Thursday, 11 July 2019

Lord Cornwallis presented two fine palanquins to Tipu Sultan's sons, 1792


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Above image: Lord Cornwallis Receiving the sons of Tipu as hostages, 1792.  This two-part oil sketch is related to a series of three paintings Mather Brown produced to commemorate the military defeat of Tipu, the sultan of Mysore, by Lord Cornwallis,  the British military commander-in-chief, which ended the Third Anglo-Mysore War.  Tipu’s  two sons were taken as temporary hostages by the British to ensure compliance with the treaty. Mather Brown didn’t leave England to record these dramatic events, but based his work on descriptive military reports and his own speculation...........................................

Palanquin presented to Tipu's sons 1792 by the British .notesonindianhistory.com/
Marquess Cornwallis had  the famous coach makers of Calcutta Stuarts and Co built two nicely decorated  State palanquins for two important persons. They are none other than the two sons of Tipu Sultan, the sworn enemy of the British and who died in the final Angelo-Mysore war in 1799 at Srirangapatna,  near Mysore city, Karnataka. Why did he choose Stuarts and company? This Calcutta based company specialized in making  impressive palanquins for the Indian princes and were good at decorative arts on the canopy of the palanquins.  Abdul Khaliq and Muiz-ud-din, sons of Tipu were brought to Madras (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)   from Srirangapatna   and they continued to remain hostages following the defeat of Tipu in the 3rd Angelo-Mysore war- 1791. Though Lord Cornwallis had defeated Tipu in May 1791, a ‘Definitive Treaty’ was not signed until March 1792, at which time two of Tipu’s sons were taken as temporary hostages by the British to ensure compliance with the treaty. 

The two palanquins were made in grand style befitting Tipu Sultan's stature. ''All the moulding round the framing were solid silver highly polished and of the most exquisite workmanship. On the extremities of the bamboo were the heads of various animals elegantly embossed and engraved, to represent life; and the panels exhibited on the  different compartments various trophies of war, to accord with the taste of that war-like prince (ie,Tipu Sultan). They were lined with crimson velvet on which the trophies of war, and other ornaments were magnificently embroidered with gold bullion lace''. 
  
The two young princes received the nice palanquins from lady Oakley, wife of Charles Oakley, the Governor of Madras. This was done in the absence of Cornwallis. Cap. Doveton presented the palanquins durong his audiance with Tipu at Srirangapatna. Tipu said, ''I admire them much, but where  true friendship exists, a present is nothing but a form''.  

A fascinating fact emerges from the history of these palanquins. Tipu never used the palanquins and it remained unpacked till his death in the fourth Angelo-Mysore war in 1799. After his death when the British troops looted his palace, they found the unpacked  palanquins presented by the British.  However, the company that made the palanquins became popular and were patronized by the rulers of Lucknow and Arcot Nawab. 

That Tipu Sultan never touched the palanquins presented to his sons at Madras shows how much hatred he had for the British and why he disliked them. Their long years of exploitation of Indian people, Indian lands and rich Indian rulers had a severe impact on the Psyche of Tipu who fought them till  he fell dead on the last battle field at Srirangapatna, 

Tit-bits:
Gov. Gen. Cornwallis en.wikipedia.org
Above image: Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, KG, PC (31 December 1738 -5 October 1805) was a British Army general  he is best remembered as one of the leading British generals in the American War of Independence. His surrender in 1781 to a combined American and French force at the Siege of Yorktown ended significant hostilities in North America.  He also served as a civil and military governor in Ireland and India; in both places he was responsible for  significant changes  ie, the Act of Union in Ireland, and the Cornwallis Code and the Permanent Settlement in India.  According to historian Jerry Dupont, Cornwallis was responsible for "laying the foundation for British rule throughout India and setting standards for the services, courts and revenue collection that remained remarkably unaltered almost to the end of the British era.  He also introduced  important reforms in the operations of the British East India Company and, with the notable exception of the Kingdom of Mysore, managed to keep the company out of military conflicts during his tenure. He was a good administrator and military official. 

He died on 5 October of a fever at Gauspur in Ghazipur, at that time in the Varanasi kingdom. Cornwallis was buried there, overlooking the Ganges River, where his memorial is a protected monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

https://www.notesonindianhistory.com/2019/05/description-of-palanquins-presented-to.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Cornwallis,_1st_Marquess_Cornwallis#Governor-General_of_India