East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


White Mughals and Others

Today I’m not well – a bad cold that doesn’t want to go. So despite the ten thousand things I need to do by the end of the month, I’ll write this post and then curl up under a thick blanket with a good book.

white_mughalsI am currently reading a great book by William Dalrymple, called White Mughals. The tag-line Love and betrayal in eighteenth century India might sound like this is some kind of bodice-ripper, but Dalrymple is a solid writer about Asia, and his is a very interesting study of British-Indian relationships in the 218th and early 19th century.

Focusing on the life of James Achilles Kirkpatrick, the man representing the East India Company in the Mughal court of Hydebarad, Dalrymple traces the evolution – or rather, the involution – of the relationship between two peoples, as the British shift from a general acceptance and integration of Indian attitudes and beliefs to an increasingly aloof and basically racist attitude. Continue reading