Annual celebrations of Republic Day in India this past weekend included controversial commemorations of Tipu Sultan, an Indian ruler who fought British imperial encroachment in the eighteenth century.
The BBC reports that “Since the country’s annual Republic Day celebrations on Sunday, Tipu Sultan has been trending on Twitter in India, with more than 10,000 tweets and a heated debate about how he should be remembered. It was sparked by a Republic Day parade float from Karnataka – the modern state which includes his old kingdom – which featured a large sculpture of Tipu Sultan brandishing his trademark sword, together with his other trademark – a tiger.”
Tipu Sultan remains a controversial figure—celebrated by some Indians for opposing British rule, but vilified by others as a brutal ruler. Some Hindu nationalists seem to have adopted the latter interpretation because of Tipu Sultan’s Muslim identity.
The BBC reports on the commemorations of Tipu Sultan online.
Historians of empires and violence in the early modern world may be interested in this story.