So I’ll read out a long-ish quote just to show you a very brief glimpse into the nature of Tipu’s aggressions and invasions. Here is an eye witness account by Father Bartholomew, “First a core of 30,000 barbarians who butchered everyone on the way, followed by the field gun unit, Tipu was riding on an elephant behind which another army of 30,000 soldiers followed. Most of the men and women were hanged in Calicut, first mothers hanged with their children tied to their necks. The barbarian Tipu Sultan tied naked Christians and Hindus to the legs of elephants and made the elephants move around till the bodies of the helpless victims were torn to pieces. Temples and Churches were ordered to be burnt down, desecrated and destroyed. Hindu women were forced to marry Muhammadans and similarly their men were forced to marry Muhammadan women. Those Christians and Hindus who refused to be honoured with Islam, were ordered to be killed by hanging immediately.”
And then we have another eye witness account by a German Christian missionary named Guntest, and he says, “Accompanied by an army of 60,000, Tipu Sultan came to Kozhikode/Calicut in 1788 and razed it to the ground. It is not even possible to describe the brutalities committed by that Islamic barbarian from Mysore.”
So now we come to Colonel William Kirkpatrick. After the fort of Srirangapatana fell to the British, lot of stuff was recovered from what belonged to Tipu. Out of that was a bunch of letters and Kirkpatrick, compiled all of them and published them. He published about 2000 selected letters. These were letters, that Tipu wrote to himself every morning, sitting on the shit-pot. Sorry for the language.
Kirkpatrick writes about the importance of these letters and I quote, “The importance of these letters consists in the vivid illustration which they afford in the talents and disposition of their extraordinary author, who is here successively and repeatedly delineated in colours from his own pencil, as the cruel and relentless enemy, the intolerant bigot or furious fanatic, the oppressive and unjust ruler, the perfidious negotiator.”
So they say that its always the best when it comes directly from the mouth of the horse. So we have Tipu’s own words, “With the grace of Prophet Muhammad and Allah, almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. Only on the borders of Cochin state, a few Hindus are still not converted. I am greatly determined to convert them very soon. I consider this as Jihad to achieve that objective”. This Tipu wrote in a letter to one of his military officers named Syed Abdul Dulai, in 1788 because he was so happy that he had burnt down Calicut to the ground.
Another letter, “I Have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over 4 Lakh Hindus were converted to Islam. I am now determined to march against the accursed Raman Nayar.” Now its important to remember that Raman Nair was the chieftain of a relatively small kingdom, a bunch of principalities. He and his Nair army beat back Tipu Sultan twice. In one battle he fell down from his palki and literally ran like a coward to save his life. So he wanted to take revenge on Raman Nair.
And then one more letter, during the siege of Nargun in 1786, “In the event of your being obliged to assault the place (that is Nargun), every living creature in it, whether man, woman, old or young, child, dog, cat, owl or anything else must be put to the sword”. One more, “the exciters of sedition in the Coorg country not looking to the consequences have raised their heads. Immediately we proceeded with the utmost speed and made prisoners of 40,000 Coorgs. Then we carried them away from their native country and we raised them to the honours of Islam”. Which means they were forcibly converted.
So, Tipu called his own kingdom as Khudadat Sarkar, meaning Government of Khuda or Allah. And as we have seen he left behind a bankrupt economy and more importantly, for everybody who says that Tipu is a great hero and some kind of reformer, here is a data point. Under Haider Ali, before Haider Ali died, the military force of Mysore was more than 1,20,000. Tipu reduced it to just 50,000 during his late battle. That’s the 4th Karnataka war. So Tipu reckless war also left behind large scale death and destruction in all of South India, spice trade was totally destroyed in Kerala.