Hyderabad - Book Review

 



Title: Hyderabad (Book II of The Partition Trilogy)

Author: Manreet Sodhi Someshwar

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Pages: 347

Published: September 2022

Rating: 3/5

Buy at: Buy on Amazon


Blurb

Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, the Nizam of Hyderabad, the largest Princely State of the Crown. It sits in the belly of newly independent India to which Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel want Hyderabad to accede. The Communist have concurrently mounted a state-wide rebellion.


But the Nizam’s family has ruled Hyderabad for 200 years. As the wealthiest man in the world, whom the British consider numero uno amongst India’s princes, he will not deal with two-penny Indian politicians! An ancient prophecy, however, hangs over the Nizam – the Asaf Jahi dynasty will last only seven generations. So, he keeps his jewel-laden trucks ready for flight even as he schemes with his army of militant Razakars.


Meanwhile, in the palace thick with intrigue, the maid Uzma must decide where her loyalties lie: with the peasantry or the Nizam. Among the Communist recruits, Jaabili finds love in unexpected quarters. Violence escalates and lawlessness mounts. Caught between a volatile Nizam and a resolute India, what price will Hyderabad pay?


Review


Books on partition have intrigued me for last few years, especially since coming across Aanchal Malhotra's ”Remnants of a Separation".


There are so many different narratives and facets to partition, and so many different truths lost over the years. I didn't have much knowledge about the princely states, their own struggle for independence- their decision of accession to either Pakistan or India, after the actual independence was declared. This book focuses on the princely state of Hyderabad, and the political, social struggles before and after partition, till the final Operation Polo in 1948. Set between July 1947 and September 1948 it portrays the nascent months of independence, the volatile situation, the brewing riots and communal violence. 


The narrative shifts between Delhi and Hyderabad- The Congress, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Mahatma Gandhi - and The Nizam, Kasim Razvi, and the Razakars. There is this game of politics and diplomacy, the suspense whether Hyderabad would join with India or with Pakistan. Jinnah is seen to be influencing the Nizam on grounds of religion. And the waiting continues with bated breaths. 


Though the author has tried to make the narrative as real as possible, with tension palpable from the pages, the book felt more like a nonfiction than fiction. The storytelling connecting the events seemed a bit forced in places. So for me it doesn't really pass as a historical fiction, but a good nonfiction. 


The riches of the Nizam, the then wealthiest person, the diamonds of Golconda mines, the markets of Charminar. Osmania biscuits in Irani cafes of those days. And the Faluknama palace. That side of history enchanted me the most. The personality of the Nizam - Mir Osman Ali Khan is well captured by the author - partly through vivid research and partly imagination. But the struggle and strife make the most of the book. It is a political chronology of events narrated with much storytelling including characters to represent common people, villagers, protesters, spies, and merchants. 


Emily Perkins - the friend of Niloufer, Nizam's daughter in law, felt like the author's presence in the book, who was researching on the life of the Nizam to write a book. It was very fascinating. 


This is book 2 of the Partition series by the author, book 1- Lahore and book 3- Kashmir. 


Heartfelt thanks to Blogchatter for the review copy. 



About the Author

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is a bestselling author of eight books, including the award-winning The Radiance of a Thousand Suns and the critically acclaimed The Long Walk Home. Hailed as ‘a star on the literary horizon’ by Khushwant Singh and garnering endorsements from Gulzar for two of her books, Manreet and her work have featured at numerous literary festivals. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, the South China Morning Post, and several Indian publications.


Order your copy of the book HERE!



I thank Blogchatter for sending this book across. #TBRChallenge


This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program.


Comments

  1. This is indeed a worthwhile book. And your review does justice to it.

    ReplyDelete

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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

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  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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