Having had a successful literary chapter, Bangalore Literature Festival now hosted the launch of Return of a King by the bestselling author William Darlymple at the Bangalore International Centre.
Return of a King is a work of history which resonates with contemporary politics and reads like a richly drawn novel.
With a riveting narrative and a complex cast of characters--shahs, amirs, sepoys, British generals and Russian ambassadors - Return of a King is history at its best.
In the spring of 1839, British forces invaded Afghanistan for the first time.
This first disastrous entanglement in Afghanistan has important lessons for the present.
Using a wide range of new sources from Afghan, Russian, Indian and Pakistani archives, including a series of previously untranslated Afghan epic poems and biographies, Return of a King is the definitive analysis of the First Anglo-Afghan War, and an important parable of colonial ambition and cultural collision for our times.
Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.
On the way in, the British faced little resistance.
But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion.
The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in Britain’s greatest military humiliation of the nineteenth century: an entire army of the then most powerful nation in the world ambushed in retreat and utterly routed by poorly equipped tribesmen.
About the author: William Dalrymple is the bestselling author of In Xanadu, City of Djinns, From the Holy Mountain, The Age of Kali, White Mughals, The Last Mughal and, most recently, Nine Lives.
All of his seven books have won major literary prizes, as have his radio and television documentaries.
His first three were travel books based on his journeys in the Middle East, India and Central Asia.
More recently, Dalrymple has published a book of essays about current affairs in South Asia, and two award-winning histories of the interaction between the British and the Mughals between the eighteenth and mid nineteenth century.
His books have been translated into more than 40 languages.