Priti's Reviews > City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

City of Djinns by William Dalrymple
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Jun 06, 12

bookshelves: wanderings-voyages, india
Read from May 30 to June 06, 2012

"It was in the citadel of Firoz Shah Kotla that I met my first Sufi", thus begins the narrative of a bygone era of sufis, dervishes, eunuchs, courtesans, spies and of course Djinns. This book by William Dalrymple is not a travel book. It is more a memoir or a journal kept by a historian. Dalrymple is sensitive to all the subtle nuances of the variegated culture in which he has been temporarily immersed. With this sensitivity, he cleverly juxtaposes the present with the past to evoke Delhi's past with greater poignancy.

Dalrymple has made the history of Delhi come alive for me, better than any history book I've ever read. The narrative is interspersed with passages from accounts written by ancient and medieval writers, which makes it all the more interesting and also highlights the kind of effort he has put in to research the topic. My only gripe is that the book focuses only on a very small portion of Delhi's history, to do it full justice. But then, to do justice to Delhi's history, would require an effort at par with that of Sage Ved Vyas which led to the composition of the Mahabharata.

A must read.
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05/30/2012 page 19
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