Delhi in Transition, 1821 and Beyond
"Commissioned by the English East India Company to write about contemporary nineteenth-century Delhi, Mirza Sangin Beg walked around the city to capture its highly fascinating urban and suburban extravaganza. Laced with epigraphy and fascinating anecdotes, the city as ‘lived experience’ has an overwhelming presence in his work, Sair-ul Manazil. Interestingly, Beg made no attempt to ‘monumentalize’ buildings; instead, he explored them as spaces reflective of the socio-cultural milieu of the times.
Delhi in Transition is the first comprehensive English translation of Beg’s work, which was originally published in Persian. It is the only translation to compare the four known versions of Sair-ul Manazil, including the original manuscript located in Berlin, which is being consulted for the first time.
Shama Mitra Chenoy’s exhaustive introduction and extensive notes, along with the use of varied styles in the book to indicate the multiple sources of the text, contextualize Beg’s work for the reader and engage him with the debate concerning the different variants of this unique and eclectic work."