A rare book takes us behind the scenes of the Anglo-Mysore wars

Part of the Spotlight feature Battles & Battlefields

In this video, Paul Abraham gives us a close look at a fascinating historical record. Narrative of the Military Operations on the Coromandel Coast was written by Innes Munro in 1789. The full title of the book is: Narrative of the Military Operations on the Coromandel Coast – Against the Combined Forces of the French, Dutch and Hyder Ally Cawn, from the Year 1780 to the Peace in 1784. This neatly if unwieldily sums up the premise of this rare book, part of the Sarmaya collection. Paul pores over its battle-plans and maps and brings to vivid life the political events that went on behind the scenes of the highly strategic and viciously-fought Anglo-Mysore wars. Listen in as he takes us through the political and geographical landscape of eastern Tamil Nadu of the 18th century and explains what made this region so valuable and hotly contested. Meet a young Tipu Sultan making his swash-buckling debut, get to know the fierce warrior that was Hyder Ali and understand the high stakes that the East India Company perceived in what could be described as local skirmishes. Battle plans are a very crucial part of this book and they take us right to the heart of all the action.

All images used in the video on top belong to Sarmaya Arts Foundation, except for the ones credited below

Map of Hyder Ali’s dominions: Colombia.edu/Wikipedia Creative Commons

Sayed Sahib leading Hyder Ali’s forces during the Siege of Cuddalore 1783: Brown University/Wikipedia Creative Commons

Hyder Ali: Archives anglaises/Wikipedia Creative Commons

Mysore rockets, painting by Charles H Hubbell: Nasa/Wikipedia Creative Commons

Mysore rocketman: V&A Museum/Wikipedia Creative Commons