Since few years, the BJP and Hindutva fascist outfits associated with the RSS are vehemently opposing the celebration of the Tipu Sultan Jayanti by the Congress government of Karnataka. The occasion is used by the BJP, RSS and the Bajrang Dal to spew venom against the anti-colonial monarch who died valiantly while protecting his kingdom, Mysore, from the British colonial aggression. The Muslim identity of Tipu Sultan is enough for the RSS and its progeny of cow-worshipping fascists to carry out a malicious propaganda against him; the recent feather added to this crown of humiliation was a jibe from Modi government’s minister and Karnataka BJP leader Anantkumar Hegde. He compared Tipu Sultan with the executed convict of Mumbai terror attack, Ajmal Kasab, by saying that now the S.M. Krishna-led Congress government is celebrating Tipu Sultan Jayanti, it will soon organise Kasab Jayanti as well. By uttering this gibberish abuse, the RSS-trained, pathologically fascist Anantkumar Hegde exposed his ideological bankruptcy and utmost love and loyalty towards the British imperialism and its colonial rule, of which the RSS founders and the Hindutva ideologues were faithful lackeys.
Tipu Sultan was a monarch and he headed an absolute monarchy that ruled Mysore, which was a totalitarian feudal kingdom with a Hindu majority. The modern concepts of secularism, democracy and parliamentary governance were non-existent in Europe in the late 18th century when Tipu Sultan was anointed as the ruler of the kingdom. Still, impressed by the republicanist ideology of the French Revolution, Tipu Sultan embraced the ideas of the revolution and excogitated over the problem of establishing republicanism in Mysore and involving the people in governance. So much so that Tipu Sultan helped the French Republican officers to found a Jacobin Club, India’s first Republican association and he named himself “Citizen Tipu” to bring himself at par with his subjects. This rendezvous of Tipu Sultan with the idea of republicanism, the meeting of an oriental progressive monarchy with the revolutionary ideas of French Revolution rang the alarm bell in the British camp, the very British who were then attempting to extinguish any flame of republicanism and democracy throughout Europe as the flag-bearer of reaction.
This ideology of republicanism made Tipu Sultan despise colonial enslavement and feudal production relations, which locked the productive force of Mysore and it didn’t allow the kingdom progress or its economy grow. Religious institutions retained a lot of land under them and the poor, lower caste Hindus were forced to till the soil under the inhuman caste system. Tipu Sultan was deeply interested in industrialisation at that period of time when all that India had was handicrafts. The development of indigenous rockets in the factories of his kingdom, the development of artillery according to European standards and his knack towards embracing the scientific inventions of the West and develop scientific research facilities in Mysore kingdom to intensify large-scale industrialisation, etc. frightened the British colonial rulers, whom Tipu Sultan and his army kept at bay from the kingdom. Tipu Sultan also played a great role in building modern irrigation facilities in his kingdom and provided employment to citizens in the indigenous rocket factories.
Diplomatically Tipu Sultan was close to the French, who were then the freest and revolutionary nation on earth at that time, following the French Revolution, which overthrew the absolute monarchy and took France a step towards democracy, liberty and republicanism and later inspired entire Europe to fight for the democratic republican system. Tipu Sultan denied to capitulate to the British East India Company’s colonial expansionist drive and strongly resisted, with all his military might, the British endeavour to make Mysore a part of its growing colonial territory in the Indian subcontinent. His military skills and valour were praised even by his arch enemies and it would have been hard for the British to defeat him, should his own men didn’t betray him.
As other monarchs of his time, Tipu Sultan too subscribed to the state’s religion, i.e. Islam, and overtly practised his religion. However, hitherto any objective reading of history has not proved with facts that Tipu Sultan ever forced people to convert to Islam through persecution and threat, though he had several conflicts of different magnitude with the Hindu feudal landlords and their allies, the Brahmin priests, who were threatened by Tipu Sultan’s pursuance of capitalist system through an industrial revolution.
Capitalism threatened to destabilise the feudal socio-economic condition, which helped the Brahminical system to thrive and flourish, and this threat made a large section of the Brahmins and upper-caste feudal landlords rebel against Tipu Sultan’s rule. Tipu Sultan killed many Hindus during wars of annexations, just like he killed many Muslims. The Nizam of Hyderabad, who was a hardcore Islamist and an ally of the British was a sworn enemy of Tipu Sultan, as were a section of the Mappila Muslims of Malabar, the Mahadevi Muslims, the Nawabs of Sawanur.
Despite Tipu Sultan’s antagonistic relationship with several Muslim rulers, the Hindutva hate mongers will not show them, as well as they won’t show how the Hindu Maratha rulers attacked temples, killed Hindus and then plundered their resources. In many instances, Tipu Sultan fought against the Maratha aggressors, who were in an alliance with the British colonial rulers. Muzaffar Assadi discussed in details about how tolerant Tipu Sultan was to other religious communities and how he tried to break free the Shudras from Brahminical hegemony by providing them land through first-of-its-kind of land reform in Mysore.
But the RSS will sweep all historical facts under the carpet and then deny their existence vehemently, if questions are raised, because the organisation strongly imparts the history lesson that the British colonial rulers asked its founding fathers to narrate to the Hindus so that the rift between the majority Hindus and minority Muslims can be widened and the Hindus can be incited to participate in communal genocides and apartheid against the Muslim community. This diktat of the British imperialism and later of the US monopoly and finance capital kept the RSS and its progeny busy in attacking Tipu Sultan even now by vilifying his rule in the 18th century. No one can expect better from the RSS or the BJP on Tipu Sultan, at a time when these parties are hell-bent to malign the great contributions of Mogul emperor Akbar’s role in building what’s called India at present.
Anantkumar Hegde hates Tipu Sultan because he is an RSS soldier and the RSS has taught him that all Muslim monarchs, especially those who fought the British, were anti-Hindu bigots and that’s why Muslims in India should go to Pakistan. Anantkumar Hegde was recently exposed by Altnews.in website for being one of the most abusive ministers of the Modi government by showing his abusive, indecent and vitriol-filled Twitter timeline to the world. This hate monger, communal venom spewer and RSS’ hardcore propagandist, Anantkumar Hegde, can be one of the few people in India who will call Tipu Sultan bigot to hide his own bigotry and accuse the anti-colonial warrior of being a mass-murderer, while serving in the cabinet of a mass-murderer who overlooked the genocide of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat during the 2002-anti-Muslim-pogrom. This sheer hypocrisy, packaged with “nationalist” colours is what the Modi Bhakts continue to uphold while distracting the people from Narendra Modi’s effort to hard-sell India to foreign capital and colonisers through his numerous foreign tours.
The issue of Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebration is a smoke screen which is actually being used by the two largest agents of foreign monopoly and finance capital in India, the Congress and the BJP. While through its ruckus and vandalism, the RSS and the BJP are trying to consolidate as much as Hindu voters of Karnataka under its Hindutva umbrella before the state goes to poll next year, the Congress, on the other hand, is attempting to build an anti-colonial, progressive and secular image around itself and making attempts to win the support of the progressive and secular section of the upper-caste Hindus and also project itself as a party that cares for the Muslims.
However, one cannot forget that the Congress, since its inception, played the role of a safety valve for the British colonial rule in India and since its master, the British imperialism, handed over the power baton of India to it after the country was torn apart, it has played a vicious role in turning the India into a neo-colony of various imperialist powers like the US, the Soviet Union, Britain, Japan, etc. and it was the very party that officially opened the flood gate of neo-liberal economy in 1992 and pursued a notorious corporate appeasement policy along with wooing foreign monopoly and finance capital to India.
Narendra Modi is today driving forward the very neo-liberal economic locomotive from where Manmohan Singh handed over the control to him. Modi’s sycophants are cheering his attempt to turn India into the haven of plunder and loot for foreign monopoly and finance capital by eulogising the narcissist leader and by showing the foreign capital invested by big corporations in the country as the key to India’s growth. This over-dependence on foreign capital, technology and alliance in joint ventures prove that the country cannot pursue any course of economic development on its own, as the capitalist class of India and their representative Narendra Modi’s government are strongly tied-up with those foreign corporations, who are keen to plunder the resources of India to fill their coffer and trickle down a small part of the wealth to the Indian ruling classes and their government.
If Tipu Sultan would have defeated the British colonial expansionists and consolidated his rule, then the capitalist development in Mysore would have led to a massive revolutionary change in the economic structure of the society and would have annihilated the feudal production relations, which still dominates the countryside of the entire subcontinent with the support of the religious fanatic and fascist forces like the BJP and the RSS. During Tipu Sultan’s rule, the per-capita income of Mysore kingdom was higher than that of Britain and the quality of life was also at par with the West. The capitalist revolution of India, nipped at the bud by the British colonial rulers to ensure an end of any scope of competition and secure control over India’s raw material source and market for its commodities, could have transformed India into a major economic power like it did in Mysore for a brief period.
The crony comprador capitalists of India, born in the womb of British colonial rule, neither overthrew the feudal production relations nor struggled against the colonial rule. These comprador capitalists of India are tied up with foreign capital for technology, market and above all, for investment and finance, hence, the likes of Tata, Birla, etc. remained collaborators of the British colonial rulers, unlike their American counterparts, and served the interests of the colonial masters to get greater share in power and turn India into their fiefdom. The comprador capitalists are strongly tied-up with the semi-feudal production relation and they support the system as it provides it benefits like cheap raw materials, land and access to natural resources. The semi-feudal order is also buttressed by the foreign monopoly and finance capital to secure and consolidate their own rule over the country. The anti-colonial monarchs like Tipu Sultan are thorns for their eyes as rulers like him wanted their land to remain free and wanted to independently pursue the course of capitalist development by shattering the foundations of feudalism.
Hindutva fascist organisations are the most trusted and valuable lackeys of the Indian comprador capitalists and their masters, the foreign monopoly and finance capital-owned corporations and banks, who invest heavily in Indian stock markets and in projects that these comprador crony capitalists start. Therefore, it’s important for the likes of Anantkumar Hegde to ensure that their generous donors aren’t offended and the people are gradually disunited on communal lines, lest they strike back against the exploitation and oppression imposed on them by the feudal landlords and usurers, by Adani, Ambani, Tata and their foreign masters, the big corporations and banks based in Wall Street.
As RSS or the BJP has no icons of their own, who fought against the colonial rule of British imperialism. The RSS and the BJP never had the legacy of martyrs, who fought against the British rulers and embraced death with a smile. Rather, the ideologues of the Hindutva camp like Vinayak Savarkar is infamous for his numerous mercy petitions to the British government and his pledge to spy for the British in return for his release from prison. The RSS founders like K.B. Hegdewar and M.S. Golwalkar, lackeys of Italian and German fascism, were known for their vocal opposition to the participation of the RSS cadres in the independence struggle of India, rather they kept advocating for more Hindu-Muslim riots to ensure that the British colonial rulers had a cakewalk in managing their rule.
The lack of leaders whose life epitomise anything close to “nationalism” and “patriotism”, the foundation over which the Sangh Parivar has built its political discourse and is consolidating its right to rule, frustration naturally creeps within the rank and file of the Hindutva camp during political discourse and heated debates. This sheer frustration, resulting from the lack of icons to call their own and their inability to prove anything with their poorly-constructed loopholed theories, propels half-witted men like Anantkumar Hegde and other RSS hate-mongers to criticise Tipu Sultan and other Muslims who fought the British colonialists.
This very frustration coupled with the frustration in not being able to mesmerise the majority of Hindus, especially Dalits and backward caste Hindus, is making the RSS extremely feral in opposing the Muslim rulers like the Mogul dynasty’s rule or the rulers like Tipu Sultan who played a glorious role in resisting the colonial expansion of the British. These Hindutva thugs who kill hapless poor Muslim men in the name of “Gau Raksha” or cow protection, now demand that Tipu Sultan’s role must be revisited. Men like Indore-based BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is instrumental in fuelling communal tension in West Bengal, are now becoming vocal in opposing Tipu Sultan using their Shakha-learned deceitful theories.
The RSS’ narrative that calls the Muslim community as “anti-national” and “traitors” can only be fulfilled if officially Tipu Sultan and other Muslims, kings and common people alike, who fought the British colonial expansion or for the freedom of the country, can be eradicated from public memory and their glorious images can be smeared. Unless the Hindu community sees the Muslim community as the flag bearers and defenders of a purported barbaric and bloody 800-year-long Muslim rule, of which they make Tipu Sultan an inalienable part, the hatred against the community cannot reach to its peak. Even though the Hindutva propaganda like this will even accuse Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, who died in 1898, of spearheading Muslim League’s movement for Pakistan, they will demand that their vitriol should be considered as the authentic and official history, which if anyone, especially any Muslim oppose, they can be levelled as anti-national, or terrorist, or can be lynched by the Hindutva thugs.
It’s not recommendable for an elected government, which swears allegiance to democracy, to celebrate any monarch publicly, as historian Ramchandra Guha said. Rather than celebrating the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, the Karnataka government could have pondered over how his legacy, his economic vision and his great wars of resistance against the British East India Company could be presented in the best and objective way to the new generations and how the misconceptions and vitriol spread by the Hindutva camp can be thrashed and how the people’s mind can be detoxified by defeating and exposing the RSS’ notorious agenda. This would have helped the democratic forces with an opportunity to counter the Hindutva maniacs in a state where they gunned down M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh for their critical writing on Hindutva’s core ideology.
Still, it’s important to celebrate Tipu Sultan’s role, not as a freedom fighter, as President Ramnath Kovind said in his speech, but as Prof. Irfan Habib, the noted historian, says – as an anti-colonial icon and a monarch who was determined to bring forth capitalism by making his kingdom industrially prosperous. It must be remembered that the unity of the people of the subcontinent, who are divided across multiple cultural, linguistic and social diversity, was attained through the mass participation in the anti-colonial struggle and the unity of the country can remain intact on the basis of that very fervour.
Despite the RSS’ attempt to portray Tipu Sultan and other Muslim kings and rulers in the darkest shade and the official endorsement to these stands by the Modi government captures the headlines of the newspapers and TV channels these days, the legacy of the great rulers cannot be simply wiped out and the counter-narrative based on sheer fallacy and smear campaigns cannot remain mainstream for long. Though bigotry sometimes overpowers the best of logic and paralyses the latter for a while, bigotry and fascism cannot say the last word in the modern world where numerous people are thrown to the pit of starvation and uttermost poverty every day.
The people, especially the workers, the peasantry, the toiling masses will not tolerate the Hindutva jibes instead of food and employment for long and when their tolerance will give way to resistance and struggle, either spontaneously or due to continuous political efforts of the democratic and anti-fascist forces, then the RSS, the BJP or other fascist lackeys of the big foreign monopoly and finance capital and their Indian comprador allies won’t be able to protect themselves from the tsunami of mass discontent and their fascist empire will collapse like a house of cards. This is invincible because no reactionary power can rotate the wheel of progress backwards for a long period. Let the anti-colonial spirit of Tipu Sultan inspire the people in that future struggle as well.
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