History revisited: Author William Darlymple questions the static nature of history

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By Sukant Deepak

William Dalrymple will speak to us on one condition. “Order tea for me, and make me talk.” When boys in their teenage were chasing girls, he was in the darkroom, experimenting with black and white. “Of course! I never chased girls. I don’t chase girls. I will never chase girls!” he says and hugs the delicate Olivia Fraser, his wife.

The location is perfect. Almost. No one disturbs us at the outdoor café ‘Stop ‘N Stare’ in Chandigarh. While Fraser, wearing a permanent smile on her lips ignores us completely and buries herself into a book, Dalrymple, known best for books like The City of Djinns and The White Mughals, between sips of kadak chai, talks about his recent book of black and white photographs The Writer’s Eye, a collection of 60 photographs shot over two years during his travels across different landscapes in India and around the world, says that none of the photographs were taken with a view to exhibit.”All of them are dark and grainy-the kinds I loved taking when I was a teenager,” says the 51-year-old writer. It is believed that the author did this book to take a break from his mega project on the East India Company. The author agrees, and adds that the book Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond, which he co-authored with Anita Anand and published by Juggernaut, also falls in that category. “Read it to know that whatever you knew about the diamond was wrong. There is way too much fiction and myth making around this diamond. By the way, the Mughals didn’t regard it as a great asset,” he says. Read more

Source: India Today

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