³The symbolic significance of women in white Mughals, How they are personified as India, and to what extent´.

³There is an unknown land full of strange flowers and subtle perfumes, a land which is joy of all joys to dream a land which is joy of all joys to dream a land where all things are perfect and poisonous´. Oscar Wild

William Dalrymple¶s White Mughals presents us with warm accounts of the high noon of the Empire as well as the soulful descriptions of the interplay of light and shadow during its twilight hours. From this pot pourri we get various shades of life cultures and people, of love and betrayal, of joy and sadness, of loyalty and deceit, the rulers and the ruled, Imperialists and the subalterns, colonizers and the colonized, The Mughal and the British. Through the frame work of these binary oppositions, Dalrymple weaves not only a compelling love story but reminds us once again that it has always been possible to build bridges between Islam and the west.

Dalrymple was captivated by the story of Lieutenant Colonel James Achilles Kirkpatrick, of Hyderabad between (1797 and 1805) and Khair un-Nissa, who was the great- niece of the diwan of Hyderabad. As Dalrymple visited the bibi-ghar, Kirkpatrick¶s token of love for his Muslim wife, he was compelled to delve into history and bring to light the voice of the silent. The deeper he researched he felt the need to tell the world of the revised and researched version of history. It became clear to him, that the relationship between India and Britain was a symbiotic one. Kipling wrote ³East is east and West is west and never the twain shall meet´. White Mughals is a concrete reply to Kipling as Dalrymple says in his introduction to the book.

³There is a tendency to laugh at Kipling today; but at a time when respectable academics talk of a clash of civilizations, and when East and west, Islam and Christianity appear to be engaged in another major confrontation, this unlikely group of expatriates provides a timely reminder that it is indeed very possible- and has always been possible-to reconcile the two worlds´. (xlix)

Late Mughal India was a hybrid world at mcsh cultural, multiethnic and multi religious amalgams of different ways and modes of living. What was happening was a complex process of fusion. James was not the first Briton who had taken an Indian wife or a concubine. The other liaisons mentioned: The first mention of a liaison between a British and an Indian woman appears on pg. 23. John Albert de Mandelslo, the Ambassador of the

Among the 13 worth mentioning is Begum Ochterlony. All his consorts had a elephant of their own. father at James and William was also married to Katherine Munro . which is ingrained in European tradition and judging by its wide spread use has a great deal of attraction.Who died at an early age. I will give arguments to prove my point. daughter of Nawab of Masulipatam. Only slowly did it allow you in . Col. a woman who in the novel is sometimes nonexistent but still is the back bone of the whole story. Dalrymple makes his intensions clear to us in the first page of the introduction. Beginning from the title page a half faced portrait of Khair. She was a former Brahmin slave girl who latter converted to Islam.General William palmer married Fyze Baksh. Handsome colonel. Keeping Dalrymple¶s love and awe of India in mind it was natural for him to represent her in the novel as a woman. Besides her many other colonial women appear now and then in the course of the story. James Dalrymple was married to Mooti Begum. ³Hyderabad hid its charms from the eyes of outsiders. He is describing Hyderabad bat the choices of words and the aura he creates clearly states his intensions. He lived a luxurious life. there is no history of the use of a female representing Scotland. James¶s counterpart in Delhi sir David Ochterlony also lived the life of a Mughal gentleman. William hickey had a relationship with a Bengali bibi Jemdanee. a Nation with a problematic status. she remained a concubine all her life but she shared a soulful relationship with William Hickey. One of the most obvious and visible ways of gendering the nation is the familiar process of representing the nation itself in a form of a woman a symbol. William Linnaeus Gardner was married to Begum Mah Munzel-ul-Nissa. William kink James older half brother was married to Dhoolaury bibi. He had thirteen consorts. He overcomes his short coming by presenting to us khair personifying India and James as West. Dalrymple hails from Scotland. they are autonomous in some respects but sub ordinate to the British government. India is always referred to as a mother land. veiling its splendours from curious eyes behind nondescript walls and labyrin-thine backstreets. For this reason. the daughter of Nawab of Combay. Dalrymple himself relates to James and I perceive that he has personified as James Kirkpatrick as Britain and Khair un-Nissa as India. Dalrymple has used the technique of personification to highlight the one of the themes of the novel the µreconciliation of the two worlds¶. also known as Beebee Mahruttun Moobaruck ul Nissa Begume. This use of female figure elevates and sanctifies women on the symbolic level but cannot contribute to disenfranchising them from the position of citizen on a practical level. Lt. She was the daughter of an Iranian immigrant on her marriage she was adopted by shah Alam and loaded with titles.Duke of Holstein rumored to have kept on Indian girl whom he later married.

(xxxvii) ³The courts of the Deccan retained this ability to seduce and assimilate outsiders.to an enclosed world where water still dripped from fountains. move over a niece of the Nazim of Hyderabad and a syedda (a direct descendant of the Prophet).27) His description of Hyderabad is more like a description of an oriental woman who is enticing a man. flowers bent in the breeze.76) . I will quote a few lines from the text which clearly shows that Dalrymple choose James as his mouth piece and through him he tells us of his fascination of India as a nation personified as a woman. firstly for being inspired by the Mughal culture and. James Achilles Kirkpatrick submitted to the same operation in the court of the dynasty which succeeded the Qutb Shahis: the Asaf Jahi Nizams of Hyderabad´. something that is apparent throughout his correspondence. The novel opens with a very detective tones of writing. (p. ³As well as a µpartiality¶ towards Indians. the language and the choice of words clearly implicates this. to a the extent that he himself is following those customs and on the other hand having an affair with a girl not more than 14. James also had an over-whelming aesthetic feeling for the sheer beauty of India. (p. Dalrymple again refers to the court of Deccan as a female. and peacocks called from the over laden mango trees´. One hundred and fifty years after Robert Trullye was circumcised at the court of Golconda. an inquiry is going on about James in appropriate behavior. writing home soon after his return to the Deccan in February 1792 about the µcharming verdure that clothes the whole country and renders it so delightful to the eye« you may walk bare headed in the sun without inconvenience almost any hour of the day¶. giving us first clues of the path James will latter choose in life. Again and again his letters praise the landscape through which he is passing.

marking their . Anthony were fighting for women¶s right and identity. Over the centuries. ³India has always had a strange way with her conquerors. (p. where a conservative 17thcentury Indian garden scene is shown. still they led a life of luxury. They had women rights back then for which the women at today are still fighting. In 1851 and 1852 when Sojourner Truth and Susan B. but none has ever proved immune to this capacity of the subcontinent to somehow reverse the current of colonization. their right to vote and laws defending women. James¶s letters show a great love of India that remained fixed and constant throughout his life.11) The abovementioned quote from the text proves my perception that Dalrymple has personified India as a woman Dalrymple has used Khair to portray India but he has mentioned several women in the course of the novel. He mentally prepares the reader for the as he describes the painting by Rahim Deccani around 1670. many powers have defeated Indian armies. So vast is India. to run states . assimilates and transforms them.³If. and so uniquely resilient and deeply rooted are her intertwined social and religious institutions. (p.If we read the novel from a feministic point of view we will be surprised to see that the women of 18th century in the Mughal era were way ahead of their times. his political views were at this stage less clearly formed´. and silly not cultured. The normal picture of the eastern women to the west was the illiterate. Mughal women were enjoying freedom to read and write. connections with Indians or mixed race women who were dismissed as vain.77) We are given a brief account of the prevailing situation and then Dalrymple describes India as. and playing music riding.The women of India portrayed modernity. It is true that children were taken away from the colonial companions and sent to Britain. she beckons them in. and savages. aesthetically and emotionally. The question here arises. In defeat. silly and somewhat vulgar could not invoke any bond of sympathy. and to mould those who attempt to subjugate her. vain. that all foreign intruders are sooner or later either shaken off or absorbed´. to take part in politics. Whose principal was the marriage of equal companions based on mutual effections. then slowly seduces. British psyche was µA truly British community must have a British pattern of domestic life. reading writing. To equate different qualities of these women to elucidate the qualities of India. why he has digressed from the story to tell us about the other women of that era? y y Change the perception of the west that the East was illiterate.

In the second half of the 18th century most of the Britons in various parts of India had intimate contacts with the Indian women. ³By the application of powerful drugs which the Doctor administered. she. p. As bibis. Some of the women remained as a concubine but some of them married their colonial partners to be called µcolonial companions¶ (Gosh. (p.35) they were normally known as bibis. We can relate this to Bengali bibi Jemdanee of India. India was a friendly and open hearted nation. India a country of Art and culture: Beauty and intelligence. She was admired and loved by all because of her extraordinary sprightliness & good humour . powerful and dominating: Women of India (Hindu & Muslim) enjoyed more liberty and freedom that the 20th century women do. even when she was suffering with so many invaders intruding her tranquility she was still concerned about the people inflicting pain to her. Powerful Indian Muslim queens: . the ruler of Bengal] who became completely infatuated with her and the supreme Giver opened the doors of good fortune for her¶¶. who was the effective ruler of the state of Murshidabad in Bengal: µshe is neither the mother of the present ruler. It welcomed all but maintained its own individuality. saying she had no doubt she should do very well´. they can be categorized.individuality and diversity where as the western women were fighting for social and civic rights. but was a singer kept by Ja¶far [Ali Khan. women of various stations in life have been mentioned. nor even from a good family. 2006.Even when she was dying she was concerned about Hickey. appeared very solicitous to encourage and comfort me. Jamdanee bibi: Dalrymple describes her as a lovely Hindustani girl. 39) Muni Begum: ³He discusses at some length the case of Muni Begum. in half an hour. recovered her senses and speech.

. the history of Aurangzeb¶s reign. .The most famous courtesan of all was the great Umrao Jan Ada Dalrymple mentions in his footnotes on p. theology. He does not only dwell on the high born women but also shows us that the courtesans of that time were no less. who independently constructed several mansions (including one in the Red Fort which alone cost 700. scribes and calligraphists by this man¶s came to enjoy the bounty of this scholarly lady´. the first of whom was famous for her horsewoman ship. both Hindu and Muslim. Zeb un-Nissa had learned the Koran by heart and µcompletely mastered the Arabic and Persian languages. and were taught at home by elderly male scholars or µlearned matrons. logic. 168) ³Moreover Mughal princesses tended to be richer.³Muslim women in India have always played a more prominent role in politics than their sisters in the Middle East. personally shooting in the eye from atop her citadel Safdar Khan who had the temerity to attack her kingdom´. pious men. she also laid out the whole of the principal avenue of the city. physics. . poetry and astronomy.169) Great courtesans of the age: Dalrymple glorification to these women and their achievements point out that he views India as a mother land as a woman. a garden. especially Shah Jehan¶s favourite daughter Jahanara. mathematics. . was certainly very patriarchal and hierarchical. Chandni Chowk. Indian society. and to possess far greater powers of patronage. As a result there were many cases of highly educated Indian Muslim princesses who became famous writers or poetesses: Gulbadan. almost all of them were literate. half the most important monuments in Shah Jehan¶s Mughal Delhi were built by women. the Humayun Nama. scholars. Indeed her heart was set on the collection. the two warrior queens of sixteenth century Bijapur. the curriculum included ethics. while her great-great-niece Jahanara wrote a biography of the celebrated Indian Sufi. (p. Ad Begum. . Aristocratic Mughal women also tended to be much better educated . yet there are nevertheless several cases of very powerful Indian Muslim queens: Razia Sultana in thirteenth-century Delhi. . medicine. Mu¶in ud-Din Chisti. copying and reading of books. and a large number of theologians. or Chand Bibi and Dilshad Agha.172. . The result was that she collected as library the likes of which no man has seen. economics. history. law. while the latter was renowned for her prowess as an artillery woman and an archer. poets.000 rupees. a bath-house and a palatial caravanserai. the biography. as well as several volumes of poetry and her own According to the Maasir I ±Alamgiri. as well as the art of writing all the various styles of calligraphy. and Nur Bai and her counterpart in Hyderabad were Mah Laqa Bai chanda are the courtesans who are named in the novel. (p.

Her rival. so that she could attend the durbar and advises the Nizam on state policy. Sharaf-un Nisssa-was also a dominating and modern woman. . She built a famous library filled with books on the arts and sciences. Ad Begum would turn up stark naked at parties.172) The most famous courtesan of all was the great Umrao Jan Ada of Lucknow. . and more recently in the film by Mozaffer Ali.a good English translation of Ruswa¶s novel was recently produced by Khuswant Singh and M. . she was widely regarded as Hyderabad¶s greatest contemporary poet. No wonder Kirkpatrick¶s Assistant John Malcolm called her µan extraordinary woman¶ or the Hyderabadi sage Qadrat Ullah Qasim wrote that she was µa unique combination of body and soul´.172) ³Mah Laqa Bai was not just glamorous and seductive. the daughter in law of Aristu Jha and a great friend of sharaf-un-Nissa Begum. (P.173) Household women: Durdana Begum. Sharaf-ul-Nissa. Dancing. (p. and gained a reputation for her riding skills. belonged to the household of Baqir Ali khan.´ ³Nur Bai¶s counterpart in Hyderabad was Mah Laqa Bai Chanda. the mistress of Mir Alam. was so popular that every night the elephants of the great Mughal omrahs completely blocked the narrow lanes outside her house. according to Shushtari. (p. She was a renowned for her intelligence as her matchless´. Farzand Begum. Mah Laqa Bai Chanda: ³This was the age of the great courtesans: in Delhi. but so cleverly painted that no one would notice: µshe decorates her legs with beautiful drawings in the style of pyjamas instead of actually wearing them. Nur Bai. her accomplishments with the bow. the young Mir Alam immediately µfell in love with this moon-faced beauty and threw off the gravitas of the scholar. Immortalised in the eponymous novel by Mirza Mohammad hadi Ruswa. Husaini. and on meeting her.. and the most celebrated beauty of the age. and even with the javelin. Ad Begum. in place of the cuffs she draws flowers and petals in ink exactly as is found in the finest cloth of Rum. whose works were collected as far away as Delhi and Lucknow.Nur Bai. a major new history of the Deccan. Such was the Nizam¶s reliance on her wisdom that alone of the women of Hyderabad she was given in her own right the rank of a senior omrah. She also accompanied him to war. dressed in male clothing. later she became an important patron of poets in her own right. and commissioned the Mahanama.A.

( p. Dalrymple then gives us a brief account of Khair-unNissa. Her eye brows are long and curved. when. and used to invite the wives of the company officers to visit her in her in her zenana. delicate. Yet even then. Aseel and Ayyas: Mama Salaha and Mama Nuddeem belonged to the house of Aristu Jha. 306) ³By the end of April. (p.156) ³From the day the palmers left Hyderabad. dark brown eyes. as we see in khair¶s story that women were powerful and had a say. I shall commit them to the charge of [John] Malcolm and request you will assure the begum with my best remembrances of my readiness to furnish her with further supplies as occasions may offer. (p. The Ayyas who took care of James are not named. and James wrote to William that µas I find the choorys for Fyze and your little darling are not admissible in the dawke. reflected . ³Only one contemporary picture of Khair un-Nissa survives.³Like her father. a full eight years after the entertainment Baqar Ali Khan gave for Colonel Dallas. slightly off-centre. and she has a full. willfulness in the set of the lips and the darkness of the eyes that might be interpreted as defiance in a less serene face´. both of whom were literate and keen letter-writers´. Mothering quality of India is described by Dalrymple when he tells us that ayah brought up James George because their mother had died. Sharaf un-Nissa appears to have been very well disposed towards the British. Khair-un-Nissa: After mentioning all these women. (p. with porcelain skin. she was aged graceful. and it dates from 1806. letters and parcels passed between the two women. timidly expressive mouth that is about to break into a smile. just below it. and clearly a quietly forceful personality.307) ³Though she was the central figure in the life of James¶s family. the loss of her letters means that today we can see her only obliquely. an oval face and wide-open. immediately above the point of her chin. shy creature.154) The zenana¶s of that era took part in politics too. Khair had made still more choories for her friend. there lies the tiny blemish that is the mark of real beauty: a tiny red freckle. There are four sets for her and two for Fanny Khanum´. Yet there is strength amid the look of over-whelming innocence. They in turn reported that she was µunusually free of the prejudices of her sect´.

a different race. It is a lovely image: Khair un ±Nissa busily creating her jewelry. impulsive and emotional woman. James lets slip that he and Khair have discovered her by mere accident that the opal which turns opaque in the hot winds completely recovers its clearness and colour by immersion in water. embroidery being one of the traditional pursuits of Mughal Begums. . Khair also made clothes. . as well as being a remarkably brave and determined figure when the need arose. and. and in a society. and Henry Russell¶s rejected lover. I never recollect an instance of a death at Hyderabad which exited so general an interest or called forth such marked and universal tributes of respect««´ Those are the final words we hear of Khair un-Nissa. She and her daughter were the only native women of birth I ever had the opportunity of being personally acquainted with. even though he was from a different culture. initially. grandmother or husband ±seemed willing or able to stand in her way once she had made up her mind about something. Khair had defied convention. The opal must therefore be classed among the Hydrophanous gems. Nevertheless. She had lived the saddest of lives. «she and James developed an interest in precious stones. as did many other Hyderabadi Begums. Only rarely and then indirectly²are her own words recorded. a coherent mosaic does emerge. Her love ..She was also creative. there are few.Khair was clearly a pious. She was also very generous²constantly loading her friends with presents of clothes and jewellery and had the gift of friendship: she is frequently recorded as being surrounded by her friends.We do catch the occasional glimpse of Khair un-Nissa¶s hobbies and pastimes. through the impressions of her family and her own actions.through the eyes of her lover. when women had few options and choices. the Most Excellent of Women. Her children remembered her as a gentle and loving mother. I imagine. and a skill in which Nur Jehan (and many other imperial princesses such as Aurangzeb¶s daughter Zeb un-Nissa) was especially accomplished´ ( p. threatened suicide and risked everything to be with the man she had eventually succeeded in marrying. She was educated and literate and wrote frequent letters. . beloved wife of James Achilles Kirkpatrick. At a time. The evidence of the pigeon pots in her mahal would seem to indicate that she liked flying pigeons.343) ³Russell told Lady Hood that he had shown the letter she had written him about Khair to her mother: ³She is a woman of a lofty mind and of a heart and understanding of a very high order indeed. William Kirkpatrick¶s daughters. . her mother and her children. her husband. and little control over their lives. which she sent as presents to her family and friends. for a greater or less time according to their size and degree of opacity. In a postscript of one of his letters to William. . form a different religion. and few people ± certainly not her mother. if any who are equal to them. . and although the women of rank in India are very superior to what Europeans generally think. . In any country and any class of life they would have been extraordinary person. amusing herself making (or at least designing) jewellery and bangles. One set of her jewel creations Khair sent as a present for her nieces.

Intelligent .Nissa.All these qualities appearing in one of the women finally find there embodiment in one person . Mughal Empire. powerful . just when it seemed that she had. As the novel comes towards the end. ³From the beginning of the colonial period till its end (and beyond). and.Dalrymple¶s heroine Khair un. its destruction. her grandmother and her husband to the brink of destruction. Dalrymple summarizes all the qualities in one person. Dalrymple wanted to bring out the qualities this strange yet erotic land possesses and he does so by using the technique of µAllegory of the female form¶. If we take the key words from the above mentioned women¶s lives . stubborn . and finally rejected. female bodies symbolize the conquered land´. as form any apparent physical cause´ (p. East and the west. His heroine of the novel . that is while talking of or representing one thing. to signify another. He has summarized all his themes in one paragraph. One of the ways in which women have been .Dalrymple¶s last passage on Khair is both emotional and meaningful. Then. well versed in multiple languages .affair had torn her family apart and brought her. learned . delicate . finally succeeded in realizing her dream.loving .serene .152) I perceive the relationship of James and Khair as India and British personification. beautiful. With Khair¶s death signifies the fall of the Mughal empire. beautiful woman ---it was as much form a broken heart. I find the physical description of Khair a clear personification of India.She is a symbolic representation of India. and in her widowhood she was first disgraced. 1998. The quote from the text is apt to prove my point.464) With Khair¶s death came the fall of the Mughal empire . creative .The Greek derivation of allegory is µto speak other¶. they were or I perceive them personify India. (Loomba. daring . from neglect and sorrow. skilled .caring. All these women mentioned in the quotes portray the symbolic significance of women in 18th century. He is not only talking about Khair but also about the fall of the nation. wise and many more . their marriage brought the best of both cultures together. ³she and ³her´ can be read for India. passionate. shy . forever. When she died ± this fiery. India. against all the odds. CONCLUSION: One of the commonest tropes in the visual representation of nation is the female allegory . the relationship of East and West were broken. both her husband and her children were taken from her. They enjoyed a happy union and after some time it was torn apart by the politics within and outside. then banished. artistic . calm . her mother. p. A unique blend of. As we see Dalrymple talking about all the multi talented women but in fact talking about the nation of India.

such as .And Dalrymple was treating Khair as the personification of India. Only bigotry. ³As the story of James Kirkpatrick and Khair un-Nissa shows. But they have met and mingled in the past. The use of female allegory has a long history in both east and west. and they will do so again´. and never have been. . Women as nation signify the boundaries of group identity marking its difference from alien ³other´.constantly figured in relation to the nation over the last two centuries has been through the use of allegorical figures representing civic attributes . East and West are not irreconcilable. the last lines. I will end my argument with another quote from the text. racism and fear drive them apart. justice or liberty or standing for the nation itself .the motherland. prejudice. which show that James and Khair were personifying East and West .

MYTHS AND MOTHER FIGURES By Tricia Cusack & Sighle Bhreathnach-Lynch Romantic representations of British India By Micheal J. Gender ETHNIC LANDSCAPES.BIBLOGRAPHY Allegories of Empire The Figure of Woman in the Colonial Text By Jenny Sharpe Art. Franklin Sex and the family in colonial India The making of empire By Durba Gosh Unfamiliar relations: family and history in South Asia By Indrani Chatterjee Women. Nation . States and nationalism: at home in the nation ? By Sita Ranchod. Marry Ann Tetreault .

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