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"Tipu Sultan: the most famous Indian in Paris before Gandhi and Tagore…": A Transnational Critique of 'Outstanding Universal Value' in Twenty-First Century World Heritage Site Discourse using French Drama on Tipu and the Fortress of Srirangapatna from 1788 to 1949

Magedera, Ian H

Building on the work of Assayag who highlighted the parallels between Napoleon and Tipu Sultan in the collective imagination of Parisian theatre-goers 1799-1815, this paper pursues a close textual analysis of the spatial representation of Tipu’s fort in two 1813 plays by de Brévannes and de Jouy. The fortress in de Jouy’s is a transnational space where relationships between the Mysoreans and the British, as well as between the French and Mysorean traitors (in cahoots with the British) are played out in the same theatre (of war). Parallels are drawn between these little-known theatrical representations of the fortress during the 1799siege and the usefulness of their transnational plural spatiality in arguing for the value of representations of a prospective World Heritage site in cultural domains other than that of the proposing nation. Such Global Cultural Heritage Audits before inscription offer a more rigorous definition of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ and can also be used in the case of Srirangapatnam itself.

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