Monday, June 16, 2014

William Dalrymple's "The Age of Kali"

William Dalrymple's travelogue "The Age of Kali" is commendable in language and contemptible in content. The writer has a gift for the descriptive (any aspiring fiction-writer has to read him for a lesson or two) but he presents a very grim picture of the Indian subcontinent. Dalrymple visits different states in India, in Pakistan and Sri Lanka and meets with people with a cultural bias and seeks out only the negative aspects to prove his preconceived thesis of a psychologically turbulent continent (the dark Kali Yuga). He has shown apathy (at times hostility) for Hindus and Muslims (seeking out fanatics; describing Goddess Kaali in grotesque form; saying that The Koran is a boring book) and empathy for Christians (warming up to The Reunion Islanders and Goans). Nonetheless, I recommend the book.

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