- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Random House India (24 July 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143440195
- ISBN-13: 978-0143440192
- Package Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sacred Sword: The Legend of Guru Gobind Singh Paperback – 24 Jul 2017
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About the Author
Hindol Sengupta is a bestselling author of seven books, an award-winning writer and senior journalist. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and editor-at-large at Fortune India. He has been shortlisted for the Hayek Book Prize given by the Manhattan Institute in memory of the Nobel laureate economist F.A. Hayek and is the winner of the PSF award for public service.
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Top customer reviews
Summary - The Sacred Sword chronicles the rise of Guru Gobind Singh, a Sikh warrior to be reckoned with. At the prime age of 9 years, Gobind Rai's childhood came crashing down when his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was assassinated by the Mughals. In order to restore the Sikh faith in the minds of thousands of people, Gobind assumes the position of guru and begins to train villagers. He builds the Khalsa, a group of extraordinary warriors who mirror the values of Sikhism and fight to defend its honor. Despite all of his successes, the northern kings underestimate his power, plotting with Emperor Aurangzeb to defeat the guru. But they too learn by experience, what it is to cross Guru Gobind Singh. Hindol Sengupta's novel merges history and fiction to create an empowering tale.
Review - Historical fiction is one of my all time favourite genres. I have never read anything by Hindol Sengupta, so this one was a pleasant surprise. Even though the author forewarns us that there's a good mixture of fiction in the novel, I found myself rooted to the spot with all of the events I was learning about. I have never been exposed to stories about the Sikh community. And I felt like this book was great in conveying their values, mannerisms and other sensibilities. The fact that their sayings or proverbial phrases were even translated in English was a wonderful addition. You get to understand their religious texts and their perspective about God. Naturally, religion is a major theme in this novel. It poses quite a few questions about the clashing of two religions. In light of their outlook, you find yourself evaluating certain perspectives of yours. Further, the novel also explores elements like war, blind faith etc.
The writing style is refreshing and vivid. For a majority of the novel, I was so inspired by the portrayal of Guru Gobind Singh that I could almost imagine myself as a character in the story. Aurangzeb's depiction did him no good. I wanted to punch him every time his narcissistic persona made an appearance. The battle scenarios were invigorating to say the least. All those who aren't familiar with Hindi or Punjabi terms, fear not; there's a sizable glossary at the end. While the story reflects Guru Gobind Singh's expertise, we are not made privy to how he became so well versed. I would have liked to know about his upbringing and training. That would have made the story more realistic. Some of the poetry included is truly splendid. I really enjoyed reading The Sacred Sword because it was a worthy history lesson devoid of the monotony of textbooks. It is told from the point of view of Gobind and that makes it more special. If you enjoy historical fictions, PICK UP this novel.
What do you get out of it? Invaluable lessons about loyalty, bravery, the Sikh faith and the tyranny of the Mughals. Overall, a good update on Indian history.
Sorry folks, hate to admit it, but most Indian writing can be very ordinary, be it Messers Ashwini Singh, Amish Tripathi or even the much garlanded Chetan Bhagat. In sharp contrast, Sacred Sword is written in flawless prose, by a writer who is in full command of the language. Done with a rare narrative flair, and done with an honesty and intensity, it touches your heart and soul. My only gripe is that the book could be longer- a brief layout of say the city of Anandpur or a more on that Beast King Aurangzeb, could've added more weight and colour. But they're minor glitches. A rare play and miss outside the off stump of an otherwise superb Tendulkar century.
To the author Hindol, in case you're reading this- boss you've cracked it. Pls write more- maybe on Banda Bahadur whose life was a rollercoaster. Or why not on Kabir? Rana Pratap? Perhaps even Dara Shikou.....You've got the blessings of Dame Writing. Honour her!