Tipu Sultan's gold ring and Lord Richard Wellesley - Final Angelo - Mysore war 1799

Gold ring worn by Tipu at the time of death.1799,Srirangapatnam,India. hamariweb.com

Tipu Sultan of Mysore,India, tmilnews.com
Lord Wellesley  (20 June 1760 - 26 September 1842), an Angelo-Irish politician and colonial administrator, was the fifth Governor-General of India (1798-1805) and made a name for himself during his stint in India  In 1799, he invaded  the fort of Srirangapatna of the Mysore kingdom   south India with his troop and after a long and tough  sea-saw battle (4th and last Angelo-Mysore war - 1798-1799),  he  came out victorious  after the death of  highly spirited warrior  Tipu Sultan. He portrayed  Tipu  as  as a cruel tyrant  and had to be killed. Tipu's war campaign in Malabar and Coorg turned to be violent against non-Muslim communities.  In 1799, he got the Irish peerage title of Marquess Wellesley and also served as Foreign Secretary in the British Cabinet and as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. 

.Srirangapatna, Karnataka. nativeplanet.com

Wellesley, became  commander of the British army to fight against the Mysore kingdom.. Tipu Sultan of Mysore was a menace to the British rulers who were unable to establish their hegemony  down south because of persistent resistance offered by Tipu.  On getting secret reports from his  spices/secret agents in 1798 that Tipu Sultan  had a plan to collaborate with the French forces  to confront the British and an agreement was in the offing, He made up his mind to get into swift action against Tipu. 

Following the  invasion of Mysore  in February, 1799, on 4 May 1799, finally, he  led a well-trained  British army against the ruler of Mysore  who  was a competent and a highly spirited  warrior and  who had  a huge, powerful and  well-trained army, besides an effective  troop in charge of rocketry. In the early wars, the  powerful Mysorean rockets  gave  nightmares  to the British.  Obviously, it was  a challenge for the British commander to overcome Tipu right on his home  ground.

 place where Tipu died  at Srirangapatna fort.1799. en.wikipedia.org

Srirangapatna Gumbaz (musoleum).Karnataka.  tripadvisor.in

Above image: Gumbaz (Mausoleum) Srirangapatna, Karnataka.  Here lie the mortal remains of Tipu, his father Hyder Ali and Tipu's mother Fatima begum. Architecture: Indo-Persian................... 

The British army had to come up with a better strategy to pull a victory  over Tipu as they were dealing with a shrewd and dangerous enemy. Any wrong move meant  the British forces would be finished for good. Using the help of some whistle blowers,  at last Lord Wellesley and his other army men defeated Tipu Sultan, in the decisive battle at Srirangapatnam, near Mysore, Karnataka in 1799. Tipu died  from a  final gunshot wound  he received from a British soldier when injured Tipu was being taken  by his men to a secret place.   While on war mission he  used to wear  a heavy, oval shaped 41.2 gm gold ring with the name RAMA (Hindu God's name) in raised Devanagari inscribed on it.  When Tipu's body was found  by the English soldier  Wellesley  checked  out weather  Tipu was dead or not. At last he had the  gold ring removed from the slain king and kept it as a token of his big victory in Southern India.

Richard Wellesley (Duke of Wellington). wikipedia.

back in England, he gave the ring as a wedding gift to his favorite niece Emily with Fritz Roy Somerset, Wellesley's military officer and close confidant. Wellesley had a close and personal relationship with him for several years and they together fought wars in Crimea and Waterloo(1825), Belgium in which he defeated  Napoleon, thus becoming the "conqueror of the conqueror of the word."

Tipu Sultans gold ting.indiatvnews.com

Above image: This Tipu Sultan's heavy gold ring  removed by Richard Wellesley from  his  slain body at Srirangapatna (1799)  at the 2014 auction by Christie's in central London, got 10 times its estimated price, according to Christie's website. An interesting fact is in 2012 Christie's   listed it for sale at an auction, but withdrew it from sale for unknown reasons. .

Presently valued at 10,000.00 to 15,000.00 pounds this gold ring is one of the items put up for auction  at  Christie's auction house. on May 24, 2014 by Somerset's great grand son Baron Raglan! The well attended auction fetched 140,500 pounds – a fabulous sum for the owners.  Outie  surprising that "a ring bearing the name of a Hindu god would have been worn by the great Muslim warrior".  Some of the other artifacts, treasures  dated from 1858  were also auctioned.  The heavy  ring was sold to an undisclosed bidder for 10 times above the actual rate.

Neither the public-spirited Indian philanthropist nor the Indian government bought this rare, unusual ring worn by Tipu Sultan - who put up a brave fight against the mighty British forces - before dying on the battle field. ''Private European'' is the only detail the auction house has disclosed regarding the identity of the buyer.

It is a quite well known fact  that the decedents of  the former East India company's  officials  - Governors, Viceroys and others, who had a long stint in India during early colonial rule or later under the Raj,  in order to pass through their financial difficulties, put up for auction the old artifacts, gold jewels, gemstones and other valuable collections (once plundered by their great great grand fathers in India). Invariably,  they get a bundle out of their hoardings to tide over their family's financial mess.!! Thanks to the peerage bestowed on their forefathers and their wheeling dealing in a far off land.  Glad the valuable Indians treasures looted by the  English company's officials  centuries ago became so handy as to save the English gentlemen's  face during their hardscrabble days.
                                    ( reedited: Feb. 03,2021)