Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review of The Brown Sahebs by Anupam Srivastava

The Raja of Teekra, a dusty and forgotten kingdom near Lucknow, gets lucky when the British Resident visits him but also brings with him a leading revolutionary. The Raja enters India's struggle for freedom and is rewarded with a berth in the cabinet of free India. He is shocked to see the ministers and officers living and operating like their imperial masters but is suitably rewarded for his silence. As he begins to enjoy the good life of Lutyens' Delhi, the British capital which India's freedom fighters abhorred, he faces only one adversary in his plans—his journalist son Pratap. A novel that will blow you away with its depiction of love, passion, intrigue and betrayal.

My Review

The Brown Sahebs is a plot that takes us back to the time when India was being ruled by the Britishers. Daulat Singh, the Raja of Teekra, a kingdom near Lucknow, is expecting a visitor for which the whole town is embellished and about 5000 partridges are bought for the Resident's hunting expedition. The Resident arrives with his wife, a leader of the freedom movement and an Oxford Graduate. This meeting is the beginning of a revolution which changes the lives of the Raja and his son, Pratap. 

Mystery begins!

What enticed me was the relationship between the father and son. It was just like today's times when pride overtakes thy love thus making the blood thicker and it's own enemy. Sad but true facts!

The flow of the story can be a little bothersome as it is slow and not smooth especially in the beginning. It was a struggle to stay hooked on to it. The book is researched well since the details of the time and characters are brought out well. Although, the plot has history, fiction, the struggle of power, love triangle, and a climax to keep the reader engrossed. 
This book could be of interest to those who love history and fiction. 

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About the Author 

Anupam Srivastava was born in Lucknow, India, where his novel, The Brown Saheb's first part is set. However, he never lived there as his father and mother, Ashok and Veena Srivastava, lived in different parts of India. However, Anupam spent some of his childhood and most of his vacations in Lucknow where he flew kites and learnt about the craft of pigeon-flying. He went to a boarding school near Delhi, the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai, where he played cricket but earned his college colours at St Stephen's College, Delhi, in cross-country running. He studied English literature (BA Hons and MA), won the college annual poetry prize while pursuing his MA, and being sure his vocation was writing and journalism, became a journalist with The Times of India in 1993. In 1999, he was awarded the British Chevening scholarship by the British government.

In 1999, he left journalism to work with the United Nations Population Fund in India in communications. Subsequently, Anupam worked with Oxfam India Society, Unicef and other development agencies. The Brown Sahebs is his first novel and tells the story of India not taking off its colonial clothing even as it became a democracy.

Anupam is married to Radhika Srivastava, and they have two children who figure in his children's novel, A Family Secret.

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