Tipu Sultan’s descendants will have their royal status restored

Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ‘Tiger of Mysore’, ruled a kingdom that challenged British rule in India, sent ambassadors to Napoleon in Paris and was hailed as a legendary warrior by Sir Walter Scott.

Today his descendants are rickshaw pullers and domestic servants in Kolkata, shunned by India’s remaining royal families and humiliated by officials of a trust established to provide for their welfare.

But more than 200 years after Tipu Sultan was overpowered and killed by East India Company forces his impoverished descendants are to have their royal status restored.

They are being rehabilitated as a mark of respect to the ruler many Indians regard as the first hero of their freedom movement.

His reputation as a great general and fearless warrior was sealed in the Second Mysore War when he defeated British forces under Sir Hector Munro at the Battle of Pollilur in 1780. With the aid of French officers, he broke through British lines and unleashed 13 offensives until the British officers surrendered. One of them, Captain David Baird, was held prisoner for four years before returning to his regiment and leading the force that defeated Tipu Sultan in 1799.

The defeat marked the start of a long and painful descent for his family. His sons and their families were rounded up, jailed and later exiled to Kolkata, where Tipu Sultan had bought large estates for them.

The family’s defiance of British rule led to their being shunned by other Indian royal families and their fortunes declined.

The estates, which include the Royal Calcutta Golf Club and the Tollygunge Club, one of the foremost gentlemen’s clubs of the British Raj, are worth hundreds of millions of pounds. But they were taken over by a trust, which has refused to pay for their children’s education or save them from penury.

The estates were leased out on long-term peppercorn rents. Shahid Alam, the trust’s secretary, complained recently that the descendants wasted any money they were given and that the trust’s role was to maintain two mosques named after the Tiger of Mysore rather than provide handouts

Courtesy: Gulf News July 31, 2009


About Olikara

An engineer, history buff, collector of South Indian antiques.
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3 Responses to Tipu Sultan’s descendants will have their royal status restored

  1. B says:

    Absolutely fascinating!
    I guess the trouble is that Tipu and his father only ruled for 2 generations, having usurped a previous Hindu Dynasty of long standing. After his defeat, the Wodeyars were reinstated, if only as ‘puppet’ rulers under the British. Although Tipu was greatly respected by the British as a warrior, leader and adversary, his legacy was his prowess and defiance, and not his rightful rule in that region. No one – then and now, can argue against his importance in both this region and the history of India, but I can understand (but not necessarily agree) that his descendants will not have the inheritance of their illustrious ancestor.
    Another great article, Mr Oilkara!

    • olikara says:

      Dear B,
      Not much has happened on this since I wrote about it. Like most government projects, this seems to be going down the garden path.

      As for local support to Tipu’s family, the reaction will be mixed but I think the majority opinion will be in the descendant’s favour. As for the descendants, that is the problem. They have become so “bengali’ that they have no roots or attachment to Mysore. I do not know if they will be interested to relocate.

      Let’s hope for the best anyway.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear all,

    I Love and Have a great respect for Hazrath Tipu sultan Shaeed (RA) and Nwab Hyder Ali. I belong to the same roots of the family. But I have totally a different opinion on this topic.

    Firstly the fact is the Shaeed Tipu saheb’s family has spread out in many parts of the world. Its just not only in Bengal part, even their descendants are spread our in southern parts of INDIA as well as in England, America and Europe. But to prove this they don’t have nay documents or any thing related to it except the Bengal family which has been officially recognized as the descendants.

    Its my personal opinion, No descendants should every try to ask for the restoration of their status. We are now living in the INDEPENDENT country. And more over nor Nawab hyder ali nor TIpu saheb has ever asked for any kind of favors from any one for their personal living. Even though the Tipu saheb was the King of his state his has fixed salary for himself for the service which he used to give for running the Govt. He had given the zakat and fithra for what ever the earning he had earned as a salary. What ever they had was created and established by them with there will power and Hard work.

    Tipu saheb fought with BRITISH to liberate INDIA from the evil called BRITISH and make it a prosperous state. Tipu Saheb had the VISION to make INDIA the most powerful, Industrialize and Developed country in the world. And also wanted all people of the country should have the Best standard of living and no poor people to be there in the Country. He wanted to build the irrigation canals, wanted to build the robust economy with trade and commerce. Industries to export the goods manufactured in INDIA. And wanted to grow friends all over the world. He was on of the first leader in the world who had sent the congratulatory message to Americans when they got freedom from BRITISH RAJ.

    So I feel all the descendants rather than expecting from any Govt. they should take foot steps of their fore fathers and develop them-self to contribute to the growth of the country in different roles. As Today India is independent and we have whole lot of opportunists with us we have to work hard and achieve that status what those two great men had achieved.

    I really never want our family members to be spreading their hands in-front of any one or any Govt. Its our country. As every descendants have the same genes and will power to become the Nawab Hyder ali and Tipu Sultan of present time. They have to identify their strength and work hard for achieving their Goals.

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