Koh-i-Noor

The History of the World's Most Infamous Diamond

Author: William Dalrymple,Anita Anand

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1408888858

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 3000

The first comprehensive and authoritative history of the Koh-i-Noor, arguably the most celebrated and mythologised jewel in the world. On 29 March 1849, the ten-year-old maharaja of the Punjab was ushered into the magnificent Mirrored Hall at the centre of the great fort in Lahore. There, in a public ceremony, the frightened but dignified child handed over great swathes of the richest country in India in a formal Act of Submission to a private corporation, the East India Company. He was also compelled to hand over to the British monarch, Queen Victoria, perhaps the single most valuable object on the subcontinent: the celebrated Koh-i Noor diamond. The Mountain of Light. The history of the Koh-i-Noor that was then commissioned by the British may have been one woven together from gossip of Delhi bazaars, but it was to become the accepted version. Only now is it finally challenged, freeing the diamond from the fog of mythology that has clung to it for so long. The resulting history is one of greed, murder, torture, colonialism and appropriation told through an impressive slice of south and central Asian history. It ends with the jewel in its current controversial setting: in the crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Masterly, powerful and erudite, this is history at its most compelling and invigorating.
Release

Kohinoor

The Story of the WorldÕs Most Infamous Diamond

Author: William Dalrymple,Anita Anand

Publisher: Juggernaut Books

ISBN: 9386228084

Category: Crown jewels

Page: 239

View: 7732

This riveting tale of the Kohinoor, the worldÕs most coveted gem, unearths fascinating new information as it moves from the Mughal court to Persia to Afghanistan; from Maharaja Ranjit Singh's durbar in Punjab to the Queen of England's Crown. A thrilling tale, full of violence, drama and intrigue.
Release

Return of a King

The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42

Author: William Dalrymple

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307958299

Category: History

Page: 560

View: 1767

From William Dalrymple—award-winning historian, journalist and travel writer—a masterly retelling of what was perhaps the West’s greatest imperial disaster in the East, and an important parable of neocolonial ambition, folly and hubris that has striking relevance to our own time. With access to newly discovered primary sources from archives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and India—including a series of previously untranslated Afghan epic poems and biographies—the author gives us the most immediate and comprehensive account yet of the spectacular first battle for Afghanistan: the British invasion of the remote kingdom in 1839. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed helmets, and facing little resistance, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the mountain passes from India into Afghanistan in order to reestablish Shah Shuja ul-Mulk on the throne, and as their puppet. But after little more than two years, the Afghans rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into rebellion. This First Anglo-Afghan War ended with an entire army of what was then the most powerful military nation in the world ambushed and destroyed in snowbound mountain passes by simply equipped Afghan tribesmen. Only one British man made it through. But Dalrymple takes us beyond the bare outline of this infamous battle, and with penetrating, balanced insight illuminates the uncanny similarities between the West’s first disastrous entanglement with Afghanistan and the situation today. He delineates the straightforward facts: Shah Shuja and President Hamid Karzai share the same tribal heritage; the Shah’s principal opponents were the Ghilzai tribe, who today make up the bulk of the Taliban’s foot soldiers; the same cities garrisoned by the British are today garrisoned by foreign troops, attacked from the same rings of hills and high passes from which the British faced attack. Dalryrmple also makes clear the byzantine complexity of Afghanistan’s age-old tribal rivalries, the stranglehold they have on the politics of the nation and the ways in which they ensnared both the British in the nineteenth century and NATO forces in the twenty-first. Informed by the author’s decades-long firsthand knowledge of Afghanistan, and superbly shaped by his hallmark gifts as a narrative historian and his singular eye for the evocation of place and culture, The Return of a King is both the definitive analysis of the First Anglo-Afghan War and a work of stunning topicality.
Release

The Mountain of Light

A Novel

Author: Indu Sundaresan

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1451643527

Category: Fiction

Page: 352

View: 7043

From the internationally bestselling author of The Twentieth Wife, a novel based on the tumultuous history of a legendary 186-carat diamond—originating in India—and the men and women who possessed it. As empires rose and fell and mighty kings jostled for power, its glittering radiance never dimmed. It is the “Mountain of Light”—the Kohinoor diamond—and its facets reflect a sweeping story of love, adventure, conquest, and betrayal. Its origins are the stuff of myth, but for centuries this spectacular gem changes hands from one ruler to another in India, Persia, and Afghanistan. In 1850, the ancient stone is sent halfway around the world where it will play a pivotal role in the intertwined destinies of a boy-king of India and a young queen of England—a queen who claims the Mountain of Light and India itself for her own burgeoning empire, the most brilliant jewels in her imperial crown. The Mountain of Light is a magnificent story of loss and recovery, sweeping change and enduring truth, wrapped around the glowing heart of one of the world’s most famous diamonds.
Release

From the Holy Mountain

A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East

Author: William Dalrymple

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307948927

Category: Travel

Page: 512

View: 8575

In the spring of A.D. 587, John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius the Sophist embarked on a remarkable expedition across the entire Byzantine world, traveling from the shores of Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt. Using Moschos’s writings as his guide and inspiration, the acclaimed travel writer William Dalrymple retraces the footsteps of these two monks, providing along the way a moving elegy to the slowly dying civilization of Eastern Christianity and to the people who are struggling to keep its flame alive. The result is Dalrymple’s unsurpassed masterpiece: a beautifully written travelogue, at once rich and scholarly, moving and courageous, overflowing with vivid characters and hugely topical insights into the history, spirituality and the fractured politics of the Middle East.
Release

The Storied City

The Quest for Timbuktu and the Fantastic Mission to Save Its Past

Author: Charlie English

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698197143

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 7011

“Timbuktu is a real place, and Charlie English will fuel your wanderlust with true descriptions of the fabled city’s past, present, and future.” –Fodor’s Two tales of a city: The historical race to “discover” one of the world’s most mythologized places, and the story of how a contemporary band of archivists and librarians, fighting to save its ancient manuscripts from destruction at the hands of al Qaeda, added another layer to the legend. To Westerners, the name “Timbuktu” long conjured a tantalizing paradise, an African El Dorado where even the slaves wore gold. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, a series of explorers gripped by the fever for “discovery” tried repeatedly to reach the fabled city. But one expedition after another went disastrously awry, succumbing to attack, the climate, and disease. Timbuktu was rich in another way too. A medieval center of learning, it was home to tens of thousands—according to some, hundreds of thousands—of ancient manuscripts, on subjects ranging from religion to poetry, law to history, pharmacology, and astronomy. When al-Qaeda–linked jihadists surged across Mali in 2012, threatening the existence of these precious documents, a remarkable thing happened: a team of librarians and archivists joined forces to spirit the manuscripts into hiding. Relying on extensive research and firsthand reporting, Charlie English expertly twines these two suspenseful strands into a fraught and fascinating account of one of the planet's extraordinary places, and the myths from which it has become inseparable.
Release

Queen Victoria's Matchmaking

The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe

Author: Deborah Cadbury

Publisher: PublicAffairs

ISBN: 1610398475

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 2002

A captivating exploration of the role in which Queen Victoria exerted the most international power and influence: as a matchmaking grandmother. As her reign approached its sixth decade, Queen Victoria's grandchildren numbered over thirty, and to maintain and increase British royal power, she was determined to maneuver them into a series of dynastic marriages with the royal houses of Europe. Yet for all their apparent obedience, her grandchildren often had plans of their own, fueled by strong wills and romantic hearts. Victoria's matchmaking plans were further complicated by the tumultuous international upheavals of the time: revolution and war were in the air, and kings and queens, princes and princesses were vulnerable targets. Queen Victoria's Matchmaking travels through the glittering, decadent palaces of Europe from London to Saint Petersburg, weaving in scandals, political machinations and family tensions to enthralling effect. It is at once an intimate portrait of a royal family and an examination of the conflict caused by the marriages the Queen arranged. At the heart of it all is Victoria herself: doting grandmother one moment, determined Queen Empress the next.
Release

The Last Mughal

The Fall of Delhi, 1857

Author: William Dalrymple

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 1408806886

Category: History

Page: 608

View: 8237

On a dark evening in November 1862, a cheap coffin is buried in eerie silence. There are no lamentations or panegyrics, for the British Commissioner in charge has insisted, 'No vesting will remain to distinguish where the last of the Great Mughals rests.' This Mughal is Bahadur Shah Zafar II, one of the most tolerant and likeable of his remarkable dynasty who found himself leader of a violent and doomed uprising. The Siege of Delhi was the Raj's Stalingrad, the end of both Mughal power and a remarkable culture.
Release

White Mughals

Author: William Dalrymple

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 9351184552

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 624

View: 3435

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 a Muslim Indian 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 of a great nineteenth-century novel, White Mughals is a remarkable tale of harem politics, secret assignations, court intrigue, religious disputes and espionage.
Release

In Xanadu: A Quest (Text Only)

Author: William Dalrymple

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

ISBN: 0007397593

Category: Travel

Page: 320

View: 8573

One of the most successful, influential and acclaimed travel books of recent years from the author of ‘Return of a King’, which has been shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize.
Release

Emperor of the Five Rivers

The Life and Times of Maharajah Ranjit Singh

Author: Mohamed Sheikh

Publisher: I.B.Tauris

ISBN: 1786720957

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 6584

In 1801, at the age of just 20 years old, Ranjit Singh became the Maharaja of the Punjab Empire and subsequently became one of the greatest figures in the history of India. He was a fiercely brave leader, capturing the city of Lahore before becoming Maharaja and overcoming a variety of challenges during his 40-year rule, such as harsh terrain, an ethnically and religiously diverse population and strong aggressors including the British and the Afghans. Despite such challenges, Ranjit Singh was able to unite Punjab’s various factions yet rule a nation that was strictly secular; the Maharaja was benevolent to his subjects no matter their ethnicity or religion and sought to promote interfaith unity through policies of equality and non-discrimination. Aside from building his own nation, Ranjit built solid strategic relations with his most challenging aggressor – the British. Through stamina and political will, he managed to establish a formal treaty between the two and secured from 1809 Britain’s protection against third party attempts to conquer the Punjab. Following Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839, the Empire fell into decline. Just six years later, the Punjabis attacked the British, and in 1845 they were beaten and forced to sign the Treaty of Lahore, essentially conceding control to the British.Ranjit Singh’s personal characteristics and leadership skills were what held the Punjab nation together in a tumultuous period in history. Mohamed Sheikh’s new account of Singh’s life illustrates these characteristics and skills and illuminates the man who singlehandedly created and sustained the Empire.
Release

Sophia

Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary

Author: Anita Anand

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1408835460

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 432

View: 1812

Shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize Winner of the Eastern Eye Alchemy Festival award for Literature In 1876 Sophia Duleep Singh was born into royalty. Her father, Maharajah Duleep Singh, was heir to the Kingdom of the Sikhs, a realm that stretched from the lush Kashmir Valley to the craggy foothills of the Khyber Pass and included the mighty cities of Lahore and Peshawar. It was a territory irresistible to the British, who plundered everything, including the fabled Koh-I-Noor diamond. Exiled to England, the dispossessed Maharajah transformed his estate at Elveden in Suffolk into a Moghul palace, its grounds stocked with leopards, monkeys and exotic birds. Sophia, god-daughter of Queen Victoria, was raised a genteel aristocratic Englishwoman: presented at court, afforded grace-and-favour lodgings at Hampton Court Palace and photographed wearing the latest fashions for the society pages. But when, in secret defiance of the British government, she travelled to India, she returned a revolutionary. Sophia transcended her heritage to devote herself to battling injustice and inequality,a far cry from the life to which she was born. Her causes were the struggle for Indian independence, the fate of the Lascars, the welfare of Indian soldiers in the First World War Â? and, above all, the fight for female suffrage. She was bold and fearless, attacking politicians, putting herself in the front line and swapping her silks for a nurse's uniform to tend wounded soldiers evacuated from the battlefields. Meticulously researched and passionately written, this enthralling story of the rise of women and the fall of empire introduces an extraordinary individual and her part in the defining moments of recent British and Indian history.
Release

Begums, Thugs and Englishmen

The Journals of Fanny Parkes

Author: Fanny Parkes Parlby

Publisher: Penguin Books India

ISBN: 9780143029885

Category: India

Page: 353

View: 9718

Fanny Parkes, Who Lived In India Between 1822 And 1846, Was The Ideal Travel Writer Courageous, Indefatigably Curious And Determinedly Independent. Her Delightful Journal Traces Her Journey From Prim Memsahib, Married To A Minor Civil Servant Of The Raj, To Eccentric Sitar-Playing Indophile, Fluent In Urdu, Critical Of British Rule And Passionate In Her Appreciation Of Indian Culture. Fanny Is Fascinated By Everything, From The Trial Of The Thugs And The Efficacy Of Opium On Headaches To The Adorning Of A Hindu Bride. To Read Her Is To Get As Close As One Can To A True Picture Of Early Colonial India The Sacred And The Profane, The Violent And The Beautiful, The Straight-Laced Sahibs And The More Eccentric White Mughals Who Fell In Love With India And Did Their Best, Like Fanny, To Build Bridges Across Cultures.
Release

White Mughals

Author: Upendrakishore Roychoudhury

Publisher: Penguin Books India

ISBN: 9780143030461

Category: British

Page: 624

View: 7088

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 A Muslim Indian 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 Of A Great Nineteenth-Century Novel, White Mughals Is A Remarkable Tale Of Harem Politics, Secret Assignations, Court Intrigue, Religious Disputes And Espionage.
Release

Blood's Revolution

Author: Angus Donald

Publisher: Bonnier Publishing Fiction Ltd.

ISBN: 1785764039

Category: Fiction

Page: 400

View: 9751

IN AN AGE OF TREACHERY EVERYONE MUST PICK A SIDE . . . Newly returned from years of secret work in Paris, Lieutenant Holcroft Blood, a brilliant but unusual gunnery officer in His Majesty's Ordnance, must now face King James II's enemies on the gore-drenched battlefields of the British Isles. But after the victory at Sedgemoor -and its cruel aftermath, the Bloody Assizes, in which the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion was ruthlessly crushed - many powerful men have grown tired of Catholic James's brutal, autocratic rule and seek to invite William, the Protestant Prince of Orange, to seize the thrones of the Three Kingdoms. While revolution brews in the gentlemen's clubs of London, Holcroft discovers that a sinister French agent, known only by his code name Narrey, has followed him across the Channel and intends to murder him. Worse, Holcroft must decide whether to join the conspirators, including his old friend Jack Churchill, now Lord Marlborough, and support Dutch William's invasion - or remain loyal to his unpopular king. ANGUS DONALD MIXES HISTORICAL FACT WITH FICTION IN THIS EXCITING NEW SERIES. PERFECT FOR FANS OF CONN IGGULDEN, JAMES FORRESTER, S. J. PARRIS AND S. G. MCCLEAN.
Release

Chasing the Mountain of Light

Across India on the Trail of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond

Author: Kevin Rushby

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

ISBN: 1250098777

Category: Travel

Page: 272

View: 7656

The Koh-i-Noor diamond known as the Mountain of Light, the world's largest diamond, was found in India, traveled from Golconda to the Mughal palaces in the north. Fought over, cursed at and occasionally lost, it finally reached the Sikhs in the Punjab, only to be seized by British agents eager to please young Queen Victoria. It now lies in the Tower of London where some say its curse controls the fate of the Windsor family. In Chasing the Mountain of Light, Kevin Rushby pursues the dramatic career of the Koh-i-Noor on a journey to the heart of Indian culture meeting dealers, smugglers, and petty crooks along the way. It's another adventure from Rushby whom the Washington Post recently compared to William S. Burroughs and Arthur Rimbaud.
Release

Hope Diamond

The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem

Author: Richard Kurin

Publisher: Smithsonian Institution

ISBN: 1588344193

Category: Antiques & Collectibles

Page: 400

View: 8473

Release

Stoned

Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

Author: Aja Raden

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 0062334719

Category: Antiques & Collectibles

Page: 368

View: 8127

As entertaining as it is incisive, Stoned is a raucous journey through the history of human desire for what is rare, and therefore precious. What makes a stone a jewel? What makes a jewel priceless? And why do we covet beautiful things? In this brilliant account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire. What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry—which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamor and success—has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. Masterfully weaving together pop science and history, Stoned breaks history into three categories—Want, Take, and Have—and explains what the diamond on your finger has to do with the GI Bill, why green-tinted jewelry has been exalted by so many cultures, why the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch were initially considered a fair trade, and how the French Revolution started over a coveted necklace. Studded with lively personalities and fascinating details, Stoned tells the remarkable story of our abiding desire for the rare and extraordinary.
Release

In Pursuit of Empire

Treasures from the Toor Collection of Sikh Art

Author: Davinder Toor

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781911271031

Category:

Page: 208

View: 1309

Two centuries ago, Punjab's Sikh ruling elite lavishly patronised artists and craftsmen to enhance the extraordinary splendour of their flourishing empire. A sumptuous array of objects fit for Sikh kings, queens, warriors and saints were produced by skilled artisans to reflect a vibrant and potent new power on the world's stage. By the mid-19th century, the Sikh kingdom had met its demise at the hands of the British Empire. With the loss of Sikh patronage, artistic production switched to serve the tastes of the new colonial rulers, bringing to an end a unique cultural endeavour. Over the next century and a half, original Sikh artefacts gradually dispersed across the globe, often as official gifts, prized auction purchases and also as loot. Some of these remnants of empire ended up in institutional collections, while others were bartered and sold by collectors. Through the remarkable achievements of one such collector who pursued his passion to create the world's finest private collection of Sikh art, this book reveals the lasting legacy of the Sikh Empire.
Release

City of Djinns

A Year in Delhi

Author: William Dalrymple

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781101127018

Category: Travel

Page: 352

View: 8227

Sparkling with irrepressible wit, City of Djinns peels back the layers of Delhi's centuries-old history, revealing an extraordinary array of characters along the way-from eunuchs to descendants of great Moguls. With refreshingly open-minded curiosity, William Dalrymple explores the seven "dead" cities of Delhi as well as the eighth city—today's Delhi. Underlying his quest is the legend of the djinns, fire-formed spirits that are said to assure the city's Phoenix-like regeneration no matter how many times it is destroyed. Entertaining, fascinating, and informative, City of Djinns is an irresistible blend of research and adventure.
Release