Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Books: William Dalrymple

The Last Mughal is the most recent book by one of my favorite authors, William Dalrymple. I bought this book in London, and read a few chapters during my flight back. It's a massive book, and a must for any Indiaphile. It presents a brilliant narrative of last days of the Mughal empire, its capital and its final destruction.

Dalrymple lives in Delhi, and rearched this book by minutely combing through the Indian National Archives. I was struck -even by the initial chapters that I read so far- that the Great Mutiny which brought about the downfall of Emperor Bahadur Shah, the last Mughal, by the British, parallels contemporary events. For instance, the Indian rebels (sepoys) raised the flag of 'jihad', and called themselves 'mujaheddin' to legitimize their conflict. A fascinating read, which only proves 'plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose'.