What do the original sources tell us about Tippu ?; First Jihad Against Hindus Of Malabar-Part 4

via Ghatotkacha Nair published on September 13, 2010

Taken from


Let us see what the Quran says, “Allah revealed His Will to the Angels saying ‘I shall be with you, give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, maim them in every limb. “(Surah 8: Ayat 12).So you see, such acts of violence, inhuman torture and barbarism, have been considered sacred duties of every Muslim in Islamic theology and practice, inspired by the ‘Holy’ Quran itself.

So what do the original sources tell us about Tippu?

“The first thing that Ali Raja of Cannanore did after his appointment as the Naval Chief of Hyder Ali’s army, was to capture the King of Laccadives and present him to Hyder Ali after gouging out the eyes of the helpless victim (p. 459). Later the fisherfolk living there were forcibly converted to Islam. According to the report of Gen. Abercromby of Bombay who was in Kerala supervising the English Company’s operations, “Moplahs are fanatic Muslims who are also treacherous by nature. From the repeated treachery and notorious infidelity of the whole Moplahs race, rigid and terrifying measures have become indispensably necessary. Lenity (towards Moplahs) has been found ineffectual” [Tippu Sultan, Villain Or Hero. An Anthology. Voice Of India, New Delhi. Pg 533.]

In the words of Ravi Varma, one of the contributors to the anthology: “It was Tippu Sultan and his fanatic Muslim army who converted thousands of Hindus to Islam all along the invasion route and occupied areas in North Kerala, Coorg, Mangalore, and other parts of Karnataka. Besides over 8,000 Hindu temples were desecrated and/or destroyed by his Muslim army. Even today, one can see large concentrations of Muslims and ruins of hundreds of destroyed temples in North Kerala as standing evidence of the Islamic brutalities committed by Tippu Sultan … He was, all through, waging a cruel Islamic war against the unarmed Hindu population of Kerala, with a large Muslim army and ably assisted by the French with powerful field guns and European troops. …”

The anthology also quotes from ‘A Voyage to the East Indies’ by Fra Barthoelomeo, a renowned Portuguese traveller and historian, who was present in Tippu’s war zone in early 1790: “First a corps of 30,000 barbarians who butchered everybody on the way … followed by the field gun unit under the French commander, M. Lally. Tippu 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 were hanged with their children tied to necks of mothers. That barbarian Tippu Sultan tied the naked Christian and Hindus to the legs of elephants and made the elephants to move around till the bodies of the helpless victims were torn to pieces. Temples and churches were ordered to be burned down, desecrated, and destroyed. … Moreover, evidence of Tippu”s atrocities abounds in many contemporary church records in Mangalore, Calicut, and Varapphuza.”

The anthology includes excerpts from Tippu”s letters as researched by the distinguished Kerala historian K. M. Panicker, which he reviewed in the Bhasha Poshini magazine, August 1923:

1. Letter dated March 22, 1788, to Abdul Kadir: “Over 12,000 Hindus were ‘honoured’ with Islam. There were many Namboodiris (Brahmins) among them. This achievement should be widely publicised among the Hindus. There the local Hindus should be brought before you and then converted to Islam. No Namboodiri (Brahmin) should be spared. Also they should be confined there till the dress materials sent for them, reach you.”

2. Letter dated December 14, 1788, to his Army Chief in Calicut:
“I am sending two of my followers with Mir Hussain Ali. With their assistance, you should capture and kill all Hindus. Those below 20 may be kept in prison and 5,000 from the rest should be killed by hanging from the tree-tops. These are my orders.”

3. Letter dated December 21, 1788, to Sheik Kutub: “242 Nairs are being sent as prisoners. Categorise them according to their social and family status. After honouring them with Islam, sufficient dress materials may be given to the men and their women.”

4. Letter dated January 18, 1790, to Syed Abdul Dulai:
“With the grace of Prophet Muhammed and Allah, almost all Hindus in Calicut are converted to Islam. Only a few are still not converted on the borders of Cochin State. I am determined to convert them also very soon. I consider this as Jehad to achieve that object.”

5. Letter dated January 19, 1790, to Badroos Saman Khan: “Don’t you know that I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over Four Lakh Hindus were converted to Islam. I am now determined to march against that ‘Cursed Raman Nair’ without delay. (Reference is to Rama Varma Raja of Travancore Kingdom who was popularly known as Dharma Raja for giving shelter in his state to all those who fled Malabar.) Thinking that he and his subjects would be soon converted to Islam, I am overjoyed and hence abandoned the idea of returning to Srirangapatanam.”

Historian Hayavadana C. Rao asserted that Tippu’s “religious fanaticism and the excesses committed in the name of religion, both in Mysore and in the provinces, stand condemned for all time. His bigotry, indeed, was so great that it precluded all ideas of toleration”. He further asserts that the acts of Tippu that were constructive towards Hindus were largely political and ostentatious rather than an indication of genuine tolerance. [Hayavadana C. Rao, History of Mysore 1399-1799: Incorporating the latest Epigraphical, Literary and Historical Researches Vol. 3 pgs 1047-53, Bangalore Government Press.]

The nightmarish results of Tippu’s invasion of Kerala have been aptly described by the former editor of Gazetteer of Kerala and the renowned historian A. Sreedhara Menon.

“But in reality, he was only a religious fanatic who believed in converting as many Hindus to Islam, and killing those who didn’t fall in line. Living in Kerala, one does not have to read historical books to know about Tippu”s oppression. It was just a few generations back and Tippu”s cruelty is a part of the folk-lore. Temples relocated, idols (some of them even made of gold) buried (some of them recently recovered) and people resettled, in the wake of Tippu’s military campaign (“padayottam” as it is locally known).” [Meanderthalis, “Tippu Sultan – the Glorified Butcher?” August 28, 2006.]

One of the leading Congressman of pre-independence days, K. Madhava Nair, observes on page 14 of his famous book, Malabar Kalapam (Mappila outrage): “The communal Mappila (Moplah) outrage of 1921 in Malabar could be easily traced to the forcible mass conversion and related Islamic atrocities of Tippu Sultan during his cruel military regime from 1783 to 1792.”

Dr. P.C.C. Raja, a direct descendent of the Zamorin of Calicut, writes in the anthology: “TIPPU SULTAN WAS ONE OF THE WORST FANATICS, AND MORE INHUMAN THAN EVEN THE NAZIS.”

According to Lewis B. Boury, the atrocities committed by Tippu Sultan against Hindus in Malabar were worse and more barbarous than those committed against the Hindus in Hindustan by the notorious MAHMUD OF GHAZNI, ALAUDDIN KHALJI, AND NADIR SHAH.

“Unfortunately, there are no memorials erected anywhere in Kodungallur, or Trichur, or Alwaye to honour Dharma Raja who gave shelter in his state to thousands of Hindus escaping from the Islamic brutalities of the fanatic Tippu Sultan; or to Ayyappan Marthanda Pillai who was the architect of the historic Nedumkotta Fort or to Raja Keshavadas under whose direct command a comparatively small army humbled and defeated the vast hordes of the invading army of Tippu Sultan; or to the scores of valiant Hindu soldiers who laid down their lives to protect their country, their culture and their ancient faith.” [Anthology. Appendix 2]It’s high time that the new generation Hindus are told the true Story of this Jihadi Tippu Sultan that he is not a Hero but a Villain in our History.

Unfortunately, we, the Hindus, have had to suffer a continuous history of conquests and foreign rule for over seven centuries.


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