A Strange Kind of Paradise is in exploration of India’s past and present, from the perspective of a foreigner who has lived in India for many years. Sam Miller investigates how the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, Arabs, Africans, Europeans and Americans—came to imagine India.
His account of the engagement between foreigners and India spans the centuries from Alexander the Great to Slumdog Millionaire. It features, among many others, Thomas the Apostle, the Chinese monk Xuazang, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Vasco da Game, Babur, Clive of India, several Victorian pornographers, Mark Twain, EM Forster, Allen Ginsberg, the Beatles and Steve Jobs. Interspersed between these tales is the story of Sam Miller’s own twenty-five-years-long love affair with India.
The result is a spellbinding, 2500-year-long journey through Indian history, culture and society, in the company of an author who informs, educates and entertains in equal measure, as he travels in the footsteps of foreign chroniclers, exposes some of their fabulous fantasies and overturns long-held stereotypes about race, identity and migration. A tour de force that is at once scholarly and thought-provoking, delightfully eccentric and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is destined to become a much-loved classic.
Sam Miller was born brought up in London. He studied History at Cambridge University and Politics at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies before joining the BBC in 1986, for which he has worked, on and off, ever since. In the early 1990s he was the BBC World Service TV and radio correspondent in Delhi, and on his return to the UK in 1993 was the presenter of the BBC’s current affairs programme, South Asia Report. Later he became the head of the Urdu service and subsequently Managing Editor, South Asia. He was posted back to Delhi in 2002 and has remained there since. He is the author of Delhi: Adventures in a Magacity (2009) and Blue Guide: India (2002).
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