Moors Last Sigh

Last of the Moors to rule Granada was Boabdil (Arab. Abu-Abdallah or Ez-Zogoiby, the Unlucky). In 1491 the Moorish capital fell to Ferdinand, though Boabdil fought with a courage strangely at variance with his infirmity of purpose. As he rode away to the coast he halted on a ridge at Padul, still called El Ultimo Sospiro del Mora (The Moor’s last sigh), to take a farewell look at the Alhambra, and burst into tears at the sight. Whereupon his mother is said to have thus reproached him: “You may well weep like a woman for what you could not defend like a man.” He died shortly afterwards on the field of battle in Africa.

Salman Rushdie‘s famous novel “Moors Last Sigh” is based on the story of a Moorish family from Kerala. Kerala is a state in extreme south of India. It has a natural beauty which earned for it the epithet “God’s own country“.  Moors like Europeans also came and settled in Kerala, fabled for spices which lured the Europeans. Who can forget the Vasco da Gama‘s expedition to India in search of spices. Even Columbus set out to discover India. It is another matter that he discovered the New World, the US.
The family in the novel moves to Bombay to expand their business but gets enmeshed into local politics. One of the main female characters is based loosely on Amrita Shergil, the famous painter of old days India due to her bold personality. After this book, Rushdie was threatened and asked to refrain from entering Bombay or face the ire of a political party.

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