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Tales of Treachery: Rumour as the Source of Claims That Tipu Sultan was Betrayed


Brittlebank, K, Tales of Treachery: Rumour as the Source of Claims That Tipu Sultan was Betrayed, Modern Asian Studies, 37, (1) pp. 195-211. ISSN 0026-749X (2003) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright © 2003 Cambridge University Press

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DOI: doi:10.1017/S0026749X03001069


One of the more famous episodes in the narrative of British colonial expansion in India, and one that has been extensively mythologized, is the death in 1799 of Tipu Sultan and the fall of his capital, Srirangapattana. British troops, supported by their Indian allies—in particular, the forces of Hyderabad—stormed the island fortress on 4 May, bringing to an end the Mysore kingdom's role as the last significant indigenous power in the south. The old Hindu Wodeyar dynasty was reinstated and the kingdom itself was reduced to a landlocked state, with much of its territory redistributed among the victors. It is not the purpose of this article to attempt an analysis of why Tipu was defeated. Rather its aim is to underline the importance of returning to sources and re-examining evidence, even, or perhaps especially, if beliefs about a certain event have been held for so long. This is particularly true in the case of such an evocative and contentious figure as Tipu Sultan, whose life and legacy have been appropriated by interests in polemical debates over at least the last 150 years. As the following discussion will show, if one is to achieve a better understanding of an event such as the fall of Srirangapattana and its aftermath, a return to the sources is imperative.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Asian history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding past societies not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Brittlebank, K (Dr Kate Brittlebank)
ID Code:33682
Year Published:2003
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2005-07-19
Last Modified:2009-06-12
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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