Justice Katju: ‘Tipu Sultan is a national hero, not a bigot or villain’

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Katju-

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

Speaking in Puttur in Karnataka a few days back, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the BJP is a party of patriots, but the Congress and the JDS are not, because the latter support Tipu Sultan

My own opinion is that none of the present political parties in India, whether Congress, BJP, or any other party, are patriots, because they have no genuine love for the country but only seek power and pelf.

And to obtain that they divide and polarize society on caste and communal lines, and often spread hatred, to get votes. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces, which have to be destroyed if India is to move forward, but these parties further entrench them. Also, they divide our people on caste and communal lines, when the need is to stand united to face our massive socio-economic problems of poverty, hunger, unemployment, etc. So how can these parties be called patriotic?

Leaving that aside, the question is whether appreciation and admiration of Tipu Sultan is unpatriotic? Should Tipu be regarded a hero or a villain?

To answer this question, we may consider this speech of Prof BN Pande, former Professor of History in Allahabad University, and former Governor of Odisha, delivered in the Rajya Sabha

We may also consider these articles: 1 and 2 

One can understand distortion of the truth by 10, 20, or 30 degrees in furtherance of one’s vested interests, but distorting it by 180 degrees, i.e, making it totally upside down by painting a secular hero as a communal bigot and a villain, really boggles one’s mind. But that is precisely what has been done by some people having vested interests about Tipu and most other Muslim rulers in India.

Just because Tipu was a Muslim, he has been condemned and demonized by the party which is anti-Muslim (though it talks of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, and ‘sabka vishwas’).

Now the time has come to set the record straight. The truth is that Tipu was a great ruler who was thoroughly secular, and worked hard for the welfare of all his people, whether Hindu, Muslim, or Christian. He is a national hero, not a villain.

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