How Tipu Sultan Got His Name?

Tipu Sultan was the eldest son of Hyder Ali by his second wife, Fatima Fakhr un-Nissa, daughter of Mir Muin-ud-din. His birth name was Fateh Ali Khan (Fath Ali Khan) Saheb.

[Hyder Ali's first wife gave birth to a daughter, but during the delivery she was afflicted with dropsy, leaving her paralyzed for the remainder of her life.]

There are some captivating stories surrounding the origin of Tipu Sultan's name.


Kirmani's Account:

For three or four years after his marriage with Fatima Fakhr un-Nissa Hyder Ali had no children. In an effort to obtain a son, Hyder Ali visited the tomb of the Sufi saint Tipu Mastan Aulia in Arcot.

Tipu Sultan was born in 1750. "As his [Tipu's] advent was owing to the secret aspirations and intercession of the saint Tipu Mastan, he was named Tipu Sultan", writes Kirmani.

Kate Brittlebank's 'Tiger: The Life of Tipu Sultan' mentions that Fatima Fakhr un-Nissa Begum and Hyder Ali named their son Tipu Sultan Fath Ali Khan; Tipu after the saint Tipu Mastan Aulia and Fath Ali in recognition of his grandfather Fateh Muhammad.

A Folklore:

The story goes that in 1761, when Hyder Ali became the Nawab, he sought to replace the mud walls of the Kalasipalyam Fort in Bangalore with stone. Three men - Hazrath Tipu Mastan, Hazarath Manik Mastan, and Hazrath Tawakkal Mastan Shah Saharwardi - migrated to Bangalore and joined the workforce as masons.

It is said that the three brothers had a remarkable ability, as they could simply touch the stones and they would arrange themselves. Furthermore, they refused to accept wages and after work, they would go to a mosque in Kumbarpet to sleep.

When Hyder Ali heard of this, he dispatched an official to investigate the matter. Upon arriving at the mosque, the official was met with a gruesome sight: three dismembered parts of a human body. Hyder Ali quickly realized that these were no ordinary men, but rather, holy saints.

Tawakkal Mastan settled in Cottonpet and requested Hyder to construct a mosque in the area. This majestic heritage mosque stands tall beside the dargah.

Hyder Ali built the Dargah of Hazrat Tawakkal Mastan at Upparpet in 1777, which was completed in 1783 by Tipu Sultan. Manik Mastan's dargah is located on Avenue Road, while Tipu Mastan's dargah is situated in Arcot.

Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad's Account:

Sri Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad's ancestors were senior officials at the Mysore court. According to him, Tipu Sultan was named after the Shaivite saint, Thippe Rudra Swamy, of Nayakanahatti village near Chitradurga.

Hyder Ali's family were devotees of Nayakanahatti Thippe Rudra Swamy. When Sultan Sayyid, a child of Hyder Ali's family was seriously ill, he was miraculously cured by Thippe Rudra Swamy's divine intervention. The saint blessed Hyder and Fakhr un-Nissa Begum that they would have a son who would be renowned for bravery.

Thippe, means a 'mound of cowdung'. When the child was born he was lovingly called 'Thippe Sultan'. Over time, the name was modified to Tipu.

Another Account: 

According to the website of Dalit Saints, when Hyder Ali's son Sultan Sayyid, was severely ill and could not be cured for a long time, Hyder Ali prayed for his recovery at Thippe Rudra Swamy's Samadhi at Chitradurga. Sultan Sayyid eventually recovered, and a grateful Hyder Ali built a structure around the Guru's Samadhi in appreciation. As a token of his gratitude, Hyder Ali added the word 'Thippu' to Sultan Sayyid's name in honor of Thippe Rudra Swamy; and the boy was henceforth known as 'Thippu Sultan' who would eventually became Tipu Sultan.

Interestingly, the name 'Tipu' does not have any literal meaning; it is simply a full personal name. Whatever the truth may be, Tipu Sultan's name has become synonymous with courage and strength.