- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (10 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 935106803X
- ISBN-13: 978-9351068037
- Product Dimensions: 29 x 20 x 3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Last Queen of Kashmir Paperback – 10 May 2016
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Description for The Last Queen of Kashmir
About the Author
Rakesh K. Kaul, whose family hails from Kashmir, migrated to the US in 1972. Rakesh was a founding contributor to the first Chair of India Studies at University of California, Berkeley, to the Center for the Advanced Study of India at University of Pennsylvania and the Mattoo Center for India studies at State University of New York.
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The Last Queen of Kashmir
Fiction..based on history
The book starts with a young girl in a refugee camp setting off to a foreign country for higher education being handed over a diary and heirloom of a queen..not just a queen but the last queen of Kashmir Kota rani
The story then takes us back a few centuries.The early 14 th century.. on to the graduation of Kota from Sharadapeeth in Kashmir. She is a young girl dreaming of happiness and peace in her land. Daughter of the commander in chief of the kingdom Kota moves from a innocent young girl to be the queen .
She is taught invaluable lessons on governance and strategy by her father, Ramachandra. We are taken to the court of Sukhadev the ruler of Kashmir then who is a weak king and is more worried about pomp and show rather than safeguarding his frontiers.
The inevitable follows.. Invaders and immigrants arrive in plenty and disturb the tranquillity of the land.
Kota is now married to Rinchina, again who arrived as a asylum seeker from Ladakh..she as a queen has to cater to satisfying the needs of her people and uphold the traditions of the proud Kashmiri people.
Shah Mir , is a Muslim refugee who is given asylum by Kotarani .He along with a fakir who accompanies him ,play a major role in converting the common folk of Kashmir to Islam .
Kota a wise ruler and rules with a firm hand.
The story then moves on to show the civilization in peril.Kota is now married to Udayanadev after Rinchina passes away.
Islam fanatics take over and treachery and deceit become the order of the day.Shah Mir turns traitor and unleashes a reign of terror under the influences of the fakir.
Kota finally passes away but not before handing over her legacy of bravery and wisdom to future generations..hoping that each one will be the Kashmir she grew up in
Brilliantly written..keeps you gripped as you feel the agony and ecstasy of Kota. Her wit ,wisdom and authority is showcased beautifully. She succeeds in preserving the splendour and diversity of her society at a great cost.
The gory and vivid details of treachery makes your blood run cold..unimaginable scenes of torture are brought to life.
The social status of women is captured very well.Women are held in high regard and are given their respect and huge value is placed on education.
It is towards the later part of the book when the religious conversions happen that they are ' shown' their place .
Kota is indeed one of the greatest queens who ever ruled this land
The circumstances leading to the mass conversions of Hindus to Islam is so well written that it seems almost inevitable
After reading this book ,I realised how little I know about the history of Kashmir..and the book makes me want to read more on this. The description of the tranquil society which Kashmir was makes you want to shed tears at the state it is in today
The last few chapters are so exciting to read and you can't put the book down till you know the fate of Kotarani and Kashmir
She is the object of desire of many invaders and friends..yet she turns their advances into advantages and comes through unscathed .
One line which succinctly sums up Kotarani is: 'Captivating,yet never captive'
And after reading this book I realised Kashmir is the seat of Sharada Devi the goddess of learning and I appreciated the meaning of the shloka
Namasthe sharada devi, kaashmira puravaasini
Tvaamaham prarthaye nithyam Vidya buddhim cha dehime
May the goddess bless us all and hope our generation sees the restoration of the lost glory of Kashmir.
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