By the end of the 90s, the hardliners who wanted a regime change in the East had a powerful ally in the State. The new president was conservative, an aggressive anti-French who wanted to turn his country into a world power with no rival at all. He thought he had to fight the Muslim regimes which were then the targets of the British press. The moment to overthrow Tipu, the sultan of Mysore, had arrived. It was year 1798. Henry Dundas had just been appointed minister and president of the East India Company. He and Governor-general Richard Welleskey decided to convince the public that their own policy, aimed at overthrowing Tipu, was completely justified. _In that press, Tipu was presented as an aggressive tyrant who oppressed his people and was hostile to Great Britain. That creating-a-bad-guy-who-must-be-fought experiment is still a useful model today. Nowadays we know Tipu was an educated, modern and tolerant leader who, considering the British hostility, wanted to join the princes and modernize his country with the assistance of French engineers. He had an important participation in the establishment of an Islamic-Indo syncretism which defended tolerance. _This story reminds the way in which the old-fashioned imperialist propaganda appeared again under George W. Bush and Tony Blair. Despite Edward Said’s 25 years experience, Middle-east-focused media work has not disappeared and nowadays counts on editorialists as in the past to guarantee its diffusion.

The Guardian (United Kingdom)

An essay in imperial villain-making”, by William Dalrymple, The Guardian, May 24, 2005.