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Biography Biography

Tipu Sultan
The First Freedom Fighter
By Prof. Sheik Ali
(Former Vice Chancellor of Goa & Mangalore Universities)

Patriotic fervour :

The first freedom fighter
His efforts on gathering support
A model army...a dread for enemies
Progressive thinking & Modernisation
Tipu Sultan

Progressive thinking & Modernisation

Another significant aspect of his life was his awareness of the realities of the 18th Century world. He felt, whereas Europe had made tremendous progress in terms of inventions and discoveries, explorations and voyages, new learning and renaissance, India had lost even the parameters of past glory.
He analysed the factors why it was so, and found that the cross-fertilization of new ideas had met with a natural death in our land. That was why he corresponded with the French, appreciated their modern and revolutionary ideas, became a member of the Jacobean Club, Planted the tree of liberty outside his palace, called himself " Citizen Tipu " and adopted western techniques of warfare and system of administration.
Only one type of authority, despotism, had choked the nervous system of Indian body politics. Cast rigidities had paralyzed the social system. Too strong a tendency for each principality to assert its own authority had fragmented the land. Tipu attempted to alter this situation and build up loyalties to a larger state. His concept of a nation-state, his sense of responsibility to the needs of the people, his elimination of feudal intermediaries, and his building up of a standard system of law, and efficient system of administration were all modern ideas far ahead of his times. It stands to his credit that these ideas were subsequently adopted by those who bitterly fought earlier against him.
Tipu's sharp mind quickly perceived the fact that the European Mercantilism was essentially a system of political power. Its aim was to suck the wealth of other nations through exchange of goods at exorbitant rate of profit. The merchandise of the East was sold in Western Market a hundred times more than what was paid for. Very quickly Europe started living on Asia, Africa and America. Tipu observed this phenomenon and tried to alter it.
Political differences apart, he had great respect for western science, technology, discipline, organization and system, He revamped the entire civil and military structure on the Western line. The dominant impulse was his passion for change, particularly the change of mind. His own mind had undergone a metamorphic change. He wanted to change the mind of others too. The change he wanted to bring about was a simple concept that life was not worth living unless it be a life of liberty and dignity. Without this liberty man was like a bird kept in a cage. Tipu's mind was agitated that the British were fast making the whole of India, a great prison house. He desired to liberate his compatriots so as to make them feel the freshness of free air, and the sweetness of a dignified life. The British caught him in the process of opening the flood-gates of this prison, and shot him dead.

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