Bid to prevent telecast of TV serial Tipu Sultan

The bid to prevent the telecast of the serial on Tipu Sultan is yet another attempt to arouse communal passions by appealing to history. Tipu was one of the few 18th-century Indian rulers who understood the imperial designs of the British and tried to rally other Indian rulers to thwart the political ambitions of the East India Company. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he had realized the importance of science and technology, as evident from the nature of the mission he sent to France for consolidating his power and preserving the independence of his state. Ignoring these dimensions and characterizing him as a religious fanatic, despite the several grants he had made to Hindu temples, is to overlook his significance in the political and social context of the time.

Tipu Sultan’s invasion of Malabar, to which a reference has been made by those opposing the TV serial, was not a religious undertaking but a political act, and those who were affected by it were not Hindus alone. Resistance to his political power and administrative measures in Malabar came from Muslims as well; a Muslim chieftain, Achan Gurukkal, had in fact led a revolt against him. At any rate, what he did in Malabar was in no way harsher than what the Marathas did in Rajputana.

A decision on whether or not the serial should be telecast should be taken purely on the basis of its quality. A communal view of our past should not be permitted to influence it.

Signed by
K. N. Panikkar, Sumit Sarkar, Mushirul Hasan, S. Bhattacharya, A. J. Sayed