Tipu Sultan

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Tipu Sultan is one of the greatest and most brave rulers in the history of South India. Sultan Fateh Ali Sahab Tipu or Tipu Sultan was named after saint Tipu Mastan Aulia of Arcot. During his reign, he brought about many reforms. He developed the Mysore silk industry, implemented land revenue system, calendar and coinage system as well. His great courage and valor earned him the title “The Tiger of Mysore”. 

Birth and Childhood

Tipu Sultan was born on December 1, 1751 in Devanahalli as the eldest son of Hyder Ali and Fatima Fakhr-un-Nisa. He was well educated. He was given training in horse riding and fencing. He was well versed in subjects like Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Kannada and Quran. At that time, Tipu Sultan (aged 17) was too young to look after the military and political missions. Tipu Sultan was the most trusted man of his father and helped Hyder Ali capture the mighty thrones of southern India. 

Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore

Determined to drive the British out of Madras, Hyder Ali planned an attack on the Carnatic in the year 1779. In the mission, Tipu decided to capture Colonel Baillie who was on his way to join Sir Hector Munro. He was accompanied by 10,000 men and 18 types of weapons. In what came to be known as the battle of Pollilur, Tipu defeated Baillie. Munro was actually moving southwards with a different power for joining Baillie, but hearing about Tipu’s triumph, he had to withdraw to Madras. 

On 18 February 1782, Tipu Sultan defeated Colonel Brathwaite at Anegundi, a place close to Tanjore. He captured Chittoor from the British in December 1781 as well. The great ruler Hyder Ali died on 6 December, 1782. Tipu Sultan was proclaimed the ruler of Mysore on 22 December 1782. Tipu ruled over a huge empire, bordered by the Krishna River in the north, Eastern Ghats and the vast Arabian Sea in the West. He won several battles against the Britishers.

Achievements of Tipu Sultan as the ruler of Mysore include introduction of a new coinage system and a new calendar. The smart ruler also introduced the usage of rocketry in the military.


tipu sultan rocketry

Tipu Sultan was described as the innovator of the world’s first war rocket, by none other than the missile man of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. After the death of Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan increased the use of rockets in warfare. Much to the surprise of the British East India Company, the rockets used by Tipu in the Battle of Pollilur made use of advanced technology!

Diplomatic relations

Both Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan admired Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. But unlike the Nawab of Carnatic, they did not share great relations with the Nizam of Hyderabad.

In 1787, Tipu had sent his officials to the Ottoman empire. They requested Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid I for help in the fight against the britishers. But the Ottomans, at that time, were recovering from the Austro-Ottoman war. They were not in a situation to help. Instead, Tipu’s envoys were sent back with a handful of gifts from the Ottoman empire.

Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan always tried to establish diplomatic relations with the French thinking that they would assist in the fight against the englishmen. It is said that the great French conqueror Napoleon was impressed by the heroics of Tipu Sultan and even wrote a letter to him. However the letter of appreciation never reached Tipu as it was sadly caught by a British spy. All these incidents suggest that Tipu had cordial relations with his French brothers. 


tipu sultan economy

Tipu and Hyder Ali always dreamt of making Mysore one of the leading economic powers in India. Tipu Sultan was successful in bringing about radical changes in the agricultural and textile industries. The Mysore Silk Industry was established during the rule of Tipu Sultan. He sent a specialist to Bengal Subah to learn silk development and handling. Soon, Mysore started producing polyvoltine silk. This helped in increasing Mysore’s income by five times during that era.


Tipu Sultan appointed judges from both Hindu and Muslim religious groups for indiscriminate judgement. Qadis were appointed for Muslims and Pandits for Hindus in each province. The state had both upper and lower courts for delivering justice to its people.

Tipu Sultan was a very religious person. He performed regular prayers and Namaz. Special attention was given to mosques during his rule. But at the same time, several Hindus were also appointed in the administration during his reign, which is evidence for his religious tolerance. 

Death of Tipu Sultan

tipu sultan 2 (1)

Three groups including Arthur Wellesley’s army marched towards Srirangapatna in the year 1799. Tipu Sultan, the great warrior died in the fourth Anglo Mysore war. His own ministers betrayed him. Eventhough Tipu Sultan was advised by the French Military advisors to escape via the secret passage, he chose to stay back and fight for Mysore until his last breath. The britishers were scared of Tipu Sultan, it is only after his death they actually believed they could conquer India. It is said that several parties were conducted even in Great Britain to celebrate the death of Tipu Sultan! He was laid to rest at Gumbaz.

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