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Tipu Sultan's female entourage under East India Company rule

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2020

JENNIFER HOWES*
Affiliation:
Independent scholar jhowes@hotmail.com

Abstract

After the Fourth Mysore War, when the British were dismantling Tipu Sultan's establishment, the East India Company unexpectedly took charge of 601 women who resided permanently inside Srirangapatnam Palace. Along with Tipu's sons, they were moved 200 miles east, to Vellore Fort, in the Company-controlled territory of Madras Presidency. Documentation about these court women held in colonial archives describes moments when they behaved in unexpectedly difficult ways. Because historians have traditionally cast the women of Tipu Sultan's court as voiceless victims, their actions, as described in these colonial sources, have been overlooked. When examined, the descriptions show that they were using the domestic powers granted to them under Tipu Sultan's establishment to influence their treatment by the East India Company. By placing these accounts alongside the broader context of the Company's military history, it becomes apparent that the women of Tipu Sultan's female entourage fomented the events that led to the Vellore Mutiny of 1806.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Royal Asiatic Society

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References

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Ibid

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