The Brown Sahebs by Anupam Srivastava is one book which I decided to read because of its awesome cover. I would like to thank The Book Club for the book and also the author for sending me an autographed copy of the same.
The Raja of Teekra, a dusty and forgotten kingdom near Lucknow, gets lucky when the British Resident visits him but also brings with him a leading revolutionary. The Raja enters India’s struggle for freedom and is rewarded with a berth in the cabinet of free India. He is shocked to see the ministers and officers living and operating like their imperial masters but is suitably rewarded for his silence. As he begins to enjoy the good life of Lutyens’ Delhi, the British capital which India’s freedom fighters abhorred, he faces only one adversary in his plans—his journalist son Pratap. A novel that will blow you away with its depiction of love, passion, intrigue and betrayal.
Daulat Singh, the Raja of Teekra, a kingdom near Lucknow, is having sleepless nihts and he is looking for a solution to the problem when suddenly, a messenger brings him a letter which states that the Resident at Lucknow wants to visit the kingdom. The entire kingdom starts preparation of receiving the guests and even 5000 partridges are bought for the Residents shikaar. The Resident arrives with his wife and Vidya Babu, the quintessential leader of the freedom movement and also an Oxford Graduate and a friend of the Resident. During his speech, Vidya ropes in the Raja into the freedom movement much to the dislike of the Resident.
While visiting the temple on the hill, the Raja and the Resident are attacked and Pratap, the prince of Teekra is the prime suspect, and the Raja asks him to leave the kingdom, which Pratap does, only to find that people are also looking out for him to kill him. He goes to meet Malti, only to find she is getting married to Ekka. Then he decides to walk to Delhi and once there, becomes a journalist. The Raja is offered a berth in the cabinet after India becomes independent and he also joins the movement.
India becomes independent and the chaos begins……
The story is set in the days of the freedom struggle and the prologue sets a good tone for the story, with an account by a newspaper reporter regarding the death of Ekant Baba, the solitude loving sage. And he reads the papers left to him by the sage and the story starts at Teekra, moves on to Delhi and then independence and post-independence.
There are many characters in the story and each has a role to play, be it Kundu, the village singer; Malti, daughter of Raghupati; Ekka, Malti’s suitor; Gopal, Pratap’s companion; Eknath; Kavita, Pratap’s colleague; Shyam Dubey, the editor of the newspaper;
Both the writing and language are simple. The plot kept me guessing and the scenes have been described so well that I was able to picturise quite a few of them.