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City of My Heart: Accounts of Love, Loss and Betrayal in Nineteenth - Century Delhi

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In September 1857, the Indian way of life changed for ever, after the overnight downfall of the Mughal Dynasty, with the capture and exile of Bahadur Shah Zafar. This book, translated by Safvi, presents translations of four texts that talk about Dilli (today, Delhi) on the eve of the downfall and the fate of royalty following the uprising of 1857. Invoking nostalgia, chron ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published October 10th 2018 by Hachette India
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Padmaja (thebookishtales)
City of my heart. Selected and translated from the Urdu by Rana Safvi.
I fell in love with the cover, it's so beautiful!! I spent a decent amount of time gawking at the cover and then finally started to read. The very mention of Lal Qila of Delhi makes me feel special because my parents told me I took my first steps there or rather learnt to walk in the Diwan-e-Khaas way back in 1992.
This book started on a good note, but however the translation felt monotonous and the stories too. It felt
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is a collection of 4 urdu narratives translated by Rana Safvi. It was okayish. I find it monotonous and repetitive.
Anukriti Chaturvedi
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
As seen on my blog KALEIDOSCOPIC NERD

“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
Manish Kumar
May 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
City of my Heart चार पुस्तकों बज़्म ए आखिर, दिल्ली का आखिरी दीदार, किला ए मुआल्ला की झलकियाँ और बेगमात के आँसू का एक संग्रह है। इसमें पहली दो किताबें मुख्यतः उस दौरान किले में मनाए जाने वाले उत्सवों, रीति रिवाज़ और खान पान की बातें करती हैं जबकि तीसरी किताब में किले के अंदर की झलकियों के साथ सत्ता के लिए चलते संघर्ष का भी विवरण मिलता है। बेगमात के आँसू में शाही खानदान के उन चिरागों का जिक्र है जो अंग्रेजी हुकूमत के कत्ले आम से बच तो गए पर जिनके लिए शाही जीवन से आम व्यक्ति सा जीवन जीना बड़ा तकलीफ ...more
Ritika Chhabra
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Follow Just A Girl High On Books for more reviews.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I started reading City of My Heart, I had nothing but word of mouth to go on about Rana Safvi's works. I had heard of her because of her previous book, i.e., Forgotten Cities of Delhi but I had never read her work. A lot of my friends had described her writing style as impeccable so I was nothing but excited to go through this book. And Holy Mother of Jesus, were they right!

Sheetal Maurya - Godse (Halo of Books)
Before talking about this book, let me take a moment to admire the alluring artwork on the cover page. The illuminating lights of the bright red fort, starry night and title are written in Urdu font is simply eye-catching. I fall in love with the book cover even before reading this book.


The authoress has dedicated this book to every people of Delhi and she has started this book giving a brief history of Delhi and about them who have ruled Delhi. These two sections are really informative
Mridula Gupta
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Full Review @https://ecstaticyetchaotic.wordpress....

City of my Heart is a collection of 4 stories, originally written in Urdu and later translated by Rana Safvi. The goal is to make us aware of the city that was once ‘Dilli’ and not the modern day ‘Delhi’. The author chose 4 stories that were published in the British Era, and these stories were amassed from people who had the first-hand experience of ‘Dilli’ and everything that made the city.

The stories talk about the climate there, the food pe
Chitraksh Ashray
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Very repetitive
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book that opened my eyes to a city I already love. Highly, highly recommend to anyone interested in the life of the Qila-e-Mualla and Shahjahanabad.
Ashwini Ganesh
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
As we all know, the beginning of the Mughal empire is marked by the victory of Babur over Ibrahim Lodi. The Mughal empire is the third largest empire and is also considered as 'India's last golden age'. This book is a translation of four Urdu texts, first hand accounts, that gives us a glimpse of the life during this period and also about the state of prince and princesses after the siege.

The book talks about how Hindus and Muslims lived in peace and harmony during 19th century. The emperor cons
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Rana Safvi chooses four works that give a first hand or passed down true accounts recounted by people of their memories of 1857 Delhi, the Delhi under the rule of the last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar. The translations are done brilliantly. The images are so vivid and heartfelt that one is easily transported to that era.

The problem is that it can get monotonous and boring after a point. I admire Rana Safvi as a historian and I'm looking forward to read other books of hers. Perhaps I was expe
Pavitra (For The Love of Fictional Worlds)

Also Posted on For The Love of Fictional Worlds

Disclaimer: A physical copy was provided via Hachette India in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.

City of My Heart is a collection of 4 stories translated by the author Rana Saafvi – the aim of the author, I believe, was to make the readers aware of the city that once was “Dilli”; and everything that has now become the foundation of modern day Delhi.  

The four stori
Aayushi Jain
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Divided into four parts, 'City of my Heart' by @ranasafvi intensely talks about richness of old Delhi and India's cultural history during nineteenth century. My mumma is from old Delhi and talks about how beautiful this place is and used to be. I always loved to hear stories from her about that famous 'paranthe wali gali' where she spent her childhood.

If you love reading history, especially India's history, then this book is for you. I enjoyed going through every page and reading new things abo
Anukriti Malik
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rating : 3.5/5
- historical non-fiction
- loved the cover , could stare at it all day.
- synopsis sounds promising but the writing needs improvement.
- very monotonous at certain times.
- felt more like a draft that still needed some proof reading to make the writing lucid and exciting.
- loved the fact that the writer tried to cover the life of the people in Mughal dynasty and cultures existing in the 19th century!
Ritu Mantri
Dec 15, 2018 rated it liked it

Time is a powerful force. When it spins, the fate changes instantly sometimes for good; sometimes for bad. It is apparent from the condition of princes and princesses of the last Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Rana Safvi has translated the extracts from the four books originally written in Urdu language depicting the grandeur life of the Emperor and his family and their miserable life after Sepoy mutiny of 1857.

The translation was top notch. But selection of chapters seems to be debatable
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
* 3.5 out of 5 Stars

I'll be honest. I had a hard time reading this book. I really wanted to enjoy it but I had to push myself to keep reading it until the end. The language, the vocabulary, all of the really long descriptions and the countless notes and terms and explanations on every other page broke my flow of concentration/reading and really made it difficult to want to keep reading. And that's why it took so long to finish it, and that was after I started skimming it after about the halfway
Kinjal Parekh
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it

City of My Heart: Accounts of Love, Loss and Betrayal in Nineteenth - Century Delhi.
The book comprises of four historic stories which are selected and translated by Rana Safvi. The selected literature are quite unique and rare, namely -

1. Dilli ka Aakhiri Deedar
(The Last Glimpse of Delhi)

2. Bazm-e-Aakhir
(The Last Assembly)

3. Qila-e-Mu'alla ki Jhalkiya'n
(Glimpses of Exalted Fort)

4. Begamat ke Aansu
(Tears of the Begums)

• This is a very important book as it describes a very interesting period
Pretty Bibliophile
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic
City of my Heart is a chronicle, a romance, and history all mixed in one. It is a scenery of a time rich in cultural and intellectual activity in Dilli as it was then known, the multifaceted aspects of the Mughals and their reign that made it a paradigm, and it is a nostalgic read- almost as if one’s relatives had lived and loved in those times, as if this illusion is just within one’s grasp in a few years in the past and not in the actual centuries that separate them and us.
City of my Heart has
Syed Umar
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
"City of my Heart"
Translated by "Rana Safvi"
The book consists of 4 chapters.
•Dilli ka Aakhri Deedar (The Last glimpse of Delhi)
•Bazm-e-Aakhir ( The Last Assembly)
•Qila-e-Mu'alla ki Jhalkiya'n (Glimpse of the Exalted Fort)
•Begamat ke Aansu( Tears of the Begums)
``` Dilli ka Aakhri Deedar was published in 1934. It was written by Syed Wazir Hasan Dehlvi.
In this chapter the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb, communal harmony,the colorful festivals and the relationship between the Qila habitants and the gene
Ankush Rai
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
City of my Hearts
By - Rana Safvi
Language - English
Book length - 288 pages
Publisher - Hachette India
Publication date - 22 Oct 2018
Dimensions - 19.4x13.6x1.2 cm

Delhi's notable historian Rana Safvi has translated works of urdu writers of mid 19th century of the Mughal Era. The book gives us an detailed insight to the city life of Delhi (then Shahajahanabad) , politics inside Redfort, morning habits of the Mughal Emperor , imperial customs and traditions, British interventions etc. It takes us t
Asma Khalîd
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dilli(Delhi) is known as the heart of India and was the capital of Mughal Empire. In the midst of the 1857, destiny of india was changed after the overnight downfall of the Mughal dynasty when last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar got captured and exiled to Rangoon. This book describes the twilight events that took place at the time of the British envasion in India. It’s translated into four urdu texts each describing the legit history of life style and downfall of last Mughal ruler. It is capt ...more
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a real gem for Indian History lovers. When the precious history of our 'Dilli' was just limited to the vernacular formats, this effort by Rana Safvi holds immense importance in the unfolding of Indian History and can be considered as an important step in the History Studies.
With intricate and rich use of words, the translations honestly take you back to the nineteenth century Delhi, and you start visualising all the events in front of your eyes. Everything is to the point and apt.
Abhijeet Parida
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This translation of 4 books gives insights into Delhi before and after the revolution. A read that takes us through the lives of the members of the Timurid dynasty, the princes and princesses, some of whom were very closely related to the emperor himself, who had the entire world under their feet and suddenly were left with nothing but to roam around as mendicants in the city once they ruled. This translation sheds light on the plight of men and women more importantly to the city of Delhi after ...more
Dec 29, 2020 rated it liked it
The first part of the book describes the life of Bahadur Shah Zafar and his family - his way of life, food choices, festivities, ceremonies, dressing preference, etc specific to that era. 

The second part of book are excerpts froms varoius sources describing of the plight of most Royals after The Mutiny of 1857. These stories have been recorded by offspring of either eye witnesses or friends narrating the plight. 

There is a palpable gloom in the narration nearing the end of the book.
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that takes you back to the last days of the Mughal Empire. Four second person accounts of what life was like in the days before 1857, and after the Emperor was jailed and his descendants reduced to penury. The height of Ganga-Jamuni tehzib, something we can aspire to even today.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. Enjoyed reading it immensely . Though I wish, the urdu poetry wherever quoted was also given in original (roman script)
Saif Khan
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Atif Yamin
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Jun 21, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Oct 12, 2019
Saarim Naeem
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