Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Of books, released or destroyed

Nothing about the Dalrymple reading was as amusing as the report of it that appears in today's Metro Plus (The Hindu's city supplement)

Here are some gems from Serish Nanisetti's report:

William Dalrymple is that rare yarn writer of history who doesn't let
people yawn while he is positing his latest hypothesis after digging up tonnes of documents

he begins, and then about Bahadur Shah Zafar:

...what Dalrymple suggests is that he was a symbol of a culture clasp that
almost (breathed) out the British Empire before it was born.

Dalrymple may have done a TV series about Sufis, but it also seems to have induced in him hitherto unsuspected powers:

Beginning his talk with levitating comments about the American worldview
and how it proximates to worldview during the time of uprising, Dalrymple moved on to his subject.

My favourite section, however, is when Dalrymple, like a wrestler (read the whole report), plunges into the story:

narrating the tragic story of the last Mughal from the time his cask is
lowered into the grave in Rangoon in November 1862 to the stirring times when the figurehead became a centrepiece of liberation.

Bahadur Shah Zafar, The Ghost Who Walks. And we never knew.

Who says only the TOI does purplocity (to filch a phrase from Amit)? Read the whole thing here.


For as long as I can remember, the Book Bazar at Koti has been around. My father says it's been there since he came to the city in the early 70's. Sundays meant a heavy brunch and then off to Abids, where secondhand books were neatly laid out on the pavement. As the road curved around the Head Post Office, the type of person browsing would change. If Abids had all those looking for magazines and fiction, Koti had all the earnest students who came hunting for textbooks they would not otherwise be able to afford.

Yesterday, the MCH razed all the shops at Koti. A percentage of the booksellers have been accomodated at Sultan Bazaar, but this is just another instance of the total insensitivity with which Govt. bodies operate. A couple of years ago, they nearly destroyed a heritage building

It's going to be strange to see the place without its bookshops.

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