One of the most intriguing items in the British Library Persian manuscripts collection is a small unexceptional looking volume which contains a personal record, written in his own hand, of 37 dreams of Tipu Sultan, Sultan of Mysore (r. 1782-1799). [Complete translation.]A figure of continuing interest, Tipu Sultan's depiction in a 2014 parade float was the subject of a minor controversy, revisited expansively this year in a TV news report. A video history lesson for children offers a brief portrait of the ruler, sometimes remembered for his use of rockets against the British and his anti-British mechanical pipe organ (examined carefully here, but here used to play two tunes, including "Rule, Britannia!"). [more inside]
Until 1947/48, the complex political map of India (by which I mean pre-Independence India, including Pakistan and Bangladesh) included over 650 quasi-independent Indian Princely States. Indian royalty: In hats, turbans and, more turbans, sometimes colorful, often decorated with amazing gems ("It is believed that the entire collection of Pearls in the Nizam's collective collection could fill up an Olympic size swimming pool.") like emeralds, diamonds (large diamonds), pearls, sapphires. Usually with beards and moustaches, on a throne. Princesses. Reflections of a Princess (audio and video). Queen mothers (in animation). The Royal Houses Of Punjab. The Maharaja of Patiala had 365 wives. In satins and brocade, with swords. Owners of stylish cars, like a 1937 Delahaye Type 135 Figoni & Felashi, bottled water, extraordinary interior design, lavish architecture, in their many palaces, from a place to watch cockfights to special palaces to keep their harem. [more inside]
Soldiers Find $650 Million in US Currency "A huge cache of United States currency that American soldiers found hidden in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces could be as much as $656 million, senior officials said today."