White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India

by William Dalrymple | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0006550967 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Molyneux of Oxford, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on 9/11/2005
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Molyneux from Oxford, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Sunday, September 11, 2005
Amazon.co.uk Review
William Dalrymple's White Mughals is destined to become one of the great non-fictional classics of Anglo-Indian history. Dalrymple is steeped in India, having lived there for six years, and written a series of remarkable travel books chronicling its past and present, including City of Djinns and The Age of Kali. Having already earned comparisons with great travel writers like Chatwin and Theroux, Dalrymple has now produced a meticulously researched and beautifully written historical narrative on one of the most colourful but neglected aspects of British colonial rule in India.

Set in and around Hyderabad at the beginning of the nineteenth century, White Mughals tells the story of the improbably romantic love affair and marriage between James Achilles Kirkpatrick, a rising star in the East India Company, and Khair-un-Nisa, a Hyderabadi princess. Pursuing Kirkpatrick's passionate affair through the archives across the continents, Dalrymple unveils a fascinating story of intrigue and love that breaches the conventional boundaries of empire. As Kirkpatrick gradually goes native (adopting local clothes and enduring circumcision) he becomes a secret agent working for his wife's royal family against the English, as he tries to balance the interests of both cultures.

However, White Mughals is by no means just an exotic love story. It is a vehicle for Dalrymple's understanding of the complex legacy of the English Empire in India, that he defines more in terms of exchange and negotiation than dominance and subjugation. It is a powerful and moving plea by Dalrymple to understand the cultural intermingling and hybridity that defines both eastern and western cultures, and a convincing rejection of religious intolerance and ethnic essentialism. Elegantly written and at a pace that belies its length, White Mughals confirms Dalrymple's status as one of the most important non-fiction writers of his time

Journal Entry 2 by inkognitoh from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, September 12, 2005
I picked this up at the September meetup tonight. It's a book I've been meaning to grab a copy of so was glad to see it cross the swap table.

Journal Entry 3 by inkognitoh at London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, May 05, 2012
An amazing adventure into a virtually unknown world for me. I'm much more familar witht the segregated and uncomfortable Victorian Colonnial history of this region. While the book follows the story of the one family of White Mughals there was undoubtably more which were 'white washed' by Victorian history.

I read this book on long haul flights to visit my terminally ill mother and spent long hours with it in the Palliative Care unit she ended her days in. It then kept me company after she had passed and I had jetlag to cope with. My sister expressed a wish to read it so I've left it for her to collect next time she visits our family home.

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