The opposition, BJP, in Karnataka announced on Monday that it would stay away from celebrations by the Congress government on November 10, on the birth centenary of Tipu Sultan. He was an 18th century Muslim ruler of the Mysore region who is held in high esteem both as a ruler and an early opponent of British imperialism labeled a bigot by the Sangh Parvivar.
Calling Tipu Sultan a “religious bigot” who persecuted Hindus and converted many to Islam, BJP’s Karnataka president Prahlad Joshi, announced on Monday that the BJP will not participate in any events organized by the Congress government to mark Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary.
The state BJP chief’s announcement comes close on the heels of a declaration last week by the RSS Kshetriya Sangchalak V Nagaraj that the Sangh is opposed to celebration of the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan.
“Most people are opposed to this celebration. Tipu was the ruler of Mysore but at the same time he was the most intolerant king. It is recorded in history not by the RSS. His sword was meant to kill kafirs,” the RSS functionary said last Friday.
Joshi said that he has issued orders that “no public representative from the BJP should participate in the official function at any level.”
Many religious Hindu groups and the Mangaluru United Christian Association are also opposed to the Tipu Jayanti celebrations. The head of the Pejawar Mutt in Udupi has opposed the Congress government’s decision calling Tipu Sultan a “controversial person”. The Mangaluru United Christian Association has said that Tipu Sultan destroyed churches in coastal Karnataka.
Karnataka’s Congress chief minister has called the opposition to the celebration of Tipu Sultan Jayanti an attempt by right wing Hindutva groups to foment communal trouble.
“Tipu Sultan was secular. He fought the British rulers in three wars. In a way the freedom struggle began with the Mysore wars between Tipu and the British,” the Karnataka chief minister has stated.