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Rediscovering Historical Narrative of Delhi: A Postmodern Reading of William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi.

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Author(s): BHAVESH KUMAR

Journal: ThirdFront : Journal of Humanities and Social Science
ISSN 2320-9631

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 91;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Dalrymple | Delhi | City of Djinns | Jawahar Lal Nehru | Sufi

ABSTRACT
This paper is intended to examine the historiographical representation of Delhi in William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi (1994). A non-chronological unfolding of the narrative of Delhi- its history, social life and customs, this prose piece not only digs deep in its past but also leads to an interesting exploration of the process of transformation of the capital of India as a postmodern megacity. Though written in a mode of travelogue and description, the focus of discussion lies in an examination of the metamorphosis of Delhi through the centuries. The paper attempts to locate postmodern characteristics in various narratives of Delhi and emphasises an organic presence of the functioning of postmodern elements while Dalrymple narrates his one- year chronicled sojourn in the national capital. Dalrymple’s act of historicization of the city narrative is profoundly based on his unconventional exploration of a host of petite narratives of, say, the Sufis, the eunuchs, Roshan Ara, Dara Shukoh, the pigeon fanciers, the Unani hakim, etc. His modes of account, analysis, and description of events, persons, places, rituals, etc. are potentially structured with smooth and almost accurate account. The paper predominantly aims at an accentuation of discovering postmodern hallmarks in Dalrymple’s City of Djinns bringing discussions into postmodern critical framework of critics such as Ihab Hassan, Jean François Lyotard, etc.
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