TIPPU SULTAN, FRANCOIS RIPAUD & HINDUS

On the 8th of December 1988, an old trunk was discovered in the attic of the house of Elaine de la Taille Trétinville, who died at age 91 in her 14th district flat in Paris. Eliane was a descendant of the family of Les Ripaud de Montaudevert. Amongst the manyartefacts, an old manuscript was found, handwritten by the most famous of the Montaudeverts: François Fidèle Ripaud de Montaudevert.

The manuscript starts with these words in old French ‘moi François Ripaud, ester vieillot, mais je volere raconter le villain Tipoo”: « I am old today, but I want to tell you the true story of Tipoo Sultan »…

Born in Saffré, in France’s Britain County, into a middle class family, Ripaud enrolled at the age of 11 as a sailor on the ship Le Palmier. After many adventures, he settled in Mauritius where he marries and has two children. In1797, having heard about “Le Grand Tippu Sultan” (the great Tippu Sultan), Ripaud sailed from Mauritius (then called L’Isle de France) to Mangalore and requested a meeting with the Sultan, promising him « to raise a large force in Mauritius and put it at Tippu’s disposal ».

Tippu, who had an early connection with the French, as he was instructed in military tactics by French officers in the employment of his father, jumped on the idea. And gave Ripaud letters of credentials.Ripaud thus arrived at Ile de France on 19 August 1798, and had a public proclamation asking for volunteers “to join an expedition to travel to Mysore to assist Tipoo in his resistance to British encroachment in South India “. It must be noted that two months earlier, Napoleon invaded Egypt and dreamt of establishing a junction with India against the British. Hence the Governor of Mauritius received instructions to collaborate and Ripaudcame back to Mangalore with a shipload of French soldiers, who were welcomed like heroes.

Life in the court of Tippu was a dream for our hardy adventurer. But Francois Ripaud begins to have some misgivings about the Sultan:“Iam disturbed, he writes in his diary on 14th January 1799, about Tipoo’streatment of these most gentle souls, the Hindus. During the siege of Mangalore, Tippu’s soldiers daily exposed the heads of many innocent Brahmins within sight from the fort for Zamorin and his Hindu followers to see”.

But Ripaud casts his doubts aside, and puts up for Tippu’s benefit a demonstration of the new egalitarian French political ideals. A French paper was found in Tipu’s Palace in 1799, entitled ‘Proceedings of a Jacobin Club formed at Seringapatam by the French Soldiers in the Corps commanded by Francois Ripaud. The Paper listed by name 59 Frenchmen in the pay of ‘Citizen Tippoo’; it described the gathering of a Primary Assembly on 5th May 1797, to elect a President, Francois Ripaud, and other officers. The ‘Rights of Man’ were proclaimed, and a small delegation was formally received by Tippu.

After this lull, we find another entry in his diary where Francois was even more appalled of what he witnessed in Calicut “Most of the Hindu men and women were hanged in Calicut, first mothers were hanged with their children tied to necks of mothers. That barbarian Tipu Sultan tied the naked Christians and Hindus to the legs of elephants and made the elephants to move around till the bodies of the helpless victims were torn to pieces. Temples and churches were ordered to be burned down, desecrated and destroyed. Christian and Hindu women were forced to marry Mohammadans and similarly their men (after converting Hindu men into Islam) were forced to marry Mohammadan women. Those Christians, who refused to be honoured with Islam, were ordered to be killed by hanging immediately”. It is interesting to note that this event was cohobated by the world-famous Portuguese traveller, Father. Barthoelomeo, who wrote about it in his book “Voyage to East Indies”

Then, there were the atrocities in Kozhikode, also seen by Ripaud, who wrote: “To show his ardent devotion and steadfast faith in Muhammaddan religion, Tipu Sultan found Kozhikode to be the most suitable place. Kozhikode was then a centre of Brahmins and had over 7000 Brahmin families living there. Over 2000 Brahmin families perished as a result of Tipu Sultan”s Islamic cruelties. He did not spare even women and children”
.
Disgusted, Ripaud escaped from Srirangapatnamand went back to France, where he obtained the captainship of a fine fighting ship, the Shapho. But on 23 February 1814, while fighting anEnglish frigate, a cannon ball ripped his whole arm. He died in the evening. Even the British, his archenemies, gave 21 cannon salutes to this courageous adventurer, once, Tippu’s Great White Hope.

Francois Gautier

* Based on the book: « A la mer, en guerre: vie du corsaire Ripaud de Montaudevert » by Jean Feidel, (To the sea, in war, the life of a ship ) Editions RDM, Paris & scènes de la Révolution Française à L’île Bourbon, book written in French by Louis Brunet describing Ripaud’s adventures

On the 8th of December 1988, an old trunk was discovered in the attic of the house of Elaine de la Taille Trétinville, who died at age 91 in her 14th district flat in Paris. Eliane was a descendant of the family of Les Ripaud de Montaudevert. Amongst the manyartefacts, an old manuscript was found, handwritten by the most famous of the Montaudeverts: François Fidèle Ripaud de Montaudevert.

The manuscript starts with these words in old French ‘moi François Ripaud, ester vieillot, mais je volere raconter le villain Tipoo”: « I am old today, but I want to tell you the true story of Tipoo Sultan »…

Born in Saffré, in France’s Britain County, into a middle class family, Ripaud enrolled at the age of 11 as a sailor on the ship Le Palmier. After many adventures, he settled in Mauritius where he marries and has two children. In1797, having heard about “Le Grand Tippu Sultan” (the great Tippu Sultan), Ripaud sailed from Mauritius (then called L’Isle de France) to Mangalore and requested a meeting with the Sultan, promising him « to raise a large force in Mauritius and put it at Tippu’s disposal ».

Tippu, who had an early connection with the French, as he was instructed in military tactics by French officers in the employment of his father, jumped on the idea. And gave Ripaud letters of credentials.Ripaud thus arrived at Ile de France on 19 August 1798, and had a public proclamation asking for volunteers “to join an expedition to travel to Mysore to assist Tipoo in his resistance to British encroachment in South India “. It must be noted that two months earlier, Napoleon invaded Egypt and dreamt of establishing a junction with India against the British. Hence the Governor of Mauritius received instructions to collaborate and Ripaudcame back to Mangalore with a shipload of French soldiers, who were welcomed like heroes.

Life in the court of Tippu was a dream for our hardy adventurer. But Francois Ripaud begins to have some misgivings about the Sultan:“Iam disturbed, he writes in his diary on 14th January 1799, about Tipoo’streatment of these most gentle souls, the Hindus. During the siege of Mangalore, Tippu’s soldiers daily exposed the heads of many innocent Brahmins within sight from the fort for Zamorin and his Hindu followers to see”.

But Ripaud casts his doubts aside, and puts up for Tippu’s benefit a demonstration of the new egalitarian French political ideals. A French paper was found in Tipu’s Palace in 1799, entitled ‘Proceedings of a Jacobin Club formed at Seringapatam by the French Soldiers in the Corps commanded by Francois Ripaud. The Paper listed by name 59 Frenchmen in the pay of ‘Citizen Tippoo’; it described the gathering of a Primary Assembly on 5th May 1797, to elect a President, Francois Ripaud, and other officers. The ‘Rights of Man’ were proclaimed, and a small delegation was formally received by Tippu.

After this lull, we find another entry in his diary where Francois was even more appalled of what he witnessed in Calicut “Most of the Hindu men and women were hanged in Calicut, first mothers were hanged with their children tied to necks of mothers. That barbarian Tipu Sultan tied the naked Christians and Hindus to the legs of elephants and made the elephants to move around till the bodies of the helpless victims were torn to pieces. Temples and churches were ordered to be burned down, desecrated and destroyed. Christian and Hindu women were forced to marry Mohammadans and similarly their men (after converting Hindu men into Islam) were forced to marry Mohammadan women. Those Christians, who refused to be honoured with Islam, were ordered to be killed by hanging immediately”. It is interesting to note that this event was cohobated by the world-famous Portuguese traveller, Father. Barthoelomeo, who wrote about it in his book “Voyage to East Indies”

Then, there were the atrocities in Kozhikode, also seen by Ripaud, who wrote: “To show his ardent devotion and steadfast faith in Muhammaddan religion, Tipu Sultan found Kozhikode to be the most suitable place. Kozhikode was then a centre of Brahmins and had over 7000 Brahmin families living there. Over 2000 Brahmin families perished as a result of Tipu Sultan”s Islamic cruelties. He did not spare even women and children”

.

Disgusted, Ripaud escaped from Srirangapatnamand went back to France, where he obtained the captainship of a fine fighting ship, the Shapho. But on 23 February 1814, while fighting anEnglish frigate, a cannon ball ripped his whole arm. He died in the evening. Even the British, his archenemies, gave 21 cannon salutes to this courageous adventurer, once, Tippu’s Great White Hope.

Francois Gautier

* Based on the book: « A la mer, en guerre: vie du corsaire Ripaud de Montaudevert » by Jean Feidel, (To the sea, in war, the life of a ship ) Editions RDM, Paris & scènes de la Révolution Française à L’île Bourbon, book written in French by Louis Brunet describing Ripaud’s adventures

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