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The Age of Kali: Indian Travels and Encounters

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In Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India itself, William Dalrymple searches for evidence of Kali Yug, the Hindu "age of darkness." Venturing to places rarely visited by foreigners, he travels deep into guerilla territory with the Tamil Tigers, visits Benazir Bhutto and meets the drug lords of the North West Frontier. He unveils a region where the strengths and problems of both modernity and tradition remain to be reconciled. The result is this engrossing, eagle-eyed and utterly ...
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Overview

In Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India itself, William Dalrymple searches for evidence of Kali Yug, the Hindu "age of darkness." Venturing to places rarely visited by foreigners, he travels deep into guerilla territory with the Tamil Tigers, visits Benazir Bhutto and meets the drug lords of the North West Frontier. He unveils a region where the strengths and problems of both modernity and tradition remain to be reconciled. The result is this engrossing, eagle-eyed and utterly enthralling collection.
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Editorial Reviews

Good Book Guide
...powerfully evokes the life and land
— Good Book Guide
Library Journal
Lately, books on India by British writers have proliferated, but the accounts by Darymple (From the Holy Mountain; City of Dijnns) are incontestably some of the best. In Indian mythology, the Age of Kali is characterized as one of darkness. The 19 essays in the Age o f Kali, which have never been available in the United States, portray the Indian subcontinent (including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean) in the 1990s. The essays offer a wide range of interesting portraits, from a chief minister who is not upper caste, a village social worker who triumphs over reactionary forces, and a Hindi rap megastar. Dalrymple's account is most readable when he shows without simplification in the disparate elements and challenges faced on many fronts, and it is essential reading for anyone interested in the Indian subcontinent. With the publication of The Age of Kali, Lonely Planet is reissuing In Xanadu (originally published in a 1989 Vintage edition), which won the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award. In this travelog, Dalrymple retraced Marco Polo's route from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to Kubla Khan's summer capital in Xanadu, entering China without a permit. His purpose was to describe the places and people he encountered on the road and interweave them with historical flashbacks to Polo's time. In Xanadu is recommended for public libraries, while The Age of Kali is suitable for both public and academic.--Ravi Shenoy, North Central Coll. Lib., Naperville, IL.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781864501728
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Series: Lonely Planet Travel Literature Series
  • Edition description: U.S. Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 11
1 The north
The Age of Kali 19
In the Kingdom of Avadh 41
The City of Widows 63
Warrior Queen: The Rajmata of Gwalior 73
East of Eton 94
2 In rajasthan
The Sad Tale of Bahveri Devi 109
Caste Wars 122
Sati Mata 133
3 The new india
Two Bombay Portraits 147
Finger-Lickin' Bad: Bangalore and the Fast-Food Invaders 169
4 The south
At the Court of the Fish-Eyed Goddess 187
Under the Char Minar 202
Parashakti 225
5 On the indian ocean
At Donna Georgina's 237
Up the Tiger Path 247
The Sorcerer's Grave 272
6 Pakistan
Imran Khan: Out for a Duck 289
On the Frontier 319
Blood on the Tracks 342
Benazir Bhutto: Mills & Boon in Karachi 351
Glossary 377
Index 383
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2006

    Interesting travel commentary

    An interesting and entertaining travel commentary by someone who seems to know the region well. The propsition that we are heading for some sort of Hindu Armegeddon is a little bit of a strech, though. Equally dismal observations could be made by an Indian travel writer who tours, say, certain sections of Detroit, East Saint Louis, the Bronx, Los Angeles, and Miami. I would not be too difficult to weave a similar tale of former prosperity crushed by overpowering and seemingly irrational forces. The writer would probably still be able to locate residents that lived there during that neighborhood's glory era and get them to lament the destructive forces unleashed by whoever the author feels is responsible. Still, if you can set the 'HellboundTrain' portion of the book aside, and you have an interest in travel in India, I think that you will find the book helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2000

    Glorious insight..

    As an Indian who is spending a little part of my life in London, my first thoughts on picking up the book were of cynical comment by a fiercely judgemental British writer. But I was pleasantly surprised by William Dalrymple and his astounding knowledge of the REAL India. He is a complete writer. He has wonderful observation and one really senses the love for his subject through every page. Very rarely do you get a book when you really despair that you are running out of pages. Truly a work of love. I think the book should be read by every Indian more than anything else.

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