City of djinns: Medieval era summary part 1

This work is pure magic. It does transport you to the seven Delhi’s that rose and fell.

I will begin with the summary of the chapters that deal with medieval history of India. This begins with chapter six in the book.

The life of Safardjung, one of the important nobles marks the golden age of the mughal empire and it’s startling decline. Safardjung was a major kingmaker who actually controlled the empire under a puppet ruler engrossed in opium, drink and women. But his autocracy didn’t last long. It was resented by other nobles which culminated in a civil war. He lost his grandeur , being thrown out of Delhi. With great difficulty, his son build a tomb for him in a wasteland area. It is known as safdarjung tomb. The tomb appears very hapazard, with pink patches and marbles dispersed messily. It describes the state of the empire which has been reduced to ashes and is dancing in it’s ruins like a drunkard.  But it must be understood that this tomb differs from taj Mahal. It had onion domes. It has rococo i.e assymetrical motifs like big cabbages, stamens, tendrils, lotuses etc.



The author is intrigued by the eunuchs. They enjoyed high position in Mughal courts like keeping secrets of harem, even being brave warriors. The decline in the empire left a huge dent on them. They were treated contemptously forced to make ends meet by dancing on auspicious occasions like childbirth and marriage and prostitution. William( author) manages to meet a family of eunuchs. He gifts the head a naqshbandi taweez. He finds that most of them faced a lot of condemnation from their family like Panna who had to leave her village as she was considered cursed. Strangely, they had accepted their situation without much bitterness. This is visible when William asks them if they would like to be reborn as a eunuch. Vimla said that she has no control over God’s plan.

He explores a now forgotten sport in India. It is the bird fight. It happens in Pakistan, some other states of India like Rajasthan. But the most popular arena is Muslim cementary in old Delhi. There is a khalifa who is like the judge of these fights. He is generally a experienced fighter with many partridges. Life of khalifa is solely interested in this fight. These fights are full of bloodshed like gladiator battles. But they provide lot of relief to the audience from the chaos of life.

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