Love, loss and betrayal in 19th century Delhi
New Delhi : Noted writer-historian Rana Safvi has translated four Urdu narratives spanning the period of turmoil that led to the revolt of 1857, and culminated in the fall of the Mughal Empire.
The translated works have been presented together in a compelling volume titled "City of My Heart" (Hachette India/Rs 499/247 pages) and reveals the tragic and affecting story of a royalty in decline.
Safvi has translated "Dilli ka Aakhiri Deedar" into "The Last Glimpse of Delhi"; "Bazm-e-Aakhir" into "The Last Assembly"; "Qila-e-Mu'alla Ki Jhalkiya'n" into "Glimpses of the Exalted Fort"; and "Begamat ke Aansu" into "Tears of the Begums". The book also includes specially dedicated sections on each of the four original authors, Syed Wazir Hasan Dehlvi, Munshi Faizuddin, Mirza Ahmad Salim ‘Arsh' Taimuri and Khwaja Hasan Nizami.
Taken together, they vividly document the twilight years of not just a historical era but also an entire way of life. The first hand accounts -- gleaned from princes and paupers alike -- provide "rare insight" into how the royals and their subjects experienced their life on either side of the cataclysm.
Billed as an "intimate chronicle of a crucial era", the book captures the saga of a changing city and a people experiencing the end of life as they know it.
India's capital city, the author had earlier told IANS, has always had a cosmopolitan culture and it is imperative to hold on to it.
Her last book was "The Forgotten Cities of Delhi" and attempted to provide an in-depth tour of Delhi's archaeological history.