Tipu Jayanti: Why is democracy celebrating genocide?

First Published 10, Nov 2017, 10:39 AM IST
Tipu Sultan Tipu Jayanthi freedom fighter or dictator
Highlights
  • State divided over celebrating Tipu Jayanti
  • Government offers no explanation, decides to go ahead with celebration

Even as scholars in Karnataka seem unable to come to an amicable resolution on celebrating Tipu Jayanti, political analysts term this discord as a political gimmick to consolidate vote banks. The clear polarisation between scholars for and against Tipu Sultan, a former ruler of Mysore, has caused growing intolerance and communal discord in Karnataka. 

Both factions have failed to convince the other as to why the proof and historical evidence accrued by them are 'baseless'. 

The state government has decided to celebrate Tipu Jayanti again this year. But it has so far been unable to explain the relevance of the Jayanthi of a feudal, imperialist leader in a liberal, secular, democratic system. It is a shame for a democratic system to worship an autocrat and religious fundamentalist ruler. 

As the High Court has observed, Tipu was a monarch preserving his kingdom and not a freedom fighter. It is ironical that the Congress, which claims to be the party of Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Kalam Azad, etc. and the non-violent Independence movement would bracket Tipu, who was responsible for countless cruel deaths, as a 'freedom fighter'. 

Tipu's war against the British cannot be a justification for the celebration of the Jayanthi because Tipu cannot be an icon for a nation which declared its freedom through Satyagraha and non-violent methods. 

There are so many leaders who fought against the British, in the medieval period, like Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmi Bai, Kitturu Channamma, Sangolli Rayanna, Tatya Tope, Shivaji, etc. But none of them is as controversial or notorious as Tipu, who is infamous for his religious fanaticism and conversions. 

Some political analysts opine that both the ruling and opposition parties are politicising this Jayanthi just to consolidate their vote bank, as the Assembly Elections are approaching. However, political efforts of parties to gain the confidence of the Muslim community cannot be justified by this kind of Jayanthi, even though he is considered a 'benevolent' dictator. 

In fact, our Muslim heritage has far better icons than Tipu, like Sufis and the Darvish mystics. 

Agreeing with the sentiment, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP, said: "The British ruled India for centuries with this kind of divide and rule and dishonest politics. The Congress with its "steal flyover" and Tipu Jayanthi is following the same mix of vote banks and corrupt politics. Congress is doing irreparable harm to our state and communal harmony with this kind of politics of vote banks and corruption

Let Karnataka celebrate several thousands of real heroes of this state including Muslim leaders. Don’t besmirch real heroes and freedom fighters by doing this terrible kind of divisive politics."

Reverence often loses its sanctity if it is shown and exhibited on the public platforms in the middle of intolerance and dissonance. It would be beneficial if the government focuses more on the welfare of the state and keep itself aloof from cultural and religious matters.   

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