Did you know that India’s Tipu Sultan is the pioneer of modern missile technology? While we’re often intrigued by the high-tech weaponry and the cutting-edge technology wielded by nations in times of war, surprisingly, not many are aware of India’s ground-breaking engineering marvel that changed warfare forever – Tipu’s Mysorean Rocket!
The Mysorean Rockets, built by Tipu Sultan in the 18th century were the world’s first iron-cased rockets used in wars and they caused the British Empire, some of their most humiliating losses in India. The first ever army to use these deadly iron-cased rockets was the Mysore army led by Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali. It is quite interesting to know that Tipu’s Mysorean Rocket is the prototype of the rockets that the British later adopted and found success with.
Recommended Tour Packages
- Kerala Weekend Tour (3 Nights / 4 Days)
- Honeymoon Tour Package (4 Nights / 5 Days)
- Highlights of Kerala (4 Nights / 5 Days)
- Best of Kerala (6 Nights / 7 Days)
- Family Tour Package (6 Nights/ 7 Days)
Let’s rediscover the lesser-known chapter of Indian military history as we delve into the remarkable tale of Tipu’s Mysorean Rocket – the World’s First Iron-Cased War Rockets.
Tipu Sultan: The Maestro of Missile Technology
In a time when powerful empires clashed and kingdoms competed for supremacy, Tipu Sultan, the valiant ruler of the Mysore Kingdom in South India in the late 18th century, carved his place in history as a trailblazer in military innovation. He is the mastermind behind the significant advancement in rocket technology: the Mysorean Rockets.
Also Read:- Top 10 Heritage sites in Karnataka
Sultan Fateh Ali Sahab, fondly called Tipu Sultan remains a figure of great admiration for many. Tipu is hailed as one of the greatest heroes of Indian history, the fearless Indian tiger who stood unwaveringly against the British lion. His extraordinary courage and valour led his people to affectionately bestow upon him the endearing title “The Tiger of Mysore”. In addition to his steadfast opposition to British colonialism and pioneering rocket artillery, Tipu Sultan is celebrated for his remarkable contributions. These include the development of the Mysore silk industry, reforming the land revenue system, introducing a new calendar, and revamping the coinage system.
From Firecrackers to Mighty Munitions: The Evolution of Rockets in Warfare
The origin of rockets as weapons dates back to ancient China, where gunpowder was first invented. From the 13th century, the Chinese were using these rockets to fend off Mongol invasions. Furthermore, historical records hint at their adoption by Arabs, several European powers, and even the Mughals during this era. Made from flimsy materials like bamboo and cardboard, these rockets were more akin to modern firecrackers. They lacked precision and weren’t exactly formidable in causing harm to the enemy. Instead, their role was to light up the battlefield at night and spook enemy horses.
Tipu Sultan, on the other hand, regarded it as a possible military tool. He understood that these rockets could be modified and used as powerful weapons in warfare. In the late 18th century, he made a ground-breaking contribution to rocket technology with his iron-cased war rockets. These rockets, known as Mysorean Rockets, were a substantial departure from the conventional bamboo casings and were extremely effective on the battlefield thanks to their stability, range, and explosive capability.
The Mysorean Rockets, used by Tipu Sultan in conflicts with the British East India Company, were the first weaponised metal rockets in the world. It featured an iron casing, a propulsion system, and stabilizing tail fins, enabling them to soar up to two and a half kilometres, making them surprisingly advanced for their time. They were a harbinger of the future of rocketry, heralding the evolution of modern missiles.
The entire stretch of road near Juma Masjid, in the vicinity of City Market and Taramandalpet, Bangalore, served as the epicentre of Tipu’s rocket project, where he had established a laboratory. Tipu also had rocket manufacturing centres at Srirangapatnam, Chitradurga, Bidanur and Bengaluru.
Changing the Face of Warfare
The deployment of Mysorean Rockets had a profound impact on the battlefield. They could be launched from a safe distance, making it challenging for the enemy to respond effectively. These rockets, encased in iron, were highly lethal, causing damage to both soldiers and fortifications. This revolutionary technology provided Tipu Sultan with a significant advantage in his conflicts against the British East India Company. The British infantry was taken aback by these unfamiliar weapons, not knowing what hit them. Their fear and bewilderment were so intense that British soldiers began describing the iron-tube-mounted, sword-like rockets used by Tipu’s army as “flying plagues.”
The Global Impact
The Mysorean Rockets were not just a turning point in Indian warfare; they had a lasting global impact. This Indian innovation was instrumental in shaping the future of warfare worldwide.
The British, who suffered heavy losses because of these rockets, stole the technology and dubbed it the Congreve Rocket, deploying it against the Americans during the Anglo-American War in 1812. These rockets, inspired by the Mysorean Rockets, even earned a mention in the American national anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner”. The technology eventually spread worldwide, profoundly influencing the evolution of modern rocketry.
Forgotten History: How Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Rediscovered Tipu Sultan’s Rocket Legacy
It was the illustrious ‘Missile Man of India’ and India’s Former President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who played a pivotal role in bringing the forgotten history of rocketry back into the limelight.
During a visit to the United States in the 1960s, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was struck by a painting displayed in the lobby of NASA’s sounding rocket facility. This artwork portrayed one of the earliest instances of rocket usage on a battlefield.
In His autobiography, ‘The Wings of Fire,’ Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam shared his fascination with this remarkable find. He wrote, “The painting caught my eye because the soldiers on the side launching the rockets were not white but dark-skinned, with racial features found in South Asia. It turned out to be Tipu Sultan’s army fighting the British. The painting depicted a fact forgotten in Tipu’s own country but commemorated here on the other side of the planet,” he wrote.
Dr. Kalam was so enthralled by the depiction of Tipu Sultan at NASA that, when he became the President of India, he commissioned a study on Tipu Sultan’s rocket technology. Kalam’s quest led him to the heart of Tipu Sultan’s arsenal in Srirangapatnam, Karnataka. Here, the remnants of Tipu’s rocket technology provided a tangible link to the past.
Dr. Kalam’s remarkable efforts rediscovered Tipu Sultan’s rocket legacy, highlighting its historical significance and inspiring the world of modern rocketry.
In Conclusion, The legacy of Tipu Sultan’s Mysorean Rockets stands as a testament to the power of innovation, courage, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. These rockets, born in the crucible of Tipu’s vision, marked a turning point in military technology, foreshadowing the dawn of modern rocketry.
Enquire now and grab the best deals and offers!