Requiem in Raga Janki is a historical fiction written by Neelum Saran Gour. The author has written multiple books like Grey Pigeon and Other Stories, Speaking of ’62, Winter Companions and Other Stories, Virtual Realities, Sikandar Chowk Park & Song Without End and Other Stories. She is a professor of English at the University of Allahabad.
The plot is set in the early twentieth century Allahabad, our protagonist is Janki Bai Illahabadi & this is her story. India is still under British rule but culture and art is still flourishing, it has proven to unite people together by not just describing the beautiful facets of life but also raising the voice against oppression. We trace her journey from being abandoned by her father at a young age to get sold along with her mother to a nautch house (kotha), we trace her journey from there to the great artist she came to be. She is also known as Janki ‘Chhappan Chhuri’ & behind this name lies a horrific story but don’t let that define her as she is much more than that. Her art even mesmerized King George V so much that he gifted her with 100 guineas. Do get this book to follow the life of the legendary singer-song writer of India,
I get very excited to read a book about Allahabad or a story set in the city, since it’s my hometown I love to learn about its glorious history or even read fictional works around it. So, when I got a chance to read this is book I was quite excited & luckily it didn’t let me down. We get to know a larger than life character who went through so much in her past but it just made her stronger. The scenes have been described in detail & beautifully, the whole aura of the singer as well as of that particular time period has been entrapped in this book in a way which honestly I haven’t read in a long time. Beautiful cover & title, language is quite easy.