Thursday, August 14, 2014

Delhi By Heart

It’s an important book with an interesting point of view. A Pakistani Muslim travels to so-called secular India and is enamored by Mughal India, among other things. And perhaps, it is a timely book. Yet, I wish the author was not so influenced by William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns. That book is a clear model for Delhi By Heart and it proves to be its undoing. Granted, the book talks more about the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah than Dalrymple ever did, and that too brlliantly (When he discuses Sufi saints, like Sarmad, Rumi is at his best), yet, the book cannot rise above being derivative.

I think the book needed some massive editing. The language is stilted and the movement between past and present tense doesn’t quite work. What’s more, there are repetitions, which a good editor should have noticed.

Yet, I would recommend the book for its unique point of view.


  1. I am sorry to have missed this. Thanks a lot for reading, reviewing and recommending. Your note about edits is well taken and I shall speak to the editors for the next print. Thanks to recommendations like yours, it is now in its third print. cheers.

  2. Thank you for the note. This is most unexpected. My apologies for the harsh comments. This is an important book, and I (as a reader) wanted it to be flawless. Congratulations on the third edition.