authors-Travancore State Manual of T.K. Velu Pillai and Kerala Sahitya Charitam of Ulloor Parameshwara Iyer.

Is it not absurd to condemn what all these respected authors have written about the atrocities of Tipu Sultan and label it as a deliberate attempt to defame him? All the historical documents of that period clearly indicate that Tipu Sultan’s attack on Malabar had some purpose other than simple territorial conquest. That purpose was to Islamicise the whole of Malabar by forcibly converting all the Hindus there.


Even if we concede, for the sake of argument, that all those who call Tipu Sultan a fanatic Muslim are pro-British and all the historical data is meant only to create hatred between Muslims and Hindus, the letters written by Tipu Sultan himself help us to understand his real character. Some of these letters, obtained from India Office Library, London, were published in Bhasha Poshini magazine of Chingam 1099 (corresponding to August, 1923) by Sardar K.M. Panicker.

The letter dated March 22, 1788, to Kantancheri Abdul Kadir, and the letter dated December 14, 1788 to his army commander in Kozhikode, do not require further explanation about Tipu’s real intentions in Malabar.

Still, if some people want to describe Tipu Sultan as an apostle of peace and religious tolerance, let us leave them alone – those large-hearted admirers of Tipu! However, there is quite a large number of people who are not that large-hearted, especially the descendants of those Hindus who were killed by the sword of the bloodthirsty Tipu while resisting forcible conversion and humiliation.


Tipu had committed a variety of atrocities on the Hindus in Malabar – barbarous mass-killing, wholesale forcible circumcision and conversion, and widespread destruction and plunder of Hindu temples. Being fully aware of this background, if Tipu is projected as a lover of Hindu religion and traditions and not as an intolerant Muslim fanatic, by citing some “new evidences’ obtained by certain motivated historians and apologists of Islam such as the alleged land-grants to a few Hindu temples and Sringeri Mutt and protection of Sree Ranganatha Swami temple near the palace, then at the most they could be treated only as scandalous exceptions. Even this was part of a political strategy. Writing in Mathrubhoomi Weekly (January 14-20, 1990), Dr. M. Gangadharan says. “In the socio-religious-political conditions prevailing in Mysore of Tipu’s days, such things could not be avoided. The financial assistance to Sringeri Mutt meant for conducting religious rites to ward off evil spirits, was clearly specified in the letter sent by Tipu Sultan. As such, these cannot be accepted as evidence of Tipu’s respect for Hindu religion.”


The orchestrated propaganda that Tipu Sultan was tolerant and fair-minded towards the Hindus in Mysore is also without any foundation, as explained in history of Mysore written by Lewis Rice as well as M.M. Gopalrao. According to Lewis Rice, during the rule of Tipu Sultan, only two Hindu temples inside the Sreerangapatanam Fort were having daily pujas while the assets of all other temples were confiscated. Even in administrative matters,

Muslim bias was blatantly evident, especially in the matter of taxation policy. “Muslims were exempted from all taxes. Even those who were converted to Islamic faith were also allowed the same concessions,” says Gopal Rao. In the case of employment, Hindus were eliminated to the maximum extent possible. During the entire period of 16 years of Tipu Sultan’s rule, the only Hindu who had occupied any important official position was Purnaiyya.


However, Tipu and his Padayottam were a nightmare, especially for the Hindus of Malabar, whatever may be the arguments provided by Gidwani or the secularist historians who have specialized in proving a wolf to be a goat. There is no point in making it dark by closing one’s eyes.

Under these circumstances, a TV serial glorifying Tipu Sultan as a magnanimous person can only remind the Hindus of Malabar about the nightmare experienced by their forefathers during the cruel military regime of Tipu Sultan. That can, in turn, shatter the prevailing communal harmony and peace in Kerala.

Opposition to the proposed TV serial on Tipu Sultan is not inspired by religious sentiments alone. It is also not against anybody’s freedom to make a tele-serial based on a novel. It is the people’s objection and anger against the Government’s attempts to project a historical personality by suppressing, distorting and falsifying authentic historical evidence about his life and deeds. The official media like television and radio networks have certain basic obligations towards the public. Not to misguide the people, especially by falsification and distortion of recorded history, is the most important obligation. Therefore, projection of a tele-serial based on Gidwani’s scandalous novel is outside the broad framework of basic guidelines and objectives. That should not be allowed.

Courtesy: –  V.M. KORATH (Former Editor of Mathrubhoomi) &  Kesari (Malayalam Weekly), February 25, 1990

(please click on link below to read):

tipu tyrant


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  • Tolerance in hindus allows to spread the epidemic of islam. In the name of islam these kings amassed the wealth. Because of British we hindus are still hindus. Why there is no jihad in hinduism?

    • British also tried and paved the way for conversion of Hindus to Christianity. Please read the book Breaking India. One was crude and the other was subtle. But both tried to convert. That is the truth.

  • In my knowledge, Tippu Sultan is a villain and his activities reminds the terrorism of present. I remember I read somewhere in a history note that he had attacked a Brahmin family near Mysore and killed both by using his sword. The woman was pregnant at that time. It is only one of the many cases. He had attacked many temples and destroyed many. Even he had attacked Guruvayoor Temple and set fire on it. Only Guruvayoorappan saved the temple where many get salvage. There are people who wants to make quick cash by making some contradictory in the history make controversy then their book would be sold like hot cake. Which should be allowed or people who have knowledge should respond against it.

  • Everyone who is against Hindu & India is enemy. Most of the Hindus scared or do not wish to fight for right that encourage others to dominate India and spread their empire.

  • What about Shivaji???¿

    by the way there is no such mentioned in vedas that there is a religion named “Hindu” . .. . !!!

    its a name given by arabs people . . .. I.e. People who reside at river indus. But arabs cant pronounce the word indus. . . . Hindu word came into existence. . . . So evey person is Hindu . .. .even muslims but… . .geographically.

      • Thanks for replying,
        but the link you provided also accepts what i have said above.
        i said Hindu is not a “religious” word.
        it’s a geographical name.

        I have no concern about how old it is nor mine subject has.

        • I know and understand that it is no concern of you and in that case you should not be ignorantly commenting on places you don’t belong and don’t care for. Stick to what you know and believe and leave others to who they are and what they believe in!! The best way to be at peace and letting other be as well…

          I can give you 10000s arguments/pointers on Islam, its flaws, and tainted/abused use but I don’t need to and I don’t want to, simply because IT DOES NOT concern me how people believe and lead their faith. I am more interested in improving my own way of life!!

          • Best response to those really ignorant or acting on purpose to show their idiocy here. Enough we tolerated, its time to show what they really are.

        • Yes Saif ji you are correct, it isn’t mentioned anywhere in the shastras either. It is actually Sanatana Dharma, the word Hindu is only but a concocted reflection.

    • My dear friend Saif, get your history right!!! Hindu was not mentioned by Arabs… Fanatic people like you with out proper knowledge have propoganded this.

    • 1st of all..Welcome “SAIF”.. .My respect since you volunteered !! well my friend, we are not trying to correct the history !! the websites & details shows that before the HINDU word came to existence from what we know from our school textbooks, there are other REFERENCES they found..which is dated back like prehistoric..honestly we know very little about history…and there is major chunk missing from it. ..sanskrit magazine is trying its best to gather more info:

  • It is true that all muslim rulers systematically destroyed Hindu temples and looted wealth from them. They killed hindus right left and center and forcibly converted them. Even today, in holy places like mathura, kashi, etc, we see broken temples and forced masjids created adjacent to ancient Hindu temples. How would a muslim feel if the mecca masjid is destroyed and at its place a temple or church is build forcibly? If the muslims have any respect for Hindus or other religions, they should voluntariy offer to shift such forced masjids elsewhere and let us rebuild our ancient temples to its former glory. The same was done in Gujrat in Vallabh bhai patel regime, very peacefully, and the muslims supported.

  • I think the only Pure King was Saladin. The Others were Really Cruels. They have Used the Name of Islam. 🙁

  • Islam was born on barbarism. Their prophet himself is, as per the historians, a schizophernic, pedophylic, maniac.The illiterate claimed all the barbarity he did was as per his God’s revelation. What type of god is that which they consider as greatest (Allahu akbar)?. Mohammed’s followers and barbarian rulers continied their barbarity wherever they went. The barbarian Tipu sultan committed end less atrocities against the Hindu population in norther Kerala. There were instances Muslim rulers gave some concessions and gift to Hindu temples. Those acts were as result of the inner fear. For example, Arcot nawab plundered the temple wealth in the southern part of India. In one of such expedition his army was attacked by deadly bees and could not plunder the Adikeshava temple in Thiruvattar. The nawab had a dream that he had the the curse of temple deity. To repent his action, he presented a gold crown to the deity which is still used in the temple. Inner fear was the reason for the small favours the muslim rulers extended to Hindus. That can not be termed as his magnanimity or religious tolerance. Tipu is a barbarian and effort of some section of society to project him as a national hero should condemned.

  • Dear Sir,

    I am providing a few more evidences for the barbarism of this butcher and his father…. probably it may be of use to you. It is highly despicable that the illustrious tamilnadu government not knowing anything about history had promised on the floor of assembly that they would erect memorials in the honour of the butchers in Dindigul of Tamilnadu. They are the scum that scorched Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu too. Our organization VEDIC SCIENCE RESEARCH CENTRE, VSRC has even prepared a powerpoint presentation on the atrocities of these killers. below are given the evidences.

    Tipu sent a letter on 19 January 1790 to the Governor of Bekal, Budruz Zuman Khan. It says:
    “Don’t you know I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over four lakh Hindus were converted to Islam? I am determined to march against that cursed Raman Nair (Rajah of Travancore) very soon. Since I am overjoyed at the prospect of converting him and his subjects to Islam, I have happily abandoned the idea of going back to Srirangapatanam now.”[47]
    On the handle of the sword presented by Tipu to Marquess Wellesley was the following inscription:[48]
    “My victorious sabre is lightning for the destruction of the unbelievers. Ali, the Emir of the Faithful, is victorious for my advantage, and moreover, he destroyed the wicked race who were unbelievers. Praise be to him (God), who is the Lord of the Worlds! Thou art our Lord, support us against the people who are unbelievers. He to whom the Lord giveth victory prevails over all (mankind). Oh Lord, make him victorious, who promoteth the faith of Muhammad. Confound him, who refuseth the faith of Muhammad; and withhold us from those who are so inclined from the true faith. The Lord is predominant over his own works. Victory and conquest are from the Almighty. Bring happy tidings, Oh Muhammad, to the faithful; for God is the kind protector and is the most merciful of the merciful. If God assists thee, thou will prosper. May the Lord God assist thee, Oh Muhammad, with a mighty great victory.”
    During a search of his palace in 1795, some gold medals were found in the palace, on which the following was inscribed on one side in Persian: “Of God the bestower of blessings”, and the other: “victory and conquest are from the Almighty”. These were carved in commemoration of a victory after the war of 1780.[49] The following is a translation of an inscription on the stone found at Seringapatam, which was situated in a conspicuous place in the fort:[48]
    “Oh Almighty God! dispose the whole body of infidels! Scatter their tribe, cause their feet to stagger! Overthrow their councils, change their state, destroy their very root! Cause death to be near them, cut off from them the means of sustenance! Shorten their days! Be their bodies the constant object of their cares (i.e., infest them with diseases), deprive their eyes of sight, make black their faces (i.e., bring shame).”
    During his southward march of conquest and plunder, Hyder Ali allowed Ali Raja and his barbarous Mappilas to act as army scouts and also to commit all sorts of atrocities on the Hindu population of Malabar. The Kolathiri Raja could not offer much resistance against the huge army of Hyder Ali which was equipped with heavy field guns. On the other hand, Ali Raja who had been made a tributary chieftain in Cannanore, seized and set fire to the palace of the old Kolathiri Raja. The latter escaped with his followers and sought protection of the British in Tellicherry. Hyder Ali now entered Kottayam (Pazhassi) Raja’s territory where he encountered resistance. There were casualties on both sides. But the Kottayam Mappilas betrayed and deserted their Hindu king and assisted Hyder Ali Khan (p. 460).
    The first serious resistance encountered by the invading army of Hyder Ali Khan was in Kadathanad. The devastation caused by him during his wars in Kerala was typical of fanatic Muslim invaders anywhere in India. A broad picture of his Islamic atrocities as described by a Muslim officer of Mysore army in his diary and as edited by Prince Ghulam Muhammad, the eleventh and only surviving son of Tipu Sultan, is given below. (Prince Ghulam Muhammad was later on exiled to Calcutta by the British after the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799.)
    ‘Nothing was to be seen on the roads for a distance of four leagues, nothing was found but only scattered limbs and mutilated bodies of Hindus. The country of Nairs [Hindus] was thrown into a general consternation which was much increased by the cruelty of the Mappilas who followed the invading cavalry of Hyder Ali Khan and massacred all those who escaped without sparing even women and children; so that the army advancing under the conduct of this enraged multitude [Mappilas] instead of meeting with continued resistance, found villages, fortresses, temples and every habitable place forsaken and deserted (p. 461).
    “Wherever he (Hyder Ali Khan) turned, he found no opponent; and every inhabitable place was forsaken and the poor inhabitants who fled to the woods and mountains in the inclement season experienced anguish to behold their houses in flames, fruit-trees cut down, cattles destroyed and temples burnt. By means of Brahmin messengers despatched to woods and mountains, Hyder Ali Khan promised pardon and mercy to the Hindus who had fled. However, as soon as the unfortunate Hindus returned on his promise of mercy and pardon, Hyder Ali Khan, like all the other Muslim tyrants of North India, saw to it that they were all hanged to death, their wives and children reduced to slavery (p. 468).
    “Before quitting the country (Kerala) Hyder Ali Khan by a solemn edict declared the Nairs deprived of all (social and political) privileges and (ordered) not to carry arms. This ordinance was found to make the submission of the proud Nairs absolutely impossible because they would have thought death preferable to such humiliations and degradation. Therefore, Hyder Ali Khan by another ordinance, consented to restore all social and political privileges including carrying of arms, to the Nairs who embraced the Mohammadan religion. Many nobles had to embrace Islam; but a significantly large section (Nairs, Chieftains and Brahmins) chose rather to take refuge in the kingdom of Travancore in the South than to submit to the last ordinance” (p. 469).
    It may be noted here that when Hyder Ali Khan reached Calicut with his huge army, destroying everything on the way and forcibly converting to Islam every Hindu warrior defeated or captured, the ruling Zamorin, after sending away all his family members to Travancore State, committed self-immolation by setting fire to his palace and ammunition depot nearby, in order to escape personal humiliation and possible forcible conversion to Islam.


    Hyder Ali Khan had thus attempted and to some extent succeeded in converting a sizeable section of Hindus, especially Nairs and Thiyyas, to Islam by force and treachery. However, as soon as he left Malabar, all Hindu Rajas, Chieftains and Nairs revolted and asserted their independence. He died in December, 1782, and his son, Tipu Sultan, succeeded him in Srirangapatanam. Tipu was also a fanatic Muslim king, but more cruel and inhuman than his father in his Islamic wars and conversions in Kerala.
    By the time Tipu became the Sultan of Mysore towards the end of 1782, all the Rajas and Chieftains of North Malabar had revolted and declared their independence. The British had also become more powerful. The immediate object of Tipu’s early military operation was to subjugate and retake the principalities which had revolted against the Mysore suzerainty immediately after the departure of Hyder Ali Khan from Malabar. So far, the Brahmins who were by nature quiet and honest, were usually and customarily sent as messengers to high places. But because of Tipu’s orders to “seize, circumcise and convert the Brahmins to Islam”, they started refusing to carry his messages to Malabar. They refused to oblige even the British who had extended and promised full protection to them. It had been confirmed from Calicut that 200 Brahmins had been “seized, confined, made Muslims and forced to eat beef and do other things contrary to their customs” (p. 507).

    According to the official report of Col. Fullarton of the British forces stationed in Mangalore, worst type of brutalities on Brahmins were committed by Tipu Sultan in 1783 during his siege of Palghat Fort which was being defended by the Zamorin and his Hindu soldiers. “Tipu’s soldiers daily exposed the heads of many innocent Brahmins within sight from the fort for Zamorin and his Hindu followers to see. It is asserted that the Zamorin rather than witness such enormities and to avoid further killing of innocent Brahmins, chose to abandon the Palghat Fort” (p. 500).
    As he proceeded with his Islamic wars against the Hindu population in Kerala, Tipu Sultan committed many more brutalities. The Rajas were unable to resist. But they did not like to be mute witnesses to brutalities perpetrated by the Muslim army of Tipu. As a consequence, the Kadathanad and Kottayam Rajas sent requests to the English Company at Tellicherry for protection, stating that “they could no longer trust Tipu Sultan and beseeching the Company to take the Brahmins, the poor and the whole kingdom under their protections” (p. 507).
    But the British did not render any help to the Hindu Rajas. Tipu’s brutalities were against all sections – Brahmins, Nairs and Thiyyas of Hindu community, not excluding even women and children. Even Christians were not spared.
    “It was not only against the Brahmins who were thus put in a state of terror of forcible circumcision and conversion; but against all sections of Hindus. In August, 1788, a Raja of the Kshatriya family of Parappanad and also Trichera Thiruppad, a chieftain of Nilamboor, and many other Hindu nobles who had been carried away earlier to Coimbatore by Tipu Sultan, were forcibly circumcised and forced to cat beef. Nairs in desperation, under the circumstances, rose up against their Muslim oppressors under Tipu’s command in South Malabar and the Hindus of Coorg in the North also joined them (p. 507).
    “The revolt in the South Malabar was led by Ravi Varma of the Zamorin family. Though Tipu conferred on him a jaghire (vast are of tax-free land) mainly to appease him, the Zamorin prince, after promptly taking charge of the jaghire, continued his revolt against the Mysore power, more vigorously and with wider support. He soon moved to Calicut, his traditional area of influence and authority, for better co-ordination. Tipu sent a large Mysore army under the command of M. Lally and Mir Asrali Khan to chase and drive out the Zamorin prince from Calicut. However, during the above operations, Ravi Varma assisted not less than 30,000 Brahmins to flee the country and take refuge in Travancore” (p. 508).
    The continued resistance and revolt by the Nairs and other chieftains enraged Tipu Sultan who gave strict orders to his army under M. Lally and Mir Asrali Khan to “surround and extricate the whole race of Nairs from Kottayam to Palghat” (p. 508). After entrusting Calicut to a powerful army contingent, he instructed it “to surround the woods and seize the heads of all Nair factions”. He then proceeded to North Malabar to suppress the spreading revolt under Kadathanad and Pazhassi Rajas. Prior to this, Tipu had sent a formal request to the English Company at Tellicherry asking them “not to give protection and shelter to Nairs fleeing from South Malabar” (p. 509). A similar letter had been sent to the English Company in Tellicherry by Hyder Ali Khan in 1764 before he launched his Malabar invasion (Kerala History by A.S. Sreedhara Menon, p. 372). These letters clearly show that neither Hyder Ali nor Tipu was at war with the British.
    It was at Kuttipuram, the headquarters of the Kadathanad Rajas, that the huge army of Tipu Sultan with a large number of field-guns surrounded an old fort defended by a small contingent of Nairs. After several days of resistance, and finding it difficult to defend the fort any longer, the Nairs submitted to the usual terms of surrender – “a voluntary profession of the Mohammadan faith or a forced conversion with deportation from the native land… In short, either way they had to embrace Mohammadan faith!… The unhappy Nair captives gave a forced consent and on the next day, the Islamic initiation rite of circumcision was performed on all male members, closing the ceremony after every individual of both sexes was forced to eat beef”(p. 510).
    An original order sent to various army contingents by Tipu was found among the records from Palghat Fort, after its capture by the English Company in 1790. It has been reproduced as a footnote on page 510 of the Malabar Manual: “It directed (all military detachments) that every being in the district should be honoured with Islam, that they should be traced to their hiding places, and that all means, truth or falsehood, fraud or force, should be employed to effect their universal conversion to Islam.”
    “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 Sultan was riding on an elephant behind which another army of 30,000 soldiers followed. Most of the men and women were hanged in Calicut. First mothers were hanged with children tied to the necks of their mothers. That barbarian Tipu Sultan tied the naked Christians and Hindus to the legs of elephants and made the elephants move about till the bodies of the helpless victims were tom to pieces. Temples and Churches were ordered to be burnt, desecrated and destroyed. Christian and Hindu women were forced to marry Muhammadans and similarly their men were forced to marry Muhammadan women. Those Christians who refused to be ‘honoured’ with Islam, were ordered to be killed by hanging then and there. The above version of the atrocities was obtained from the sorrowful narration by the victims who escaped from Tipu’s army and reached Varapuzha (near Alwaye) which is the centre of Carmichael Christian Mission. I myself helped many victims to cross the Varapuzha river by boats” (Cited in Cochin History by K.P. Padmanabha Menon, p. 573).
    It would be very relevant to reproduce here some of the letters which, Tipu Sultan had sent to his army commanders in different parts of Kerala and outside. Following are from the research articles published by Sardar K.M. Panicker in theBhasha Poshini magazine of Chingam 1099 of the Malayalam Era corresponding to August, 1923. They were obtained by him from The India Office Library in London during his intensive research regarding Kerala history. Tipu’s real character is revealed here.
    1. Letter dated March 22, 1788, to Abdul Kadir: “Over 12,000 Hindus were ‘honoured’ with Islam. There were many Namboodiris (Brahmins) among them. This achievement should be widely publicised among the Hindus. There the local Hindus should be brought before you and then converted to Islam. No Namboodiri (Brahmin) should be spared. Also they should be confined there till the dress materials sent for them, reach you.”
    2. Letter dated December 14, 1788, to his Army Chief in Calicut: “I am sending two of my followers with Mir Hussain Ali. With their assistance, you should capture and kill all Hindus. Those below 20 may be kept in prison and 5,000 from the rest should be killed by hanging from the tree-tops. These are my orders.”
    3. Letter dated December 21, 1788, to Sheik Kutub: “242 Nairs are being sent as prisoners. Categorise them according to their social and family status. After honouring them with Islam, sufficient dress materials may be given to the men and their women.”
    4. Letter dated January 18, 1790, to Syed Abdul Dulai: “With the grace of Prophet Muhammed and Allah, almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. Only a few are still not converted on the borders of Cochin State. I am determined to convert them also very soon. I consider this as Jehad to achieve that object.”
    5. Letter dated January 19, 1790, to Badroos Saman Khan: “Don’t you know that I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over 4 lakh Hindus were converted to Islam. I am now determined to march against that ‘Cursed Raman Nair’ without delay. (Reference is to Rama Varma Raja of Travancore State who was popularly known as Dharma Raja for giving shelter in his state to all those who fled Malabar.)
    The Mysore Gazetteer says that the ravaging army of Tipu Sultan had destroyed more than 8000 temples in South India. The temples of Malabar and Cochin principalities had to bear the brunt of plunder and destruction. The History of Cochinby K.P. Padmanabha Menon and History of Kerala by A. Sreedhara Menon narrate some of them:
    “In the month of Chingam 952, Malayalam Era (corresponding to August, 1786) Tipu’s Army destroyed idols of the famous Perumanam Temple and desecrated all the temples between Trichur and Karuvannur river.
    “Irinjalakuda and Thiruvanchikulam temples were also defiled and damaged by Tipu’s Army.”
    Some of the other famous temples looted and desecrated were as follows: Triprangot, Thrichembaram, Thirunavaya, Thiruvannoor, Calicut Thali, Hemambika Temple, the Jain Temple in Palghat, Mammiyur, Parambatali, Venkitangu, Pemmayanadu, Tiruvanjikulam, Terumanam, Vadakhumnnathan Temple of Trichur, Belur Siva Temple, Shri Veliyanattukava, Varakkal, Puthu, Govindapuram, Keraladhiswara, Trikkandiyur, Sukapuram, Maranehei Temple of Aaalvancheiri Tambrakkal, Vengara Temple of Aranadu, Tikulam, Ramanathakra, Azhinjalam Indiannur, Mannur Narayan Kanniar and Vadukunda Siva Temple of Madai.
    The Trikkavu Temple of Ponnani was converted into Military Garrison. The Christian Pilgrimage centre of Palayur Church and Varapuzha Church and Mission buildings were among the several churches destroyed by the ravaging army of Tipu.
    In the case of Triprayar Temple, the main deity was shifted temporarily to Gnanappilly Mana situated in a remote village, and in the case of Guruvayoor Temple, the idol was shifted to Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple in Travancore State before the barbarian army of Tipu Sultan reached there. However, both of them were brought back and ceremoniously installed after the withdrawal of Tipu from Malabar towards the end of 1790. The Guruvayoor Temple was destroyed only partly because of the pleadings by Hydrose Kutty who was a favourite of Hyder Ali Khan besides being a devotee of Lord Krishna before his conversion. The damage that can be seen even today on the installed presiding deity of Triprayar Temple is believed to have been caused by Tipu Sultan’s army.
    According to certain personal diary notes of Tipu Sultan, the Chirackal Raja offered to pay over Rs. 4 lakh in gold and silver to save the destruction of the local Hindu temples by Tipu’s army. But, true to his character, Tipu replied that “even if the entire world is offered to me, I will not desist from destroying Hindu temples” (Freedom Struggle by Sardar Panicker). It was the reply of a typical Islamic ruler!
    The nightmarish results of Tipu’s invasion of Kerala have been aptly described by the former editor of Gazetteer of Keralaand the renowned historian A. Sreedhara Menon. They state as follows:

    Hindus3, especially Nairs and chieftains who resisted Islamic cruelties, were the main targets of Tipu’s anger. Hundreds of Nair women and children were abducted to Sreerangapatanam or sold as slaves to the Dutch. Nairs were hunted down and killed and also deprived of all traditional and social privileges. Thousands of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Nairs and other respected classes of Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam or driven out of their traditional ancestral homes. Thousands sought refuge in Travancore State while hundreds fled to forests and hills to escape Tipu’s atrocities which had completely shaken their sense of security.”
    “The new phase of Mysore administration in Kerala resulted in unending wars. Extreme cruelties of the invading army had badly affected every section of the society, leading to the mass exodus of people from Malabar.”
    “Many Hindu temples, royal houses and chieftain families were destroyed and plundered. The exodus of Brahmins and Kshatriyas who were the patrons and custodians of traditional arts and culture, resulted in stagnation in the cultural field also.”

    Many prosperous towns were destroyed while the local and foreign trade collapsed. Peasants who had to bear the brunt of army cruelties and coercive taxation policies, sought refuge in forests and mountains. In many areas, cultivation of pepper stopped resulting in the collapse of pepper trade. Consequent to the stoppage of foreign trade coupled with the precipitate fall in cultivation and local trade, economy of the country was also shattered; and major sections of the people were reduced to poverty. Thus every section of society was badly affected by the military regime of the mysore rulers.”

    Huge amount of wealth in the form of gold and silver accumulated through centuries of foreign trade, vanished from the country as a result of loot and plunder during the chaotic period of the military regime of Hyder Ali Khan and his son, Tipu Sultan. Another serious development which had long term bad effects was that Malabar Muslims joined hands with the ranks of cruel invading Mysore army and proved their loyalty to Islamic faith by committing various atrocities against Malabar Hindus. This earned them enmity of Hindus. To gain political advantage, they resorted to forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam and also widespread destruction and plunder of Hindu temples. The Mysore administration under the Muslim rulers had not only encouraged such cruelties against the Hindu population but also gave the local Muslim converts special privileges and tax exemptions, leading to serious cleavage and enmity for the first time, between the two communities, Hindus and Muslims, in Kerala.”
    According to the widely respected Congressman and freedom-fighter, K. Madhavan Nair, “the notorious Mappila Lahala (Khilafat Riots) of 1921 in Malabar could be easily traced to the after-effects of widespread forcible conversions and cruelties committed by Tipu Sultan during the Padayottakkalam”.
    Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan himself left behind personal accounts of their atrocities against the Hindus. These details can be found in two autobiographies: Sultan-ut Tawarikh and Tarikh-i-Khudadadi, housed in the India Office Library, London. Noted historian KM Panicker chanced upon Tipu’s correspondence at the India Office Library. These have since been published. Take a letter (March 22, 1788) written to Abdul Khadar: “Over 12,000 Hindus were honoured with Islam … Local Hindus should be brought before you and then converted to Islam. No Namboodri (Brahmin) should be spared.”
    Gopal Rao had written all these on the basis of the writings of Tipu’s own son, Ghulam Muhammad, and Muslim historians like Kirmani. Even the Hindu names of places, the Sultan could not tolerate. Therefore, Mangalapuri (Mangalore) was changed to Jalalabad, Cannanore (Kanwapuram) to Kusanabad, Bepur (Vaippura) to Sultanpatanam or Faruqui, Mysore to Nazarabad, Dharwar to Quarshed-Sawad, Gooty to Faiz-Hissar, Ratnagiri to Mustafabad, Dindigul to Khaliqabad, and Calicut (Kozhikode) to Islamabad. It was after the death of Tipu Sultan that the local people reverted to old names.

    Vatakkankoor Raja Raja Varma in his famous literary work, History of Sanskrit Literature in Kerala, has written the following about the loss and destruction faced by the Hindu temples in Kerala during the military regime (Padayottam) of Tipu Sultan: “There was no limit as to the loss the Hindu temples suffered due to the military operations of Tipu Sultan. Burning down the temples, destruction of the idols installed therein and also cutting the heads of cattle over the temple deities were the cruel entertainments of Tipu Sultan and his equally cruel army. It was heartrending even to imagine the destruction caused by Tipu Sultan in the famous ancient temples of Thalipparampu and Thrichambaram. The devastation caused by this new Ravana’s barbarous activities have not yet been fully rectified.”

    As per the provisions of the Treaty of Mangalore of 1784, the British had allowed Tipu Sultan to have his suzerainty over Malabar. ‘In consequence, the Hindus of Malabar had to suffer the most severe enormities the world had ever known in history,’ observes K.V. Krishna Iyer, in his famous book, Zamorins of Calicut, based on historical records available from the royal house of Zamorins in Calicut. “When the second-in-line of Zamorins, Eralppad, refused to cooperate with Tipu Sultan in his military operations against Travancore because of Tipu’s crude methods of forcible circumcision and conversion of Hindus to Islam, the enraged Tipu Sultan took a solemn oath to circumcise and convert the Zamorin and his chieftains and Hindu soldiers to Islamic faith,” he adds.
    L.B. Boury writes: “To show his ardent devotion and steadfast faith in Muhammaddan religion, Tipu Sultan found Kozhikode to be the most suitable place. It was because the Hindus of Malabar refused to reject the matriarchal system, polyandry and half-nakedness of women that the ‘great reformer’ Tipu Sultan tried to honour the entire population with Islam.” To the Malabar people, the Muslim harem, Muslim polygamy and the Islamic ritual of circumcision were equally repulsive and opposed to the ancient culture and tradition in Kerala. Tipu Sultan sought a marriage alliance with the matriarchal Muslim family of Arackal Bibi in Cannanore. Kozhikode was then a centre of Brahmins and had over 7000 Brahmin families living there. Over 2000 Brahmin families perished as a result of Tipu Sultan’s Islamic cruelties. He did not spare even women and children. Most of the men escaped to forests and foreign lands.
    Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai wrote in the Mathrubhoomi Weekly of December 25, 1955: “Muhammadans greatly increased in number. Hindus were forcibly circumcised in thousands. As a result of Tipu’s atrocities, strength of Nairs and Chamars (Scheduled Castes) significantly diminished in number. Namboodiris also substantially decreased in number.”
    The German missionary Guntest has recorded: ‘Accompanied by an army of 60,000, Tipu Sultan came to Kozhikode in 1788 and razed it to the ground. It is not possible even to describe the brutalities committed by that Islamic barbarian from Mysore.” C.A. Parkhurst also noted that ‘Almost the entire Kozhikode was razed to the ground.”

    Writing in Mathrubhoomi Weekly (January 14-20, 1990), Dr. M. Gangadharan says. “In the socio-religious-political conditions prevailing in Mysore of Tipu’s days, such things could not be avoided. The financial assistance to Sringeri Mutt meant for conducting religious rites to ward off evil spirits, was clearly specified in the letter sent by Tipu Sultan. As such, these cannot be accepted as evidence of Tipu’s respect for Hindu religion.”

    According to Lewis Rice, during the rule of Tipu Sultan, only two Hindu temples inside the Sreerangapatanam Fort were having daily pujas while the assets of all other temples were confiscated. Even in administrative matters,
    Muslim bias was blatantly evident, especially in the matter of taxation policy. “Muslims were exempted from all taxes. Even those who were converted to Islamic faith were also allowed the same concessions,” says Gopal Rao. In the case of employment, Hindus were eliminated to the maximum extent possible. During the entire period of 16 years of Tipu Sultan’s rule, the only Hindu who had occupied any important official position was Purnaiyya.

    In nearer history, Melkote had been ruled by a dynasty founded by
    Yaduraya. His clan had built several water retaining structures —
    kalyanis– of great effectiveness and beauty. A small scholarly
    community had thriven there. In early 19th century, Tipu Sultan’s
    army descended on a Deepavali day and massacred 800 citizens, mostly
    of a sect known as Mandyam Iyengars. Sanskrit scholarship had been
    their forte. [To this day Melkote does not celebrate Deepavali].
    That slaughter rendered Melkote a near ghost town. Its
    environmentally connected life was broken, kalyanis went to ruin,
    water shortage became endemic, the hills went brown. Sanskrit lost a


    4. Thiru mUzhikkaLam
    The temple was Sacked by during Tippus invation, like
    > the temple at Thiruvanjikkalam. The image of the
    > presiding deity is in a damage .



    1790 C.E.- The threat from Tippu Sultan:

    Tippu, the son of Haider Ali, invaded the Carnatic in 1790 C.E. with his mammoth army, causing considerable havoc and destruction. He stationed his army in the temple for 6 days, and demanded 100000 gold pieces for his army from the temple authorities. The demand was refused, at which the Sultan turned wild. Fortunately however, Tippu had to flee for his own safety before he could wreak his vengeance upon the temple.

  • Place also look into the massacre of devattiparambu in kodagu/kodage/coorg,where he has massacred 60000 kodavas/coorgs and converted the equal number by Cheating the kodavas/coorgs proper (Orginal natives of the region) and through the body into river cauvery.please mention it in your site.about this maniac so called ruler.

  • The above article regarding Tippu’s padayottam in Malabar is correct because I belongs to a Nair family fled from azhvanchery (in malappuram dist) along with alvanchery thambrakker(Bhramin ruler there) to Kottayam (old Travancore region) during Tipu’s entry to Malabar. We used to visit our family temple there in Azhvanchery. I had seen many families in Tranvancore who fled from there used to visit the temple. I am citrating this here not to fight against anybody or any religion but its fact and part of our history cannot be changed.