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The library of Tipu Sultan

Persian was the court language of Mysore under Tipu Sultan (right) but Kannada was used as the language of administration. His extensive library of over 2,000 volumes contained manuscripts in the local languages of Kannada, Marathi and Telugu as well as Persian, Arabic, French and English.

After Tipu’s death, most of his manuscripts were transported to the East India Company’s College in Calcutta (Kolkata). Several volumes were subsequently sent to the library established at East India House in London in 1801. From here, the East India Company presented several of these to various universities, libraries and dignitaries in Britain, including George III.