White Mughals

White Mughals

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White Mughals

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White Mughals is a 2002 history book by William Dalrymple.

Its Dalrymple's fifth major book.

Summary

The book is a work of social history about the warm relations that existed between the British and some Indians in the 18th and early 19th century, when one in three British men in India was married to an Indian woman. It documents the interracial liaisons between British officers, such as Major-General Charles Stuart, and Indian women, and the geopolitical context of late 18th century India. Like From the Holy Mountain, it also examines the interactions of Christianity and Islam, emphasizing the surprisingly porous relationship between the two in pre-modern times.

At the heart of White Mughals is the story of a love affair which saw a British dignitary, the East India Company resident of Hyderabad, Captain James Achilles Kirkpatrick, convert to Islam and marry Khair-un-Nissa, a Hyderabadi noblewoman of royal Persian descent. As the British resident of Hyderabad, Kirkpatrick is shown to balance the requirements of his employers, the East India Company, with his sympathetic attitude to the Nizam of Hyderabad.

The very title of White Mughals indicates its subject: the late 18th- and early 19th-century period in India, where there had been ‘a succession of unexpected and unplanned minglings of peoples and cultures and ideas’. On one level, the book tells the tragic love story of James Kirkpatrick, ‘the thoroughly orientalised’ British Resident in Hyderabad and Khair, a...
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