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SHAHJAPUR (Kingdom of)

Location: The largest island of the Anathy Archipelago, between the continent of Jomphur and the Merry Pirates. HW

Area: 80,000 sq. mi. (207,200 sq. km.).

Population: 2,500,000 including Dharsatra (pop. 450,000) and the capital of Amtha (pop. 200,000) and numerous other towns and villages.

Languages: Sindhi.

Coinage: Guru (platinum piece, 25gp), rupee (gold, 5gp), bhani (electrum, 1gp), khundar (sp), piaster (cp).

Taxes: Legalised plunder: tax farmers contracted to send a specified sum to the central treasury, and keep whatever they take beyond that sum as their pay.

Government Type: Military monarchy heavily influenced by theocratic gurus.

Industries: Agriculture, textiles (especially silk), tea, spices, teak, incense, mining.

Important Figures: Koriktodeva Raya (Grand Mogul).

Flora and Fauna: Teak, bamboo, broadleaf foliage. Tigers, crocodiles, wild dogs, elephants, baboons, mongooses, cranes, snakes of many varieties, water buffalo.

Further Reading: Hollow World boxed set, HWA3 Nightstorm, previous almanacs.

Description by Theukidikies the Historian of Corisa.

The Shahjapuri inhabit an island realm, and are noted for the rigidity of their social classes and the extreme poverty of the commoners combined with the wealth and power of the rulers. They are a priest and cult-ridden society, a theocracy like that of Nithia.

The Land

Shahjapur is an island nation, but not a seafaring one. This kingdom covers the largest island in the Anathy Chain, an equatorial island lush with vegetation. It has a mountainous interior, but with high plateaus rather than sharp peaks. The lowlands are rich in tropical forest and jungle and grassy plains. The forests consist of bamboo and teak, as well as underbrush. This jungle nears the sea in many areas, but other coastal zones consist of salt bogs where nothing grows. Shahjapur is crisscrossed with a network of rivers and streams to a greater extent than even the lands of the Azcans, though the Shahjapuri do not make as much use of it for transport. Still, they do use small boats and river barges in some areas. The streams are instead lined with rice paddies, orchards, and fields of millet and jute. The lushness of this land allows the Shahjapuri to, if barely, grow enough food to support their large population.

About three fourths of the year, Shahjapuri is sunny and hot. Just as it seems about to dry the land out into a parched desert, it starts to rain. This rainy season lasts throughout the winter period, and occasionally fierce storms will lash the land and seem to nearly flood it. There are some rocky deserts in the interior of the country where this rain does not reach, however.

The People

The Shahjapuri are dusky-skinned natives, slightly lighter skinned than the Nithians, with black hair and eyes. Most Shahjapuri are very thin, starving wretches. Wealthy Shahjapuri are more robust, with physiques like that of the Azcans. Most Shahjapuri wear very little-cotton nappies or simple wraps around their groin, but the richer persons wear fine, colourfully dyed garments of silk.

Most Shahjapuri lead constricted lives, rarely venturing outside of their own neighbourhoods or thinking much about philosophical matters (the exception being the samdus and priests). Few leave their communities, except once or twice in their lifetimes for a religious pilgrimage, and discussion of civic and political matters is not engaged in (for this reason, they rank as barbarians, along with the Nithians and the Azcans, other nations that have no civic life). The Shahjapuri are organized into a rigid social hierarchy, their caste system. Priests are on the top, followed by the rulers of the land and their administrators and soldiers, then the landowners, merchants, and craftsmen form their own caste, followed by the common labourers. Forming another layer of society, not officially considered a caste but in effect suborned below them all, are the untouchables, the unclean ones who are limited to doing the worst jobs and relegated to living in filthy shantytowns outside the cities. These can never interact directly with those of a higher caste. But the Shahjapuri at least know the proper role of women in society, keeping them in the home and performing female tasks.

Shahjapuri cities consist of a multitude of humble abodes, but also some splendid architecture. Temples and palaces and the abodes of the wealthy generally have spires and arches, as well as globular or onion-shaped domes that are a wonder to behold. Their visual arts and paintings are almost as good as those of even the Milenians, illustrations of great realism and beauty.

The kingdom is ruled by a king known as the grand mogul, whose authority is nearly absolute, considered second only to the priests', who keep themselves to spiritual matters, however, leaving the political sphere to the grand mogul and the other moguls. Thus, the power of the grand mogul is unchallenged and unlimited. The kingdom is divided into provinces or districts governed by a mogul, and the noble hierarchy of Shahjapur is very systematic, based on providing a specified number of soldiers. Shahjapur's system of taxation is particularly vile; tax farmers, known as darmani (hyenas) are contracted to deliver a specified sum to the treasury, and are "paid" by allowing them to keep whatever they collect beyond that specified sum. This system is, of course, very abusive and kleptocratic.