White Mughals Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth Century India
I began work on this book in the spring of 1997. Over the five years—and many
thousands of miles of travel—since then, innumerable people have been
incredibly generous with their hospitality, time, expertise, advice, wisdom,
pictures, editing skills, bottles of whisky, family papers, camp beds and cups of
tea. They range from the nameless Sufi in a tomb in Bijapur who was kind
enough to wave a peacock fan over me while I sat writing notes in the shade of
his shrine, through to the best Biryani cook in Hyderabad (he’s called Salim and
you can find him in the dhaba facing the Chowk Masjid), to the old shepherd in
Bidar who led me up a cliff face to show me the best view of the necropolis of
Ashtur. Then of course there are the historians who explained the intricacies of
Company, Maratha or Nizami politics, and the large number of very patient
librarians in India and Britain who put up with my incessant manuscript queries.
Perhaps most important of all, I should mention the descendants of James
Achilles and Khair un-Nissa Kirkpatrick who, while choosing to remain
anonymous, let me have unconditional access to their unique archive.