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White Mughals
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About the Author

William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth. He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller In Xanadu when he was twenty-two. The book won the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award; it was also shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. In 1989 Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for six years researching his second book, City of Djinns, which won the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. From the Holy Mountain, his acclaimed study of the demise of Christianity in its Middle Eastern homeland, was awarded the Scottish Arts Council Autumn Book Award for 1997; it was also shortlisted for the 1998 Thomas Cook Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize. A collection of his writings about India, The Age of Kali, was published in 1998.

William Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and in 2002 was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his 'outstanding contribution to travel literature'. He wrote and presented the British television series Stones of the Raj and Indian Journeys, which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002. His Radio 4 series on the history of British spirituality and mysticism, The Long Search, recent won the 2002 Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting and was described by the judges as 'thrilling in its brilliance... near perfect radio.'He is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children. They now divide their time between London and Delhi.

Reviews

Dalrymple, author of the bestselling In Xanadu, now anchors himself in India around the turn of the 19th century to focus on James Kirkpatrick, an officer for the East India Company and the British Resident, representing the British government, in the Indian city-state of Hyderabad. Kirkpatrick, who converted to Islam and, after a celebrated and notorious romance, married Khair un-Nissa, the teenage great-niece of the region's prime minister, exemplifies the "White Mughals," British colonialists who "went native." One of the book's strengths is its stunningly detailed depiction of day-to-day life-gardens, food, sexual mores, modes of travel and architecture-and portraits of British governors-general, Indian politicians, their wives and families, and adventurers. It is also an astute study of the political complications Kirkpatrick faced because of his conversion and cross-cultural marriage, and the difficulties his divided loyalties caused him in his role as agent of the increasingly imperialistic British. But most suspenseful is the fate of Kirkpatrick's willful and charismatic wife, just 19 when he died in 1805, and the fate of their children. The twists and turns in the life of their daughter-sent to England when she was five, never to return to India or see her mother again-are fascinating. Dalrymple makes note of the present schism, which some believe unbridgeable, between Western and Eastern civilizations and Kirkpatrick's tale as a counterexample that the two can meet. Illus., maps. (On sale Mar. 31) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

From 1798 to 1805, Maj. James Achilles Kirkpatrick served as the East India Company's ambassador to the Hyderabadi Court in central India. Here, amid much intrigue, obfuscation, and passion, Kirkpatrick stirred controversy by launching an affair with Khair un-Nissa, a 14-year-old Indian Muslim princess affianced to another man. To win her, Kirkpatrick took on the speech, clothing, and social practices of a Muslim, including conversion to the Islamic faith. They eventually married, but five years later Kirkpatrick died of a fever in Calcutta. A touching epilog traces the transformation of his two children's identify from Indian to English. Thus, a story that might have been presented as simply sordid or prurient becomes a tender tale of deeply felt love. On another level, Dalrymple (In Xanadu) uses Kirkpatrick's marriage as a symbol of many other relationships in India at a time when the mingling of people, cultures, and ideas was possible. Dalrymple's beautiful prose allows the text to be of interest to any reader, and his long, meaningful footnotes will give great satisfaction to the scholar. This work can be easily recommended for all libraries.-John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Brilliant, poignant, and compassionate, White Mughals is not only a compelling love story, but it is also an important reminder, at this perilous moment of history, that Europeans once found Muslim society both congenial and attractive, and that it has always been possible to build bridges between Islam and the West." --Karen Armstrong"Imaginitively conceived, beautifully written, intellectually challenging and a passionate love story--this is Dalrymple's lifetime achievement and the best book he has ever written. He has done for India and the British what Edward Said did for the meeting between the West and Arab world in 'Orientalism'. Despite its setting in the 18th century, this is a hugely important contemporary book. Dalrymple has broken new ground in the current debate about racism, colonialism and globalization. The history of the British in India will never be the same after this book." --Ahmed Rashid"A gorgeous, spellbinding and important book... A tapestry of magnificent set pieces and a moving romance. William Dalrymple's story of a colonial love affair will change our views about British India." --Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times

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