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Hyder Ali and Tipu (1) : The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.
Hyder Ali and Tipu
Part one

Acknowledgements to ‘Tipu a misunderstood patriot: Historians’ (Times of India).

The Princely State of Mysore was for many years one of the most prosperous and pro-British kingdoms of the Raj, but in the late eighteenth century it was briefly dominated by two of Britain’s most bitter and successful opponents, Hyder Ali (?1722-1782) and his son Tipu (1750-1799).

IN 1778, King Louis XVI of France declared war on Britain, and London responded by driving the colonial French out of the port of Mahé in Mysore, a kingdom in southwest India dating back to the turn of the fifteenth century.

This trespass incensed Hyder Ali, Mysore’s brilliant military commander whose hero status had already relegated King Krishnaraja Wodeyar II to a mere figurehead. Hyder’s army swept east towards Madras, the city founded by the British in 1639, abducting thousands of children and ensuring years of famine by torching fields and granaries – Tanjore did not fully recover for over a century* – and a series of British commanders was barely able to contain him.

After Hyder died in 1782, his son Tipu, egged on by Britain’s colonial rivals in France and Holland, continued Hyder’s military campaigns and brutal policies. The brunt of them was borne by the people of Kodagu, who were hunted down, forcibly converted to Islam, and conscripted into Tipu’s army.*

* Tanjore is known today as Thanjavur.

* The Kodagu or Haleri Kingdom became the Coorg Province in 1834, then the Coorg State in 1950, and was merged with Mysore in 1956. It lies today in the Kodagu administrative region of India.

Acknowledgements to ‘Tipu a misunderstood patriot: Historians’ (Times of India).

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Picture: © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. View original
The Maharajah’s Palace in Mysore, India. This is a product of the Raj, designed by Henry Wilson using a mixture of Indian traditional architectural styles, and built on the ruins of the former palace, destroyed by fire in 1897.

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