Nine Lives In search of the Sacred in Modern India

by William Dalrymple

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he product of a 25-year exploration of India s cultural and religious traditions, this collection of biographies introduces the reader to nine unforgettable characters. Theyinclude a Buddhist monk who takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet and then spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the violence by hand printing the best prayer flags in India; a Jain nun who tests her powers of detachment as she watches her best friend ritually starve to death; and a “devadasi,” or temple prostitute, who resists her own initiation into sex work yet pushes both of her daughters into a trade she now regards as a sacred calling. This fascinating, visceral evocation of India delves deep into the heart of a nation torn between the relentless onslaught of modernity and the ancient traditions that endure to this day.”El producto de una exploracion de 25 anos de las tradiciones culturales y religiosas de la India, esta coleccion de biografias le presenta al lector nueve personajes inolvidables. Incluyen un monje budista que empuna armas para resistir la invasion china del Tibet y que por el resto de su vida intenta expiar esa violencia estampando las mejores banderas de oracion de la India; una monja jainista que pone a la prueba sus poderes de desapego mientras ve como su mejor amiga se priva de comida como ritual; y una “devadasi”o prostituta templariaque se resiste a su propia iniciacion en las prestaciones sexuales, para luego empujar a sus hijas a un mundo que ahora considera como una vocacion sagrada. Esta fascinante y visceral evocacion de la India hurga en el corazon de una nacion que debate entre la marcha inexorable de la modernidad y las tradiciones antiguas que siguen hasta el presente.””

Genre, Indian Writing, Spirituality

About The Author

Dalrymple is the son of Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, 10th Baronet, and Lady Anne-Louise Keppel. He is a cousin of Virginia Woolf. He was educated at Ampleforth College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was first a history exhibitioner and then a senior history scholar.[citation needed]Dalrymple first went to Delhi on 26 January 1984. Dalrymple has lived in India on and off since 1989 and spends most of the year at his Mehrauli farmhouse in the outskirts of Delhi, but summers in London and Edinburgh. His wife Olivia is an artist and comes from a family with long-standing connections to India. They have three children, Ibby, Sam, and Adam.Dalrymple’s interests include the history and art of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Muslim world, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Jains and early Eastern Christianity. All of his eight books have won literary prizes. His first three were travel books based on his journeys in the Middle East, India and Central Asia. His early influences included travel writers such as Robert Byron, Eric Newby, and Bruce Chatwin. More recently, Dalrymple published a book of essays about current affairs in the Indian Subcontinent, 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.

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