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Tipu first to build rockets

Mumbai: “Progress in rocketry in the twentieth century India is in fact the materialisation of Tipu’s dream because rockets were first of all built in the country by the Tiger of Mysore Tipu Sultan.” These are the words of the presidential candidate, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
The moving spirit behind India’s missile programme, Dr Kalam has written in his autobiography Wings of Fire that when Tipu Sultan was killed in his last war against the British in 1799, they took into their possession all the system of 700 and 900 rockets after his death. There were 27 brigades of rockets in operators. All the captured rockets were taken .to England. This was the event which is today called reverse engineering, he wrote.

He said that at that time there was neither any rocket agreement, nor IPR Act nor any patent law. After Tipu’s death, Indian rocket system also died and was regenerated after 150 years.

He said that Tipu Sultan is respected in USA also and his experiments are remembered in NASA (National Aeronautics of Space Administration (or Agency). He said that once when he had gone to a flight centre in Virginia which is the hub of NASA’s rocket programmes, he saw a portrait in the lobby which contained a battle scene with rockets flying in the background. What caught his attention was that those who were firing rockets were not white men but brownish people whose facial features were like South Asians.

Some of Tipu’s rockets are preserved in a museum in Greenwich.
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