Top critical review
FROM ROYALTY TO PAUPERS
30 April 2019
“Dilli was Dilli because of the Dilliwalas, who were full of love and empathy, who were there for one another and couldn’t bear to see even their enemies in trouble.”
This book has several texts which were written during and right after the 1857 mutiny when a very long and controversial rule of the Mughals came to an end and the Britishers took up the mantel.
This book is a selection of a series of memoirs written by noblemen who’d experienced it first hand or by some who’d heard about the life under the last Mughal rulers from their father or grandfather.
These stories account the happenings in those times so I shouldn’t rate it as such but the writing style (or translation for that matter because I haven’t read the original texts) was wayy too descriptive and monotonous with a few repetitions. It was very slow and always put me in a slump. Although, I just couldn’t dnf it because there were some interesting details too but a description of food spanning over 3-4 pages wasn’t one of them. *smh*
“The culmination of the siege of Delhi wasn’t merely the destruction of the city, but also the annihilation of of a unique way of life.”
The first 3 stories gave us an insight in the lives of the last of the Mughal rulers and inside the Red Fort and the various ceremonies and festivals. The last story, Begamat ke Aasun, Tears of the Begums, narrates the stories of all the royalty who fled to various parts of the world and their subsequent fate. They were once the mighty rulers but after their downfall, they had been reduced to nothing and no one helped them, except in some rare cases.
The book promises “political intrigue and the inner secrets of the Qila”, which it delivers but not in the best way possible as it just couldn’t keep my attention for more than 5 pages at once. It was a real life of Game of Thrones with people being manipulative and planning and carrying out killings, even of their own relatives!
“We produce the grains, and others enjoy it.”
There were also a few descriptions regarding how drastically life changed under the Britishers and how people were quite against it.
Although, I’d read some stuff in my course, most of them mentioned in this book were very new to me, including the tale regarding Mirza Ilahi Baksh! That guy was shady af.
Anyways, if you are a history buff and enjoy in depth and deeply descriptive accounts or are writing a thesis or something on the Mughals, you can def give this book a shot