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Friday 25 October: 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Ancient India and Iran Trust, 23 Brooklands Avenue, CB2 8BG

Tipu Sultan of Mysore is one of the most colourful characters in the history of South Asia. On the one hand, he is branded a fanatic Muslim and tyrannical ruler, but on the other is regarded by many as a martyr whose wars against the British foreshadowed the historic uprising of 1857. But can one also judge the man by his books? Based on my recent research into Tipu Sultan’s library – estimated at the fall of Seringapatam in 1799 to consist of about 2,000 volumes – I hope to give a more nuanced view.

Ursula Sims-Williams, a trustee of the Ancient India and Iran Trust (, is Lead Curator of Persian at the British Library and has published extensively on the pre-Islamic and Persian collections. She has worked on a number of exhibitions, most recently Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire, British Library, 2012-2013; The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination, Brunei Gallery SOAS, 2013, and an expanded Everlasting Flame exhibited in collaboration with SOAS and the National Museum, New Delhi, 2016.

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01223 766766

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Age: Adults, Talk, Arrive on time, Free