We visited Gumbaz, Tipu Sultan’s final resting place at Srirangapatana, across the Cauvery river from Mysuru in Karnataka. The main chamber of Gumbaz contains the tomb of Tipu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali and mother Fakr-un-Nisa. Around the main chamber are laid various graves of Tipu’s brother, sisters, brothers-in-law, Tipu’s wife, children and sons-in-law. Every member of the Tipu family has at least a headstone inside the lawns of Gumbaz. Srirangapatana is just 16 km from Mysuru. So on a busy day, tourist operators and taxis bring in hundreds of visitors to Gumbaz.
As we were walking towards Gumbaz’s main mausoleum, a father was walking out with his two young boys after having visited the monument complex. The youngest boy, about 5 years old, looked very troubled. A conversation ensued as he hesitatingly asked questions of his father. We reproduce the conversation in its original form in Hindi along with English translations.
Boy: Paapa, Tipu Sultan ke parivar mein sab log mar gaye? Kya hua?
(Dad, did everyone in Tipu Sultan’s family die? What happened?)
Father (casually munching peanuts): Beta, aadmi to ek din mar hi jaata hai.
(Son, everyone has to die someday)
Boy (with a sense of wonder): Sab log marenge?
(Will everyone die?)
Father: Haan. Sab log marenge.
(Yes, everyone will)
Boy (now strangely amused with a new sense of discovery and excitement): Main bhi marunga?
(Will I die too?)
Unsure why the sudden realisation of his death got this 5-year old so excited instead of pensive, we leaned in to listen.
Father (still casually munching peanuts): Haan…tu bhi.
(Of course, you too.)
Boy (now with uncontrollable excitement): Mujhe dekhne bhi itne saare log aayenge??
(Will so many people come to see me too??)
We burst into laughter and ran ahead hoping we were not too loud. But we wish we had stuck around and listened to how the father proceeded to burst the little boy’s dream and his perfectly logical conclusion from the facts presented to him!! And that will be our biggest regret in India 360 !!