Read this article to learn about estimate of Tipu and political impact of the fall of Mysore.
Estimate of Tipu:
Tipu ranks among those patriotic rulers who spent their life time in defence of their country against foreign invasions and laid their lives in that sacred task.
He was a remarkable personality in the Indian history, far above the prevailing vices of his time, of sound moral character and with an intense faith in God.
By the contemporary standard he was fairly educated. He spoke three languages with great ability—Kanarese, Urdu and Persian and maintained a good library.
He was a patriot, a valiant soldier, an able general and a diplomat of no mean quality. He clearly perceived that the real enemy was the English, and not any Indian Power. He like an astute diplomat tried to take advantage of the European conflict between England and France and to that end sent emissaries to France as also to other countries and held correspondence with Zaman Shah of Kabul. A. subsidiary alliance with the English would have saved Tipu and his kingdom but Tipu preferred death to survile existence; independence to him was above everything and he lost his life in trying to preserve it.
Tipu was an industrious ruler who kept his attention, despite his ceaseless struggle with the English, to the improvement of the condition of his people. Even Englishmen like Major Dirom and Edward Moore, two contemporaries of Tipu, were highly impressed by the efficiency of his administration and stated that Tipu enjoyed immense popularity in his kingdom. Sir John Shore mentioned: “the peasantry of his dominions are protected and their labours encouraged and rewarded.” Old writers like Kirpatrick, Wilks, Rennell etc. and modern writers like Bowring, Roberts and Dean Hutton have been rather unfair to Tipu when they call Tipu a cruel and sanguinary tyrant, a fanatic and an oppressive despot. But facts are otherwise.
Tipu cannot be held guilty of systematic cruelty and Major Dirom’s remark in this regard is worth quoting. “His cruelties were in general inflicted only on those whom he considered his enemies.” Tipu’s Shringheri letters show that he knew “how to placate Hindu opinion and religious intolerance was not the cause of his ruin”. Wilks’ statement that Tipu attempted wholesale conversion of the Hindus into Islam is not borne out by facts. He was a devout Mussalman no doubt, but his policy was net of a narrow bigot or of a fanatic; he only forced those of the Hindus who proved obstinately recalcitrant to be converted into Islam. He was, however, less sagacious and practical than his father Hyder Ali. In his “restless spirit of innovation, and a wish to nave everything to originate from himself, was” remarked Thomas Munro, “the predominant feature of his character”.
“Tipu’s memoray has been stereotyped into that of a monster, pure and simple. But his character was perhaps unique in Oriental history. He had a spirit of innovation and curiosity recalling Akbar’s. A new calendar, new scale of weights and measures, new coinage occupied his energy…Brave himself, he worked the extreme of reckless loyal co-operation in others. His industry was as unremitting as that of his great opposer, his anxiety to strengthen his country with Western science and achievement was even free from religious hesitations”.
Political Impact of the fall of Mysore:
Fall of Mysore with the defeat and death of Tipu at Seringapattam was a matter of immense relief to the English who were doubly worried because of the relendess struggle of Tipu and the French intrigues in that context. Tipu was “an ally of the French in India” remarked Henry Wellesely, later Duke of Wellington. The battle of Wandiwash (January 22, 1760) had seen the total defeat of the French and their fate was decided once for all. Yet the French had not given up their ambition.
They now tried to establish their influence in the courts of the Indian rulers like Nizam, Sultan of Mysore, and the Marathas. Chavelier, formerly governor of Chandernagore, Law de Lauriston, Bellecombe, former governors of Pondicherry and military adventurers like Modave, Gentil, Madec etc. joined the services of the Indian Princes and incited them against the English. Lublin and Montigny, two French agents, were sent to India by the French Ministry of Marine and Colonies. Lublin negotiated a treaty with Nana Fadnavis in order to stir up the Marathas against the English. The French also considered an alliance with Hyder Ah necessary for regaining the ascendancy they had lost in India and despoil the English of it.
The Nizam as well had been disgusted at the neutrality of the English at the battle of Kharda and he now sought French help. He appointed Francois Raymond, Commander of a trained body of his army 14,000 strong. Raymond organised an anti-British and pro-Tipu and pro-French party in the court of the Nizam. Daulat Rao Scindia also maintained a 40,000 strong disciplined men under a French general named Perron. The influence of Perron was so great that in Wellesley’s words, he had built a French State on the banks of the Jumna.
The War of American independence had offered an opportunity to the French to regain what they had lost in India. The French sent three thousand men under Bussy and a fleet under Admiral Sufferein to Hyder Ali’s assistance, but Bussy’s expedition did not succeed in furthering French interests. Tipu, Hyder’s son, likewise sought French assistance taking advantage of the Revolutionary wars between the French and the English. But during the Revolutionary wars the English took possession of the French settlements in India. Their discomfiture was not, however, over, for Napoleon was proceeding towards the East through Egypt.
Wellesley on his arrival as Governor General received the nature of the French peril and set himself assiduously to remove it. He wanted to destroy the French influence in the courts of the Indian rulers and to disband the armies disciplined and trained under French officers.
Nizam’s acceptance of subsidiary alliance, defeat and death of Tipu in particular largely freed the English of the French peril which was completely over in 1814-15, that is, with the end of the Revolutionary wars. The fall of Mysore, the deadliest Indian enemy of the English, was a much sought for relief for the English and the subsequent history of the British conflict with the French in removing the French peril became easier.