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Islam and Pluralism ( 19 Aug 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘Tipu was known for his religious tolerance’

Bangalore: “Tipu Sultan was known for his religious tolerance. This is a fact that rewriting or ‘saffronisation’ of history will not be able to erase,” said R. Roshan Baig, MLA. He was inaugurating an exhibition of coins used during Tipu Sultan’s time, organised as part of the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence and commemoration of Tipu Sultan by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums here on Tuesday.

Tipu Sultan, after donating money and jewellery to the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, urged the swamiji, through a notification, to pray for the well-being of all citizens. Mr. Baig said, “Tipu built his summer palace next to a temple in Bangalore. That shows how secular he was in his outlook. These days, people do not want to build their homes next to either temples or mosques.” He called upon people to emulate Tipu’s religious tolerance.

Ministers’ absence


In a reference to the absence of Ministers V.S. Acharya and Ramachandra Gowda, who were invited to the function, Mr. Baig said that “at least some representative from the Government should have attended. Their absence only shows the concern that they have for a secular ruler such as Tipu Sultan.”


Sohanlal Sisodiya, an 81-year-old numismatist, who exhibited part of his collection, also spoke about Tipu’s religious tolerance and secular outlook. “Tipu’s coins had inscriptions in Devanagari and Kannada. Some of his coins even had images of Udupi Krishna and Sringeri Sharada. Coins minted by his father, Hyder Ali, had the images of Shiva and Parvathi. He is even credited with having started a new calendar system, under which the year began with Ugadi. He was also known to be well-versed in the Bhagavad Gita,” he said.


K.P. Dattatreya Swamy, retired excise official and numismatist, said that most of the coins minted by Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali had been melted. “I have chanced upon priceless coins by making a visit to scrap dealers and goldsmiths. People have sold valuable coins without realising that they are wiping out history,” he said.


Collectors S. Manjunath, Nityananda Pai, Keshava Murthy, Kirthi Parekh and Chandrashekhar were honoured on the occasion.


Source: The Hindu, New Delhi