Tipu Sultan – UPSC Prelims

Tipu Sultan:
  • Born in November 1750, Tipu Sultan was Haidar Ali’s son and a great warrior, also known as the Tiger of Mysore.
  • He was a well-educated man fluent in Arabic, Persian, Kanarese and Urdu.
  • Mysore had grown in strength under the leadership of powerful rulers like Haidar Ali (ruled from 1761 to 1782) and his famous son Tipu Sultan (ruled from 1782 to 1799).
  • Tipu introduced a number of administrative innovations during his rule, including his coinage, a new Mauludi lunisolar calendar, and a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of Mysore silk industry.
  • Embracing western military methods like artillery and rockets alongside traditional Indian weapons including war elephants, he ensured his forces could overwhelm his Indian rivals and match the British armies sent against him.
Maintenance of Armed Forces:
  • He organised his army on the European model with Persian words of command.
  • Though he took the help of the French officers to train his soldiers, he never allowed them (French) to develop into a pressure group.
  • He was well aware of the importance of a naval force.
  • In 1796, he set up a Board of Admiralty and planned for a fleet of 22 battleships and 20 large frigates.
  • He established three dockyards at Mangalore, Wajedabad and Molidabad. However, his plans did not fructify.
Fought Against Marathas:
  • In 1767, Tipu commanded a corps of cavalry against the Marathas in the Carnatic (Karnataka) region of western India, and he fought against the Marathas on several occasions between 1775 and 1779.
Role in Anglo-Mysore Wars:
  • The British saw Haidar and Tipu as ambitious, arrogant and dangerous – rulers who had to be controlled and crushed.
  • Four wars were fought with Mysore.
    • 1767-69: Treaty of Madras.
    • 1780-84: Treaty of Mangalore.
    • 1790-92: Treaty of Seringapatam.
    • 1799: Subsidiary Alliance.
  • Only in the last – the Battle of Seringapatam – did the Company ultimately win a victory. Tipu Sultan was killed defending his capital Seringapatam.
  • Mysore was placed under the former ruling dynasty of the Wodeyars and a subsidiary alliance was imposed on the state.
Other Related Points:
  • He was also a patron of science and technology and is credited as the ‘pioneer of rocket technology’ in India.
  • He wrote a military manual (Fathul Mujahidin) explaining the operation of rockets.
  • Tipu was a great lover of democracy and a great diplomat who gave his support to the French soldiers at Seringapatam in setting up a Jacobin Club in 1797.
  • Tipu himself became a member of the Jacobin Club and allowed himself to be called Citizen Tipu.
  • He planted the Tree of Liberty at Seringapatam.

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