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William Dalrymple

White Mughals by William Dalrymple

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“White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India” is a book written by the acclaimed Scottish historian and author, William Dalrymple. The book was published in 2002 and is a work of historical non-fiction that delves into the lives and relationships of British and Indian individuals during the 18th century, a time when the British East India Company was gaining prominence in India.

“White Mughals” primarily focuses on the cultural interactions, relationships, and marriages between British officials, soldiers, and traders of the British East India Company and Indian women from the elite and aristocratic class. The title “White Mughals” refers to these British men who adopted various aspects of Indian culture and lifestyle, including clothing, language, and customs, in a manner that blurred the lines between their British and Indian identities.

The book’s central narrative revolves around the love story between James Achilles Kirkpatrick, a British resident of Hyderabad, and Khair-un-Nissa, a noblewoman from the city. Their relationship serves as a lens through which Dalrymple explores the complex and often misunderstood cultural exchanges and connections that occurred during this period.

In “White Mughals,” Dalrymple delves into the historical context, the sociocultural dynamics of the time, and the impact of British colonialism in India. He paints a vivid picture of the multicultural and multilingual world of 18th-century India and provides a nuanced perspective on the relationships and cross-cultural interactions that took place during this period.

William Dalrymple’s meticulously researched and beautifully written book has been praised for its historical scholarship and engaging storytelling. It sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of British colonial history in India, highlighting the diversity and complexity of the interactions between the British and Indian cultures during the 18th century.

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