William Dalrymple

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William Dalrymple is a historian and writer, art historian and curator, as well as a prominent broadcaster and critic.

Work[edit]

William Dalrymple as a historian has often been known to express great affinity for the Mughals while showing dislike for "the rise of Islamophobia in the west" and the state of Israel in its dealings with the Palestinians.

In addition, William Dalrymple has recently made defamatory comments about Nobel Laureate Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, challenging his credentials as a historian. While Dalrymple acknowledges that "few would dispute Sir Vidia’s status as probably the greatest living writer of Indian origin", Dalrymple sees it as "his duty" to correct what he says V.S. Naipaul "gets badly wrong." [1]

William Dalrymple is also known to praise Bahadur Shah Zafar, even though Zafar is seen as a lesser Mughal by many.

Dalrymple is also critical of Sir Naipaul's expression of regret over the desecration of ancient Indian monuments. William Dalrymple is quoted to have said "For Naipaul, the fall of Vijayanagar is a paradigmatic wound on the psyche of India, part of a long series of failures that he believes still bruises the country’s self-confidence." [2]

Dalrymple also has been quoted saying that "Naipaul’s entirely negative understanding of India’s Islamic history has its roots firmly in the mainstream imperial historiography of Victorian Britain." [3]

Farrukh Dhondy, in turn, criticizes Dalrymple's analysis, writing that his quote of Naipaul is a misquotation from the book India: A Wounded Civilisation (1975) in which the Naipaul has written about the fall of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire. Dhondhy insists that Dalrymple has taken an account from a history book without realizing that Naipaul’s intentions are not to suggest that Vijayanagar was the "last bastion of Hindu culture" and the Muslims who established control were barbarians. [4]

Dhondy further points out that Dalrymple has been erroneous in his claim that Naipaul blames the destruction of Hindu civilization on select Muslim rulers, and that he has selectively quoted Naipaul and misrepresented his work. Dhondy praises Naipaul's perspective on Indian history as "profound, committed and revolutionary", alleging partisanship on Dalrymple's part: [5]

The motives of people like Dalrymple, those who wilfully set out to deny the facts of the destruction of the Hindu civilisation of India, are the opposite. Their denial of the large-scale destruction and denigration of Hindu religion and culture by the Muslim raiders, invaders and conquerors of India is motivated by the deep-seated political aim of the Independence movement to brook no divide between Hindu and Muslim.It was for its time and for all time a noble aim. [6]

Dhondy also criticizes Dalrymple's claims of Muslim influence on Hindu culture as motivated more by political correctedness than by scholarly objectivity. [7]

Sir Naipual has compared ancient India, where Vedic religion was followed, to ancient Greece and Rome. This is largely true as the early Indian kingdoms predated Islam and India was one of the centres of world civilizations at the time. Sir Naipual expressed regret over the destruction of continued ancient empires, which has Dalrymple to be anti islamic rule thoughts coming from a author of history with a Victorian mindset. This is especially surprising when Sir Naipual's sources are known to heavily rely on Islamic accounts such as those of Ibn batuta and the Chach Nama, an account of the invasions of Sindh by Arabian marauders written by Muslims, Bernier (the French traveller to India during the time of Shah Jahan) and from the evidence of what is left of the ancient kingdoms. [8]

The Chach Nama, the book of conquest written by the victorious Muslims accounts Arab armies raiding the Sindh eleven times, looting it, slaughtering or enslaving its populations and reducing the Hindu population to subservience and degradation (by treating them as Dhimmis) and accounts of Ibn Batuta record daily execution of Hindu men and violation of their women, including a slave girl being gifted to Batuta himself. [9]

Personal life[edit]

Dalrymple is the son of Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, 10th Baronet, and Lady Anne-Louise Keppel. He is a cousin of Virginia Woolf. He was educated at Ampleforth College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was first a history exhibitioner and then a senior history scholar.

Dalrymple first went to Delhi on 26 January 1984.[10] Dalrymple has lived in India on and off since 1989 and spends most of the year at his Mehrauli farmhouse in the outskirts of Delhi,[11] but summers in London and Edinburgh. His wife Olivia is an artist and comes from a family with long-standing connections to India. They have three children, Ibby, Sam, and Adam.


  • And who was this speaker, anyway? I waited to the end, enduring the nonsense of it all just to find out. It turned out to be William Dalrymple. Ah, of course. William Dalrymple, described here long ago, quite accurately, as an up-market Barbara Cartland, whose tales of trans-racial passion at the Mughal Court, or at this or that princely court in the time of the Mughals, has it all: star-crossed lovers, and of course the Splendor That Was India, or rather the India of the Muslim rulers who lived off of their Hindu subjects, the subjects who were killed by the Muslims in numbers without any historical parallel. (The historian K. S. Lal and others estimate that 60-70 million Hindus were killed by the Muslim conquerors and masters). Now a love of luxe, and of luxe combined with heaving breasts, is the kind of thing that the Barbara-Cartlands of this world love, including even the plausible sort who put in a bit more history and a little less of the Romance-novelette lord or duke or Arab prince (see “The Sheik”), who picks up the girl in her swoon at the very end (the promise of sex has always been just beyond what Nabokov calls “the skyline of the page”) — that is, William Dalrymple. He’s as vulgar and stupid as they come, behind the plummy voice and the pretense of being a historian.
    • Hugh Fitzgerald: A tribute to William Dalrymple [2] 2006.
  • The motives of people like Dalrymple, those who wilfully set out to deny the facts of the destruction of the Hindu civilisation of India, are the opposite. Their denial of the large-scale destruction and denigration of Hindu religion and culture by the Muslim raiders, invaders and conquerors of India is motivated by the deep-seated political aim of the Independence movement to brook no divide between Hindu and Muslim.It was for its time and for all time a noble aim. That was one of the things V.S. Naipaul said to the BJP gathering--that the project of Nehru and Gandhi to avoid going into the import of that history was in itself positively motivated. There is never any justification for one community in India to conduct a pogrom against another. Not then, not now. But surely the construction of history should be truthful. Suppression can only exacerbate the anger.

Works[edit]


Editor

  • Lonely Planet Sacred India. Lonely Planet Publications, (1999) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css" />ISBN 1740593669
  • Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi 1707–1857. Penguin Books India, (2012) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css" />ISBN 978-0-1434-1906-8

References[edit]

  1. [1] Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  2. Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  3. Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  4. Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  5. Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  6. Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  7. Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  8. Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  9. Does Willy Get It Wilfully Wrong? by Farrukh Dhondhy
  10. William Dalrymple. "Introduction". The Last Mughal. Penguin. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-143-10243-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Karan Mahajan (February–March 2011). "The Don of Dehli". Bookforum.com. Retrieved 18 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links[edit]