Fanny Parkes lived in India between 1822 and 1846 and was the ideal travel writer courageous, indefatigably curious and determinedly independent. Her journals trace her transformation from prim memsahib to eccentric, sitar-playing Indophile, fluent in Urdu, critical of British rule and passionate in her appreciation of Indian culture. Fanny is fascinated by the trial of thugs, the adorning of a Hindu bride and swears by the efficacy of opium on headaches. To read her is to get as close as one can to a true picture of early colonial India the sacred and the profane, the violent and the beautiful, the straight-laced sahibs and the White Mughals’ who fell in love with India, married Indian wives and built bridges between the two cultures.
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