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14 February 2017India: Mughal art and intrigue; and the British contribution to Indian history
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India: Mughal art and intrigue; and
the British contribution to Indian history
Oliver Everett Tuesday 14 February 2017

The talk is based on the Islamic manuscript, the Padshahnama (chronicle of the King of the World) which is the unique official history of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, who ruled India from 1628 to 1658. He is best remembered for the building of the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

The book is the finest Islamic manuscript in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle and was given to King George III in 1797 by the ruler of the north Indian state of Oudh.

Britain's historical involvement with India is sometimes criticised. And there were undeniably dark and culpable episodes. But a number of British individuals were very dedicated to India and made great contributions to the study of its history, languages, religions, archaeology, architecture, topography, sociology, zoology and botany.

The talk describes the very successful work in those fields of a series of Britons who are not often given the recognition they deserve. Between Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General, and Lord Curzon, a most prominent Viceroy, there were civil servants, soldiers, judges, doctors, engineers, surveyors and others who immersed themselves in the local culture and revealed a great deal about India's amazing past.

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