8 The Tele-Serial on Tipu Sultan
In normal course, Doordarshan should have full freedom to telecast any serial which is not against the interest of the general public. But here, the problem is not a novel. It is the distorted presentation of historical events and historical personalities. In the process of projecting certain people in glorifying terms, an attempt is also being made to deliberately defame certain other people. When it is mixed with a dose of religious fanaticism, it becomes dangerous. It could lead to religious conflicts. Is it not better to avoid such personalities?
Tipu Sultan had not only given some financial assistance to a few temples including Sringeri Mutt, but he had also destroyed hundreds of temples and carried out forcible mass conversions as well. He had also indulged in mass murders. Letters and orders directing to do such horrible things were also issued by Tipu Sultan. If such things are deliberately suppressed, that will amount to injustice to the population who were the victims of his cruel atrocities. Even if it is only for promoting communal harmony, blatant lies should not be deliberately propagated. For the promotion of communal harmony, let people produce novel, poetry or even cinema. In the case of history, acknowledging the mistakes would be the best way to correct the mistakes; and not to whitewash the mistakes. If it is not done, that will result in emotional outbursts (as now).
Donations and grants supposed to have been given by Tipu Sultan to Sringeri Mutt and temples were, as revealed in the letters concerned, meant only to promote his selfish interests and also to ward off the evil spirits through the conduct of pujas and homas. It is absurd to argue that such occasional good deeds bore testimony to Tipu Sultan’s faith in all religions. Probably Tipu Sultan had committed atrocities as well as some good deeds. If Doordarshan which has a special obligation and duty to the general public, wants to project a serial on Tipu Sultan, let it present both sides. Doordarshan is the most powerful official media. That media should not be used to do injustice to the people and to distort recorded history. Project truth as truth; if that is not possible for some reason, it is better to keep complete silence on the whole issue.
Telecast of the serial is not that essential. Do not think that all the people in the country consider Tipu Sultan only as a hero. If necessary, let there be a national debate and serious research among honest historians (not of JNU and AMU variety) within the universities and outside. Then the resultant conclusion could be presented to the public for their benefit.
Kesari, February 11, 1990