Friday, 13 September 2019

What is so special about Tipu Sultan's gold ring? -14 interesting facts

Ipu Sultan and Gold ring. Teznews.com
It was in May 2014 a fine heavy gold ring belonging to the legendary Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan fetched 145000 pounds in a London auction, an unexpected huge sum ten times more than the expected estimate. The auction was conducted by UK's famous auction house ''Christie''.  It was a sensational auction that attracted many connoisseurs of Indian antiques and artifacts. It was part of the booty after the battle at Srirangapatna in 1799.
Tipu Sultan's gold ring with Hindu God's name RAM in Dennagari. bbc.com

The salient features of this historical gold ring are as follows:

01. It is a heavy gold ring weighing as much as as  41.2 gram.  It was a personal possession of the ruler.
Known as the Tiger of Mysore, his reign lasted  for 17 years after succeeding his father, Hyder Ali. He had close military alliance with the French.

02. The successful bidder of the gold ring wanted to remain anonymous.  Presumably, he did not want to part with this precious gold ring. A section of Indian people wanted the ring to be returned to India,

03.The highlight of this jeweled ring is  it is inscribed with the name of Hindu God ''RAM ''in raised Devanagri script.  Sri Rama is an avatar of Sri Vishnu and the epic Ramayana is about Rama's exploits, etc.

Srirangapatna taluk, Karnataka. districts.ecourts.gov.in
04. The pathetic aspect  about the ring is, being a superstitious  Muslim ruler, Tipu used to wear this gold ring or Navaratna (with 9 gem stones) ring on the advice of his astrologers during war campaigns. He won several battles against local rulers and gave stiff resistance to the  British whom he considered a sworn enemy. . At the time of his death in his own fort at Srirangapatna (Karnataka), Tipu was wearing this gold ring and  fighting fiercely against the East India company's army commanded by Lord Marquess Wellesley. 

05. Upon Tipu's unexpected death (he was just 48 years old) in 1799 in the last Angelo-Mysore war,  Wellesley wanted to possess Tipu's ring and had it removed from the slain body. He kept it as a token of his big victory in Southern India because Tipu was a valiant and intelligent warrior.

06. Later back in England, he gave the gold 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.


07. Then valued at 10,000.00 to 15,000.00 pounds this gold ring was  one of the important 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 for the gold ring  – a fabulous sum for the owners. Some of the other artifacts, treasures that were also auctioned dated from 1858.
Tipu Sultan-the place where he died in the battle at Srirangapatnam.1799.  en.wikipedia.org

08. "It is quite strange that  a  famous Muslim warrior was wearing the ring bearing the name of a Hindu God RAM. It shows he had an abiding faith is astrology and had several well-versed astrologers in his employee.

09. The heritage lovers of Karnataka and elsewhere wanted the ring to be stored in a museum or returned  to India. The private bidder's name is kept anonymous to hide the famous ring from public view. 


10. A group called ''Tipu Sultan United Front'' also urged the government to prevent the ring from being sold. This group, it is said, was formed to preserve the legacy of Tipu and his exploits against the English company.

 11. The sad story is none of the rich Indians came forward and bought the ring steeped in history. Unlike westerners, Indians do not want to possess certain historical artifacts, etc. Nor do they buy them to be donated to the museum.

12. In 2012, this gold ring came up for auction at  Christie's  but was then withdrawn for unknown reason.

13. Tagged  as the Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan ruled the state efficiently for 17 years after succeeding his father, Hyder Ali. For the British. he was a stumbling block in their ambition to control the Peninsular India.


14. The general opinion has been that as the gold ring was taken from corpse of a possessive and emotional ruler of Mysore, it carries a curse on it. So, Baron  Raglan' family wanted to dispose of the ''Tipu Collection''  as early as possible.
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/tipu-sultan-s-ring-sells-for-145-000-in-uk/story-uCzGuZksgp8C8wFA3xaMgP.html
http://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2014/12/tipu-sultans-gold-ring-and-lord.html