Published: November 24th 2017
Read Date: January 28th 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Indian Literature
Padmavati is the most beautiful queen Chittor has ever had. Everyone who sees her is enthralled by her grace and goodness. When the greedy gaze of the Sultan ofDelhi, Alauddin Khalji, falls upon Chittor and its queen, Padmavati’s flawless beauty turns against her, because it inspires both love and hate in equal measure. Beset by the threat of an invasion and scheming political rivals who are envious of her immense popularity, Rani Padmavati must rise to the demands of war and fight for everything she believes in.
This is the story of a remarkable woman who lived gently, loved passionately and embraced her destiny with unmatched courage.
Padmavati was a legendary medieval Indian queen and her earliest mention was in a poems by Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540 CE. I first heard about this queen and her story when I was on tour to Rajasthan in 2014, at ruins of Chittor Fort (that is on the back cover of the book, which I loved even more than front cover). It was really interesting to know about this epic tale of most beautiful queen of that era.
The book was like I was rereading the historical tale about a Beauty (Duh!), Jealousy (when there’s a beauty, there’s a jealousy), Love, Betrayal, Greed, Passion, Bravery, and Scheming. All this revolved around main character of the book Padamavati.
Padmavati– was blessed with beauty, with sharp mind that she inherited from her mother and kindness from her father. She was modest, humble, and pure soul- the last thing we expect in most beautiful person in the world. She was always helping those in need, unflappable, never reacting to jealous eyes and cruel words, living in her own world. I liked this nature of hers. I even liked her thoughts. If she would have been a warrior, I would have loved her. Too bad she wasn’t! She was very soft-hearted but what lacked in physical strength she got it in her determination and will. A will so strong that she could die for her husband and her people.
Alauddin Khalji– was beast of the story. (But he is not going to turn into prince 😉 ) Dangerous, fearsome man who played by his principle, never tolerated traitors and with one ambition, rule over India, get all the states under his rein by hook or by crook. Well his overall image was like cruel oppressor, womanizer and treating his women very badly. It was said he attacked Chittor to get his hands on Padmavati. I believed that until I read this book. Surprisingly, I liked to know more about him and get a real picture of Khalji.
Ratan Singh– Ruler of Chittor, Padmavati’s husband, was a lover boy of the book. He was most gentle and kind rule I ever read in history. So contrary to other Rajput rulers! His love for Padma in the book was sweetest. He was even good with his people and his family. His excessive love for Padma was thorn for all around him and that lead to his fall. (Hmm, Romeo to a fault!)
There were many other characters, good, bad, adversaries. They all had a particular characteristic and role in the tale that author represented in crisp and clear manner, leaving no room to doubt and making sure that I get to know all of them. I liked all those chapters narrating Padmavati’s family in the beginning.
The writing and the story flowed smoothly from the very beginning, it was well-paced and engaging. It had brilliant and strong start with Alauddin’s father-in-law’s thoughts, how he fell into Alauddin’s traps, and how Alauddin killed him. It gave a good overview of Alauddin. Then came about Padmavati, her family, how she was center of attraction since childhood and spread love all around her, and how her marriage was arranged with Ratan Singh.
Her life after marriage looked difficult with spiteful gaze from other wives of Ratan Singh, his mother’s hateful words, plotting in harem against her. All this never bothered her, she was content with her husband’s love. I admired her for this. Not only Padma but Ratan Singh too was target of scornful talks and thoughts. Author very creatively showed how love between Padmavati and Ratan Singh was blossoming like a rose even though they were surrounded by thorns and it stayed that way even after it turned to ashes.
I loved reading the thoughts of all important characters of this tale in third person narration. After reading this book I got totally new perspective for all characters. Ratan Singh and Alauddin were the two biggest surprises for me. Neither I expected Ratan Singh the way he was portrayed in the book, gentle and his thoughts in climax, his decision at the end and nor I expected Alauddin as a person who sticks to his principles, his no traitor policies and his thoughts for women.
This book depicted a perfect picture of – royal women in that era- their thinking and their way of living; internal disputes among Rajput rulers; religious differences of Hindu-Muslim; Political scheming within a kingdom or in between kingdoms; most importantly Jauhar- custom of mass self-immolation. I loved Alauddin’s thoughts on this custom which was most unexpected thing.
Even though I knew the real end of Padmavati in history, the climax and end was unpredictable. Many unexpected things happened- Revelation of real antagonist, unexpected decisions, and change in character. This was perfectly written end.
Even if you know this story I suggest to read this book. Because I knew whole story but still enjoyed it. From this book I got to know characters more deeply, I got clear descriptive picture of story, the scheming and plotting of characters, and some of the aspect that I never heard before.
Overall, this was gorgeously, perfectly written epic tale of Queen Padmavati that I highly recommend to all who love to read history.
Author: Anuja Chandramouli
Anuja Chandramouli is a bestselling Indian author and New Age Indian Classicist. Her highly acclaimed debut novel, Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince, was named by Amazon India as one of the top 5 books in the Indian Writing category for the year 2013. Kamadeva: The God of Desire and Shakti: The Divine Feminine are her other bestsellers. Currently all three books are being translated into Hindi, Marathi, Gujarathi and Bengali, a real achievement for one so young. Her epic fantasies called Yama’s Lieutenant and its sequel has received an overwhelming response.
Her newest books are on Kartikeya, Padmavati and Prithviraj Chauhan.
An accomplished orator, she regularly conducts workshops on Creative Writing, Story Telling and Mythology in schools, colleges and various other platforms. Her motivational speeches have also been well received. According to Chandramouli, her work with youngsters in the rural belt helping them improve their Spoken English and Writing skills has been wonderfully satisfying and enriching.
This happily married, mother of two little girls, lives in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. She is a student of classical dance and Yoga.
*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author and publishers. ***
What do you think about this book and my review? Have read this book already or any book by this author before? Have you read something similar to this book? Share your thoughts in comment-box below.