Author: Indu Sundaresan
Publisher: Harper Collins India.
Genre: Historic fiction.
The Kohinoor, the mountain of light as the Shah of Persia named is believed to have been given by the Lord Krishna to devotee, from there it’s physical mention is in the memoirs of the Mogul king Babur. It has then traversed in out of India to its final resting place in the crown of England.
The story opens in the court of Maharaja Ranjith Singh of the Punjab Empire who exacts the Kohinoor from Shah Shuja of Afghanistan for help him regain his kingdom.
Indu presents the book as a pensive of Prince Dalip Singh the son of Maharaja Ranjith Singh. Taking through the gardens of Lahore, accession of Punjab, the boy king’s travel to London, his conversion, queen Victoria’s venture to get him married to her other protégée, Victoria Gowramma of coorg. The English attitude, of Dalip Singh being a person to be feted and petted yet unworthy to marry the ward of impoverished missionary couple who are his guardians.
What I like about Indu’s style of writing be it the Taj Trilogy or the Splendour of Silence is vibrancy, she is able to create an imagery and actually give us a voyeuristic view, she is so present in her writing through the language, life and vibrancy without being judgemental.
But in the novel the mountain of light Indu is conspicuous by her absence the book ambles along like a rickety old man … factually and as a social structure she is able to sort of recreate the raj, but Indu for the first time disappointed me.
Of course there are tremendous insights into history.
about the author: http://indusundaresan.com/Bio.aspx