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Fraser's Album

Although the thin line existed between Indians and European however it remained blurred most of the time during the late 1700s and 1800s.

Provincial officers of East India Company deputed to Courts and Residencies in different parts of India were more than willing to accept the local social norms.

Since it was pre-requisite for new recruits to learn Farsi and Urdu to get a lucrative posting, their ability to communicate with the upper echelon of Indian society won them many friends and some foes.

While in courts they would speak fluent Farsi, would indulge in mehfils of music and poetry. would wear the Indian clothes and ditch the top hat for native Turbans. Homes and palaces that they built would mimic the architectural style of the east. Many went as far as to maintaining an elaborate Haram and boasting about it.

David Octorlony a former resident of Delhi is famous for taking his numerous Indian wives out on a tour of old Delhi on their assigned elephant forming a procession.

William Fraser who was appointed the first commissioner of Delhi was also from this section of Scottish officers. He was more Indian than many many Indians that we had in different courts. And as fate has it, he was killed due to his over jealousness to woo one princess from the princely state of Loharu. This princess happed to be a distant relative of Mirza Ghalib.

Being a connoisseur of art, he commissioned a personal album of Indian people, objects, palaces, and flora of Delhi. This album was created by premium painters of Delhi and took over two years to complete.

A Photo From Fraser's Album - 1815-1819

Elephant and Mahout probably from the Mughal Emperor's stable with a hunting howdah, including pistol, bows and a rifle

inscribed 'Maula Bakhsh' (in Persian, upper left)

Maula Baksh was the famous elephant of Mughal Stable during the reign of Akbar Shah II and Bahadur Shah Zafar.

~Tokeer Ahmed Khan

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