ipu's father, Haidar Ali, was born at Dodballapur in 1721 and
moved to Seringapatam aged eight.
Although illiterate, he possessed keen intellect, rare initiative,
shrewd common sense and a penetrating vision. As a young
man he served under Nanjaraj, the Commander-in-Chief of
Mysore and by 1761 he had risen to supremacy in Mysore.
Haidar initially supported Muhammad
Ali's claim to the Nawabship of the Carnatic in 1752,
but later sided with the French, for whom he conceived a
warm admiration. Lt. Col. Wilks, Political Resident at the
Court of Mysore, refers to this in his description of Hyder
: "In the interior management of the district committed
to his charge, Hyder evinced all the same penetration and
skill which distinguished him on all occasions ; and, in
a short time, could vie with the most experienced Aumildar
in valuing the resources of a village, in detecting the
misstatements of a fraudulent account, from merely hearing
it read ; and in devising the best means of increasing the
revenue. It was at Dindigul that he also first obtained
from Seringham, Trichinopoly, and Pondicherry, skilful artificers,
directed by French masters, and began to organize a regular
artillery, arsenal and laboratory."
Haidar's son, Tipu, was born on 20 November 1750 at Devanhalli
Father and son were both Muslims of the Sufi tradition,
but both were also Mysoreans, and this may partly explain
the fact that, when they rose to power, they did not exterminate
the ruling Hindu dynasty of the Wodeyars. Indeed, Tipu appointed
a number of Hindus to senior positions at his court, including
Purniya, his Diwan or Chief Minister.
Between 1767 and 1800, Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan would challenge
the British to four Mysore Wars.