Reviewed in India on 19 February 2018
Book Name (with subtitle): Rani Padmavati (The Burning Queen)
Author Name: Anuja Chandramouli
No of Pages: 101
Publisher: Juggernaut (15/11/2017)
Blurb: The blurb has been written neatly in a compact way, while highlighting the base of the story, without revealing the key factor; thus it will tempt the reader to go through the pages of the book.
Cover: Front cover of the book is looking beautiful, eye catching and as it is complementing the title of the book fully, so, it is apt for the story indeed.
Title: The title (along with the subtitle) is enough for the readers to pick this book up and go through it. It is catchy, and completely depicting what the story is all about. Hence, I consider this appropriate.
Language & narration: Language of the book has been enriched with lots of classic & authentic words at places. I won’t say that it is so lucid to comprehend for any kind of reader, but one thing I’d like to mention that way of formatting the sentences with selective words and ornamenting them maturely is a commendable quality and the authoress is Ace at it. Especially, keeping the sensitive background plot in mind, some events have been described with such ease, that impressed me I admit. Narrating style of the author is noticeable because, as per the theme of the book, there is small but highly significant places, where the narration of the story was needed to be presented carefully; and author has not just only successfully maintained the elegancy in her style of narrating those events, but the visualizing narrating made me feel like I have been transferred to that phase and was witnessing those incidents to happen one after another. I liked the descriptive details too in some places of the story.
Plot: As the plot has been developed as a historical fiction, because of this, author’s prime concern was to keep the incidents and the historical significance of the events and characters intact; and the base plot is intertwined with several sub plots which can be discovered as the progress of the story. So, as the historical importance of those events are so case sensitive, still the way author managed to develop and maintain the strongest impact along with mixing her own powerful writing style is indeed commendable. This story has two different sides running at the same time; the central character Rani Padmavati has actively proven to be the main charm of the book indeed, but simultaneously, the different shades of Alauddin Khalji and his ruthless journey towards the Delhi throne managed to hold the grasp of the readers no doubt. So, with this contradiction, I will say that the plot has been woven the best way possible.
Setting: Setting of those historical events is- Kara, Jalore, Siwana, Ranthambore, Mewar, Gujrat, Chittor, Khambayat, Delhi and other places around; time span around ad 1299 & 1300 BCE.
Characterization: One of the toughest jobs in the book was to maintain the originality of the characters intact and to reflect every shade of their characteristics (be it major or minor, protagonist or any other one) with crystal clearance; because only this way, the reader can understand and feel the significance of the historical events and the value of these characters. In this aspect, I can say that, the author portrayed each and every character (Especially Rani Padmavati, Rawal Ratan Singh, Maharaj Kanhadadeva, Sthaladeva, Rai Karan Vaghela & Alauddin Khalji) with the most justified way and all of them have done justice to their respective role through the ink of the author. Let’s have a look at the names of the characters that are mentioned in the book- Ahmad Chap, Jalaluddin Khalji, Balban, Alauddin Khalji, Ulugh Khan, Sidi Moula, Genghis Khan, Almas Beg, Malik Chajju, Malika Jahan, Padmavati (aka Padma), Mahisamara, Leelavati, Maharaj Kanhadadeva, Sthaladeva, Saraswati, Pratap, Jajjadeva, Arkali Khan, Hatim Khan, Prithviraj Chauhan (III), Hammira Chauhan, Rawal Ratan Singh, Samar Singh, Virama, Maladeva, Maharani Trinetra, Samanta Simha, Khader Khan, (Late)Sultan Kaiqubad, Bappa Rawal, Nagmati, Tara, Maya, Rai Karan Vaghela, Dhruva Rani, Veer, Raghav Chetana, Menaka, Senapati Dhanpal, Maitreyi, Zafar Khan, Nusrat Khan, Alap Khan, Deval, Kamala Devi, King Ramchandra, Khizr Khan, Senapati Devadutta, Lakshman Singh, Jaitra Singh, Khabru, Yalhaq, Burraq, Muhammad Shah, Kublai Khan, Malik Aizuddin, Qutlugh Khwaja, Amir Khusrau, Malik Kafur, Akat Khan, Devalla Devi, General Ranmal & Ratipal, Gora, Badal, Mahap, Rahap, Kshem, Hammir Singh, Bayala, Bika, Hira Devi.
Theme: Mythological figure, history, historical fiction.
Story in a nutshell: The story starts from a horrendous murder of the Shah, the ‘peaceful ruler’ Jalaluddin Khalji and the killer was none other than, the most devastating opportunist and powerful ruler in Indian history, Alauddin Khalji. Alauddin was (by relation) the nephew & the son-in-law of Jalaluddin Khalji, and Jalaluddin had blind faith in him (that’s why, unfortunately, he was unaware about the real face of his daughter too!). The attack by the men’s of Aladdin to behead the Shah, Jalaluddin Khalji was so sudden and unexpected, that he had even realized or believed the incident properly, till the last breath of his life, and just like that, the Throne of Delhi transferred from its old Sultan to the new one, and the era of terror (synonym of Alauddin Khalji) started.
On the other side, in Siwana, a born Princess, the most beautiful creation of God, with unmatchable beauty, brain, and personality, and tenderness of heart, the one and only, Padmavati had been born & brought up with the best and utmost possible care & love in the home of The Mahisamara and Leelavati. Padmavati was the complete and perfect example of beauty with brain; she was stunningly beautiful, gentle, soft spoken, and tenderhearted, with mature thoughts and vision, brave, sincere, responsible, and in any every aspect the best Princess that the history ever witnessed! It was believed that Padmavati was the reincarnation of the Goddess Lakshmi. Though her mother, Leelavati, thought about making the most powerful, with unmatched velour, handsome, brave, and the best affordable match as a groom for Padmavati, but for making some powerful trustworthy alliance (and the greater cause related to defeating the “Alaudding Khalji”), as a result of the ‘strategic’ mind of her grandfather Maharaja Kanhadadeva, Padvati got married to the King of Chittor, Rawal Ratan Singh. Ratan Singh was the most brave, matured, far visionary, powerful, loving, romantic, sensible, caring, calm & with firm personality King and was the best match for Padma.
After their wedding, their days were passing by getting lost into each other’s love in their hearts. They started to love each other’s soul to the core and they created their World of Dreams & happiness and succeeded in finding the solace in each other. But, not everyone blessed them or welcomed them with open heart; Rani Nagmati (another Wife of Ratan Singh) was one of them, even the mother of Rawal Ratan Singh was pathetically rude towards Rani Padmavati. Already life threatening attempts were noticed several times on Rani Padmavati. Jealousy was turning to be a fate turning weapon; and the effect of the extreme beauty of Rani Padmavati, was not limited to her admirers only, her beauty was gradually causing something unimaginative and…inevitable fate…which was awaiting Chittor..
Most horrifying news was that, soon Rawal Ratan Singh realized the fact that, Alauddin Khalji was already working on his grandiose plan to bring not just Aryavarta but the entire World under his dominion…
What will happen after that? Will Rawal Ratan Singh be able to protect Chittor? Will he succeed in defeating the most devastating and ruthless ruler in the history ever? What is awaiting the fate of Chittor? This time, the name of the terror is Alauddin Khalji; and not only Chittor, but his intention is to become the most dominative unmatched ruthless “King” of the History…ever… Will he spare anybody in his way? What is awaiting the destiny of the finest Queen of the Aryavarta, Rani Padmavati?
To get all these answers, pick this book up and go through it.
My Verdict: Authoress Anuja has done a heavy amount of deep and thorough research before penning down this historical saga of love & bravery. She has perfectly captured the time and the actual essence of the era back then, and it was like a time travelling journey for me to go through those incidents one after another. The violence, the greed for power, the super strategic mind of Rulers, the merciless punishments, ruthless tortures, they are so evident in the story. The deep plotting and planning of Alauddin Khalji, the love and concern of Rawal Ratan Singh, the divine beauty of Padvati, the concern of a mother, the mature thinking and active knowledge of Padmavati about the present scenario, the sensitive side of Rawal Ratan Singh, the soulful love between them, the protective nature, everything was heart teaching and commendable. The various clans of Rujputs (Rathods, Hunas, Chavadas, Hariyadas, Dodiyas etc), their bravery, their sacrifices, the political scenario, demolishing the ruling era and rising a new one, The bravery of Rawal Ratan Singh, the mental dilemma and hesitation of him at the last, the helpless situation of Chittore because of the epidemic, the firm decision of Rani Padmavati, the strong personality of her, and the brave sacrifice… everything portrayed in this book stating the significance of all. The devastating terror of Alauddin Khalji, his unmatched power, coming to the Rajputana- the equations of making alliances at that time and making marriages as a ‘deal’ (for a greater cause of course), the contradictory strange sides of Alauddin Khalji- these are the potential that this story is positively consist of. The religious aspect and its “strategic use” running that time for own profit, the place & value of Women and the way of treating them- this can never go unnoticed in the story. The jauhar practice of Rajput Women was something really the most ‘proud’ ‘sacrificing’ and utmost ‘bravery’ that can ever be heard of in the history… The ending left me speechless…for a long time…and…the last mental conflict while facing each other (Alauddin Khalji & Rawal Ratan Singh), that realization of Alauddin Khalji was the masterstroke in this entire book. Last but definitely not the least, Rani Padmavati (in every aspect) proved that she was truly the reincarnation of Goddess Lakshmi…
Recommendation: I’d like to recommend this book to every history lovers, mythology enthusiasts, and to everyone looking forward to a classy tale of action, love, bravery & sacrifices. This book won’t disappoint them I can say. Thank you.
My Favorite Line: “There is always a choice, but he is a Rajput. Hammita Chauhan will choose death”.
Rating (Overall): 4/5 Stars.