William Dalrymple`s book on first Anglo-Afghan war out in December
Hyderabad: Award-winning writer William Dalrymple said his ‘Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-1842’ will be out in December this year, and has many echoes in contemporary events in the war-torn country.
The writer told reporters here Tuesday that the book is a history of first Anglo-Afghan war.
This is one of the two projects he had been working on for last five years. The first book ‘Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi 1707-1857’ recently hit the stands. It is a catalogue of an exhibition which was held in New York, and was the first ever on the late Mughals, he said.
"I am not sure what I will be doing after that. These two have been occupying me for last five years," said Dalrymple to queries about his future plans.
The author of ‘White Mughals’ said he was engaging in writing about the whole issue of Islamophobia. According to him, the point of both the book on the Afghan war and `White Mughals` echoes with contemporary Islamophobia.
"What has gone on in Iraq and Afghanistan has many echoes with what was going in this part of the world in 18th and 19th century - setting up of puppet governments, the lending of troops and the training of local troops in recent Western techniques. Anyone that knows the history of South Asia in 18th century can see million echoes in what has been going in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
The writer believes that the current war in Afghanistan is a complete re-run of the first British war.
"The current Western puppet Hamid Karzai is from the same sub-tribe as Shah Shuja, who was a British puppet in 1839," he said while pointing out that the Afghan tribe which resisted 1839 invasion now make up of the foot soldiers of Taliban. "It is the same war under slightly different flags."
Dalrymple, who spent a considerable time in Hyderabad in 1990s while writing and researching ‘White Mughals’, said he should make renewed efforts to learn Urdu.
"I am a terrible linguist. It`s a great shame that I have not learnt Urdu and Persian," said the writer.
For Urdu and Persia, Dalrymple relies on his friend, whom he described as a great linguist and someone who speaks 60 languages.