UK govt imposes export ban on Tipu Sultan’s rare sporting gun, calls it a ‘significant antiquity in its own right’

News Network
May 29, 2023

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London, May 29: A rare 18th century decorated gun made in India for Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan, and valued at around GBP 2 million, has been barred from export to allow time for a UK-based institution to acquire it for the public study of a "fraught period" in the India-UK history.

UK Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Stephen Parkinson took the decision last week to impose the export ban on the “Flintlock Sporting Gun” following advice from the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA).

The 14-bore gun, dated between 1793 and 1794, was designed for shooting game and is signed by its maker Asad Khan Muhammed.

This British colonial-era firearm is said to have been “presented to General the Earl Cornwallis”, who previously fought Tipu Sultan between 1790 and 1792.

“This visually striking firearm is a significant antiquity in its own right, as well as an illustration of the important, interconnected history between Britain and India,” said Lord Parkinson.

“I hope that it can be shared with the widest possible public and used to deepen our understanding of a fraught period which shaped both our nations,” he said.

Famously known as the Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan was a defiant opponent of the British East India Company and its allies during the Anglo-Mysore Wars.

He was killed on May 4, 1799, while defending his stronghold of Seringapatam and several exquisite items from that siege have come up on the auction circuit over the years – most recently his Bedchamber Sword which sold for a record-breaking GBP 14 million at Bonhams auction house in London.

Following the killing of Tipu Sultan, his distinctive personal weapons were taken from the palace and given to leading British military figures of the time.

The RCEWA found the gun to be of aesthetic importance as well as significant to the study of Tipu Sultan and his court, Lord Cornwallis and British history, and the conclusion of the third Anglo-Mysorean war.

“This is the finest and most elaborately decorated of the personal firearms made for Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore, a large state in South India. Dated 1793-4, this fourteen-bore gun was designed for shooting game and is signed by Asad Khan Muhammad.

It is extremely beautiful as well as technically advanced,” said Committee Member Christopher Rowell.

“The mechanism allows two shots to be fired from the single barrel without reloading, revealing the probable influence of itinerant French gunmakers. Tipu’s court was sophisticated and its workshops produced a variety of fine metalwork including weaponry and ordnance, which was stylish as well as deadly,” he said.

Rowell elaborates how he was fascinated by Western technical innovations, including rocketry, but his leanings towards France antagonised Britain, which waged four wars against Mysore.

In 1799, he was killed as the British army overran the capital of Seringapatam.

“This superbly executed sporting gun was presented to General Earl Cornwallis, victor of the previous war against Tipu in 1790-2, which had forced the Sultan to cede half his territory. Tipu was known as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’ and his personal emblems are ubiquitous, from the tiger with brass-inlaid eyes carved into the hardwood stock to the stylised tiger stripes inlaid in silver along the blued steel barrel. One of the silver mounts depicts a tiger attacking European soldiers, an image redolent of ‘Tipu’s Tiger’ in the V&A [Victoria & Albert Museum],” noted Rowell.

“Given its aesthetic significance, its impeccable provenance, its scope for further research and its relevance to both British and Indian history, I hope that this superb fowling piece made for the unfortunate ruler of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, will be acquired by a British Institution where it can be appreciated by all,” he added.

The chiselled gun inlaid with gold and silver has a length of 138 cm and is made of hardwood stock, is carved, has silver mounts and a steel barrel.

The decision on the export licence application for the gun will be deferred for a period ending on September 25 following which any offers will be considered by the unnamed owners of the gun.

The RCEWA is an independent body serviced by the Arts Council England, which advises the UK’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on whether a cultural object, intended for export, is of national importance under specified criteria.

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News Network
July 6,2024

Mangaluru: Amid a spike in dengue cases in Karnataka, Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao launched an awareness campaign in this district headquarters town of Dakshina Kannada to eliminate breeding sites of Aedes mosquito that causes the vector borne disease.

He conducted a house-to-house inspection in parts of the city along with health workers and checked breeding areas of Aedes mosquitoes.

Rao, who is also district in-charge Minister, inspected places where Aedes mosquito larvae were produced in water stagnated in coconut shells, tubs and tyres and observed the measures being taken by Health Department staff to destroy them.

He advised the local residents to be vigilant.

Speaking to reporters later, the Minister said the Department has launched a campaign to destroy breeding sites of Aedes mosquitoes every Friday for dengue control and urged the public to extend their cooperation.

Health workers are engaged in creating awareness among people. People need to ensure that water does not stagnate in places around their houses. Aedes mosquito breeding sites are being identified and destroyed, he said.

"It has been suggested to identify hot spots where dengue fever is more common and open fever clinics. It is advised to conduct dengue testing on people with fever, who come from those regions where dengue is prevalent and provide treatment. This can prevent deaths," Rao said.

The Minister also said his Department along with the Rural Development Department, district administration, local Corporation officials and teachers have been engaged in efforts to control dengue.

According to the data shared by the Health Department, total positive dengue cases reported in the State since January till July 4 was 6,676 and out of these, total active cases were 695. Dengue has claimed six lives in the state in the current calendar year.

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News Network
July 12,2024

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New Delhi: In a relief to a Kannada news channel which extensively telecast the sex abuse case involving former JDS MP Prajwal Revanna and his family, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Karnataka High Court, stopping broadcast of Power TV on the ground of lack of proper licence.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said this was nothing but sheer political vendetta.

"We are inclined to protect the freedom of speech and expression. It looks like a plain case of political vendetta and this court would be failing in its duty if it does not protect the petitioner," the bench said.

The court issued notice to the Union government and others on a petition filed by Power TV and others.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Union government, contended it was not borne out from record.

He said the show cause notice of February 9 was related to the channel subletting its uplink and downlinking licence.

The apex court, however, stayed the High Court order till Monday.

It also fixed the matter for hearing on Monday.

The Karnataka High Court had restrained Power TV from carrying out any broadcasting activity till July 9.

Justice S R Krishna Kumar had passed the interim order on June 25, after hearing two petitions filed by senior serving IPS officer Dr B R Ravikanthegowda, and JDS leader and MLC HM Ramesh Gowda and his wife Dr A Ramya Ramesh.

The petitioners claimed despite proceedings already initiated by the central government against the television channel and other private respondents, they continued to broadcast without arranging for the necessary licence renewal.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting stated a show cause notice was issued on a complaint, that the permission for Power TV was valid till October 12, 2021, and its renewal application dated December 30, 2022, was under examination.

The channel and its director Rakesh Shetty have reportedly been at the forefront of campaigns against Janata Dal (Secular) leaders like Prajwal Revanna and Suraj Revanna, who have been accused of sexual assault.

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News Network
July 7,2024

An elderly man from Karnataka’s Shivamogga who had tested positive for Zika virus, died late Friday. Since the patient had comorbidities, doctors are yet to ascertain whether his death was directly caused by the virus.

Nonetheless, this is the first reported incident of death in Karnataka of a patient with traces of the deadly virus in his body this year. Another patient infected with the virus in Shivamogga is currently under treatment at home.

District health officer (DHO) Dr Nataraj said the 74-year-old man who died was suffering from breathing problems and other age-related issues. "He died at his residence in Gandhinagar after being discharged from the hospital," Dr Nataraj said. The patient was admitted to a private hospital on June 18.

After his blood and urine samples were tested, the hospital referred the results to McGann Hospital. Experts at McGann analysed the samples and forwarded them to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Bengaluru for a final report.

On June 21, the report from NIV confirmed that the patient was infected with Zika virus. Since then, he was under treatment at a private hospital.
However, despite his unstable condition, his family insisted on getting him discharged against medical advice. The patient was taken home early on Friday. He passed away later that night.

"Zika virus has no special treatment, except for symptomatic treatment, like any other viral infection," the DHO explained.

"Every day, we analyse all test reports and if there is any suspicion, we send the sample in question to NIV for confirmation. Samples collected from pregnant women with symptoms are taken special care of and are invariably sent to the NIV," the DHO further said.

Symptoms

Zika virus is transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquito bites that happen mostly during the day. Patients showing symptoms such as headache, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis must be monitored for more than a week, a health official said. Seeking medical advise during the first few days after contracting the virus is crucial.

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