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Rebel Sultans: The Deccan from Khilji to Shivaji Hardcover – 15 Jun 2018
Hardcover, 15 Jun 2018
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About the Author
Manu S. Pillai is a writer based in London. His book the Ivory Throne won the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2017. Formerly chief of staff to MP Shashi Tharoor, he is also a columnist at Mint Lounge. His writing has appeared in the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Open magazine and other publications. Rebel Sultans is Manu’s second book.
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The book is definitely a not a magisterial account of that era nor does it claim to be but it does dwell into few interesting facets of these splinter kingdoms, each of which had an apogee under an enlightened and a benign ruler but for the vicissitudes of time, each perished or rather imploded because of inherent internal dissension or was crushed under mughal juggernaut .
This book is highly recommended for any history afficandio who I am sure if he is not an acadmecian may have been barely exposed to this gala of extravagency and impetuousity of these rebel kingdoms that ruled for over two centuries the lands of Deccan.
Author has made it a interesting read by spicing up with short stories & references. It is a well researched book but as with all historical books, author couldn’t escape from personal biases & prejudices, while analysing certain situations & events. It is natural when facts are put to analysis.
People can have different perspectives for different situations. Like he tried to question proprietary of Vijay Nagar Kings, as champions of Hindu cause & several such things. He looked biased & prejudiced & believed that everywhere, all & non law applies. He forgot that a bigot like Aurangzeb had Mirza Jai Singh , a Rajput chieftain, as his commander in Deccan campaigns. It was Jai Singh, who forced ShivaJi to come to a negotiating table.
Starting from era before Khilji became Sultan of Delhi & story of unmatched wealth & prosperity of Deccan during that time under rules of Yadav , Hoysala & Kakatiya dynasties. Writer takes us through convoluted maze of history, how one after other dynasty fell with raids of Khilji & then Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. Later after death of Tughlaq , as Delhi Sultanate was struggling with its own problems, It led to rise of Vijay Nagar Empire & Bahmani Empire.
We have been fed mainly Mughal history during our school days but It was interesting to know, how under Vijay Nagar rulers, Hampi became best city in world & Second largest, second only to Beijing.
We also read about prosperity of Deccan under post Bahmani period, when Bahmani territories got disintegrated into smaller parts with Bijapur, Bidar, Berar,Ahmednagar & Golconda. We read how people from all over the world were coming to courts of Deccan Sultans for fortune & careers.
Later we see , how ambitions & greed of Aurangzeb lead to plunder & loss of resources of Deccan & rise of Marathas & Shivaji.
This book is really interesting & will open new vistas of information for seekers.
Overall a very well written book & highly recommended , for lovers of history. Reading history was never boring & tiresome, while going through this book. Events had a continuity & flow but still remember, it is not a fiction , so heavy to digest & finish full platter. It took me 12 days to finish.
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