16 April 2014 | By: Writing Buddha

Mistress of the Throne by Ruchir Gupta (Book Review-4.75*/5)

1068th BLOG POST -->>

 It has been a long time since I read a book by Srishti Publication. Hence, I decided to pick this latest book by them- "Mistress of the Throne" which also has the tagline "The Mughal Intrigues". It's written by the debutante- Ruchir Gupta. Book is based in 16th century at the time when Mughals were ruling India under the reign of Shah Jahan and the time when Aurangzeb was developing as a fierce ruler. After reading lots of historical fiction based on Hinduism, it was time to try one based on Mughals and Islam. Frankly speaking, this book deserves success because it is been written perfectly and makes it quite easy to understand how things conceived even when unfamiliar characters are been talked of. You will lot of answers that you have regarding the questions related to Taj Mahal, Mumtaz, Shah Jahan and specially Aurangzeb. 

            Though the protagonist of this book is Jahanara, it seems as if the hero of the book is Aurangzeb. Kudos to author for the kind of research he has done on the characters who do not have much mentions in the history of Mughals. He based this book on Jahanara, one of the unsaid player in the Mughal empire. I never ever heard about her but after reading this book, I will always name her whenever Mughal empire will be discussed. We tend to believe that Mughals were very aggressive, pitiless and cruel but Mumtaz Mahal, Jahanara, Dara and the initial phase of Aurangzeb- the way their participation is narrated, it seems as if there were many who didn't want blood at all. 

            The demise of Mumtaz Mahal is one of the best parts of this book. It made me weep for a long time even after the chapter was completed. The way her death affected Shah Jahan, Jahanara, Aurangzeb and Dara was a wonderful piece to read. The differences and the way different personality shapes us in the face of Aurangzeb and Dara is what this book strongly owns. The attitude of Shah Jahan towards Aurangzeb which makes the latter aggressive, extremist Muslim is well defined in this book. It tells us what's the main reason behind Aurangzeb's personality and killing attitude towards Non-Muslim. Jahanara's soft corner towards Aurangzeb is a very unique angle given to the story.

           The whole making of Taj Mahal is narrated through out the book which makes you understand what has been the situations around the city of Agra and Delhi when the structure was in formation. I also liked the mention of Bibi Ka Maqbara made by Aurangzeb and the way Jahanara discusses the flaws in it; also in the Aurangzeb's placing of Shah Jahan's body in the Taj Mahal. Nur Jahan's first interaction with Jahanara and provoking him for the relationship is also a very good scenario in the book. All the letters that are mentioned plays their part heavily in the story. The way climax is written and the story is ended makes the book a perfect composition. The idea of describing the Mughal family's hierarchy initially and the name of all the characters with their relations in the family is good. Also "AFTERWORD" in the end is nice as I wanted to know from author if the story is real or fiction, and if fiction, then how much. He states that almost everything is real except few scenes where he had to insert his own fictitious content to describe the intensity of moment. I will give this book 4.75 out of 5. Surely read it.


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