India as perceived by an outsider, 4 centuries ago!

(I had originally released this as a Facebook note..Apologies if  you have already read it)

I was quite impressed with an article about Babur recently in the Economist. Ah the eclectic nature of that magazine ( I mean, ‘newspaper’) continues to impress me.

Back to the article,  I quote :  “Babur stayed in Delhi to consolidate his power, but he hated India. His list of complaints offers a good indication of the things that mattered to a 16th-century emperor:  

Hindustan is a country of few charms. There are no good-looking people, there is no social intercourse, no receiving or paying of visits, no genius or manners. In its handicrafts there is no form or symmetry, method or quality. There are no good horses, no good dogs, no grapes, musk-melons or first-rate fruits, no ice or cold water, no good bread or food cooked in the bazaars, no hot baths, no colleges, no candles, torches or candlesticks. ”                                                      

I wonder that the specific nature of complaints may have changed. But at a more general level , reading this in the 21st century , on average, can I conclude that he was (is) not off the mark at all?


Author: harshT

Assistant Professor

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