The Congress Party's move to celebrate Tipu Jayanti - the birth anniversary of the 18th-century ruler of Mysore kingdom - has continued to generate loud opinions, both for and against. As is perhaps to be expected, the religious angle has come to the forefront.
In the latest such broadside, Noted film director MS Sathyu opined that had Tippu been a Hindu, he would have been treated like as a great patriot similar to Kittur Rani Chennamma and Jhansi Rani Laxmibai. He was speaking at Centenary Celebration of Socialist Revolution, organised by the Secretariat Club in the city on Sunday.
"We consider Kittur Rani Chennamma and Jhansi Rani Laxmibai as great patriots because they fought against the British. But strangely Tipu is not being viewed in the similar light, though he resisted and gave a tough fight against the British governance. Is it because he is of Muslim origin?" he said.
This is not a particularly new point of view, and it has found favour among those who believe Tipu's many war crimes - like genocide - are a product of his times, and he should still be treated as a fighter for Indian 'independence'.
Several other noted personalities and all right-wing organisations and parties oppose the celebration, arguing that Tipu was a tyrant and a warlord who waged genocidal wars against fellow Indians.
However, in spite of severe protests, the Karnataka government has decided to celebrate Tipu Jayanthi anyway on 10th November.
The celebration function will be organised by the Department of Kannada and Culture in the Banquet Hall of Vidhana Soudha. Besides, the government has issued an order to celebrate Tipu Jayanthi in all Taluk and District centres.
Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara has said the Jayanthi would be celebrated with all necessary security as the BJP has opposed the celebration.
Last year Tippu Jayanthi was organised by the Department of Minority Development. But there was some resistance saying that the government is trying to appease the Muslim community by arranging the Jayanthi under Minority Development Department.
Hence this year the government has decided to host the function under the Department of Kannada and Culture. KV Dayananda, Director of the Department of Kannada and Culture, said that the government had granted funds to all Taluk and District centres for the celebration.
₹10 lakh has been granted for the celebrations in the Banquet Hall, Vidhana Soudha. ₹50 Thousand has been sanctioned to all District centres and ₹25 thousand to all Taluk centres.