Mandyam's community still feels Tipu's sword

MANDYA/MELUKOTE: Each Diwali, a small section of Mandyam Iyengars that resides in the small and historic temple town in the Mandya district, cries the death of their ancestors.

Some 1,500 members of the community were allegedly massacred by the army of the Mysore ruler of the 18th century. Tipu Sultan . The recent controversy over Tipu has once again become the center of attention of the Mandyams, who still heal the wounds inflicted by the former ruler of Mysore 230 years ago.

A section of the Melukote Iyengar community, which comes from Bhardwaj gothra (pedigree), does not light lamps on the first day of Diwali because it was that night when Tipu allegedly slaughtered his ancestors.

The community emigrated from Mandyam, a town near Tirupati, in the 1700s and settled in the Mandya district, mainly Srirangapatna and Melukote. Now there are around eight lakh worldwide.

Some community leaders were so influential that they managed to enter the inner circle of the Wadiyars and began working with Lakshmi Ammani Devi, mother of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III, to restore the dynasty that was dethroned by Tippu's father.

It is said that two people, Tirumala and Narayana Iyengar, were in channel conversations with the British in 1773 to dethrone Tipu. Alarmed by reports that efforts were being made to dethrone him, Tipu allegedly ordered his armies to eliminate some 800 Mandyam families in Srirangapatna.

SN Simha, who comes from the community and administrator of Melukote Sanskrit College, said people were making a bid at the Sri Narasimha temple on Naraka Chaturdashi day in Srirangapatna when the massacre took place.

The massacre occurred in Srirangapatna and not in Melukote as it has been wrongly recorded in the history books, Simha said. Tipu ordered the murder of unarmed Iyengars and hung their bodies from a tamarind tree that still exists in the temple premises.

More than two centuries later, the BJP hopes to use the community's anger against Tipu to extend its dominance. Significantly, the BJP tweeted about the community that does not celebrate the festival of lights, even while the dispute over the purge textbooks of the Tipu lessons exploded.

But Narasimhan, a resident of Melukote, said: “Tipu is a fact in history and we cannot wish him to leave. I would say that the state must also incorporate its negative aspects to ensure that history is taught in a true way.