Rich in research and historical detail, yet narrated with a poetic touch worthy of the great Dara Shukoh himself. The Dramatis Personae, explanatory endnotes, bibliography and the lavishly printed plates enhance the reading experience.
Heard so good about Dara Shukoh who cud actually hv been the next great Mughal emperor after reading his translations of holy Hindu scriptures like 4 Veds Upnishads & Puraans that I wanted to know more about him in details, but since thr was no as such any buk available that I gathered info from the internet but wasn't happy & satisfied. Up until I by chance came to know about this buk n ordered it. After going thru a few pages I must say that I m happy n quite satisfied that this buk is very well researched n correct details on the life n works of Dara Shukoh have been penned by the author. M sure when I thru reading the said book I will be more enlightened to write a better review. Meanwhile guys don't hesitate to buy this great buk. It's a must buy must own and must read.
Avik Chanda's book Dara Shukoh, The man who the world would be king was an eye opener for me at many levels. History has often fascinated me but so have many other things, and for whatever reason haven't devoted a lot of time understand our country's history beyond academics. But the history remained and amongst the many people I wished to know more about was Dara Shukoh. This is a detailed recount of the poet prince's life, not just explaining why he wasn't the king, but also why history changed because of what happened. Eventful and descriptive, this is an engrossing read. Take your time reading it, there is a lot of history in it.
I was hoping for a fictional story to tell me about the life of this ‘could-have-been-king’ prince when I picked up the book. Instead what I found between the pages was a non-fictional but well researched biography. It was my fault as I overlooked the genre mention in the review request email. However, I it turned out to be a happy mistake as I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and looking up places and people while reading it.
The author has presented the biography in a way that almost makes you feel that the stories / incidents are being told by someone who had witnessed it all first hand. Right from the first chapter ‘Rites of Passage’, there was a feel of storytelling in a way that you would expect in a fiction. It has this feel of ‘let me tell you the story of the life of this Prince’, rather than ‘here are the facts and the research to back up those facts about the life of the Mughal Prince’. As such the narrative of this biography made it a very engaging read.
Historians have often debated about the course of history and the fate of our country had Dara Shukoh prevailed and has ascended to the throne as Shah Jahan intended. The main reason for this debate is that Dara Shukoh was known to be more interested in arts and philosophy than he was in military pursuits. He was also considered to be liberal and unorthodox Muslim with an interest in religion and tolerance towards other faiths. The truth is that we will never know what could have happened as we cannot change history. However, author Avik Chanda makes a good case on his view and if you are trying to guess which way he is more inclined, then the title he uses for Dara should give you a good indication.
In addition, the author has provided detailed notes, charts and photos to supplement the readers’ experience. Even if you are someone who knows very little about the dynasty, it will be easy to follow the timeline and understand the life that Dara Shukoh lived and died.
Review: We have always read about the Mughal emperors who ruled the throne and Delhi Sultanate. We never came across the characters from the royal bloodline who could have been the right heir to the throne. The non-fictional read by Avik Chanda is the eye-opener for the history buffs about the prince, Dara Shukoh, who could have been the successor to the Emperor Shah Jahan. The book describes about the Mughal wars with the Persians and even some rulers from Rajasthan and Deccan part of the country. It is a blend of two parallel stories converging into youth and adulthood. Dara Shukoh- was the Emperor of the Soul. He was the favorite son of Shah Jahan, fought wars with the Persians and strategically executed various battles for the Mughals. "Persians were the hereditary rivals of the Mughals." Dara was also one of the learned prince of the era who brought calligraphy in the Mughal era. In the eyes of Shah Jahan, Dara could do no wrong. Different parts of Ajmer, Agar, and Delhi faced renovation during the Mughal period. With the shifting of base from one place to another, the Mughal beautified the places such as Ajmer. The real reason to shift base was to deal with the Rana of Mewar. There have been different battles described by the author to brush up with the Mughal history. The major incidents have been described by the author such as fire breakout Jahanara's chamber, which described the relationship of Emperor Shah Jahan with his daughter, and a sense of connection between Dara and Jahanara. There were incidents such as encounter with the elephant and Auranzib which described the relationship between the brothers. There are various things which you would learn about the prince Dara.
Dara Shukoh, a thorough and detailed account of the life of this Mughal Prince. Avik Chanda writes not only about his protagonist but also about the times in which he was raised in. Dara Shukoh isn't the regular stereotypical Mughal Prince you've read about. There's so much to his personality, that this book sheds light upon.
The Mughal history would have been atypical had Dara Shukoh been the King. This book is beautiful when it comes to the style of writing, the dreamy and captivating descriptions be it the architecture or the royal life or mentions of the battle. Avik Chanda writes about the history of a time where India needed a ruler who would respect and protect it's culture and people rather than selfishly expand borders.
There’s a wealth of literature on the Mughals but not much has been written about Dara Shukoh.
This book gives a glimpse into the life of Dara Shukoh and is a bold endeavour in many ways. The protagonist—heir-apparent and the poet prince—was the eldest and most favourite son of his father Shah Jahan. He was also the beloved of mystics and poets. A great patron of fine arts, he was more interested in philosophy, art and culture than military pursuits.
The choice of the book title is arguably the best that could have been—apt, self explanatory, thematically relevant and suggestive of the content of the book. The author Avik Chanda has done a fine job describing the different aspects of the life and personality of Dara Shikoh.
Written in an unbiased and a convincing way, the book gives a deeper understanding of the royal life, the times of Dara Shikoh and his inclination towards philosophy and art. It also depicts the cultural grandeur and blends political and administrative history of that time. Avik has also beautifully portrayed the complexity of circumstances during the time and has presented simplified—yet authentic—account of a significant chapter of Mughal history. The book has shown things in perspective and sheds light on so many aspects about the Mughal dynasty’s rulers in general and this Mughal prince in particular that were hitherto obscure.
Far from being verbose, the story flows naturally, poetically, as if it’s a narrative of an eyewitness. The author has indeed made those times come alive with vivid descriptions and that’s the most captivating aspect of the book. The photographs, charts and notes enhance the reading experience. This is one book that will appeal not only to lovers of history but to the general readers as well.
Writing this book was a challenging feat which Avik Chanda has successfully completed. The way he has presented the facts and backed them up shows the painstaking research; the effort is truly commendable. It was a pleasure to notice that even though coming from a management background, the author has dealt with the subject as a professional historian.
In the landscape of the writing on Mughal dynasty, this book will prominently stand out.
Final verdict: The book is a must read for both the general readers and those who are fascinated by history. Final rating: 5/5