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Author: Jonathan Gil Harris
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9789382277637
The First Firangis chronicles the lives of fascinating yet little-known foreigners from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who decided to become Indian.
The Indian subcontinent has been a land of immigrants for thousands of years-waves of migration from Persia, Central Asia, Mongolia, the Middle East and Greece have helped create India’s exceptionally diverse cultural mix. In the centuries before the British Raj, when the Mughal’s were the preeminent power in the subcontinent, a wide array of migrants known as ‘firangis’ made India their home. In this book, Jonathan Gil Harris, a twenty-first-century firangi, tells their stories.
These gripping accounts are of healers, soldiers, artists, ascetics, thieves, pirates and courtesans who were not powerful or privileged. Often they were escaping poverty or religious persecution, many were brought here as slaves, others simply followed their spirit of adventure.
Some of these migrants were absorbed into the military. Others fell in with religious communities-the Catholics of Rachol, the underground Jews of Goa, the fakirs of Ajmer, the Sufis of Delhi. Healers from Portugal and Italy adapted their medical practice in accordance with local traditions.
Gifted artisans from Europe joined Akbar’s and Jahangir’s royal ateliers and helped create enduring works of art. And though almost invisible within the archival record, some migrant women such as the Armenian Bibi Juliana and the Portuguese Juliana Dias da Costa found a home in royal Mughal harems.
Jonathan Gil Harris uses his own experience of becoming Indian through the process of acclimatizing to the country’s culture, customs, weather, food, clothes and customs to bring the stories of these shadowy figures to vivid life.
‘The First Firangis is a tour de force, combining spectacular archival detective work; thoughtful and scholarly analysis; and a series of extraordinary and seductive stories, many of them completely unfamiliar, all written up in elegant and compelling prose.
== William Dalrymple
ON BECOMING ANOTHER
1. Becoming Indian; Or, the Two Dakaits of Hodal
2. Garcia da Orta, the Hakeem of Bombay and Ahmadnagar
3. Thoinas Stephens/Patri Guru, the Kavi of Rachol
4. Malik Ayaz, the Nausenaapti of Diu; Chinali, the Navikan of Kottakkal; and Dillanai, the Valiya Kappithaan of Kanyakumari
5. Malik Ambar, the Vakil-us-Sultanat of Khadki
6. Mandu Firangi, the Naqqash of Fatehpur Sikri
7. Augustin Hiriart Hunarmand, the javaheri of Agra
8. Bibi juliana Firangi, the Begum of Lahore
9. Juliana Dias da Costa, the Jagirdar of Jogabai
10. Thomas Coryate, the Fakir of Ajmer
11. Sa’id Sarmad Kashani, the Yogi-Qalandar of Hyderabad and Delhi
12. Sebastiao Goncalves Tibau, the Harmaadi Raja of Sandwip
13. Niccolo Manucci, the Siddha Vaidya of Madras
ON BEING INTERRUPTED
14. How to Be Authentically Indian