The entire undivided Bharatavarsha was rife with frenzied meetings and mobs and sporadic violence on the part of Muslims fanned by the poisonous fumes of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan because Muslims felt threatened by Hindus. From Lahore to Lucknow, Karachi to Calcutta, it was the same scene. Quite naturally, it spread to Mysore, which had distinguished itself as a Model State and had attained excellent levels of economic prosperity and was an enviable educational hub. This Princely State had largely been peaceful.
But Mysore also had a significant number of Muslim population thanks largely to the bigoted rule of the father-son duo, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. And the poison injected by Jinnah found a willing and waiting audience.
By this time, several Muslims had occupied powerful positions in bodies like the Mysore Representative Assembly, Bangalore District Board and so on. Egged on by Jinnah’s inflammatory speeches and demand for Pakistan, and correctly assessing Mohandas Gandhi’s weak-kneed responses, they threw in their lot with him. The fearless journalist and editor, and one of the doyens of Kannada press, T.T. Sharma breathed fire on the pages of his Vishwa Karnataka against this open Muslim hooliganism. Here is a representative sample of the situation prevailing in June 1946.
In yesterday’s Legislative Council meeting, the foundation for raising the flag of ‘Mysore Pakistan’ was laid by the Mysore unit of the Muslim League.
T.T. Sharma wrote this in response to the Mysore Muslim League member, Syed Abdul Rahim who said the following in the aforementioned meeting:
The question of the Muslims of Mysore is not a question of minorities. Indeed, they are not minorities. They are a separate race!
Unlike the ignorant and history-challenged journalists and editors of “independent” India, T.T. Sharma knew his history. He wrote,
None should think that this clamour for creating a ‘Mysore Pakistan’ is new. Or that this is the first attempt in this direction. We have the historical precedents of Hyder Ali Khan who sidelined the Wodeyars followed by his son, Tipu Sultan who imprisoned the entire Wodeyar royal family…
Let us list out a few recent events after communal electorates were instituted… What does the formation of the Muslim League fundamentally indicate?…
The Ganapati clashes erupted in Bangalore in 1928. In its wake, the President of the Bangalore District Board, Mr. Abdul Rahman wrote a booklet which contained such gems: ‘don’t forget that Muslims had ruled Mysore in the past.’
Right on the floor of the People’s Representative Assembly, the Member Mirza Azeezullah Baig warned everybody, ‘Nobody here should forget that just in the recent past, Muslims ruled Mysore!’
To a delegation of Ministers, a group of Muslims submitted a ‘Muslim Memorandum.’ On this occasion, a Muslim leader from Channapattana said, ‘Our loyalty does not lie to the Maharaja of Mysore. It lies to the [British] Emperor of India.’
About two decades earlier, Shaukat Ali of the bigoted Ali Brothers notoriety had visited Srirangapattana to drum up support for his so-called Khilafat Movement. In a highly-charged communal speech, he declared,
We have come here to Srirangapattana on a pious pilgrimage. It includes a visit to the sacred grave of Tipu Sultan. He is our national hero.
Mirza Ismail was the Diwan of Mysore when the aforementioned Ganapathi clashes occurred. Its investigation was botched up and the Muslim mob that provoked it was declared not guilty and set free. When a prominent public figure asked another Muslim leader why this patent injustice occurred, the reply he got was this: “Mirza sahib hamara aadmi hai.” To what extent that was really true is immaterial here. But the underlying mind set behind this remark is noteworthy. Commenting on this, T.T. Sharma writes,
The ‘minorities’ of day before yesterday became the ‘powerful minorities’ yesterday. Today, they have become a ‘separate race!’ … the plans, programmes, and weapons of Jinnah’s Muslim League became the role model for Mysore’s Muslims.
In its 26 June 1946 issue, the Deshabandhu newspaper reported the following news item:
A certain representative of the Muslim community has submitted a memorandum to the Government demanding that a member of Tipu Sultan’s lineage must sit on the throne of the Mysore State. This shocking development indicates the direction in which the wind is blowing. Unless we take the appropriate precaution, dire circumstances are bound to ensue in the near future.
In an earlier edition of T.T. Sharma’s Vishwa Karnataka, there was a reference made to the inscription on Tipu Sultan’s sword. The District Magistrate of Bangalore, who was a Muslim, shot off the following letter to the editor:
You have written in a tone that causes disrespect to Muslims. The entire community is deeply upset by this. Please correct this mistake.
The “mistake” in the article? It had mentioned “Tipu Sultan” in the singular! T.T. Sharma signs off with a fiery note on this sort of innate intransigence on the part of the Muslim community of Mysore:
From the last 25 years, we have continuously exposed the real mindset of the Muslim community of Mysore by citing real-life incidents, one after the other. We have given detailed descriptions of their “League” mindset as well. We have revealed the true colours of their ‘patriotism.’ Despite this, our Government continues to retain a blind faith and trust in this regard and continues to pamper them. Even the so-called Hindu leaders continue to holler that ‘Hindus and Muslims in Mysore live like brothers.’ The ultimate fruit of all such actions is the proclamation of Syed Abdul Rahim that Mysore Muslims are a separate race. This is entirely an echo of Jinnah. The only thing that remains is the installation of Pakistan’s flag on the Mysore Palace!
Postscript: Keeping entirely consistent with the repeated and tragic failure of not learning anything from history, Hindus didn’t heed such warnings. On 16 August 1946, Muhammad Ali Jinnah declared the barbaric Direct Action Day.