Tales from the India Office

A transgender singer hits stardom in Baghdad. Officials scramble to impose order after a Kuwaiti restaurant is found to be selling cat meat. Gulf royals on an official visit to London are left marooned in a drab south London suburb because of a shortage of hotel rooms in the West End. These are some of the quirky stories hiding in nine miles of shelving at the British Library (BL) that hold the India Office Records – millions of documents recording Britain’s 350-year presence in the sub-continent. The India Office did not only administer India, it also exercised colonial rule over an area stretching west as far as Aden. That’s why the files cover Persia and Arabia. And the reason the stories are coming to light is that the Qatar Foundation has paid £8.7m for nearly half a million documents relating to the Gulf to be digitised.

Read more at BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29702694

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