Guts and glory

Book: The Women Who Ruled India: Leaders, Warriors, Icons

Author: Archana Garodia Gupta

Publisher: Hachette India

Pages: 299; Price: Rs 322

Archana Garodia Gupta brings together a wealth of thrilling information about India’s women rulers—leaders, warriors and icons. In the introduction, she accepts, “Women rulers have been few and far between in Indian history, as also in world history—but that still leaves hundreds of women who have ruled, and whose stories can be told.”

So you flip the pages eagerly and plunge into the gripping stories of The Mahadevis of Odisha—the Bhaumakara Queens; Didda, the controversial Queen of Kashmir; Rudrama Devi, the princess who became a prince; the tragic sultan of Delhi, Raziya Sultan; and 16 other brave female rulers.

Gupta’s simple prose brings history alive as she lays forth several unfamiliar nuggets of information, that are sure to pique interest. Another positive: she paints these portraits ‘warts and all’, not attempting to sanitise their lives and deeds. Their wrong decisions, and questionable means to seize power are all up for consumption.

As is their courage and intelligence. What’s more, we see that they carved their paths, as Gupta tells us, despite there being no precedent or pathway for them. And yes, they didn’t do a bad job of it at all!

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