The birthday of 18th century ruler Tipu Sultan will no longer be celebrated as an official festival in Karnataka, in keeping with a directive from the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government today. The BJP opposes any celebration related to Tipu Sultan on the grounds that he was a “tyrant”.
“Our government has cancelled observing the controversial and communal Tipu Jayanti,” the party tweeted today, four days after taking over the reins of the state.
When the Congress first announced that the state would celebrate the birthday of Tipu Sultan in November every year, the BJP and other right-wing groups broke out in protests. It sparked off violence, especially in regions where Tipu Sultan had ruled, even resulting in the death of a man in 2015.
Although the then government continued holding the annual event under heightened security, debates over the Muslim ruler’s role in shaping Karnataka and its adjoining regions refused to die down. The questions asked were the same: Was he a freedom fighter or a tyrant? A man who contributed to society or a bigot?