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White Mughals

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Publisher Report: In Print


  • Author: William Dalrymple
  • Publisher: Flamingo
  • EAN/ISBN: 9780006550969
  • Size: 13x20cm
  • Binding: Hardback
William Dalrymple’s fifth book, White Mughals, does not follow his usual technique of travelling and discovering and storytelling. Rather this work is a social history, an account of the much unknown warm relations that existed between the British and Indians in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

During that time one in three British men living on the sub-continent were married to Indian women. Dalrymple’s account follows the life of James Achilles Kirkpatrick, the British representative at the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad, who fell in love with a beautiful young Mughal princess, Khair un-Nissa, the ‘Most Excellent Among Women’.

He soon converted to Islam and married her despite the opposition from all sides, and then became a double agent working for the Nizam and against his employers, the East India Company. He had become one of many ‘White Mughals’.

However, this book is not simply a love story in an exotic location, rather it is used as the anchor from which to explore the complex history of the British Empire in India. It’s an attempt to understand the cultural sharing and mixing that defines both eastern and western cultures and a rejection of religious intolerance and ethnic essentialism.

Dalrymple received the Wolfson Prize for History 2003 and the Scottish Book of the Year Prize as well as winning a place on many other shortlists.
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