Author – Rikin Khamar
Soon after the beautiful young Padmini becomes Queen of Chittor – the most important city in Rajputana – she finds her happiness clouded by an ancient curse. Her life is then torn apart when the scheming Sultan of Delhi becomes obsessed with possessing her and her kingdom.
When the Sultan besieges the city, the Rajputs are pushed to the brink of destruction, and Padmini is faced with a terrible decision – one that will determine the fate of her home, her people, and her love
Set in the backdrop of 14th Century Rajasthan, The Lotus Queen richly blends fact and fiction and weaves together a tale of love, friendship, and inner courage, in the face of extreme adversity.
My thoughts –
I remember hearing about Chittor and Rani Padmini from my mother first. She used to tell us about this brave Rajput queen who chose death over dishonour and became immortal in history. Thereafter I remember reading about this legend here and there, in bits and pieces, but never had I known the full story. And so when I came across this book I picked it up to know some more about this brave Rajput woman. And also, I loved the cover of the book which has patterns similar to the ones we find in the palaces of that era.
THE LOTUS QUEEN is a work of fact & fiction. It is the story of Rajput Queen Padmini of Chittor, wife of Rawal Rattan Singh. She was well-known for her beauty & wit, so much that it reached the ears of the Sultanate of Delhi. Alauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, came forward with a proposal to the Rawal of Chittor that he might be allowed a glimpse of the Queen, of whose beauty he has heard a lot. Now this was an insult to the Rajuts since as per their customs, women do not come infront of strangers without a veil. But an outright refusal to the powerful Sultan was like directly inviting him to attack Chittor. So to evade a confrontation and also to keep their customs intact, the Rajputs decided to show the Sultan a glimpse of the Queen in a mirror. And this was what was done. However, as expected, the scheming Sultan was not to be content with only a glimpse and now wanted to make Rani Padmini a part of his harem. And hence followed a series of attack & defence, over a period of 8 months. But the small Chittor was not a match for the mighty and powerful Delhi Sultanate for long. The story ends with the final war of Mewar with the men committing Saka and the women committing Jauhar, thus choosing death over dishonour.
The book talks about Queen Padmini’s show of wit, extreme courage and the willingness to sacrifice her own life for the honour of her land. The author has altered between present (the ongoing war) and past (the events that led to the war) in the story from the viewpoint of various characters but with the same kind of values and feelings from all of them. This was something which I liked in the book. Also, it isn’t a biography and hence I could ignore the fact that the author did not delve too deep into the character of Padmini. But then there is a comment at the end of the book by the author which says that there isn’t much in history books about Rani Padmini and it still is a mystery whether this tale is an actual one or a tale made up by a bard to glorify the Rajput bravery, galour and honour.
The choice of words for describing the battle scenes and the also the emotions of the people – both men & women, going for the ultimate sacrifice has been another highlight of the book for me.
Final words – I loved this book. Written with a mood that captures the essence of the traditions, landscapes and emotions & values of the Rajputs quite nicely, it also gives you a peep into the rich history. A delightful read that makes you keep turning the pages till the end. 🙂
- The book was bought by me and my opinions expressed here are honest & unbiased.
- Padmini in Sanskrit means ‘she who sits on the lotus‘ hence the name The Lotus Queen.
- Image and blurb has been taken from Goodreads