BY Harsimran Kaur ON SEP 02 , 2021 IN BOOK REVIEWS, THE LAST QUEEN / CHITRA DIVAKARUNI/FICTION
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is known for her formidable story-telling giving women a niche they deserve. Her books ‘The Mahabharata’unveiling Draupadi’sinsurgence, and the magnanimous ‘Ramayana’ withdrawing the curtains to Sita’s comprehension of her inconceivable life have enlightened the readers. These books have been marvelled for their acumen and talk about women in history known for their idiosyncratic beliefs and motives.
In her recent book ‘The Last Queen,’ the author picks another long-lost leaf from the dried branches. She enlivens the story of one of the most fearless and enchantingwomanof the nineteenth centurythat our history has been in denial, Rani Jindan—daughter of a royal kennel keeper.
She was Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s last wife.After Ranjit Singh’s untimely death, the kingdom began to disintegrate. Members of the royal family got embroiled in basking the glory of the controversial throne by plotting and killing. Rani Jindan was proffered the role of a regent as her son Dalip was barely a six months old crawler.
It was a time when the British hegemony buckled the Indian subcontinent and left no stone unturned to bridle invasive megalomania of the Indian kings. Dedicated to protect her husband’s heritage and her son’s future, she stood gallantly against political chicanery. She fought the British but to her chagrin, her palatial kingdom was annexed. To add another hair to the misaligned brow, the British took her son forcefully. Her strong will to unite with her son made her endure banishment, incarceration and exile.
What makes the book a page turn-over is its simplicity, profundity and startling plot. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s distinct style of writing and her exceptional storytelling skills shine through her writing.Rani Jindan’s character has been well-etched by the writer.’ The Last Queen’ should be a part of the book-shelf of all avid readers.
History is a very intriguing subject. The more we dwell, it unveils the indescribable stories of valor lost in midst of time. It’s imperative that we introspect the lives of women who have left an indelible impact in the pages of history. It also becomes an incumbent on the part of the historians to bring forth the tales of great women which are buried deep in debris of darkness and could never see the light due to the patriarchal society that we live in.