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Tiger of Mysore's strong ties with city

B.S. Ramesh

May 4 marks the 212th death anniversary of Tipu Sultan


Tipu's rockets, which had a range of 1,000 yards, were a threat to the British

Artisans were called from Persia to train locals in and around Channapatna in toy-making




World class:Tipu was instrumental in introducing Mysore silk in towns surrounding Bangalore, apart from making Channapatna the hub of toy-making.

BANGALORE: Better known as the Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan is held in awe and respect for the battles he fought against the British. Though many know that Tipu was born in Devanahalli in 1750 and died in Srirangapatna on May 4, 1799, not much is known about his long and cherished association with Bangalore and its adjoining towns.

Apart from being a pioneer of modern rocketry, Tipu was instrumental in introducing Mysore silk in towns surrounding Bangalore apart from making Channapatna the hub of toy making.

Rocketry

Acknowledged by historians, scientists and technocrats such as the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Rodda Narasimha and India's BrahMos man A. Sivathanu Pillai as the father of rocketry, Tipu had stored many of his rockets and other pieces of artillery in the armoury behind the Bangalore Medical College in Bangalore and also in City Market, Kalasipalyam, Fort (Kote).

Historian Suryanath Kamath says Tipu kept his rockets in Kanakanahalli (now Kanakapura). His rockets were a threat to the British and they could travel up to 1,000 yards, inflicting tremendous damage. Another historian and chronicler of Bangalore, Suresh Moona of AARAMBH, says the entire road along side Jumma Masjid near City Market and Taramandalpet was the hub of Tipu's rocket project where he had set up a laboratory.

S.K. Aruni of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) says Tipus's Bangalore had stocked some of the largest rockets and artillery pieces in areas around City Market, Bamboo Bazaar and the Fort and that the British had to battle hard for 21 days before they could overwhelm the Bangalore Fort in April 1799.

They say that though Tipu did use his rockets in the fourth and final Battle of Mysore in 1799 in Srirangapatna, it was in Bangalore that they were more effective. Dr. Aruni says he has records to prove that at least four British soldiers were killed and scores of others injured in rocket and artillery fire during the 1799 siege of Bangalore.

Toy town

Channapatna, 60 km from Bangalore, also called as Toy Town, owes much of its fame for handcrafted wooden toys and lacquer to Tipu. He called artisans from Persia and had them train locals in toy-making.

Sericulture

The credit for making Bangalore and its surrounding areas such as Devanahalli, Channapatna and Ramanagaram the centre for Mysore silk goes to Tipu. Today, Mysore silk is one of the best known brands of India, and Tipu took personal interest in sericulture and established 21 centres, including a silk rearing unit in Channapatna.

Tipu brought mulberry from China via Bengal, and encouraged cultivation in 21 centres. Francis Buchanan, British naturalist, observes during his visit to Lalbagh in 1800 that Tipu had “commenced a trial” in Mulberry cultivation here. Tipu was also instrumental in encouraging farmers in Mandya and Mysore to take up sugarcane farming. He imported yellow multivoltine silkworm culture, which today is classified as “Pure Mysore” strain.

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