Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Ruler of the world by Alex Rutherford -Book review

courtesy: goodreads.com
English writers have a lot to say about their rulers and the monarchy and there is a slew of works in historical fiction dedicated to their stories .

I would think, "Why can't Indian writers in English come up with stories about the Indian monarchy particularly since we have a whole variety to choose from: The mughals, chola dynasty etc."

I was pleasantly surprised to discover  this book at our local library and picked it up when the book cover said that this was the story of Akbar. My knowledge of Akbar stems from our history books in school and  popular Hindi films like Mughal-E-Azam and more recently, Jodha-Akbar.

The book which is a fictionalised account of Akbar provided with an interesting insight into his conquests, his mindset which had consequences on not only his kingdom but also his family. It also helped me dispel some notions;  unlike what Jodha-Akbar claimed to portray, theres was no love story but  a political alliance. Jodha  always maintained anti-mughal stand against Akbar which in turn transferred into her son Salim who turned against his father eventually. Even the Salim-Anarkali romance was more a case of Salim stealing her away from Akbar's harem, after she was brought into the court for the Emperor's pleasure.

I wasn't sure how true these accounts were but the author has an acknowledgement note which clearly indicates the research that has gone into creating this work and I feel that he has been more authentic than Ashutosh Gowarikar (director of Jodha akbar) or K.Asif (director of Mughal-e-azam).

Rutherford has a whole new series of the mughal rulers and although the narrative is a bit dry and too crammed up in places, (it cannot be easy to sum up a ruler's life scan in a few hundred pages), it still made for some very interesting reading.

Would  greatly recommended for those who would like to know about the mughal dynasty, in easy-to-read fictionalised fashion.

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