I have a deep passion and interest for Indian History and Mythology. Even in school days, I spent more time reading the Indian History and Literature books in the library. From warrior princess like Rani Lakshmi Bai to the famous king Bajirao, every story was beautiful in its own way. One may ask what is so intriguing to read about Kings and Queens by Subhadra Sen Gupta; well, isn’t it amazing to know more and more about the land we live in?
When I laid my hands on the book, I was pleasantly surprised. Initially, I was expecting for a book that would go on and on about the famous Samrat Ashoka, the great Jodha & Akbar, and even may be the Cholas and Pandiyas, but I was wrong, and I am happy to have been proved wrong. This book is about two Kings and two Queens, who were neither that famous nor had tons and tons of histories written about them. The Kings whose histories that the author spoke of in the book were Chandragupta Maurya and Krishnadeva Raya; thanks to being a South Indian, I have read few local language books on Krishnadeva Raya and his Vijayanagara Empire before. The Queens whose beauty and chivalry that the author articulated about were Razia Sultan and Nurjahan; both of them were new to me.
While reading this book, the two main questions that crossed my mind, and given a chance that I would want to ask the author are:
1. What made the author come up with this theme? I can understand that love for history is something that Ms. Gupta and I have in common, but why these four Kings and Queens?
2. What are the few other books or online sources that Ms. Gupta would recommend to budding authors or avid readers who are keen on exploring the life and death of various Indian Kings and Queens?
This book is segregated into four sections with colourful and very poignant illustrations by Tapas Guha. As an avid reader, I have read some of Ms. Gupta’s other books. Her writing style is something that is easy as well as pretty much self-narrative. Mr. Guha’s illustrations are like icing to the cake in this book. While I was reading this novel, my niece asked me if I was reading a children’s book or a comic, I said, “No, that’s the beauty of some authors; they attract children and adult readers alike.”
The outline of the 4 sections of this novel is pretty simple. It starts with the back story about the town or the kingdom in which the king or the queen were born; slowly, it moves to their childhood; from there, the story is about how he/she became the heir/heiress to the throne; and finally, the story completes with their accomplishments. As much as each story’s outline sounds similar, they are unique in their own way. My personal favourite was Razia Sultan, the Mughal Queen who did not wear a veil or a hijab, and who fought diligently with clever tactics and a brave heart. She is such an inspiration for women empowerment. I would love to read an exclusive historical fiction on Razia Sultan solely.
That being said, the other three stories were no less grandeur. They were all immense and unique in their own way. With clarified narration style, simple language, realistic illustrations by Tapas Guha, this novel is a magic by itself.
If you are a reader who loves history, Indian heritage, culture of India, or Indian literature, then I would highly recommend this book to you.
Priced at as low as Rs. 146 on Amazon, this book is an investment as everyone and anyone in your household can read it. You know that you have got a good book, when you start reading it, and people around you already call dibs on it for reading next. This was exactly the case with Kings and Queens by Subhadra Sen Gupta; the book is a great one not just for a one-time read, but to go through now and then.
About the Author:
Subhadra Sen Gupta has written over thirty books for children including mysteries, adventures, ghost stories, comic books and books on history. To her surprise, the Sahitya Akademi thought she is doing a good job and gave her the Bal Sahitya Puraskar in 2014. Right now she is waiting for a time machine so that she can travel to the past and join Emperor Akbar for lunch. She loves to travel, flirt with cats and chat with auto-rickshaw drivers.
Author: Subhadra Sen Gupta
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Release: April 2016
Genre: Non Fiction / History
Buy from Amazon