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Cross Culture Transition

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  • bethlakshmi
    So... since the list has been slow, I figured I d throw this out there. When Meenakshi visited me recently we went on the kind of book shopping orgy that only
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 10, 2007
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      So... since the list has been slow, I figured I'd throw this out
      there.

      When Meenakshi visited me recently we went on the kind of book
      shopping orgy that only two 6' tall Amazon India Geeks can do. (the
      height is necessary for carrying all those books and reaching tall
      shelves)

      She pointed out a book to me - "White Mughals" by William Dalrymple
      (Thank you Meenakshi!!), that is really great. It's mostly about the
      state of Indian cultural cross over by members of the British East
      India Company in the 18th century. Normally being Mughal and out of
      period, it's totally fly over my radar. But the first chapter alone
      has been worth the price. Dalrymple goes into 16th century and
      onwards records and shows that "going native" by Europeans has been a
      trend pretty much since the Portuguese established any sort of
      presence on the Indian subcontinent.

      And there's been varying levels of appreciation and scandal
      associated with that.

      As far as book buying, I'm not sure it would be the first book I
      recommend buying. But if you wanted to dig into this concept, it's a
      wonderful read for a history geek. It is very geeky, but the writing
      is lovely. Usually I don't particularly like reading a history book
      after a long day of technical work - but I'm actually finding this
      both relaxing and ennervating.


      It rather blows the mind, since it raises the idea that you could
      actually be a Portuguese person who adopted Indian dress in our
      period, but it's hard to tell exactly what customs you've adopted.
      And there is a rather amazing picture of an Englishman in Mughal
      dress with tartan fabric that makes my brain leak out my ear (but
      he's way OOP).

      And it's giving me even more stuff to add to my reading list, since
      it also mentions that Vijayanagara rulers would wear Islamic dress
      when visiting Deccani courts. One wonders if that applies to women
      in the retinue as well? Lakshmi needs some new clothes! ;)

      And it talks about the vast multi-culturalness of Deccani courts in
      general.

      ... One wonders, if one were the consort of a European and the
      fighter happened to win crown, would a Deccani court be a place to
      model a "India meets Europe" reign? Sadly my consort is a couple
      centuries too early for this... but it does raise some interesting
      ideas.

      -Lakshmi
    • Asma
      ... This is a wonderful book. I haven t mentioned it on the list, mainly because so much of it is out of period, but it worth reading in any case. ... The
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 12, 2007
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        On 10/10/07, bethlakshmi <bethlakshmi@...> wrote:


        >She pointed out a book to me - "White Mughals" by William Dalrymple
        >(Thank you Meenakshi!!), that is really great.  It's mostly about the
        >state of Indian cultural cross over by members of the British East
        >India Company in the 18th century.  


        This is a wonderful book.  I haven't mentioned it on the list, mainly because so much of it is out of period, but it worth reading in any case. 

        >  But if you wanted to dig into this concept, it's a
        >wonderful read for a history geek.  It is very geeky, but the writing
        >is lovely.  Usually I don't particularly like reading a history book
        >after a long day of technical work - but I'm actually finding this
        >both relaxing and ennervating.

        The same author has a book about the Mutiny  called  "The  Last Mughal" that is centered around the  Mughal court in  Delhi.  Really wonderful  writing, plus he uses a  bunch of  Urdu  documents that no one writing in English has really touched before.  Way, way oop, but worth reading anyway.

        >It rather blows the mind, since it raises the idea that you could
        >actually be a Portuguese person who adopted Indian dress in our
        >period, but it's hard to tell exactly what customs you've adopted.

        The entire pre-19th century history of Europeans in India is full of funky and mind blowing stuff.  Not just Europeans for that matter, the Deccani courts were full of Persians, Arabs and Africans, all in various stages of "going native". 

        And there is a rather amazing picture of an Englishman in Mughal
        dress with tartan fabric that makes my brain leak out my ear (but
        he's way OOP).

         

          >One wonders if that applies to women
        >in the retinue as well?  Lakshmi needs some new clothes! ;)

        There is one  picture, of dancers at a Deccani court, Bijapur, I think, who are wearing fishtail saris and cholis.  So I don't think that going for the full on nivi wrap would be a incredible extrapolation.

        -Asma

      • Evans Knight
        I lovelovelove this book!! oop or not, the cultural fusion of the anglo-indian culture is about the coolest thing there is.
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 25, 2007
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          I lovelovelove this book!! oop or not, the cultural fusion of the anglo-indian culture is about
          the coolest thing there is.
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