Mark Wilks

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Colonel Mark Wilks FRS (1759 – 19 September 1831) was a Manx soldier, historian and East India Company administrator who worked in southern India principally in the princely state of Mysore. He was the acting Resident at the Wodeyar Court.


  • Tipu Sultan sponsored the construction of the Ala Mosque in Seringapatam fort, in which pillars of Hindu origin were clearly visible. According to the Mysore Archaeological Survey, at least three temples in his realm were destroyed on Tipu’s orders. The Hariharesvara temple at Harihar was looted and a section of it converted into a mosque, while the Varahasvami temple in Seringapatam and the Odakaraya temple in Hospet were both destroyed. Colonel Mark Wilks (1759-1831), soldier and historian of the East India Company and acting Resident at the Wodeyar court, observed, “.. in 1799, the two temples within the fort of Seringapatam, alone remained open throughout the extent of his dominions” .
    • (Wilks Vol. IV 1980: 574) quoted in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.338
  • Mark Wilks, who participated in the third Anglo-Mysore war, wrote that Tipu would resort to anything to ward off defeat, “The religion which he revered, as well as that which he had cruelly persecuted, were equally invoked; the moola and the bramin were equally bribed to interpose their prayers for his deliverance, his own attendance at the mosque was frequent, and his devotion impressive...” .
    • (Wilks Vol. IV 1980: 735) quoted in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.339

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