The Story of Tipu Sultan –
Tipu Sultan was born at Devanahalli, 33 km north of Bangalore. He is said to have been born on 20 November 1750. His father, Hyder Ali, was a military officer in service to the Kingdom of Mysore who quickly rose in the ranks and became the de facto ruler of Mysore in 1761. His mother Fatima or Fakhr-un-nissa was the daughter of the governor of the fort of Kadapa.
Tipu Sultan was introduced to military training by French officers in the employment of his father. By the time he was 15, Tipu accompanied his father against the British in the First Mysore War in 1766. In a year’s time he was made commander to a cavalry he led during the British invasion of South India. By the end of the war Tipu Sultan had already made a name for himself.
In 1779, the British captured the French-controlled port of Mahe, which Tipu had placed under his protection, providing some troops for its defence, which resulted in the start of the second Anglo-Mysore War. In response, Tipu’s father dispatched 10,000 men and 18 guns. In this battle, Tipu decisively defeated Baillie as well as Colonel Braithwaite. He brought down armies of nearly 7000 men.
By the time his father died, Tipu Sultan had gained sufficient military experience and on 22 December, he became the ruler of Mysore. He then started working on checking on advances of the British by making a alliance with the French, Afghanistan as well as the Sultan of Turkey.
In 1789, Tipu triggered off the Third Anglo-Mysore war by attacking the British Colony of Travancore. The war lasted three years and brought an end to Tipu as he had to give up half of his kingdom, and had to pay a fine of 33 million rupees and also had to deal with the kidnapping of his two sons.
Tipu Sultan paid the fine and got back his sons. He then slowly started building his army, preparing for war. Apart from that Tipu also wrote the books ‘Futuh-ul-Majahdin and ‘Farmeh Ba Nam Ali Raja.’ He built roads and dams and even introduced new industries and promoted trade and commerce.
In 1799, Tipu was about to fight his most decisive battle. General Richard Wellesley was on a mission to bring down Tipu, and in two months his armies marched towards Srirangapatnam, and thus began the fourth Anglo-Mysore War.
Tipu was caught unprepared for battle but fought fiercely like a ‘Tiger’ a nickname he had received for the battles he had fought with the British. The British however were too powerful and were able to surround the palace.
When all hope was lost, Tipu raced back to the palace to kill all the women, for he knew that they would rather die than be at he mercy of the British. Unfortunately, he was shot at the entrance and died.
Tipu Sultan was buried at a mausoleum that he had built himself. He was considered as one of the most powerful Princes of India and was said to be the biggest threat to the British position in Southern India.
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