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worst one on the soil of what is now called Mandya district of Karnataka.
Certain Hindu organizations in Karmnataka protest every year when Tipu Sultan's birth anniversary is observed across this state. He was a good, intelligent and innovative warrior who terrorized the British besides having a good rapport with the Sankaracharya of Sringeri. Tipu provided grants to some Hindu temples in his kingdom. The killing of 700 plus Manhyam Ayyangars and the 15 year imprisonment of Mangalore Catholics numbering about 60000 at Srirangapatna remain an enigma. The indian history text books , as usual, do not give clear picture of certain past events.
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This is the view of Lakshmi Thatchar, a Sanskrit scholar and a researcher. Consequent upon this mass killing by Tipu, a section of people from this community never celebrated Deepavali for more than two centuries, said Thatchar.
History never remains static and it keeps changing. So is the political history of a kingdom. Hyder Ali, Tipu's father rapidly
rose to power at the Mysore court by dint of hard work and commitments when the Wodeyars were the rulers. Soon he became prime minister and general of the king. From 1761 onwards, he took de facto control of the throne of the Mysore Kingdom through the Wodeyar dynasty - Immadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, The chaotic internal turmoil in the Royal family of Wodeyar ended in favor of him. Later Hyder Ali captured the throne of Mysore to the dismay of the royal family. The family members - hereditary rulers of Mysore kingdom were kept under house arrest.
But the queen of Wodeyar family, Lakshmi Ammani Devi, a woman of guts and wisdom never gave room to defeat. Undeterred by the tough political situation created by Hyder Ali, she made up her mind to get the kingdom restored back to the royal family. She began negotiating with the East India company's officials in 1760’s secretly with the help of her trusted Pradhan, “Tirumala Iyengar”. When Hyder Ali came to know about it, he was upset and put the relatives of Tirumala Iyengar in the jail. As far as Hyder Ali and Tipu, the English were their sworn enemy and were against their hegemony. Hence, he had military alliance with the French Army.
Tipu, historians say, is not anti Hindu or anti Christians, but would become vicious against those who supported his arch enemy - the British who took away the lands from various rulers in the north. As for destruction of churches and temples in Kerala and elsewhere and the killing of Nairs and others, Tipu's assumption was that they supported the ruler of Tranancore who was an alley of the British. In the case of Christians - both Mangalore Christians and St. Thomas Christians, his suspicion was that being members of the same faith, they were loyal to the foreigners and wanted to topple him. St. Thomas Christians, his suspicion was that being members of the same faith, they were loyal to the foreigners and wanted to topple him. This suspicions led him to wage wars against the kingdom of Travancore and certain people. To put an end to the future uprisings against his rule Tipu massacred the Mandhyam Ayyangars. Queen Lakshmi Ammani's possible alliance with the British was the root cause of this mass killing.
Who are Mandyam Ayyangars ? The Mandhya Ayyangar community members were converted to Vishnavism long ago by the great seer Sri Ramanujacharya who was on a visit to the Hoysala kingdom. It is believed he converted Hoysala ruler Bittideva from Jainism to Vishnuvardhana of Vaishnavism. In course of time, Melkote or Melukote became a seat of Mandyam.. Like Smartha or Vaishnanavite Brahmins of Tamil Nadu, they were in charge of conducting pujas in the temples and performing Vedic rituals. Though they have been here for centuries, these people who follow Thenkalai sampradhyam, speak Tamil at home and are well versed in Kannada. They spoke Tamil in addition to Kannada. I understand that famous Kannada writer Late Maasthi Venkatesha Iyengar (6 June 1891 – 6 June 1986); recipient of a Jnanpith Award and a special title Rajasevasakta by then Maharajah of Mysore Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadeyar) and Tamil and Kannada scholar late A.K. Ramanujan of Univ. of Chicago, USA belong to this community. Popular former CM of Tami Nadu late Ms. Jayalalitha and Famous Hindi and Tamil actress, and a great Bharatanatyam exponent Mrs. Vaijayanthimala Bali also hail from this community.
It is said that Saint Ramanuja stayed at Melkote for twelve years and the famous temple called Cheluvanarayana Temple has a shrine dedicated to Ramanuja after he had left this place for Srirangam. Temple rituals and worship are followed here as prescribed by Sri Ramanujacharya himself. Thus Melcote is just like Srirangam, Tirupati, Kanchipuram and to some extent Kumbakonam and is an important seat of Vaishnavism. These people were called as Mandyam Ayangars and they lived between Mandya and Srirangapatnam area, mainly in Melkote.
The Cheluvanarayana temple was patronized by many rulers Vijayanagara, Mysore Wadiyars . Raja Wadiyar donated lands and jewels. Ornaments Rajamudi and Krishnamudi. Tipu Sultan also gave many grants to this temple.