Have you ever wondered why we have not heard about the lives and contributions of some really worthy kings and queens who lived in ancient India? Indian Monarchs…now I bet you thought that you could count them on your fingers. Well, it’s time to look beyond our history textbooks and delve into the thrilling and exciting stories that dot the past of our country.
10 Indian Monarchs Whose Amazing Stories You May Not Know by Devika Rangachari (published by Duckbill) is a slim but impactful book that spins a fascinating tale that brings to the forefront Indian kings and queens who have faded away in the pages of history…. but deserve to be remembered.
Bookedforlife presents 10 reasons why you should read 10 Indian Monarchs Whose Amazing Stories You May Not Know!
- The language is quite peppy and “un textbookish” which is a good thing since it reads like a story. Loads of humour woven deftly into the narrative which adds an element of fun throughout.
- The author, Devika Rangachari, is a historian and award-winning novelist. She gives a very refreshing point of view!
- I love the fact that the book does not necessarily glorify the rulers or present them as bad and wicked. Yes, rulers killed and plotted, often against their own kin. But they also did a lot of good for the people. The book shows the facts as they are without really trying to put anyone on a pedestal and that really comes through nicely!
- One learns of several practices and distinguishing aspects of ancient eras by merely reading the book. Example: how marriage alliances were political in nature, etc
- Whenever contrasting versions of the narratives exist, the author chronicles the varied viewpoints.
- It’s got detailed accounts of lesser-known but nevertheless significant rulers.
- At the end of each chapter there is a short snippet about how the current geographical regions in India correspond to the kingdom of the erstwhile rulers.
- I’m sure the author tried to find more women to include in the book, but as we know, unfortunately these chronicles would have been hard to come by. Yet, the story of Didda, the queen of Kashmira is fascinating. In fact, the author has written another book on the same, of which you can read the review here. The chapter on Queen Abbakka, another fiery personality is also quite interesting. How she lives on in popular memory but has been written out from textbooks is a telling observation!
- Each chapter often skips between stories of different rulers and then delves into subplots which makes it interesting to read as well.
- On completing the book, one realises that history is often more nuanced than it appears in our textbooks! And that’s a good thing to be aware of!
10 Indian Monarchs Whose Amazing Stories You May Not Know by Devika Rangachari is a fun and illuminating read. History should read like an interesting story, and this is exactly what this book offers!