This blog used to be views on various things. But in all these years, I find it going a whole new direction.
Something which I have loved all the time. It's BOOKS!! So, presenting a whole new saga, of books and a little about them, whatever I can find, write, visualise and imagine...
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Monday, January 20, 2014
Book Review : 'The Mountain of Light' by Indu Sundaresan
Finally, have managed to get my hands on this book, which I
have wanted to read, thanks mainly to the author Indu Sundaresan. I have
enjoyed most of her books, including her Taj Trilogy.
So, let us begin. ‘The Mountain of Light’ traces the story
of the 186 carat Kohinoor diamond. The infamous diamond, which is said to have
been given to a pious disciple by Lord Krishna himself, finds itself 'down to
earth' with the memoirs of Emperor Babur, who received it from a defeated raja.
It began its travels around India, finding itself under many kings, before
finding itself in the hands of Shah Shuja, where begins our story.
In 1817, Shah Shuja
finds himself in the Punjab, under Maharajah Ranjit Singh, who has been
promised the Kohinoor in exchange for freeing him in Kashmir, by Wafa Begum, Shuja’s wife. She runs a fine game, wherein she keeps the diamond for
quite some time before it is finally taken from her, by starving her family.
Maharajah Ranjit Singh,
the Lion of Punjab, held on to the diamond and wore it as an armlet, till he
met and married Jindan Kaur, to whom he presented the stone.
Here begins the English
eye with Lord Auckland who wants to possess the diamond, and send it off to his
Queen. There is a love story here, with Lord Auckland’s sister, Emily and
Avitabile, a Neapolitan, which does not take off.
We are transported to 1846, with Henry Lawrence wherein there is another love story
between him and Roshni. Roshni, who is lost in the pages of history, was
originally betrothed to Dalip Singh, son of Ranjit Singh and Jindan. (There is
a theory that Dalip was not the king’s son, but son to Lal Singh and Jindan.
This theory was not exploited yet, it is an interesting part of this lost
story.) Roshni is the one who places the Kohinoor in Henry Lawrence’s hands,
because she believes him to be a ‘good man’.
So, we hear of Dalip
passing from under kindly Henry’s guidance to that of Dr John and Lena Login. The story then moves towards Lord Dalhousie who takes it on himself to transfer
the stone to England.
What happens to Dalip
Singh who travels after it to England, meets Victoria Gouramma, the princess
from Coorg, and falls in love with an English girl instead, but is denied her love by
the aristocratic families of England. The story eventually runs towards its end, seeing the diamond on the arm of the Queen of England who well,
receives it from Dalip Singh.
How Dalip meets his end, and
ends with it, India’s claim to the diamond form the rest of Sundaresan’s take
It was enjoyable, because most
of us wanted to read it, mainly because we have heard of it, and always wondered about the Kohinoor. The love stories form the
linkage between the characters and India’s eternal love for the Kohinoor.
The stories in between are
thought-provoking, and keep us wondering about the what ifs and what not’s. The
curse of Kohinoor remains a mystery and we are left wondering what
the power, the precious stone beheld was like.
Sundaresan’s take was
stimulating, throwing us into the mystery and adventure, which surrounded the
mountain of light.