Rajasthan is full of stories of heroes and their heroic deeds and one of those stories is of the brave queen of Chittor, Rani Padmini.
I recently spent a few days at Udaipur and Chittor. On my way back, I picked up the book by Mridula Behari(translated by Mitranand Kukreti) called Padmini. It is a story written from Padmini’s perspective.
At the beginning of the fourteenth century, an ambitious sultan, Ala-ud-Din Khilji, becomes infatuated with the famed beauty of Rani Padmini. He arrives at her doorstep in Chittor and lays siege to her fort. Padmini convinces her husband, Maharawal Ratan Singh, and his warriors to abandon any thought of surrender. Despite putting up a brave fight, when defeat seems imminent, Padmini chooses death by jauhar over dishonour.
Narrated from Padmini’s perspective, this moving retelling of the famed legend brings to life the atmosphere and intrigue of medieval Rajput courts. We cannot help but be swept along as Padmini grapples with the matter of her own life and death, even as she attempts to figure out what it means to be a woman in a man’s world.
My review –
I’m a big fan of historic fiction and especially where the protagonist is a strong woman. Padmini is a story of the brave queen rani Padmini, who was a strong and a brave woman.
The book by Mridula Behari is written from Padmini’s prospective which makes it really interesting. Author has done a great job is describing the details of the characters and also the details of the palace and the scene. Some descriptions are so good that you feel that you are standing in the past with the queen. Authors imagination is outstanding.
The narration is simple and the flow is good. The story flows smoothly and the pace is good. Nowhere, I felt that the story was being dragged or slow. The author was able to build and keep the connection with the reader.
Some lines from the book are truly inspirational and does make you look back and think if anything has really changed in our society with regards to the outlook towards women. The below lines are beautiful –
“Is a woman next to nothing? Doesn’t he realise that a woman carries with her an entire culture? She is the very source of ethos and progeny. She is the preserver of long-cherished morals, customs and values. The evildoers perish, but culture flows eternally.”
I totally loved the book. It’s a quick read and totally inspirational. I was able to connect with the rani and could feel all her emotions.
I rate this book a 5/5 and would recommend to all who like to read historic fiction or who want to know more about this brave woman of Chittor; Rani Padmini.