There have been lot of controversies on Tipu sultan (and to some extent on his father Hyder Ali) on whether he is a hero or villain. Even a tableaux on Tipu sultan was paraded on the occasion of Republic day in New Delhi in 2014.

Before delving on whether he was a Hero OR Villian, we need to understand first that he and his father were the illegitimate rulers of Mysore. How? Lets understand.

Hyder Ali started his career as a mere sepoy under the Hindu King Krishnaraja Wadiyar II. He grew up in ranks and helped the Krishnaraja Wadiyar win many battles and even help defend Krishnaraja Wadiyar from the attacks of Nizam and Marathas.

Krishnaraja Wodeyar II rewarded Hyder Ali’s performance by granting him the title of Fath Hyder Bahadur or Nawab Hyder Ali Khan. Hyder Ali is also known to be the first ruler of Mysore to be granted the title of Nawab.

Hyder Ali’s power grew in the court. In 1760 the queen mother (alarmed by the rising power of Hyder Ali) conspired with Khande Rao (once a friend and advisor of Hyder Ali), to oust Hyder Ali. However, Hyder ultimately came out victorius.

Hyder Ali then assumed control of Mysore in 1761 after overthrowing the prime minster and making the king, Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, a prisoner in his own palace.

Hyder Ali formally styled himself Sultan Hyder Ali Khan in all his correspondences. Hyder Ali retained this title till his death and Tipu assumed the title later on.


  1. Hyder Ali ousted the legal ruler of Mysore by a military coup.
  2. He and his son, hence, were the illegal rulers of Mysore.

Hence, the question whether he was good or bad, tolerant or non-tolerant, progressive or regressive doesn’t arise at all.

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