Transfer of Mysore Princes to Vellore (18th of June, 1799)

After the capture of Srirangapatna on 4th May, 1799, the British exiled the families of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan to Vellore. The fort of Vellore was chosen as the ideal location to house Tipu's family due to its reputation as one of the most impregnable fortresses in India. 

On the 30th of June, a mere five-year-old child, a descendant of the Wodeyar Rajas, was crowned as the new ruler of Mysore under the title of Mummudi Krishnaraja Wodeyar.

The task of informing the Mysore Princes, the sons of Tipu Sultan, about their transfer to Vellore, was entrusted to Colonel Arthur Wellesley, by the Governor General Richard Marquess Wellesley, who was also known as Lord Mornington and Lord Wellesley. It is worth noting that Arthur Wellesley was the younger brother of the Governor General.

The Unfortunate Fateh Hyder:


Fateh Hyder, the eldest son of Tipu Sultan, bore a striking resemblance to his father. His mother was a dancer from Adoni, by the name of Raushmi Begum. Fateh Hyder surrendered himself to General Harris on 13th May. At the time, he was a young man of 26.

Fateh Hyder believed that the British would keep their promise to restore him to the throne of his father's dominions, just as they had done in Tanjore (Thanjavur) and Oudh (Awadh). However, the reality was far from what he had hoped for.

Colonel Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, informed Fateh Hyder of his relocation to Vellore, along with his three brothers, Abdul Khaliq, Muhi-ud-din and Muiz-ud-din. Nevertheless, the princes had no choice but to accept their fate and prepare for the journey ahead. Here is a brief account of the event:

Colonel Arthur Wellesley had meticulously planned the relocation of the four princes to Vellore. He met with Prince Fateh Hyder on the 16th to deliver a letter from the Governor General and to inform him of the General's wishes for the princes to move to Vellore in the Carnatic.

'Colonel Wellesley began by explaining that he had been ordered by the General to convey his wishes to Fateh Hyder. He then went on to clarify that, after careful consideration of the country's affairs, the Governor General had decided that it was not in the best interests of the British nation and its allies to place Fateh Hyder or any of his family members on the throne of Mysore. However, the Governor General had decided to grant Tipu's family with an allowance of up to 7 lacs of rupees.

Colonel Wellesley then expressed his empathy towards Fateh Hyder, recognizing the emotional turmoil he must be experiencing as the government of the country transitions to new leadership. He explained that, for Fateh Hyder's own sake and the smooth establishment of the new government in Mysore, it would be best for him to relocate to another country. Thus, he requested that Fateh Hyder make preparations to depart for Vellore immediately, with the next day being the fixed date for his departure.

Arthur-Wellesley-1st-Duke-of-Wellington-oil on canvas-by-Robert Home

Fateh Hyder was taken aback by the news and expressed his surprise. He explained that he had received a cowle, a written agreement, and had come in upon it. He noted that the British usually restored the governments of the countries they had conquered in India, citing the examples of Tanjore and Oudh.

He expressed that if it was deemed inappropriate for him to govern this country, there was no cause for him to be expelled from it. He declared that he would never leave the tombs of his father and grandfather, nor depart from his father's family; he interrogatively requested what would become of them if he were to leave them.

Wellesley informed Fateh Hyder that the cowle sent to him contained no indication that would allow him to govern the country or restrict the Governor General's authority to order subjects to relocate. He pointed out that in Tanjore and Oudh, the families who were reinstated to power after being conquered were not politically affiliated with Britain's enemies, solely for the purpose of driving them out of India. Assuring him that there was no plan to separate him from his father and grandfather's families any longer than needed to make arrangements for their travel to the Carnatic, Wellesley reminded him that he had arrived twelve days after the assault, during which period his own and his father's family had been under his protection and not hurt. Therefore, he had no reason to fear for their safety during his absence. Wellesley then explained to him that he must be aware that he would always be viewed with suspicion here, and even the slightest mistake on his part could result in his detention.

Fateh Hyder inquired about his share of the family allowance, citing the cowle. Wellesley promptly informed him that he would receive an annual sum of 50,000 rupees. Fateh Hyder wanted to discuss this further with his friends, but Wellesley gently reminded him that it was his responsibility to carry out the General's orders'.

Wellesley relayed the same information he had said to Fateh Hyder with the other princes. Abdul Khaliq and Muiz-ud-din appeared unconcerned, except for their allowance. However, Muhi-ud-din, expressed his desire to consult with his friends. Wellesley reminded him that these were orders, and regardless of the outcome of the consultation, they must be followed. Muhi-ud-din ultimately agreed to the terms.

Fateh Hyder and Muhi-ud-din visited Wellesley in the evening, seeking permission to take half of the families of their father and grandfather with them. However, Wellesley calmly informed them that the available means of transportation were already reserved for their own families. As a result, it was mutually agreed to postpone the relocation of the families of their father and grandfather for a later time.

The next morning the two princes arrived with an extensive list of transportation options, including doolies, camels, elephants and bandies, which they deemed necessary for the removal of the families of Hyder Ali and of Tipu. However, upon being informed that the means of carriage were only available for the needs of their own families, they seemed content and prepared to depart.

On June 18th, 1799, Fateh Hyder, Abdul Khaliq, Muiz-ud-din, and Muhi-ud-din, the four eldest sons of Tipu Sultan, along with their families, accompanied by Captain Marriott and escorted by a detachment under Lieutenant Colonel Coke, left Srirangapatna for Vellore.

As they passed through the streets of Srirangapatna, the procession attracted vast crowds to take a farewell look at the sons of their late sovereign.