Confronting the Communal History Writings.

By Shaikh Nizamuddin
“Tipu Sultan was neither the intolerant bigot nor the furious fanatic”
Surendranath Sen in his book “studies in Indian History”.    

For the readers of the history in Maharashtra, character writing or distortion of character of historic personalities is not new. Be it Maratha King Shivaji and later on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar or Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. Specifically the history of Shivaji and the injustice done to that by the biased and communal history writer is condemnable. This very distortion made it a strong fodder for Maharashtra politics.
However, lately the Maratha academics and historians gave a fitting reply to these distortions and rewrote the Maratha history.

Tipu Sultan is one of the victims of the communal historiography. Tipu Sultan got demonized by these communal historians abusing him as cruel, fanatic and a Muslim King with foreign origin. This distortion of history remained an issue of social conflict in the country in general and in Maharashtra and Karnataka in particular.

The comprehensive and academic response to the distortion of Tipu’s history was given by Mehmood Khan Benglori in his books – Sultant-e-Khudad and Sahife Tipu Sultan. Later on the stalwarts and acclaimed historians like Habib Ahmed, Prof. Muhibul Hasan, Irfan Habib, Shiv Gajrani etc. Their scientific presentation backed up by credible references exposed the communal historians. Unfortunately all these writings, research work and books are published either in English, Hindi and Urdu as well. Marathi translations of these books are rarely seen and hence, Marathi reader is deprived of several excellent works on historiography.

In view of the situation, Sarfaraz Shaikh’s book, Sultannat-e-Khudadad is a major initiative in rewriting of history and that too in Marathi will certainly enrich the students of history and history readers. Recently published with a Foreword by Dr Ram Puniyani who recommend the book as a good reference book for the future history students.

At the opening only, Sarfaraz exposes the communal historians or history writers – their distortions, deceptions and communal bias. He successfully shades light on Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali’s personality with his scientific and well studied approach.

Sultanat-e-Khudadad has fifteen chapters :

1. Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan Aani Jamatwadi Itihas Lekhan
2. Sultanat-e-Khudad kaleen Bharat
3. Nawab Fateh Mohammed Hyder Ali
4. Hyder Ali che prashashan, Rajya Dharm aani Lok Rajya
5. Rashtra Tej Swatantryaveer Tipu Sultan (Dusre Mysore Yuddha aani Nizam Peshwa Yudh)
6. Rashtra Tej Swatantryaveer Tipu Sultan (Tisre Mysore Yuddh)
7. Rashtra Tej Swatantryaveer Tipu Sultan (Chouthe Mysore Yuddh aani Houtatmya)
8. Tipu Sultan – Rajyakarta aani Prashashan
9. Tipu Sultan yanche Dharmik drishtikon – Mithak aani Vastav
10. Sultanat-e-Khudadad aani Adhunikikaran
11. Tipu Sultan che Par rashtra Dhoran
12. Pragnya Surya Tipu Sultan
13. Tipu Sultan chi Vyapari Company aani Kayde
14. Tipu Sultan cha patravyvahar
15. Parishishth – 1

In all these chapters, Sarfaraz Shaikh through his well researched analysis dwelt with important issues and brings out the details on the personality of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
One can find finer details on their State Policy, Love for their subjects and Motherland, Responsibilities as Rulers, Justice system, concern for the farming community, religious freedom, separate laws for marginalized and down trodden communities, vision on modernization and the endeavours, the foreign policy and importantly, Tipu Sultan’s endeavours to unite different Indian states and unitedly fight the British invaders and push them out of Indian borders.

The writer successfully demolishes the communal presentation of Savarkar and other communal writers and expose them academically.
It is necessary that the readers, academics who, for so many years, consumed the distortion and deceptions, should read this book for themselves and determine how the history has been distorted to create social disharmony and selectively, demonize the personalities to provide the political fodder.

Try this book and do write your views once you digest it.


( Author is from Solapur(MS) and a social activist