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After Hindu right wing, Catholics oppose Tipu Sultan University

Thursday March 14, 2013 12:28:42 PM, Agencies

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Bangalore: Hundreds of Catholic Christians belonging to 17 Konkani Catholics organizations Tuesday staged demonstration in front of Rev. Kittel’s Statue, on M G Road opposing the move to name the proposed university for minorities after great Indian warrior and freedom fighter Tipu Sultan.


They instead demanded from the government to name the university after Reverend Ferdinand Kittel - a German by birth and a priest with the Basel Mission who was responsible for producing the first Kannada-English Dictionary.

The protest - led by politician and Catholic activist T J Abraham and held under the banner of Konkani Catholic Sangh was the first public demonstration by the Catholics opposing proposed Tippu Sultan University.


The demonstrators were holding banners criticizing the stance of Kannada literary giants like Prof. U.R. Ananthmurthy, Dr. Girish Karnad, Prof. G.K.Govinda Rao and Sri.Bargur Ramachandrappa, who had voiced their support to name the university after Tipu Sultan, who fought against British occupation and laid down his life in the battlefield.

The protesters also planned to exert pressure on the union government by holding a public demonstration in New Delhi on March 18 and 19.


They also planned to meet and present memorandums to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and AICC leader Rahul Gandhi, seeking the withdrawal of the proposal of naming of the University after Tipu Sultan.

T J Abraham had last month said naming the varsity after the Muslim king like Tipu Sultan is an ‘insult’ to Catholicism.

“We welcome the university in Srirangapatna and want it to be named after Rev Kittel, who compiled the first Kannada-English dictionary and was a strong Kannada activist", he had said while speaking at a press meet on Feb 15.

Abraham said, "Tipu Sultan forcibly converted as many as 70,000 Catholics and Hindus to Islam along the state’s coast."


"Instead of Tipu Sultan, if the Central government would name the university after Former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam, then it would be acceptable", he added.

Earlier in January, the Hindu Jana Jagruthi Samithi had also staged protest condemning the decision of the Union Government to set up the Tipu Sultan University at Srirangapatna.

"Naming of the University after Tipu Sultan was highly deplorable", Ramananda Gowda, Convenor of the Samithi said dubbing Tipu as "fanatic and anti-Hindu ruler" who was responsible for "converting thousands of Hindu families in Kodagu to Islam".


He further said that Tipu Sultan was also responsible for destroying several temples during his tenure.


The Samithi said that setting up of a Muslim University was also unconstitutional and criticized the Union Minorities Affairs Minister Rahman Khan for his initiative in setting up five such universities in India.

Some of the speakers at the protest also referred to the Aligarh Muslim University saying, "Several students of this university had been arrested on charges of disruptive activities in Kanpur, Delhi and other places."


They alleged that setting up of a separate Muslim university would "encourage disruptive activities".


As against the allegations leveled against him by Abraham and Gowda, records show that Tipus Sultan was actually a great Indian leader and was ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. 


"Tipu was an apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity, was fond of new inventions, and is called innovator of the world’s first war rocket, who felt inspired by the French Revolution", renowned author Subhash Gatade wrote in his one of the recent articles.


"Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the then President of India, in his Tipu Sultan Shaheed Memorial Lecture in Bangalore called Tipu Sultan the innovator of the world's first war rocket", he noted.


Two of these rockets, captured by the British at Srirangapatna, are displayed in the Royal Artillery Museum in London, he wrote.






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