Glimpses Of Imperial India
It was the reign of Queen Victoria and the historic Indian and Mutiny had just been quelled. Britannia ruled the waves of Imperial India was an established fact of history. Val Prinsep. An intended civil servant turned artist, was born in India. His father, of whom he speaks with reverence, joined as an official of the ?Company? and retired as an elected member of the Indian Council. His sixty five years? service in the exotic India of his time he utilized to acquire a vast store of knowledge about the East. To Val, a long cherished hope of returning to the country of his birth suddenly presented itself in the form of a commission to paint the Imperial Assemblage of Delhi. The picture was intended as a present to Her Majesty to Queen on her assumption of the title of Empress of India. The moment therefore, was propitious: What was originally planned as a six month trip lasted more than twice that period. The temptation to keep a journal of his sojourn in this country was too great to resist. Posterity has stood to benefit by the literary and artistic out pourings of a mind that was agile, guided by a heart full of kindly feelings for all things Indian-both European and native. The result is a picturesque travelogue from Kashmir in the north to Mysore and Madurai in the South. But what a fascinating one it is! The intimate conversations with Maharajahs and Nawabs, the sittings from the portraits of their wives, journeying through the sleeping streets of Gujarat in a ?tonga? over ?cucha? roads, boat trips on the Ganges-the whole panorama of Hindostan is spread out making a veritable feast for the reader. There have been innumerable books on India by travellers from the West, but not many have the advantage of being written with such sympathy and understanding of the whole Indian ethos.
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