Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Tipu Sultan's gold ring and Lord Wellesley - Final Mysore war 1799

Gold ring worn by Tipu at the time of death.1799,Srirangapatnam,India.

Tipu Sultan of Mysore,India,
 Lord Wellesley (June. 1760 - September, 1842) 
was a well-known Irish and British politician and colonial administrator. Wellesley, then  the Duke of Wellington, was a commander of the British army in India under the East India company. Tipu Sultan of Mysore was a menace to the British rulers. On getting secret reports from his  agents in 1798 that Tipu Sultan  had a plan to collaborate with the French forces  to confront the British and an agreement was in the offing, he made up his mind to get into swift action against Tipu. Following the  invasion of Mysore  in February, 1799, on 4 May 1799  he  led a well-trained  British army against the ruler of Mysore. Tipu stood as a sold roadblock for further expansion down Southern India by the British. Tipu was a competent warrior and  had such a huge, powerful and  well-trained army, it was  a challenge for the British commander to overcome Tipu.
Tipu Sultan-the place where he died in the battle at Srirangapatnam.1799.
The British army had to come up with a better strategy to pull a victory  over Tipu as they were dealing with a shrewd and dangerous enemy. Any wrong move meant, the British forces would be finished for good. Using the help of some whistle blowers,  at last Lord Wellesley defeated Tipu Sultan, in the decisive battle at Srirangapatnam, near Mysore, Karnataka in 1799. Tipu died on the battle field wearing a heavy, oval shaped 41.2 gm gold ring with the name RAMA (Hindu God's name) in raised Devanagari inscribed on it. Wellesley had the ring removed from the slain king and kept it as a token of his big victory in Southern India.

Later back in England, he gave the ring as a wedding gift to his favorite niece Emily with Fritz Roy Somerset, Wellesley's military officer and close confidant. Wellesley had a close and personal relationship with him for several years and they together fought wars in Crimea and Waterloo.

Presently valued at 10,000.00 to 15,000.00 pounds this gold ring is one of the items put up for auction on May 24, 2014 by Somerset's great grand son Baron Raglan! The well attended auction fetched 140,500 pounds – a fabulous sum for the owners. Some of the other artifacts, treasures that were also auctioned dated from 1858. The heavy  ring was sold to an undisclosed bidder for 10 times above the actual rate.

Neither the public-spirited Indian philanthropist nor the Indian government bought this rare, unusual ring worn by Tipu Sultan - who put up a brave fight against the mighty British forces - before dying on the battle field. ''Private European'' is the only detail the auction house has disclosed regarding the identity of the buyer.

It is a quite well known fact  that the decedents of numerous ex-officials of East India company, Governors and Viceroys, who had a long stint in India during the Raj  in order to pass through their financial difficulties, put up the old artifacts, gold jewels, gemstones, and other valuable collections (once plundered by their great great grand fathers in India) for auction and invariably they get a bundle out of their hoardings!! Glad the valuable Indians treasures looted by their forefathers centuries ago became so handy as to save their face during their hardscrabble days.


      (corrections  done - Oct.08, 2015)