Thursday, May 28, 2009


I find myself at ease with William Dalrymple's writings. I telephoned my brother yesterday to ask what he knew of Dalrymple – was he a Catholic?
Yes, educated at Ampleforth, the Benedictine boarding school which both my brother and I attended.
The persecution of Catholics in Scotland and England began under Henry V111 in 1535 with the Act of Supremacy and continued through to the Emancipation Act of 1829. Laws that forbade Catholics from Government service and from the Armed Forces and from the practice of Law made us onlookers to the conduct of our nation. Excluded from responsibility, our understanding of history is less partisan.


India is next on the itinerary. I hope to fly to Mumbai in October. Meanwhile, I have returned William Dalrymple's THE AGE OF KALI to the bookshelves and am reading his brilliant depiction of 19th Century Delhi and its destruction, THE LAST MUGHAL. Dalrymple's WHITE MUGHALS and THE CITY OF DJINNS await my attention in company with Mark Tully's INDIA IN SLOW MOTION.