Tipu Sultan

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To live like a lion for a day is far better than to live like a jackal for a hundred years.

Sultan Fateh Ali Tipu (20 November 17504 May 1799), also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Indian Kingdom of Mysore from 1782 until his death in 1799. He was a scholar, soldier and poet. Tipu was the eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore and his wife Fatima Fakhr-un-Nisa. His administrative actions involved introduction of a number of administrative innovations such as the minting a new coinage, new Mauludi lunisolar calendar, new land revenue system, and initiating the growth of Mysore silk industry. In military weaponry, he was instrumental in expanding the iron-cased Mysorean rockets which he used against military advances of the British.


  • To live like a lion for a day is far better than to live for a hundred years like a jackal.
    • As quoted in Encyclopedia of Asian History (1988) Vol. 4, p. 104
    • Variants:
    • It is far better to live like a lion for a day than to live like a jackal for a hundred years.
    • It is far better to live like a tiger for a day than to live like a jackal for a hundred years.
      • Variant mentioned in Tipu Sultan : A Study in Diplomacy and Confrontation (1982) by B. Sheikh Ali, p. 329

  • My victorious sabre is lightning for the destruction of the unbelievers. Ali, the Emir of the Faithful, is victorious for my advantage, and moreover, he destroyed the wicked race who were unbelievers. Praise be to him (God), who is the Lord of the Worlds! Thou art our Lord, support us against the people who are unbelievers. He to whom the Lord giveth victory prevails over all (mankind). Oh Lord, make him victorious, who promoteth the faith of Muhammad. Confound him, who refuseth the faith of Muhammad; and withhold us from those who are so inclined from the true faith. The Lord is predominant over his own works. Victory and conquest are from the Almighty. Bring happy tidings, Oh Muhammad, to the faithful; for God is the kind protector and is the most merciful of the merciful. If God assists thee, thou will prosper. May the Lord God assist thee, Oh Muhammad, with a mighty great victory.
    • His sayings inscribed on the handle of the sword presented by Tipu to Marquess Wellesley quoted in Mysore gazetteer, Volume 2, Issue 4, Conjeeveram Hayavadana Rao (rao sahib), Benjamin Lewis Rice, Government Press, 1930, p. 2697

Quotes About Tipu Sultan[edit]

  • As soon as he had conquered Egypt, he will establish relations with the Indian princes and, together with them, attack the English in their possessions.
  • Having occupied and fortified Egypt, we shall send a force of 15,000 men from Suez to India, to join the forces of Tipu-Sahib and drive away the English.
  • Don't you know I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over four lakh Hindus were converted to Islam? I am determined to march against that cursed Raman Nair (Rajah of Travancore) very soon. Since I am overjoyed at the prospect of converting him and his subjects to Islam, I have happily abandoned the idea of going back to Srirangapatanam now.
    • In Tipu’s letter of 19 January 1790 to the Governor of Bekal, Budruz Zuman Khan. quoted in K.M. Panicker, Bhasha Poshini, August 1923
  • Powerless to recover their lost treasure by open force, the three guardian priests followed and watched it in disguise. The generations succeeded each other; the warrior who had committed the sacrilege perished miserably; the Moonstone passed (carrying its curse with it) from one lawless Mohammedan hand to another; and still, through all chances and changes, the successors of the three guardian priests kept their watch, waiting the day when the will of Vishnu the Preserver should restore to them their sacred gem. Time rolled on from the first to the last years of the eighteenth Christian century. The Diamond fell into the possession of Tippoo, Sultan of Seringapatam, who caused it to be placed as an ornament in the handle of a dagger, and who commanded it to be kept among the choicest treasures of his armoury. Even then--in the palace of the Sultan himself--the three guardian priests still kept their watch in secret. There were three officers of Tippoo’s household, strangers to the rest, who had won their master’s confidence by conforming, or appearing to conform, to the Mussulman faith; and to those three men report pointed as the three priests in disguise.

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