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Mystery shrouds Tipu's missing Sword

Mysore :
The golden sword of Tipu Sultan which was seized by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) in 1985, and which hit head lines after its alleged use in teleserial The Sword of Tipu Sultan in 1989, is back in news. Relatives of the sword's earlier custodians are saying they haven't heard anything about it in the last 14 years and are asking: where is the sword?

On the other hand, historians, archaeologists and others who beleive that the sword is in the CBI's "safe" custody demand that it be put on public view during next weeks Tipu bicentenary events at Srirangapatna.
A CBI team raided the Nagalingaswamy Math here in December 1985 and seized the sword, accusing one of the  Math's trustees of trying to sell the weapon to a foreigner. It was then kept in the local archaeology department office.
A picture of the Golden Sword
A picture of the Golden Sword taken in 1985 when it was seized from the Nagalingaswamy Math.
The department handed over the sword to the CBI following allegations that it appeared in the teleserial. The department maintained that the serial makers only took photographs of it so that Sanjay Khan could use a replica of it.
N.Shivananda, the grandson of Siddalinga Swamiji, who headed the Math when it  was given the sword by the late Maharaja of Mysore after independence, now says that he has reasons to beleive that the sword is "missing".
"I am not defending the accused in the CBI case who is already dead, but my concern is that we have not heard about the sword and other antiques such as golden palm leaves and other artifacts seized by the CBI officials," Mr. Shivanand says.
Another relative of the swami said the CBI was "supposed" to have kept the sword in its Bangalore office. "I have doubts whether it is realy safe," he said.
Mr. Shivanand said the government hand over the sword to the archaelogical department for public display pending disposal of the case.
Deputy Director of Archaelogy C.S.Patil, who has published a paper on the history of Tipu's swords, said the sword seized by the CBI was one of the three used by Tipu. "If one is on display at the Scotish United Service Museum at Edinburgh, another is at the Royal Museum, London he said.
Mr. Patil said the third sword, which is the subject of controversy, was one Tipu used to cut thigh of Captain Woodhall, who choked all escape routes of the Sultan by resorting to heavy firing.
The sword was recovered from Tipu's hands after his death by Colonel Arthur Wellesly, who inturn passed it on to Chalrles IV, the duke of Richmond.
An official who was the witness to the seige said the sword is in the safe custody of the CBI, and there is "no need to worry". But, he said, it is the government which should decide whether to display it during the bicentenary events or not."
Former Vice Chancellor of Goa & Mangalore Universities Sheik Ali, a historian himself, said the government should prepare a safety plan before displaying the sword. 

--- The Times of India, Friday, April 30, 1999