White Mughals  - Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth Century India

White Mughals - Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth Century India

Product ID: 15343

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Author: William Dalrymple
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2002-12-01
Language: English
Pages: 580
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143030469


White Mughals is the romantic and ultimately tragic tale of a passionate love affair that transcended all the cultural, religious and political boundaries of its time.

James Achilles Kirkpatrick landed on the shores of eighteenth-century India as an ambitious soldier of the East India Company. Although eager to make his name in the subjection of a nation, it was he who was conquered- not by an army but by an Indian Muslim princess.

Kirkpatrick was the British resident at the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad when in 1798 he glimpsed Khair un-Nissa- Most Excellent among Women- the great niece of the Nizam’s Prime Minister. He fell in love with Khair, and overcame many obstacles to marry her – not least of which was the fact that she was locked away in purdah and engaged to a local nobleman.

Eventually, while remaining Resident, Kirkpatrick converted to Islam, and according to Indian sources even became a double-agent working for the Hyderabadis against the East India Company.

Possessing all the sweep and resonance of a great nineteenth-century novel, White Mughals, the product of five years writing and research from a variety of previously unused Indian and British primary sources, is a remarkable tale of harem politics, secret assignations, court intrigue, religious disputes and espionage.

It brings to life a unique age almost entirely unexplored in recent times and will undoubtedly be regarded as Dalrymple’s masterpiece.


A brilliant and compulsively readable book.
-Salman Rushdie

Ambitious in scope and rich in detail.
-New Yorker

Moving, wide-ranging and richly textured, Through massive research blessed with serendipity, and through imagination and empathy, Dalrymple has evoked the world of the British in late 18th century India as no one has before, a wonderful book.
-Times Literary Supplement


List of illustrations

Map: India in 1795

Map: Hyderabad in 1805

Family Tree: The Shushtaris

Family Tree: The Kirkpatricks

Dramatis Personae



White Mughals