Election seas will be stirred by the BJP's Tipu Sultan movie

Election seas will be stirred by the BJP's Tipu Sultan movie

Following the Sangh parivar assertion that the 18th-century Mysore king Tipu Sultan did not die against the British colonialists, a film production company run by Karnataka minister Munirathna has released a film presenting two mythological Vokkaliga chieftains as the "true murderers" of Tipu Sultan.

Uri Gowda Nanje Gowda is the name of the movie registered by Vrushabhadri Productions, after the two Vokkaliga chieftains who, according to historians, are a creation of the Sangh parivar.

According to accepted history, Tipu died on May 4, 1799, while defending his fort in his capital city of Srirangapatna, close to Mysore, during the fourth Anglo-Mysore War.

With just a few weeks left before the Karnataka Assembly elections, the decision to create the movie and the associated advertising seems timely.

The Vokkaliga population, which makes up 11% of the state's 5 crore voters and has significant sway in the Old Mysore area, has been the target of intense effort by the BJP.

The Vokkaligas have historically supported the Janata Dal Secular of community member and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

In Karnataka, Tipu has been the centre of a contentious political debate, with the Congress and JDS depicting him as a progressive leader and the Sangh Parivar branding him a persecutor of Hindus.

A historian who has studied Tipu in depth, Talakadu Chikkarange Gowda, refuted the Hindutva interpretation of Tipu's life and demise.

British personnel kept a record of Tipu's last hours starting when he headed to defend his fort, which was being attacked. "When he learned about the assault on his fort, which is close to his palace, Tipu was eating lunch," he told the journalists on Saturday.

The British kept detailed records of everything that followed, including how the battle developed, how Tipu was shot near the Watergate and his body was discovered inside the fort a hundred yards away, and how more than 50,000 people took part in the procession that carried the body to be buried on May 5, 1799. But, these two individuals—his claimed Vokkaliga killers—are never mentioned.

Chikkarange Gowda questioned: "If Tipu was anti-Hindu, why did 50,000 people, most of whom were Hindus, attend his funeral? Why are most of the people who see his yearly urus (celebration parade in Mysore) Hindus?

Chikkarange Gowda's concerns about the neglect of statues honouring Tipu and his father Hyder Ali were shared by architect Mansoor Ali.

He informed this publication, "They have suddenly projected these two figures to split the Vokkaliga votes before of the elections.

The BJP has been accused of "maligning the Vokkaliga community as a whole with this falsehood that two Vokkaliga chieftains assassinated Tipu," according to Deve Gowda's son and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

He told reporters on Friday that the group's goal was to permanently paint the Vokkaligas as villains in history.

The two Vokkaliga chieftains, according to Union minister Shobha Karandlaje, who was named chairman of the BJP's election management committee last week.

Tipu and his father Hyder Ali had deceived the Mysore maharajas, thus they battled for self-respect, she said.

When Tipu gained the throne in 1782, the kingdom was finally taken over by Hyder Ali, a soldier who the Wodeyar kings of Mysore raised to the position of army leader.

The mention of the two Vokkaliga chieftains seems to have very recently occurred. Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda are identified as the true assassins of Tipu in the contentious Kannada drama Tipu Nijakanasugalu (The Real Dreams of Tipu), which was written a few years ago by Addanda Cariappa.