The Last Mughal
An Evening Presentation by William Dalrymple, author; Presented by the Royal Geographical Society Hong Kong
The last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, was a mystic, a talented poet, and a skilled calligrapher. While his ancestors had controlled most of India, Zafar was king in name only. Deprived of real political power by the East India Company, he nevertheless succeeded in creating a court of great brilliance, and presided over one of the great cultural renaissances of Indian history. In 1857, Zafar's flourishing capital became the center of the largest uprising the British Empire ever faced, and Delhi was subsequently reduced to a battered, empty ruin. The Last Mughal is the story of the last days of the great Mughal capital and its final destruction. William Dalrymple's powerful retelling of this fateful course of events was shaped from previously un-translated Urdu and Persian manuscripts that included Indian eyewitness accounts and records of the Delhi courts.
Dalrymple is the author of several acclaimed books including White Mughals, which was awarded the Wolfson Prize for History. He also penned In Xanadu when he was just 22, which won him the Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award. Dalrymple was awarded the Doctor of Letters degree from the University of St. Andrews "for his services to literature and international relations, to broadcasting and understanding."