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From Emperor Ashoka to Tipu Sultan, history repeated itself
The Rani of Jhansi fought against the British bravely and earned her place in the history of Independence. While most of the so-called patriotic royals wanted to retain their fiefdoms as Rajahs, Nawabs and Maharajahs etc, and worked as subservient to British interests, the only state which has an uncompromising history of nationhood and resistance against the British, and who fought to the hilt, was Mysore.

Hyder Ali, the father of Tipu Sutlan and the great strategist Sultan Tipu himself fought four wars. Tipu participated in all those four Mysore war. In two of them he inflicted serious blows on the English. In fact Tipu's rule starts in the midst of a war against the English and ends in the midst of war against them. 

"His short but stormy rule was eventful for his several engagements with his neighbors, the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad, as well, had joined the colonials against Mysore. Very few know that Mysore was known as "the terror of Leadenhall Street", the headquarters of the East India Company.

Sultan Tipu was well posted in the western technique of warfare. Under his leadership, "Mysore army" proved a school of military science" to Indian princes.  Alexander Dow, the famous writer, and an Orientalist officer in the East India Company wrote about Tipu's army: "We were alarmed, as if his horses had wings to fly over our walls." A lot has been written about Sultan Tipu these days and I'm making here the long story short.

Tipu was a far-sighted ruler, who had discerned earlier the danger of colonial expansion. He knew that the British collaborators of India of that period - the Nizam, the Marathas and Kurgis were inimical to the rising power of Sultan. To drive the invaders out of India necessitated the continuous warfare. Many other southern satraps and small principalities were not reconciled to the rise and growth of Mysore as an independent powerful state.

For the ruler of Mysore, it was necessary to tame them to neutralize the British influence. The English fully exploited the loyalty of these states against Tipu. In the third Mysore war all three Indian kingdoms formed a powerful confederacy against him, and in the fourth Mysore war the Nizam was an ally of the English. It was Tipu's policy to establish a strong central authority which would serve the people better.

Tipu had inflicted a serious defeat on Colonel Braithwaite at Annagudi near Tanjore on 18 February 1782. This army consisted of 100 Europeans, 300 cavalry, 1400 sepoys and 10 field pieces. Tipu seized all the guns and took the entire detachment prisoners. In December 1781 Tipu had successfully seized Chittur from British hands. Thus Tipu had gained sufficient military experience by the time Haidar died in December 1782.

Sultan had intensified his contacts with the French, the Turks and the Afghans. The Nizam was also made friendly, who was made to recruit a contingent of 14000 troops under French, Raymond, who was friendly to Tipu. Napoleon was also on the way to India to help Tipu, who had invited Zaman Shah of Afghanistan as well to help him remove the English from India.

Unfortunately, for India, when all these plans were about to mature Napoleon was defeated at Accre in Syria and forced back to France. Zaman Shah was made to beat a hasty retreat to Kabul because of British machinations that brought about a rear action from Iran on Afghanistan. Wellesley forced the Nizam to disband Raymond and accept a British detachment under subsidiary system.

Fighting against heavy odds he was killed on 4 May 1799. The last hope for the freedom of the land was thus extinguished. He died a soldier's death for the defence of the cherished values of his land.

Now a few words about  Emperor Ashoka whose kingdom reached its peak and stretched from present-day Afghanistan to Bangladesh, and spanned almost the whole of the Indian sub-continent  barring only parts of current Tamil Nadu and Kerala, in the middle of the 3rd century BC. After Ashoka, we never had an all-India political state except during the period of Aurangzeb.

The RSS talks for Akhand Bharat which includes Ashoka's empire and the rest of India's southern states and even Tibet. Chakravarti Ashok Samrat was the greatest native Indian emperor, first ever emperor in recent age to unify India. He was the first proponent of Akhand Bharat – believing that a nation that is big, resourceful and administered properly can keep its citizens happy and prosperous. Later he adopted a different religion which emerged from Hindu Dharma, Buddhism, and promoted protection of cows, animals and non-violence.

He was born around 304 BCE in Patliputra, Patna. Ashok was the son of Hindu King Bindusara and Maharani Dharma and grandson of the founder of Maurya Dynasty, Great Chandragupta Maurya.

The meaning of Ashok in Sanskrit is 'without sorrow', the one whom sadness cannot overcome.

According to the books of history, in his youth he was very short tempered person. At that time he was called 'ChandaAshok', which means "Ashok the Fierce". Ashok quickly grew into an excellent warrior general and an astute statesman. His command on the Mauryan army started growing day by day and because of this, his elder half-brothers became suspicious of him being favored by Bindusara as the next emperor. The eldest son of Bindusara, Prince Susima,  convinced him to send Ashok to Takshashila province (in Sindh) to control an uprising caused by the formation of different militias. However, the moment Ashok reached the province, the militias welcomed him with open arms and the uprising came to an end without any fight. This particular success of Ashok made his elder brothers, especially Susima, more insecure.

Susima was not as intelligent and brave as Ashok but wanted to become next King so he started inciting Bindusara against Ashok, who was then sent into exile by the emperor. Ashok went to Kalinga, where he met a fisherwoman named Kaurwaki. He fell in love with her and later, made Kaurwaki his wife. Soon, the province of Ujjain started witnessing a violent uprising. Emperor Bindusara called back Ashok from the exile and sent him to Ujjain.

The prince was injured in the ensuing battle and was treated by Buddhist monks and nuns. It was in Ujjain that Ashok first came to know about the life and teachings of Buddha. In the following year, Bindusura became seriously ill and was literally on his deathbed. A group of ministers, led by Radhagupta, called upon Ashok to assume the crown. In the fight that followed his accession, Ashok attacked Pataliputra, now Patna, and killed all his brothers, including Susima.  

After a period of eight years of serving as the king, Ashok planned to seize the territory of Kalinga, the present day Orissa. It is chronicled that one of Ashok's brothers took refuge at Kalinga, this enraged Ashok, who launched a brutal assault on the province. The whole of the province was plundered and destroyed and thousands of people were killed.

He led a huge army and fought a gruesome battle with the army of Kalinga. The battle took place on the Dhauli hills that are located on the banks of River Daya. Though Ashok emerged victorious at the end, the sight of the battlefield made his heart break with shame, guilt, and disgust. It is said that the battle was so furiously fought that the waters of River Daya turned red with the blood of the slain soldiers.

It was the old tradition of fratricide that was followed by Mughals and other rulers later. So, there are no moral high grounds for those who extol the virtues of glorious past and denigrate Sultan Tipu as barbaric or parochial ruler and boast about the ideals that didn't exist. Tipu did what was necessary for a brilliant warrior for the good of his nation.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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