City Of My Heart
City Of My Heart is a selection of accounts on day to day routine of Mughals and their lavish lifestyle. The is era of the last Mughal king Bahadur Shah Zafar and the city is Dilli (Delhi). Rana Safvi actually translated the writings of Syed Wazir Hasan Dehlvi, Mirza Ahmad Salim and Khawaja Hasan Nizami.
If you want to escape the present situation and step into a different world, then City Of My Heart is just for you. There is not much glitz and glamour in the royal court like a never ending party. The cultural and religious festivals every month will lift up your spirits. Harmony among people, love and respect regardless of religion or ethnicity is something long lost. Hindus and Muslims lived and celebrated together. If one was the bridegroom the other was his best man. Now the tide has turned. The same city has became a ghost of its former self. It seems to be devouring everyone, one by one.
The details in City Of My Heart about Badshah’s daily routine, extravaganza and sheer luxury he enjoyed is fascinating. The maids were responsible for his towels after baths and to arrange his wardrobe. There are female attendants in the Harem who are Abyssinian, Turk and Tartaric. Then came the divine food, even the breakfast was a magnificent feast with numerous items. There was a vast variety of breads, pulaos, desserts, halwa, meaty dishes, side dishes, kebabs, relishes and fruits etc.
Then the time changed and he was about to recapture. One day he asked one of his staff for food. The only available item was besani roti and chatni. Such was the turn of events from riches to rags narrated in City Of My Heart.
City Of My Heart describes the royal events in such a beautiful way you can feel it like a film. The majestic elephant convoys, preparations and entertainment. It tells about lavish lifestyle of the princes, later killed brutally in front of their mothers. Those who fled were in miserable conditions and got odd jobs like servants. The princesses were always laden with jewels and draped in the finest silks. They were sold in markets. That downfall was heartbreaking.
Maybe this was not the scope of this book. But while reading I got an impression that badshah indulged himself in partying. There is no mention of any court meeting on strategic planning to safeguard the empire anywhere. City Of My Heart is a roller coaster ride of emotions. You will experience peace, prosperity and joy of Dilli. Then the pain and agony of downfall and ruin. Although it is a translation of original scripts, the writer did an excellent job. I totally recommend it.