MANDYA: It was on the evening of Deepavali that more than 700 Mandyam Iyengars who congregated at Narashimhaswamy temple on the banks of Cauvery at Srirangaptna town, capital of Tipu Sultan, were killed by Tipu's army on charges of colluding with British while supporting Maharani Lakshmammanni, according to Lakshmi Thatchar, a Sanskrit scholar and a researcher.
This mass butchering by Tipu's army forced Mandyam Iyengars to move to Nagamangala and later settle down in Melukute from Baburayana Koppalu, Mandya Koppal and Mandya. The carnage had forced a few Mandyam Iyengars to keep away from Deepavali for more than three centuries, said Thatchar.
He said the history and Vamshaparampara of Mandayam Sree Vaishnava Samudayam edited by Ashi Sreeinivasa Iynegar, Shamarayat S N Gopal and R N B Tiru Narayana Iyengar have recorded a translated letter from Maharani Lakshmammanni to Lord Morington and Clive which read, "Just on the eve of our capturing Tipu and recovering our kingdom, our object was disclosed to Tipu and consequently he kills 700 families among our relations as well as those of Tirumal row including women and children."
Citing these letters from the books brought out by Yathiraj Mutt, he said for this reason Iyengar families do not celebrate Deepavali to mark the death anniversary of their forefathers.
However, many dispute the allegations against Tipu. According to them, the ruler was never anti-Hindu and the fact that he appointed Brahmins, including Dewan Purnaiah to prominent posts was testimony to it.
Researcher Echanur Kumar said Tipu became a devotee of the Nanjangud Srikanteshwara temple after one of his elephants recovered its sight after Tipu offered vow to the deity.
The temple’s chief priest Neelakanta Dixit said Tipu had visited the temple and added that they decorate the deity with Tipu’s offerings once a year.