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    A model of Tipus gun was made in the city

    CHENNAI: Ask any Chennaiite about the city’s connection with arms production and the spontaneous reply could be the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi, which manufactures the indigenous Arjun Main Battle Tank. But, South India’s tryst with weaponry and ordnance manufacturing dates back to over 200 years, according to experts at the government museum in Egmore. The exhibit of the model of the State Gun of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan is, they said, a pointer to that. The miniature of State Gun displayed at the museum as the ‘Exhibit of the Week’ was fabricated at the Gun Carriage Manufactory of Madras for the Superintendent Major John Maintland, commemorating the victory of English East India Company over Tipu Sultan of Srirangapatnam near Mysore in 1799 during the Mysore War IV.According to C Maheswaran, Curator, Archaeology Section, Government Museum, the British seized several cannons after defeating Tipu Sultan at Srirangapatman on May 21, 1799. “Thereafter, a miniature of the State Gun was made at the Gun Carriage in Chennai in the same year,” he added.Interestingly, the Government Museum acquired the model just for Rs 60. During the pre-Independence era, the British government had transferred several objects to the museum free of cost though a few historical exhibits like the State Gun model, which were sold for a price.Historians claim that cannons were not conceptualised by the British — a popular belief among the countrymen — but was actually introduced by the Mughal emperor Babur in India. Firearm was an invention of the Chinese, who passed on the technology to the Mughals as the two races had good relations with each other. Hyder Ali and his successor Tipu Sultan developed the cannons to effectively counter the British during the four Mysore wars.Maheswaran said that Tipu Sultan could be termed a master in warfare, including the guerrilla warfare. “Tipu Sultan was a legend during his lifetime, who ruled Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He set up arsenals in almost all the areas under his control, constructing watch towers on the hill tops to have a watch on the enemies,” he observed.The big guns have since gone silent. But the model of the State Gun manufactured by the Britishtells a tale — of bravery, resilience and resistance – of a ruler called Tipu Sultanto the present generation.