Maharaja in Denims....A tale of past and present..a review by Sufia Khatoon

Welcome dear friends and bookworms....Have you ever wondered as to how our soul is capable of traveling through Time: past, present and future to achieve its destiny? How some souls are lost in the chaos of wars of our world? Our lives a web of reality and dreams, desire unfulfilled and emptiness arising out of such desires. It is then that the soul clings on to the hope of seeing and dreaming be born again and again to find the lost answers. One such story that led to this conflict of thoughts in our mind is the story of rebirth, war, its aftermath and the end, the story of Hari a young Punjabi teenage boy, in full prime of his youth who suddenly is thrown in between his past and present life when he realizes that he is the reincarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the one Singh who had brought peace and prosperity to Punjab, the mighty founder of Sikh empire some 200 years ago.

Maharaja in Khushwant Singh, a historical fiction published by Amaryllis

Born on 11 July 1972, in a leading farming family of Punjab, Khushwant Singh developed writing as an alternate career at the age of twenty-four. He is the author of best-selling Sikhs Unlimited, a travelogue from UK to USA featuring extraordinary Sikhs and Turbaned Tornado, biography of Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathon runner.
His Sunday column, ‘Punjabi by Nature’ in The Hindustan Times on the passions, problems and idiosyncrasies of the region, is widely read. An alumnus of St. John’s High School, Chandigarh and Department of Mass Communication, Punjab University, Khushwant Singh has also written for the Times of India, The Tribune, BBC Online and India Today.
His work on the Punjabis and Sikh diaspora abroad is used extensively as research material by western universities, thus earning him the title of being a chronicler of the Sikhs of the new century.
The book deals with the subject of reincarnation which made us really excited fueling our interests with the expectation that the rebirth of Hari as an emperor would unfold in an adventurous tale, something which would be different. And it did work for us, unlike the stereotypical rebirth tales of revenge and love set in turbulent times when a lover not being able to find his destiny leads to his rebirth…the typical trait which we Indians love. But Maharaja in Denims as the name goes is a historical fiction dealing with loss, the love of Punjab, the political dilemma of today’s youth, the leaders inefficiency and corrupted governing leading to wars be it the massacre of 1984 in Punjab or the war of Independence or the Mumbai terror attacks killing millions.

"Am I, am I not? He wondered yet again...feeling distinctly uneasy"….the dilemma of our life.

The story unfolds not with a detailed revelation of the past of Hari’s present life but in bits and pieces with Hari suddenly realizing his past connection with Ranjit Singh. The readers are given the plot first which is confusing as well as new at the same time because the readers would tend to compare this rebirth story with the typical rebirth stories. Thus it triggers the curiosity in us to know further Hari’s past regression. We are forced to question when Hari defends Ranjit’s lusty love life in his history class lecture on Ranjit’s life if there is a certain time or age of past revelation and this sudden revelations are quite coincidental and occurring often in the story.

Initially the first three chapters we felt really raced ahead…with Hari realizing his past, Suzanne, his present girlfriend, a psychology student taking the help of Dr Gilbert to regress Hari into his past, she regressing him, etc. Initially it’s confusing and too much information to take it but the stories strong plot, the strength of the characters, the writing style which blends in the modern lifestyle with past ideologies makes us turn the pages later.

The writer deserves our applause for infusing the historical facts in the beginning with the plot so neatly; the setting of Punjab through Hari’s eyes is breathtaking for us as we proceed. The love making and sex episodes have been talked about in a liberal outlook without shying away and from a man’s point of view it isn’t surprising but its subtle and not too much giving away the reality of teenagers lives like Hari and Suzzane in all forms. The characters maintain their raw nature and their humane and not too ornamental lifestyle and behaviors makes us identify with them. We begin to get attached to their lives which is a good thing for any story with a good plot, the plus point of this plot.

The author is quite brave to openly talk about the past leaders in power leading to the massacres and wars…Hari being a witness to each of them and it is his point of view through which we get to know about the political, historical and economic background of Punjab and more over about the heroic deeds of Maharaj Ranjit Singh. The historical information exchange between the two main protagonists, Hari and Suzzane which sometimes lengths could have been avoided as it occurs often and if it came from the narrator’s point of view we felt it would have added the correct balance to the story.

The title of the book reveals the subject, and what is best about the book is the end….How life can turn upside down and how we mortals are forever tangled in the web of life and death is not something so easy to understand but is a strong message in itself. We youths have the power to change future of our country by learning from the mistakes and corruption tales in history and not diverge from our path to build a better country, a maharaja or not all should have an aim in life.
We congratulate the author Khushwant Singh for writing such a meaningful novel which history lovers would love to enjoy and youths should read to know what a true Maharaja is.
We look forward to more novels from the writer’s pen.

overall We give 4 out of 5 to this book
the style of writing is new and fresh
The plot interesting, the end really is its plus point and our favourite which adds colour to the novel.
The political agendas and the cause of war which to some were not known can be useful in clearing our views about history and life helping us thus build our Country.
A must read for reincarnation and history lovers.

To know more about the author and his works you can find him here...

If you have anything to add to this review feel read this book and let us know your thoughts about it.Till the keep reading 

Warm regards,
Sufia Khatoon,
Being Bookworms
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