Independent India cannot but salute Tiger Tipu, writes RSS Ideologue Malkani in his book India First

In the wake of the BJP’s constant vilification of Tipu Sultan, using him to stoke communal fire, it would do one good to read what one of the main ideologues of the RSS, K. R. Malkani, wrote about the Mysore ruler.

Kewalram Ratanmal Malkani, in his 2002 book India First, dedicating an entire essay to the Mysore ruler, under the header The Greatness of Tipu Sultan, reverentially wrote,“Independent India cannot but salute Tiger Tipu”

Malkani was a journalist, historian and politician. He was one of the founders of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), to which he also served as Vice-President from 1991 to 1994. He is also credited as being one of the main ideologues of the RSS.

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Malkani, a journalist with a commitment to research-based writing, served as editor at a number of newspapers. During his time at The Hindustan Times, where he worked as a sub-editor, he started writing for the RSS bulletin- Organizer.  Ultimately, in 1948, he took over as the chief editor of the same.

He was also the chief editor of the Panchjanya, a Hindi weekly published by the RSS.

Speaking about Tipu Sultan in his book India First, Malkani says, “The more I read about Tipu, the more I am impressed with his rich personality.”

Tipu, Malkani says, did not just contented himself with fighting the British, instead, he tried to establish advanced administration throughout his kingdom. “He forbade forced labour for public works and torture of suspects; he introduced prohibition… he tried to set up a school every four miles…He reformed weights and measures and even corrected the Hijri calendar,” he wrote.

Malkani called Tipu a “model ruler for environmentalists.” Noting some of his environment-friendly policies he wrote, “Tipu forbade the felling of trees and hunting of animals.” He also detailed an account when Tipu had an ammunition factory relocated when he found out that the river Kaveri was being contaminated by the effluents discharged from it.

Malkani goes on to talk highly about Tipu, saying that what surprises him the most about Tipu is his “wide outlook.” While most Indian princes could not look past their respective principalities, having no concept of India, Tipu alone among almost all princes had a world-view.

“He (Tipu) was in correspondence with Napoleon. He was thrilled to read the American Declaration of Independence… he greeted American Independence with a 108-gun salute! That was Tipu Sultan!” Malkani wrote.

Concluding his essay on Tipu, Malkani wrote, “Independent India cannot but salute Tiger Tipu”.

Tipu was the only 18th century Indian prince that fought against foreign forces. He could have easily bowed down to the British, like every other prince around him; but as Malkani aptly wrote, “Tipu preferred death over dishonour.”

Such is the legacy of the great Tipu Sultan, straight from the pen of one of RSS’s most revered members K. R. Malkani who is known as a man of thought, logic and meticulous research.

Fatima Fareeha is a young researcher and journalist based in Hyderabad. She went through Malkani’s book,India First, to write this article.

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