Friday 26 October 2012

Tipu and his blood stained saddle clothe

All of us are familiar with the life and times of Tipu Sultan and the manner in which he laid down his life. The island city of Srirangapatna is as closely associated with Tipu as it is with the Ranganatha Temple.
Tipu died on May 4, 1799 and the spot where his body was found is marked by a plaque. While the marauding British carried away almost all the treasures of Tipu, they could not  lay hands of some of Tipu’s well-known possessions. 
Did you know that the saddle cloth on which Tipu Sultan died a martyr, complete with bloodstains, was found in a store room in Ganjam along with several pistols, gold and silver coins, daggers and a personal copy of Koran..  (this is a small village near Srirangapatna and it is home to the summer palace called Daria Daulat and also the tomb of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan).
Tipu was sitting with one of his sons and eating his food when a soldier came running and informed him that the British had breached the fort near the water gate.
Tipu mounted his horse which had already been saddled and galloped towards the breach. He saw the British flag hoisted on the fort and ran towards it to bring it down. What happened next is the stuff of legends. He died a heroic death and he was identified as the sultan only after he died.
The British gave back the body of Tipu to his family. It is believed that Tipu’s Revenue Minister Poornaiah, took away the blood stained clothes of Tipu, the saddle clothe and hid it from the British troops.
There are several accounts that testify to the plunder of Srirangapatna by the British. Though the British did not harass Tipu’s family or his  wives and children, they looted the entire treasury, emptied he palace and destroyed it.
The State Government held an exhibition of these treasures in Bangalore two years ago. The exhibition also saw the personal  copy of the Koran and  coins being put on display.
These exhibits have again been locked in the treasury and displayed every May.
There is an interesting story behind the  blood stained clothes.
Poornaiah is believed to have sent away some of the treasures of Tipu to Tamil Nadu. His main reason was that he did not want the treasures to fall into the hands of the British.
Poornaiah had 
However, Poornaiah, did not any occasion to reclaim the treasure as he was overtaken by events behind his control. Tipus’s sons were first exiled to Vellore and from there to Kolkata. Poornaiah son became a Dewan in the house of Wodeyars. 
The treasures were believed to be with the family of Poornaiah till twenty three years ago.
It was sometime in the late 1980s that the Poornaiah family contacted the Estate officers of the Tipu Sultan properties at Ganjam and sought to return them.    
What were the treasures that were returned?
Here is a list.
Tipu's war costume, including a kurta-like war dress, saddle on which Tipu sat during his final battle in 1799, silver and gold coins, prayer beads which he always had with him and a personal copy of the Koran.
Here is a small piece of information. Talkad Chikarange Gowda is credited with discovering Tipu Sultan's treasure at Ganjam.  He was not invited to the exhibition as the then Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa did not want to share the dais with a Leftist.
Do  you know what is the estimated worth of these treasures.
The Establishment had put out tentative  figures. They are:

Pistol: Rs 10 lakh                                                        
Koran: Invaluable                                                   
9 swords: Rs 9 crore                              
2 daggers: Rs 50 lakh                                                 
30 coins: Rs 30 lakh                                       
War costume with blood stains (Saddle cloth): Rs 5 crore 

No comments:

Post a Comment