Saturday, 29 June 2019

What made Tipu Sultan commit massacre on Mandhyam Ayyangars of Karnataka ?

Tipu Sultan thefamouspeople.com
During the reign of Tipu Sultan toward the last phase of the 18th century (210 years ago), tragedy followed by gloom struck on the evening of Deepavali - Hindu festival of light. Hell's gate was broken wide open  when Tipu's army raided  on a congregation of  700 Mandhyam Ayyangars  at Narashimhaswamy temple on the banks of Cauvery at Srirangaptna town, capital of Tipu Sultan. With drawn razor-sharp sword in their hands, the  rampaging soldiers made  the unexpected, bewildered  and frightened crowd run halter-skelter fearing for their lives. In the wake of this unprovoked raid on innocent, quiet people, there was a trail of destruction, chaos and killing no body ever saw in this part before. In a jiff, an occasion of joy and fun turned into an atmosphere filled  with crying, waling and weeping over the dead and severely injured. The Sultan's army had just committed massacre - the
 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. 

What made Tipu Sultan, a courageous  Muslim ruler, commit this kind of heinous crime against innocent, quiet  Brahmin community native to that region? Historians say that this extreme step was taken by Tipu because some members of the Mandhyam Ayyangar community  wanted  the Mysore kingdom restored back to the Wodeyar family  and, in this regard, not only this community supported Maharani Lakshmi Ammani but also went a step further and colluded with the British  to find a suitable political solution. 
lament of Native American Indians. History keeps changing. relatably.com

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.

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Years later when Tipu took over the reins and came to know that an political agreement between General Harris, the then Governor of Madras Presidency and  the queen  was either made or on the anvil with the help of one  Shamaiah Ayyangar and  Tirumala Ayyangar, he was in rage.  Just because two men from the Mandhyam Ayyangar community acted against him - to topple him from power, Tipu took refuge in 'vigilante justice' and decided to suppress the entire community  His army as mentioned earlier killed 700 persons, including women and children. The inhuman slaughter  turned the village  into a place of desolation  and gloom on the  Naraka Chaturdashi  day (Deepavali).

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. 

Tit-bits:
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.


https://www.esamskriti.com/essays/docfile/1352.jpg
https://postcard.news/tragic-story-of-mandyam-iyengars/
http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2016/nov/09/the-two-sides-of-tipu-sultan-1536521.html
https://satyavijayi.com/why-tamil-nadu-cm-jayalalitha-cannot-celebrate-deepawali-history-behind/
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.religion.hindu/-eptV6WCkqE