Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Lost and Dusty Mughal

There is a certain book that has been lying around on my table for a few months now, gathering dust and refusing to shift to make room for other stuff. It goes by the name of ‘The Last Mughal’ and it’s one of the best history books I’ve laid hands on (the other history books in the list being my CBSE History textbooks from class 6 to 10).

I’ve read only about three-fourths of the book and I don’t know when I’ll complete it. It’s very hard to go back to a book that you left halfway through – every passing day makes it a wee bit harder to get back. But let me assure you that the neglect is not due to lack of interest on my part or lack of interest-worthiness on the book’s part. It’s just plain lack of time.

However, the book did come handy to complete Rada’s tag. Thanks to him, I got to dust the book and put it in back on the cupboard where it deserves the space it currently occupies between two great books which I’ve not read (yet) Joseph Shigley’s ‘Machine Design’ and Richard Dawkins’ ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’. I know, even I’m surprised that I was allowed to design vehicles without reading Shigley ;)

So here are the rules of the tag:
Pick up the nearest book.
Open to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
Tag five people, and acknowledge the person who tagged you.

Page 123 takes me to the Chapter named ‘The Near Approach of the Storm’ which outlines the conditions in northern India before the outbreak of the 1857 Mutiny/Rebellion/War of Independence. The fifth sentence is an excerpt from a letter which Lord Canning (the Governor General) sent to Simon Fraser (the Resident at the Mughal court) dismissing Fraser’s suggestion that the Mughals were still popularly perceived as the rulers of the land although real power had shifted to the British.

“The presents which were at one time offered to the King by the Governor General and the Commander in Chief have been discontinued; the privilege of a coinage bearing his mark is now denied to him; the Governor General’s seal no longer bears a device of vassalage; and even the native chiefs have been prohibited from using one. It has been determined that these appearances of subordination and deference could not be kept up consistently with a due respect for the real and solid power of the British Government. This may also be said of the title of the King of Dehlie (sic), with the fiction of paramount sovereignty which attaches to it.”

Who do I tag now? In confusion I turn to my secret Random Tag Recipient Generator (RTRG) and it throws up the following names: Mathew (Spark), Zahra, Karthik, Thomas and Sid


mathew said...

Could you give me your secret tag generator..;-D

But most of the time I end up tagging a favourite list of my bloggers..;-P

Ms Cris said...

You write well! But you probably know that :-)

g-man said...

wow sounds like a neat book :)

Philip said...

mathew: My secret tag generator has this uncanny ability to pick out my favourite bloggers although I had devised it algorithm to work in a random manner. So most of the time I too end up tagging my favourite bloggers :)

ms cris: Thank you :)
Although I like to believe that, I could do with reassurances like this one from fellow bloggers :)

g-man: neat as in antonym of dusty?

g-man said...

neat as in d sarcastic *neat* :)

Philip said...

g-man: I like my whiskey *neat*...ok, I should stop :D

Thomas said...

RTRG eh, hehe. Will sure take up the tag once my exams are over. you keep blogging. am keeping track of it.

Rada said...

Thanks for doing the tag!

Apart from "The Last Moghul", "White Moghuls" is another book of William Dalrymple I have not tried to read so far, intimidated by the sheer size of the tome!

Raghav said...

Ok, Phil, I dunno abtall the tagging, but do lend me the book. ( I know baba, I will do the same!)