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Begums, Thugs, and White Mughals: The Journals of Fanny Parkes

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Fanny Parkes, who lived in India between 1822 and 1846, was the ideal travel writer - courageous, indefatigably curious and determinedly independent. Her delightful journal traces her journey from prim memsahib, married to a minor civil servant of the Raj, to eccentric, sitar-playing Indophile, fluent in Urdu, critical of British rule and passionate in her appreciation of ...more
Paperback, 361 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Sickle Moon Books (first published December 1st 2002)
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P.D.R. Lindsay
This is a good read in itself. I wanted 1st hand accounts of that particular area of India as research for a book but was charmed by Fanny Parks's outlook on life and the Raj.

This is a collection of Fanny's diaries edited by William Dalrymple and he's made a good job of leaving Fanny's voice and attitude alone. He's simply selected and put together her writing.

She was an enthusiastic traveller and nosy enough to see as much as she could at a time when other English women lay on their sofas and c
...more
Tom Williams
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in British India before the Mutiny. Fanny Parkes was a real enthusiast for India (she was viewed with suspicion by the authorities who considered she had 'gone native') andd her account of life is fascinating and vivid. As a woman, she saw much of Indian court life that was inaccessible to European men and she writes with sympathy and imagination.

Why only four stars? Because the introduction, though interesting, does not justify claiming copyright a
...more
Patricia
Fascinating diary excerpts from an Englishwoman who lived in India in the early 1800's and loved every minute of it. Wonderfully refreshing given all the nose-in-the-air biographies.
Ez
An interesting glimpse into an India that is long gone through the lens of a bona fide adventuress and Indophile. Parkes tone gradually changes from one of condescension to engagement and admiration. A process described in the foreword as chuntification - though it sounds as if it should involve more mango and fewer descriptions of horseflesh (she's quite keen on riding).

As the wife of a low ranking East India Company official, Parkes provides a unique voice and view into history, not to mention
...more
Raghu
In high school, I was captivated by the adventures of Jim Corbett in the Indian jungles tracking man-eating tigers. Corbett was quite 'Indianized' for an early 20th century Englishman. The phrase describing people like Corbett used to be 'he had gone native in India' but Salman Rushdie coined the more delightfully colorful term 'Chutnified' for the same phenomenon (to quote Dalrymple)! This book by Fanny Parkes is about her gradual chutnification in India from 1822 to 1846, as seen through her t ...more
Ajeet
Beautifully written book by a British Civil Services officer's wife. Her description of Indian society of the early 19th century with eyes and soul of an India lover. She has narrated the times, traditions, climate the culture so minutely and vividly. She had been impartial when it came to recording her observations unlike many others who wrote with British perspective only. She has been sensitive to India like one who is born in Indian home. Worth every penny and hours spent in buying and readi ...more
Pozzo Lahiri
A very interesting book. Quite pleasant. Fanny had a very modern outlook, despite having colonial overtones. A nature lover, travel enthusiast and she also had a taste for adventures.
Bettie☯
Jun 01, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as wish-list
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Wanda
Wee Willie Dalrymple in the mix, fab!
Linus Kendall
Entertaining account of Fanny Parkes, a proper englishwoman who came to India and in the forewords of Dalrymple got chutnified.
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