By William Dalrymple
During this evocative research of the autumn of the Mughal Empire and the start of the Raj, award-winning historian William Dalrymple makes use of formerly undiscovered assets to enquire a pivotal second in heritage. The final Mughal emperor, Zafar, got here to the throne whilst the political energy of the Mughals used to be already in steep decline. still, Zafar—a mystic, poet, and calligrapher of significant accomplishment—created a courtroom of remarkable brilliance, and gave upward thrust to probably the best literary renaissance in smooth Indian heritage. all of the whereas, the British have been gradually taking on the Emperor's energy. whilst, in might 1857, Zafar was once declared the chief of an rebellion opposed to the British, he used to be powerless to withstand even though he strongly suspected that the motion was once doomed. 4 months later, the British took Delhi, the capital, with catastrophic effects. With an unsurpassed knowing of British and Indian historical past, Dalrymple crafts a provocative, revelatory account of 1 the bloodiest upheavals in background.
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Additional info for The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 (Vintage)
Though the royal family had surrendered peacefully, most of the emperor's sixteen sons were captured, tried and hung, while three were shot in cold blood, having first freely given up their arms, then been told to strip naked: 'In 24 hours I disposed of the principal members of the house of Timur the Tartar,' Captain William Hodson wrote to his sister the following day. 6 Among his visitors was the Times correspondent, William Howard Russell, who was told that the prisoner was the mastermind of the most serious armed act of resistance to Western colonialism.
He has found a wonderful treasure trove of documents at the Indian National Archives and thanks to these rich sources The Last Mughal brims with life, colour and complexity, and it will make the most jingoistic reader think again about the effects of British rule on India . . This is an outstanding book, distinguished by its painstaking research, narrative flair and imaginative sympathy. Dalrymple writes with a burning anger, but never loses sight of his obligation to the reader. The result is one of the best history books of the year' Evening Standard 'Thanks to an understanding of India gained during a twenty-year familiarity with Delhi, and an indefatigable pursuit of primary sources, Dalrymple has produced a finely balanced account of the greatest armed challenge faced by any European power during the 19th century, and of the bloodthirsty revenge the British exacted on those who dared to rise up against them' Financial Times 'Dalrymple is an outstandingly gifted travel writer and historian who excels himself in his latest work.
When the British captured it in 1857, they pulled down the gorgeous harem apartments, and in their place erected a line of barracks that look as if they have been modelled on Wormwood Scrubs. Even at the time, the destruction was regarded as an act of wanton philistinism. The great Victorian architectural historian James Fergusson was certainly no whining liberal, but recorded his horror at what had happened in his History of Indian and Eastern Architecture: 'those who carried out this fearful piece of vandalism', he wrote, did not even think 'to make a plan of what they were destroying, or preserving any record of the most splendid palace in the world .
The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 (Vintage) by William Dalrymple