Special Reports

National Seminar on Tipu Sultan

Aligarh: The Sir Syed Awareness Forum organized its 5th National Seminar on ‘Tipu Sultan-A Role Model for the Pluralistic Indian Polity’ here at the University Polytechnic Auditorium on 7 December.

The Chief Guest, Qamurul Islam, MLA and former MP and Karnataka cabinet minister said that Tipu Sultan was not only a champion of secularism at his time but he was also a freedom fighter and saviour of India. He added that Tipu Sultan was an excellent administrator in whose tenure there was marvellous work done like construction of dams, plantations and irrigation. Islam pointed out that Tipu Sultan abolished the Jagirdari System during his rule along with the abolition of slavery and child labour. “Tipu Sultan also prohibited the production and consumption of liquor during his rule,” he said adding that the army administrator, Tipu Sultan protected the Sringeri Sharada Peetham Matt Temple from the attacks of the Maratha rulers.

Presiding over the function, AMU Vice Chancellor, Lt General (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah said that Muslims in Uttar Pradesh should learn from their Muslim brethren in south-Indian states in terms of literacy and education. He added that Sir Syed had a vision of seeing Muslims with Quran and academic books in their hands. “In today’s scenario, where technology is defining progress, Muslims can take the vision of Sir Syed ahead with Quran and laptops in their hands,” said Gen. Shah. He also pointed out that AMU has taken an initiative of opening a chain of secular schools with Islamic ethos in various parts of Uttar Pradesh and at AMU Centres of Malappuram (Kerala), Murshidabad (Bengal) and Kishenganj (Bihar).

The Vice Chancellor said that Tipu Sultan was a secular and forward-looking Muslim ruler of his time, who was also a hero to the whole country and his contribution and sacrifices should not be forgotten.    

Pointing out that the Indian Army Academy teaches the army structures of Tipu Sultan and Mughal Emperor Babar in its curriculum, AMU Pro Vice Chancellor, Brigadier (retd) S Ahmad Ali said that Tipu Sultan’s army and administrative structures are relevant even in today’s world. “Tipu Sultan lived a life of a soldier more than a king,” he added. Brigadier Ali further said that it is sad that most accounts written on Tipu Sultan by the British historians show him in a negative light as he always resisted the oppression and tyranny of the British, while fighting for his motherland for which he eventually sacrificed his life.

“Tipu Sultan not only commanded the first naval force in the history of India, but he was the first Indian ruler and army administrator to use rocket technology,” said Brigadier Ali adding that Tipu Sultan wanted to uplift the lower strata of society in his time as he provided the Shudras (lower caste Hindus) with property and equal civic rights. Tipu Sultan gave grants to 156 Hindu temples and his army had a big portion of scheduled caste Hindus.

Professor Shakeel Samdani of the Department of Law, President of Sir Syed Awareness Forum, said that the subjects of Tipu Sultan’s kingdom lived in a composite culture and equal rights. He added that the composite culture during Tipu Sultan’s time is still present in modern-day India despite repetitive attempts to divide people on the basis of faith by the British Raj and other fascist forces.

Prof Samdani pointed out that Tipu Sultan wore a ring which had an inscription of the Hindu god Ram and this bears testimony to his secular credentials.

Dr Mohibul Haq of AMU’s Department of Political Science threw light on how certain elements are creating false propaganda to distort history. He added that a brilliance of Tipu Sultan was that he realised that colonialism was a threat to the whole country before other rulers could understand the coming of foreign aggression.   

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2016 on page no. 13

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