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


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
September 13,2023


Bengaluru, Sept 13: Former Karnataka Chief Ministers B S Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai of the BJP and H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) -- will not be attending the 'special emergency meeting' called by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday to discuss the issue of releasing Cauvery river water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu. 

The meeting was convened at short notice following the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) on Tuesday recommending that Karnataka release 5,000 cusecs of water every day for the next 15 days to Tamil Nadu.

Bommai and Kumaraswamy said they are preoccupied with prior commitments but made their stand clear on the issue.

The Chief Minister's office said late on Tuesday, Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, ministers of the Cauvery basin region, former chief ministers of all parties, senior ministers of the state cabinet, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members were invited to participate in the emergency meeting.

While Yediyurappa is travelling to attend the BJP central election committee meeting in the national capital, Bommai too said, he will not be able to participate in the meeting as he is visiting his home constituency of Shiggavi in Haveri district to take part in an event.

'The state government invited late last night for a meeting to discuss the Cauvery dispute. However, I am not able to attend the meeting called by the government, as I have to participate in the pre-scheduled event in my constituency,' Bommai said on 'X'.

'Our stand on the Cauvery issue is clear. The state government should not release water to Tamil Nadu for any reason. The state government should make the Supreme Court and the CWMA (Cauvery Water Management Authority) understand the ground situation in the state,' he added.

Kumaraswamy too said he will not be able to attend the meeting as he has to attend a pre-scheduled event in Hassan.

Questioning the recommendation or direction to Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu, he urged the state government to reject it.

Terming CWRC's recommendation as 'unjust', he said because of water scarcity in the Cauvery basin area, Karnataka government asked farmers not to cultivate crops; there will also be shortage of drinking water in the days to come.

Further, hitting out at the state government for releasing water to TN all these days, despite Karnataka facing scarcity, Kumaraswamy said, "It doesn't have the basic understanding or guts or courage to protect the interest of the state...they don't have commitment towards the people. What will they do for drinking water in the days to come, from where will they provide it to the people of Bengaluru?" Also, pointing out that there is no distress formula on water sharing till now, he expressed his displeasure about Cauvery bodies, and alleged that people of Karnataka are repeatedly being subject to oppression.

Following the CWRC's recommendation, Siddaramaiah on Tuesday held an emergency meeting regarding the next steps to be taken. Shivakumar, several senior ministers and officials including Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma, and Chief Minister's Legal Advisor A S Ponnanna participated in the meeting.

Shivakumar made it clear that Karnataka is in no position to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, as it doesn't have enough water storage, due to lack of adequate rainfall in the river basin region.

He had said that the matter is next going to come before the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), in a couple of days, and Karnataka will vehemently put forward its stand before it. 


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News Network
September 9,2023


Bengaluru, Sept 9: Discussions regarding BJP and his party contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha polls together are still at initial phase, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy said on Saturday, a day after the saffron party veteran B S Yediyurappa stated that both parties have reached an understanding. Maintaining that the seat sharing and other things are yet to be discussed, the former chief minister said more than give and take, trust and respect is important for him.

"These are initial phases of discussions. I have seen reports in the media on this (understanding) for the last couple of days...I have seen senior leader Yediyurappa's statement. He has spoken good about our party, Deve Gowda (JDS supremo) and me. Thank him for his statement that in the days to come we will work together," Kumaraswamy said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said the seat sharing and other things have not been discussed yet, and also date has not been fixed for his Delhi visit.

"There are reports in the media that -- we are adamant on the Mandya seat, what will happen to the sitting MP there, what will happen to Tuamkuru and Kolar seats -- all these have not yet been discussed. I appeal to media friends not to speculate as they want, when the discussions are still at the initial phase," Kumaraswamy said.

Media is projecting as though understanding has been finalised, he further said. "But in my opinion there is still time for it, still a lot of discussions are yet to happen. It is not give and take that is important, trust and respect is important for me."

A meeting of party workers has been called on Sunday, where their opinion will be gathered, he said, adding that "time to respond to all these issues -- preliminary discussions regarding alliance, Congress leaders' statements -- is still far." Yediyurappa on Friday said the BJP will have an understanding with former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, an announcement that shot up political temperature in the State.

The veteran leader, who is also the BJP parliamentary board member, had said that as part of the poll understanding, the JD(S) will contest in four LS seats in Karnataka, which has a total of 28 constituencies.

Asked whether Deve Gowda has agreed for alliance, Kumaraswamy said all these are preliminary phases of discussions and whether the party supremo has agreed or not will be known in the days to come.

To a question whether this is a promising development, he said, "In the interest of the state, at a time when such a bad government is there in the state, certain decisions need to be made. It requires time, let's wait for it. I'm not in a hurry."

The BJP had swept the 2019 LS polls in Karnataka by winning 25 seats, while an independent (Sumalatha Ambareesh from Mandya) backed by it won in one seat. The Congress and JD(S) won one seat each.

JD(S) had contested the polls in alliance with the Congress, as both parties were then running an alliance government under Kumaraswamy's Chief Ministership.

Noting that Congress administration in Karnataka is already facing anti-incumbency, after over three months, since coming to power, the former chief minister said, he was not saying it and it is the opinion of senior officials in this government.

"So there is a feeling among people that it (understanding between BJP and JDS) is good," he said.

Stating that no one is indispensable to anyone, either for him or for the BJP, Kumaraswamy further said the JD(S) had already contested parliamentary polls independently several times and won two or three seats.

Now, after Congress getting 135 seats and JD(S) 19 seats in Assembly polls, the grand old party leaders are projecting as though something has happened to JD(S) and are questioning its survival, he said.

"I will speak about it in the days to I request Congress leaders you are in power, people have blessed you, do good work, instead of commenting on our party," he said.

Congress has been critical of JD(S) over the development, he added.

Taking a dig at JD(S) for entering into an understanding with the BJP for 2024 LS polls, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, while questioning the regional party's secular credentials, alleged that it doesn't have any ideology and would do anything for the sake of power.

The JD(S) had earlier formed governments in coalition with both BJP and Congress respectively for 20 months from January 2006, and for 14 months from May 2018, with Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister.


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News Network
September 22,2023


Toronto, Sept 22: Canada on Friday said that acts of aggression, hate, intimidation or incitement of fear have no place in the country amid the circulation of an online video in which Hindu Canadians are told to leave the country.

Public Safety Canada, the department responsible for matters of public safety, emergency management, national security, and emergency preparedness, said the circulation of the video is offensive and hateful and is an affront to all Canadians and "the values we hold dearly".

"There is no place in Canada for hate," it said in a post on X.

"Acts of aggression, hate, intimidation or incitement of fear have no place in this country and only serve to divide us. We urge all Canadians to respect one another and follow the rule of law. Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities," it added.

The video was circulated amid tensions flared between India and Canada following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's explosive allegations of the "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on his country's soil on June 18 in British Columbia. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.

India angrily rejected the allegations as "absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official over the case.


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