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  3.2 Haidar Ally Cawn  


©Collection Robin Wigington
Haidar Ally Cawn; from the European Magazine; 1793

Engraving 12 x 15 cm

Unknown Artist

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.


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