The 211th death anniversary of Tipu Sultan, also known as the 'Tiger of Mysore', is observed on May 4. Much has already been written about the life, achievements and valour of Tipu. My focus, however, is on the fate of his tormentors — those who conspired and waged wars against him.
If seen on a larger canvas, the main conspirators were the British, Marathas, Nizams, various Rajas and Nawabs.
However, after the martyrdom of Tipu, we see a pattern of divine retribution against the aggressors.
To start with, legend has it that Mir Sadiq's body was discovered lying on a heap of garbage and he had most probably been disposed of by the late Sultan's remaining loyal troops.
The British Resident at Hyderabad, James Kirkpatrick, who had worked overtime to mastermind the unholy alliance between the British and Hyderabad, after suffering from innumerable painful diseases, died of hepatitis in Calcutta, away from his loved ones and was buried by strangers.
The ruler of Hyderabad, Nizam Ali Khan, suffered paralysis and died a miserable and unlamented death. The crafty Hyderabadi minister Mir Alam was struck with leprosy and died painfully. The Marathas fought and killed each other and burnt to ashes the town of Poonah. Jaswant Rao Holkar was reduced to the state of a mad man, ending his days chained and fed on milk. Lord Cornwallis, also died a humiliating death after suffering from dysentery.
Governor General Marquess Wellesley “almost had a nervous breakdown. He took to his bed for 10 days, unable to eat or sleep.”
In misery, Wellesley wrote to his wife, “I have been reduced to a skeleton, yellow, trembling, too weak to walk around my room. In my mind I suffer martyrdom...I am ruined here, everyone feels my degradation.” After Mysore had fallen, the British squashed their erstwhile allies, thereby fulfilling Tipu's prophecy.
Tipu fought like a tiger, living up to his reputation. Today, Tipu proudly lies in his grave with “three sabre cuts and a bullet wound to his temple”.
His end had been an exalted one, much better than that of those who 'thought' they had humbled him. Whilst his tormentors have faded into oblivion, time and history have honoured and avenged the Tiger of Mysore.
KHAYYAM ALLY SOOMRO