Bigot or Patriot? Battle of words over the forthcoming Tipu Jayanti in Karnataka

While BJP and RSS are trying to portray Tipu Sultan as a Muslim bigot, Congress is projecting him as a lion-hearted patriot who fought against the colonial rule in India

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As Karnataka CM, Siddaramaiah takes an unswerving stand on his decision to commemorate Tipu Jayanti, Sangh Parivar and some Christian outfits are all set to fight tooth and nail to sabotage the celebrations. While BJP and RSS are trying to portray Tipu Sultan as a Muslim bigot, Congress is projecting him as a  lion-hearted patriot who fought against the colonial rule in India. Opinion-leaders have already taken their sides in this matter. Some oppose the decision since a fear of communal tension is looming in the state now. However, Siddaramaiah is not ready to succumb to the threat posed by extreme right wing organisations. Here goes the battle of words over the forthcoming Tipu Jayanti.

Here goes the battle of words over the forthcoming Tipu Jayanti:


“The RSS-BJP are trying to whip up communal tension and caste sentiments ahead of the elections. They are politicising it. The government will go ahead with the celebration,” – Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Chief Minister.




“Tipu was the Aurangazeb of South. Several historians have concluded that he was a bigot who massacred and forcibly converted non-Muslims. Not only in Karnataka, even in Kerala he is considered an evil king even now. The Siddaramaiah government is using his name to polarise Muslim votes.” – B S Yeddyurappa, BJP leader and former Chief Minister of Karnataka.



“In my opinion, Tipu Jayanti shouldn’t be backed by the state government. I have no issues if an individual or a group celebrates it, but in India, which is a democracy, there shouldn’t be the celebration of a monarch or for that matter any kind of feudal lord. If the government has to celebrate, it should be the democrats who have had their share of contribution for the nation as we see it today.”- Ramachandra Guha, writer and historian.


Gauri Lankesh

“It’s a political game to appeal to communities. I fear that such vote bank gimmicks will only lead to more violence by pitting communities against one another. From Kodagu, the violence might spread to other places too. Putting people’s lives at risk for larger political gain is not done. As much as I respect Basavanna or Tipu, I think Jayanti’s of all kinds are unnecessary.” – Gauri Lankesh, Journalist and Activist.


Shashi Deshpande

“History is reinterpreted over and over again; so it’s better to just leave him in peace. Let us learn about him, but a celebration of this kind is a waste of money; just politically motivated, done with an eye on the vote bank. Instead, collect money and build some schools in Kashmir. This is a waste of time, we don’t need it,” – Shashi Deshpande, Writer.



Dinesh Gundurao“It is the RSS and the BJP who want to politicise this issue. Don’t we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s anniversary? He was shot down by the RSS. Don’t we celebrate Deen Dayal Ji’s anniversary? Tipu has contributed so much to Karnataka, towards sericulture. He made the first missile and also was the only ruler who fought Against the British 4 times.” – Dinesh Gundurao, working president of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee.


Mallikarjun Kharge

“Tipu Jayanti is being celebrated because Tipu Sultan had fought against the British — not because he was a Muslim,” – Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the Indian National Congress in Lok Sabha.



Girish Karnad

“I feel that if Tipu Sultan was a Hindu and not Muslim he would have attained the position in Karnataka that Shivaji Maharaj enjoys in Maharashtra. We should not look at a person through his religion or caste perspective, but keeping in mind the good work done by him to the people. That is what we have done today by celebrating Tipu Jayanti.” – Girish Karnad, Actor, Playwright and Jnanpith Award Winner.


V Nagaraj

“We are not against celebrating or commemorating any Jayanthi. But celebrating Tipu Jayanthi is the most insensitive act on part of the Congress government. The SC/STs, Kodavas and even the Catholics are against it.” –  V Nagaraj, RSS Karnataka state convener