Indian Travels & Encounters
'The Age of Kali' is the distillation of ten years' relentless travelling around the length and breadth of the subcontinent, from the fortresses of the drug barons of the North-West Frontier to the jungle lairs of the Tamil Tigers, from the decaying palaces of Hyberadad to the Keralan exorcist temple of the bloodthirsty goddess Parashakti - She Who is Seated on a Throne of five Corpses. Everywhere Dalrymple finds an ancient landscape overwhelmed by change, where the old certainties have been swept away, but where a new order has yet to fully establish itself. In some places the disintegration typical of the Age of Kali has reached almost apocalyptic proportions. In Lucknow Dalrymple finds a war being fought between rival wings of the student union, each side being armed with grenades and assault rifles, in neighbouring Bihar he finds the state has totally succumbed to a tidal wave of violence, corruption and endemic caste warfare.
Courageous, compassionate, erudite and beautifully written, laced with a thread of William Dalrymple's characteristic black humour, 'The Age of Kali' is a tour de force of intellectual curiosity, direct observation and unprejudiced enquiry.