Purniah   -Page   3

1799: Fourth Anglo-Mysore War  - Short War - British score final victory and Tipu is killed.

Tipu was now set on an all-out struggle to oust the British from India. He tried to streamline his administration by putting only trusted men in key positions and requested foreign powers, especially France to crush the English. However by holding an aversion to Brahmins and Hindus and fanatical selection of only Mussalmans who could scarcely read and write had its disadvantage on the structure. This led to sycophancy and resulted in a deteriorating administration. He now even alienated the sympathy of the people he ruled with his fanaticism and cruelty. He had grown so crazy that he devised schemes for crushing the Marathas and English with support from the rulers of Afghanistan, Persia and Turkey.

Lord Wellesley took over as Governor General in April 1798. He was a staunch imperialist, pledged to a policy of aggression, fully armed and briefed by Prime Minister Pitt for the establishment of the British Indian Empire, after first eliminating Tipu. Lord Wellesley attacked on several flanks- General Harris from Vellore to Mysore, General Stuarts force from Bombay and Lt. Colonel Monttressor from Coorg side. This military action routed Tipu army and made it retreat in all directions. Tipus star was on the wane. When the siege actually started around middle of April 1799, Tipu entrusted his eldest son to the care of Purniah. On the 3rd of May the fort was breached but Tipu could have escaped. Instead on 5th May he mounted his horse and went to fight thereby exposing himself to the assailants. His horse fell  and Tipu was killed on May 4th 1799. His beloved capital Srirangapatnam was plundered ,and the fourth and Final Mysore War ended .This was the beginning of British domination of South India.

[ There is a school of thought that Purniah was a traitor as he left Seringapatnam Fort three days earlier. Besides everybody including Tipu were taken aback when the British advanced so far in just a few days and appeared to know of Tipu's plans. Both Harris' and Stuarts' advances had been unusually swift and appeared forewarned , in spite of the secret British plans falling into Tipu's hands and both Purniah and Tipu's most trusted man, Mir Sadik were privy to this information. (Q?  "How did they come so far ? The enemy is within our gates ."). But Purniah's loyalty is unquestionable and indisputable by the complete confidence Tipu had by placing his heir-apparent, Fateh Haider, under his guidance. Another event which is said to have taken place, is that Tipu, when he knew his fate was sealed and decided to die fighting, told Purniah that there was no point in both of them dying and "Therefore, I want you out of this fort - so that you may live to serve the next ruler of Mysore, to instill in him the spirit of resistance, so to inspire in him the dream of unity of India". The traitor was obviously Mir Sadik ! ]

On 12th May 1799 Purniah met General Harris who played a major role in winning the war against Tipu. He was not only treated cordially but was consulted in the matter of the future of the kingdom. He suggested peace must be of paramount importance, that a new adminstration must be established as the old one had collapsed, that the regiments  be allowed to get back to their lands, the and that that the dignity of the family of Tipu be maintained with decent allowances, etc. The British were anxious to avoid a further bloody war and the sent a Maharashtrian envoy to prevail upon Purniah to give up his old loyalties and agree to serve a Hindu Raja who would be restored to the Mysore throne. Purniah, after much thought accepted the new dispensation. But before that a Partition Treaty had to be drawn up whereby the the British, the Nizam and the Marathas had to get their rewards.The Marathas chose to sacrifice territory for other considerations, and this resulted in a truncated part of Mysore left. Purniah tried his best to get this part for Tipu's son, Fateh Hyder, who was 27 years of age then. The Governor General did not agree as he felt that Tipu's son will not reconcile himself after the 40 years of rule of his father and grandfather and will revolt in course of time. The only consideration that could be given for Tipus family was to send them out of Mysore State ( to Vellore ) with adequate pension and honorable living.

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