A teenage boy runs away from the national service in Germany. In ’Swinging London’ Indian sitar music seems to be an interesting option in his quest for self-exploration. Nineteen-year-old German Hans von der Thann starts out from the chaos of the Flower Power in London and moves on to India to follow an eccentric music master who has mesmerized him with his music. “Khan-Sahib – the sitar ...” The Khan-Sahib knew what he meant by ´the sitar´, knew well the exact amount that was still owed and gave him an irritated look. Orp Bennerji, ashen and sweating, came rushing in. “The raid! They are down on the first floor! They are here!” Nizam froze. But the shock lasted only for a moment. He ran into the bedroom and came back with the suitcase, the jute bags, and the chandelier. What starts out as a fun trip into an exotic universe soon turns into a forbidding maelstrom of ecstasy and obsession, of exploitation and abandon, of bliss and despair. In London and Bombay of the late 60s and early 70s dangerous and wondrous encounters unfold. Scenes of folly, cunning and deceit are inescapably interwoven – right up to the final act. Al Gromer Khan takes us through the late sixties of the twentieth century and the withering flower power in London to Bombay, the India of Indira Gandhi´s state of emergency, where the exotic, on a human level, very soon doesn´t seem so outlandish. His protagonist, who has his mind set on reaching the source of his inspiration, meets representatives of various levels of human endeavours on his adventurous journey – all of them linked by their darker side.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite The White Mogul by Al Gromer Khan is a poignant tale set in the 1960s where the nineteen-year-old protagonist, Hans von der Thann, rebels against the restrictions and clash of cultures that lead him to discover a spiritual freedom through music. Running away from his country to India to learn the sitar gave him confidence as sound began to influence his life slowly. The India which initially rejects, insults and mocks him finally blesses him. As the story progresses, readers take the journey along with Hans von der Thann from London to Bombay where his life is inextricably entwined with encounters of manipulation and deceit, which contribute to a large extent to his spiritual growth. In one word I would describe the story as 'exotic.' The book is divine, it's exotic, it touches the soul. The cover design rocks. The book captures the essence of India during those times with the ambiguity and mysterious tones of Urdu poetry, the palace ambiance, and the young boy's struggle to adjust to his new world. The author's descriptive narration captivates readers as they get a peek into the life that existed behind the palace walls in India. As the story shifts between London and India, readers are glued to the story with its many dimensions that connect to them on different levels. The underlying spiritual vibes provided by the music in the book are surreal and the healing power of music runs effectively through the plot. The story gives a new meaning to the freedom that runs through all of us with the help of music, making it refreshingly original.