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The Age of Kali

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eBook published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
From the author of The Last Mughal and Nine Lives: the classic stories he gathered during the ten years he spent journeying across the Indian subcontinent, from Sri Lanka and southern India to the North West Frontier of Pakistan. As he searched for evidence of Kali Yug, the “age of darkness” predicted by an ancient Hindu cosmology in a final epoch of strife and corruption, Dalrymple encountered a region that thrilled and surprised him. Venturing to places rarely visited by foreigners, he presents compelling portraits of a diverse range of figures—from a Hindi rap megastar through the Tamil Tigers to the drug lords of Pakistan. Dalrymple's love for the subcontinent comes across in every page, which makes its chronicles of political corruption, ethnic violence and social disintegration all the more poignant. The result is a dark yet vibrant travelogue, and a unique look at a region that continues to be marked by rapid change and unlimited possibilities as it struggles to reconcile the forces of modernity and tradition.
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From the author of The Last Mughal and Nine Lives: the classic stories he gathered during the ten years he spent journeying across the Indian subcontinent, from Sri Lanka and southern India to the North West Frontier of Pakistan. As he searched for evidence of Kali Yug, the “age of darkness” predicted by an ancient Hindu cosmology in a final epoch of strife and corruption, Dalrymple encountered a region that thrilled and surprised him. Venturing to places rarely visited by foreigners, he presents compelling portraits of a diverse range of figures—from a Hindi rap megastar through the Tamil Tigers to the drug lords of Pakistan. Dalrymple's love for the subcontinent comes across in every page, which makes its chronicles of political corruption, ethnic violence and social disintegration all the more poignant. The result is a dark yet vibrant travelogue, and a unique look at a region that continues to be marked by rapid change and unlimited possibilities as it struggles to reconcile the forces of modernity and tradition.
Product Details
eBook (400 pages)
Published: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307948939
Other books byWilliam Dalrymple
  • White Mughals

    White Mughals
    Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
    White Mughals is the romantic and ultimately tragic tale of a passionate love affair that crossed and transcended all the cultural, religious and political boundaries of its time. James Achilles Kirkpatrick was the British Resident at the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad when in 1798 he glimpsed Kahir un-Nissa—'Most excellent among Women'—the great-niece of the Nizam's Prime Minister and a descendant of the Prophet. Kirkpatrick had gone out to India as an ambitious soldier in the army of the East India Company, eager to make his name in the conquest and subjection of the subcontinent. Instead, he fell in love with Khair and overcame many obstacles to marry her—not least of which was the fact that she was locked away in purdah and engaged to a local nobleman. Eventually, while remaining Resident, Kirkpatrick converted to Islam, and according to Indian sources even became a double-agent working for the Hyderabadis against the East India Company. It is a remarkable story, involving secret assignations, court intrigue, harem politics, religious and family disputes. But such things were not unknown; from the early sixteenth century, when the Inquisition banned the Portuguese in Goa from wearing the dhoti, to the eve of the Indian mutiny, the 'white Mughals' who wore local dress and adopted Indian ways were a source of embarrassments to successive colonial administrations. William Dalrymple unearths such colourful figures as 'Hindoo Stuart', who travelled with his own team of Brahmins to maintain his temple of idols, and who spent many years trying to persuade the memsahibs of Calcutta to adopt the sari; and Sir David Ochterlony, Kirkpatrick's counterpart in Delhi, who took all thirteen of his wives out for evening promenades, each on the back of their own elephant. In White Mughals, William Dalrymple discovers a world almost entirely unexplored by history, and places at its centre a compelling tale of love, seduction and betrayal. It possesses all the sweep and resonance of a great nineteenth-century novel, set against a background of shifting alliances and the manoeuvring of the great powers, the mercantile ambitions of the British and the imperial dreams of Napoleon. White Mughals, the product of five years' writing and research, triumphantly confirms Dalrymple's reputation as one of the finest writers at work today.

    From the Holy Mountain

    From the Holy Mountain
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    In the spring of A.D. 587, John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius the Sophist embarked on a remarkable expedition across the entire Byzantine world, traveling from the shores of Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt. Using Moschos’s writings as his guide and inspiration, the acclaimed travel writer William Dalrymple retraces the footsteps of these two monks, providing along the way a moving elegy to the slowly dying civilization of Eastern Christianity and to the people who are struggling to keep its flame alive. The result is Dalrymple’s unsurpassed masterpiece: a beautifully written travelogue, at once rich and scholarly, moving and courageous, overflowing with vivid characters and hugely topical insights into the history, spirituality and the fractured politics of the Middle East.

    In Xanadu

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    William Dalrymple’s award-winning first book: his classic, fiercely intelligent and wonderfully entertaining account of his journey across Marco Polo’s 700-year-old route from Jerusalem to Xanadu, the summer palace of Kubla Khan.    At the age of twenty-two, Dalrymple left his college in Cambridge to travel to the ruins of Kubla Khan’s stately pleasure dome in Xanadu. As he and his companions travel across the width of Asia—crossing through Acre, Aleppo, Tabriz, Tashkurgan, and other mysterious and sometimes hellish places—they encounter dusty, forgotten roads, unexpected hospitality, and difficult challenges. Stylish, witty, and knowledgeable about everything from the dreaded order of Assassins to the hidden origins of the Three Magi, this is travel writing at its best.

    Nine Lives

    Nine Lives
    In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
    From the author of The Last Mughal, an enlightening book that explores with remarkable compassion and expansive insight nine varieties of religious devotion in India today. In portraits of people we might otherwise never know William Dalrymple distills his twenty-five years of travel in India to explore the challenges faced by practitioners of traditional forms of faith in contemporary India. For two months a year, a man in Kerala divides his time between jobs as a prison warden and a well-builder and his calling as an incarnate deity. A temple prostitute watches her two daughters die from AIDS after entering a trade she regards as a sacred calling. A Jain nun recalls the pain of watching her closest friend ritually starve herself to death. Together, these tales reveal the resilience of individuals in the face of the relentless onslaught of modernity, the enduring legacy of tradition, and the hope and honor that can be found even in the most unlikely places.

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  • The Age of Kali is a collection of peripatetic essays, a distillation of ten years' travel around the Indian subcontinent.

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