Pink City tour


Jaipur Nama: Tales from the Pink City, Giles Tillotson, Penguin, Rs.295.

AFTER The Rajput Palaces and Mughal India, Indophile Giles Tillotson turns his academic gaze on to the Pink City in Jaipur Nama. Here, he tells the story of a city that is mentioned almost in the same breath with the Taj Mahal by those who come calling to India. Beginning with the foundation of Jaipur in the 1720s by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the former Reader in the History of Art at the University of London (SOAS) tells the story of the city as seen through the eyes of its residents and visitors. Though Jaipur has been written about umpteen number of times, the USP of this book lies in the fact that Tillotson brings to it accounts that have been translated into English for the first time. To begin with there is Father Joseph Tieffenthaler's account of the city — the first by a European. Then there is a secret memorandum to the British Governor General written by Jean Pillet, a French mercenary, that was till date lying unpublished in the India Office Library. Add to this the 1830s account of Victor Jacquemont, translated from the French for the first time. Undoubtedly, all this makes Jaipur Nama seem an academic work. But, eager as Tillotson was to make his work accessible to all, he has opted for an anecdotal approach instead of a scholarly one.

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