Celebrating Tipu Jayanti on November 10 has turned out be a prestige issue for the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government. In spite of the stiff protest from the BJP - they termed Tipu "mass rapist" and "Anti-Hindu" - the government is determined to celebrate the birth anniversary of the warrior. "Tipu was never anti-Hindu. Had he been so, he would not have donated funds to hundreds of temples including the temples in Sringeri, Nanjangud and Srirangapatna," Siddaramaiah had shot back.
In celebrating Tipu Jayanti, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is also celebrating the values that the Tiger of Mysore believed in. Except one, perhaps.
The Tiger of Mysore had reportedly banned liquor during his rule. Quoting Dr Shjivamurthy Shivacharya Swami of Sirigere Mutt in Chitradurga, The Hindu reported that Tipu banned liquor in 1787 in spite of the strong opposition from his minister Mir Sadiq. "People's peaceful life is more important than revenue collection," Tipu had said, according to the seer.
The seer made these statements while addressing a rally of scores of women who had come out in support of the anti-liquor policy in Raichur on Sunday. Led by social activist Medha Patkar the rally was named "Our vote to those who ban liquor".
Like anywhere else, liquor is a major revenue generating source in Karnataka. The liquor outlets in Bengaluru alone form the lion's share of the State economy. Recently, the Supreme Court had banned liquor outlets on the national high way. However, the State government quickly brought amendments to the direction by denotifying the national highways as state highways. Moreover, the State government is issuing fresh licences to the new shops.
Women who protested in Raichur belonged to the lower class strata of the society suffer at the hands of their alcoholic husbands - both socially and economically. They not only fight against their alcoholic husbands but also with their fate for having to deal with such a situation. Frustrated many end their lives, for no fault of theirs. Not to speak of what goes through their children's minds. The successive governments do not bother to save the lives of scores of women. Worst, the political parties shamelessly distribute liquor during elections.
The seer wondered if the State government is determined to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Jayanti, what stops it from banning liquor, a policy implemented by the erstwhile king. The Sirigere Mutt seer said "The Congress government should at least follow Tipu Sultan and decide to protect the people's interests by banning liquor," the seer suggested. Will CM Siddaramaiah emulate Tipu Sultan?