BENGALURU: Sunil Baboo, a Bengaluru-based collector, has a penchant for procuring items of historical significance. The latest additions to his private collection? Maps detailing the British battle plan to corner Tipu Sultan.One of the maps, engraved by J Cooke, a man who worked under the British, shows the battleground of the Third Anglo-Mysore war that lasted between February 5-24, 1792, and saw Tipu’s defeat.
He acquired the map during a trip abroad. He met a French woman named Christine Champlaine, whose great-grandfather served in the French army and came into the possession of the maps of the 1792 battle. “I bought them from her in early 2020,” Baboo says.The map details the seige of Seringapatam (now called Srirangapatna), and the position of the various troops on the side of the British, and the positions of British generals.
It shows the locations of Nizam’s forces, the Nawabs of Arcot, and the Marathas, vis-a-viz Loll Baug, Shair Ganjaum, Dowlet Baug (Daulat Bagh), Tippoo’s Tent, Powder Works, Hyder’s Mausoleum, Palace, Pavilion, River Cauvery, and Carigaut Pagoda.
“They cornered Tipu even before he realised it. Cornwallis went on to conquer all of Tipu’s forts - Nandidurg, Savandurg, Uttaradurg, Manjarabad fort, Ballari fort, Krishnagiri fort and others. Also, Tipu had a sense that his own people were turning hostile. There were instances of his own people falling for the lure of money from the British,” says Baboo.
In 2018, he acquired a lithograph titled ‘Taking of the City of and Fort of Seringapatam’ from a dealer of antiquities in Canada. Created by French painter Jean Duplessi Bertauz, the piece illustrates Tipu’s final battle. “It shows the slyness with which the British laid siege to Seringapatam, cornering Tipu from every side. In fact, Napoleon Bonaparte, who was busy fighting wars in Europe, had offered to help Tipu, but it was too late,” says the 60-year-old.
Also engraved is the following text: “Tippoo perished with a great number of this followers and all his treasure fell into the hands of the conquerors. Colonel Wellesley commanded the reserve at the assault, and was afterwards nominated Governor of the City.”Baboo, who used to run an export business, is drawn to history. “I have a passion for documenting antiquarian documents, and maps that represent the past and which shaped our present,” he says.