Tipu Sultan is one of the most hated kings. But even after so much hatred, our Karnataka state government wants Tipu Jayanthi to be celebrated all due to vote bank and minority appeasement. Tipu Sultan has a hate relationship with Mangaluru. While Hindus in Mangaluru hate him due to anti-Hindu policies, Christians hate him to the core due to persecution of Mangalorean Catholics.
It is a well-documented fact that Tipu Sultan (1750-1799), the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, marched 60,000 Catholics from Mangalore to Seringapatnam on foot and held them captive there for 15 years. Of the 60,000–80,000 Christians taken captive, only 15,000–20,000 made it out and as Christians. Tipu took action against the Mangalorean Catholic community from Mangalore and the South Canara district on the southwestern coast of India. He was widely reputed to be anti-Christian. The Mangalorean Catholics were taken into captivity at Seringapatam on 24 February 1784 and released on 4 May 1799.
The Bakur Manuscript reports him as having said: “All Musalmans should unite together, and considering the annihilation of infidels as a sacred duty, labor to the utmost of their power, to accomplish that subject.” Soon after the Treaty of Mangalore in 1784, Tipu gained control of Canara. He issued orders to seize the Christians in Canara, confiscate their estates, and deport them to Seringapatam, the capital of his empire, through the Jamalabad fort route. There were no priests among the captives. Together with Fr Miranda, all the 21 arrested priests were issued orders of expulsion to Goa, fined Rs 2 lakh and threatened death by hanging if they ever returned.
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Tipu ordered the destruction of 27 Catholic churches. Among them were the Church of Nossa Senhora de Rosario Milagres at Mangalore, Fr Miranda’s Seminary at Monte Mariano, Church of Jesu Marie Jose at Omzoor, Chapel at Bolar, Church of Merces at Ullal, Imaculata Conceiciao at Mulki, San Jose at Perar, Nossa Senhora dos Remedios at Kirem, Sao Lawrence at Karkal, Rosario at Barkur, Immaculata Conceciao at Baidnur. All were razed to the ground, with the exception of Igreja da Santa Cruz Hospet also known as Hospet Church at Hospet, owing to the friendly offices of the Chauta Raja of Moodbidri.
According to Thomas Munro, a Scottish soldier and the first collector of Canara, around 60,000 of them, nearly 92 percent of the entire Mangalorean Catholic community, were captured but 7,000 escaped. Observer Francis Buchanan reports that 70,000 were captured, from a population of 80,000, with 10,000 escaping. They were forced to climb nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 m) through the jungles of the Western Ghat mountain ranges. It was 210 miles (340 km) from Mangalore to Seringapatam and the journey took six weeks. According to British Government records, 20,000 of them died on the march to Seringapatam.
According to James Scurry, a British officer, who was held captive along with Mangalorean Catholics, 30,000 of them were forcibly converted to Islam. The young women and girls were forcibly made wives of the Muslims living there. The young men who offered resistance were disfigured by cutting their noses, upper lips, and ears.
The Archbishop of Goa wrote in 1800, “It is notoriously known in all Asia and all other parts of the globe of the oppression and sufferings experienced by the Christians in the Dominion of the King of Kanara, during the usurpation of that country by Tipu Sultan from an implacable hatred he had against them who professed Christianity.”
Therefore Christians hate Tipu Sultan to the core. Tipu has undoubtedly fought against the British. Whether he is a freedom fighter is a debatable issue.