Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rani by Jaisree Misra

Flattered to Deceive

Finally - a historical fiction book on `Rani of Jhansi' - a name which most Indians would remember as a legendary figure in the India's struggle for Independence from British occupation. Some might even recollect the picture of a queen on horseback with a sword in hand, from their history text book. But hardly anybody would know more - maybe you can blame the traditional Indian apathy in highlighting their heroes.... So it was with some excitement that I picked up this book. My initial impression was good with the author's depiction of the Rani's childhood and the development of characters around the Rani. However, soon the book started becoming more like a documentary with very little excitement or story building. Set in the mid 1800's the Indian landscape provided considerable opportunity for the author to develop a fascinating story - but the author missed the chance. The book seemed well researched but becomes very boring by the mid way point. From then on it is a struggle to complete reading it.

I would recommend this book only to the serious students of Indian History.


appu said...

History books, to my mind, brings images of fat books with small prints crammed with dates and footnotes..never really got down to reading serious history...Sam, could you suggest some books on Indian history which has a strong human bias..changing social values, customs, lifestyles etc?

S (Sam) Santhosh said...

Hi Appu,

Not really a history book, but you might find what you are looking for by reading 'The Argumentative Indian' by Amartya Sen.