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Book Review: The Last Mughal

The Last Mughal

The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857
William Dalrymple

Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 Oct 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 074758639X
Dimensions: 6 x 9.2 inches
Price: Rs. 695

The Last Mughal is more a treatise on Delhi in the 1800’s, it’s mysticism, romanticism, and subsequently it’s destruction and ruin, than it is on the life and times of Bahadur Shah Zafar II (although that is covered in fine detail too). I have just completed 50 pages of this wonderful book and can’t help but express my disbelief at the amount of research William Dalrymple has put into writing this book. If you are the kind of reader who picturises mentally the text you read, The Last Mughal is going to be pure bliss.

Says Amartya Sen on this book: “It is rare indeed that a work of such consummate scholarship could be so accessible and such fun to read.” I couldn’t have expressed my thoughts on this book better.

Be warned, you do need a dictionary by your side to figure the odd word out.

I usually skip poems, but this book’s got me hooked!

Delhi was once a paradise,
Where Love held sway and reigned;
But its charm lies ravished now
And only ruins remain.

No tears were shed when shroudless they
Were laid in common graves;
No prayers were read for the noble dead,
Unmarked remain their graves

But things cannot remain, O Zafar,
Thus for who can tell?
Through God’s great mercy and the Prophet
All may yet be well.

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