William Dalrymple is a Delhi-based Scottish historian and art historian, as well as a curator, photographer, broadcaster and critic. He is also one of the co-founders and co-directors of the world's largest writers festival, the annual Jaipur Literature Festival
His books have won numerous awards and prizes, including the Wolfson Prize for History, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Hemingway, the Kapuściński, the Arthur Ross Medal of the US Council on Foreign Relations, the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. He has been five times longlisted and once shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction and was a Finalist for the Cundill Prize for History. The BBC television documentary on his pilgrimage to the source of the river Ganges, 'Shiva's Matted Locks', one of three episodes of his Indian Journeys series, which Dalrymple wrote and presented, won him the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002
His most recent book, published in 2019, is The Anarchy, a history of the Indian Subcontinent during the period from 1739 to 1803, which saw the collapse of the Mughal imperial system, rise of the Maratha imperial confederacy, and the militarisation and rise of power of the East India Company.It was long listed for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2019, and short listed for the Duke of Wellington medal for Military History, the Tata Book of the Year (Non-fiction) and the Historical Writers Association Book Award 2020. It was a Finalist for the Cundill Prize for History and won the 2020 Arthur Ross Bronze Medal from the US Council on Foreign Relations.
We all know the story. From being simply a group of traders in mid-18th century, by the end of it the East India Company goes on to take control over all of India and its vast population. They achieve this despite being very few in numbers. By getting Indians to fight against Indians.
But why did these Indians comply? Not just the soldiers but why did so many Maharajas and Nawabs choose to side with the British? Why did the Indian businesses and tradesmen cooperate? Why did for instance the chivalrous Rajputs instead of fighting the invaders roll out the red carpet?
These questions have long baffled us. Until recently when we came across book the ‘The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company!
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