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City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi Paperback – March 25, 2003
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From Library Journal
Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon State Coll. Lib., Ashland
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I don't know why, but to me the most poignant stories told were about the Anglo-Indians who ended up abandoned by both Britain and India after the birth of an independent India. I never realized such unfortunate people existed, becoming political refugees denied rights by India, the country of their birth; and by the UK, to which they had blood ties. Mr. Dalrymple interviews a few of these people who by now have grown old and are the living remnants of hardball politics of a bygone era. They give their personal accounts of their own hardships. As victims abused by the system, they were denied basic privileges. These interviews are still quite vivid in my memory.
In the midst of all the daunting history of this city, Mr.Read more ›
One of the first things the reader learns in this book is that there is more than one Delhi. The two main Delhis are Mughal Old Delhi and Punjabi New Delhi, each keeping largely to itself, each "absolutely certain of its superiority over the other." Old Delhi has been inhabited for thousands of years, its Urdu-speaking elite (both Hindu and Muslim) having lived in the city for many centuries, the city an ancient one of sophistication and culture, though also a city in severe decline, with many of its once magnificent palaces, gardens, tombs, and mosques, once examples of the "silky refinement" of Mughal architecture now crumbling into ruin, decaying into "something approaching seediness." Many of its citizens are among the last to practice trades dating back to Mughal times, and a large number of them live in exile in Pakistan. In contrast, New Delhi is a growing, booming, bustling city of hard-working nouveau-riche entrepreneurs, largely comprised of people whose roots only go back to the catastrophic days of Partition in 1947, when hundreds of thousands of Punjabi Sikh and Hindu refugees poured into the city.Read more ›
His humorous and provocative description of how he spent a year in Delhi, with his artistic wife Olivia, while he researched the city's history brings contemporary Delhi alive. True to life characters, like his authoritative spendthrift landlady, Mrs. Puri, or his slightly maniacal taxi drive Balvinder Singh, give his settings an unusual liveliness. Add India pigeon lovers, mystical healers, an enterprising group of transvestites (eunuchs), the baffling Indian bureaucracy, weddings, parties, funerals and religious holidays and "voila" you have an entertaining and informative travel/history book.
If you are going to, or ever have been to Delhi, India you owe it to yourself to read City of Djinns. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delhi's complex history from the unbiased and honest perspective of a foreigner. Wonderful read in a historic way though it mostly addresses what happened after the British with... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
It is not my favourite book. Nothing to do with Dalrymple, I am fare away interested in Indian matters.Published 2 months ago by Herbert Jaques
A must read for those who would like to know the history of Delhi.Published 5 months ago by Ritesh Kumar
The Mughal Delhi painted along with the contemporary portrait(well at least 20 years before now) in a perfect medley. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mahadevan Subramanian
This an outstanding book that explores both modern and historic Delhi. Dalrymaple does a brilliant job of taking a personal narrative and using to to insightfully investigate... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Phil Dolliff
This lively and enthralling book brings together the tremendously varied cultures of Delhi, with their clashes and mixtures, across a dazzling sweep of history, connecting large... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer