I was introduced to William Dalrymple when I read the City of Djinns a decade ago. What struck me was the fluid style of writing and more importantly that the book mirrored the complexity and multi-facetedness of Delhi and to some extent India. Dalrymple painted an entertaining and yet profound picture of contemporary Delhi in a non-linear narrative. It also reflected a scholar’s incisiveness, a researcher’s accuracy and a writer’s imagination. Not an ordinary feat! And, as opposed to a structured history text or a skin-deep travel guide, this was original. His other books and articles re-invent the same magic. The most recent, “White Mughals” raised the bar even higher. His forthcoming book, “The Last Mughal”, part of the Mughal Quartet, will be published by Bloomsbuy in October 2006.

William has been kind in letting me post his article on “The Last Mughal” on this blog.

In June 1858 the Times correspondent, William Howard Russell- a man now famous as the father of war journalism- arrived in the ruins of Delhi, recently recaptured by the British from the rebels after one of the bloodiest sieges in Indian history.

The invisibility of the Mughal princesses

Impressions – White Mughals by William Dalrymple

Sultana Begum, the great grand daughter-in law of last Mughal emperor

 

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