THE BROWN SAHEBS
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.
The Brown Sahebs is set in around our pre-independence era and continues till the present time.
The book is mainly based on the Indian political scenario which though set in pre-independence era has continued till now. Except Gandhiji, none of the characters real names are disclosed. Though a fictional work, it won’t be hard to make out whom the fictional characters resemble in real.
The narration of the pre-independence era, the political situation at that time in country is well explained. The book is an eye opener explaining how and why common people of India inspite of having attaining freedom are still not able to enjoy their freedom rights. It explains how really a system works.
For readers who are not politically inclined or have least interest in politics, this book may sound bit boring and slow paced. But as you continue reading, it creates interest and you feel you can't keep the book down (as it did to me) as it creates curiosity. All the characters; Pratap, his father Raja of Teekra, Vidya Babu, Malati, are well etched. But more could have been told about Kavita, as to how she coped up and dealt with heartbreak. Similar with Pratap’s mother, Rani of Teekra’s character could have been described.
In short; nice read, engrossing, eye-opener, seems perfect movie material, serious reading material.
About the Author
Anupam Srivastava was born in Lucknow, India, where his novel, The Brown Saheb's first part is set. However, he never lived there as his father and mother, Ashok and Veena Srivastava, lived in different parts of India. However, Anupam spent some of his childhood and most of his vacations in Lucknow where he flew kites and learnt about the craft of pigeon-flying. He went to a boarding school near Delhi, the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai, where he played cricket but earned his college colours at St Stephen's College, Delhi, in cross-country running. He studied English literature (BA Hons and MA), won the college annual poetry prize while pursuing his MA, and being sure his vocation was writing and journalism, became a journalist with The Times of India in 1993. In 1999, he was awarded the British Chevening scholarship by the British government.
In 1999, he left journalism to work with the United Nations Population Fund in India in communications. Subsequently, Anupam worked with Oxfam India Society, Unicef and other development agencies. The Brown Sahebs is his first novel and tells the story of India not taking off its colonial clothing even as it became a democracy.
Anupam is married to Radhika Srivastava, and they have two children who figure in his children's novel, A Family Secret.
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