‘The Last Queen of Kashmir’ by Rakesh Kaul

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“The Last Queen of Kashmir” is a captivating historical fiction novel that brings to life the story of a powerful queen, Kota Rani, in Kashmir during the 14th century. The book explores her life, her reign, and the political turmoil of the region during that time.

Kota Rani (d. 1344) was the last ruler of the Hindu Lohara dynasty in Kashmir. She was also the last female ruler of Kashmir. She was regent during the minority of her son in 1323−1338, and ruled as monarch in 1338−1339.

Kaul’s work is a journey through the turbulent political landscape of Kashmir at that time. Delving into the complex relationships between the different religious communities in Kashmir, including Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists. The novel explores themes of love, lust, war, betrayal, religious tolerances and many more undercurrents during that period.

His writing is vivid and engaging, he has done an excellent job of capturing the essence of the period. The characters are well-developed, and the queen’s story is both compelling and inspiring. The book provides insight into the rich culture and history of Kashmir, making it a must-read for anyone interested in Kashmir.

Eyes lowered, Kota Rani said firmly, “My name is Kotadevi. I am not your rani yet. Have I met your conditions? 
Shah Mir looked at the vision of beauty in front of him. ‘Yes, you have.’ He licked his slips, she had finally submitted to him.
“There is no women to match you in the world. You are the greatest trophy I will possess. Your dress sets off your charms magnificently. With age your beauty only gets sweeter like sherbet, to be enjoyed one sip at a time.”
‘I am not a trophy and I am not sherbet.” Kota replied. “I am Kashmir. You do not understand what this dress means. Fool, your obsession has made you blind to everything.” 

One of the most impressive aspects of the novel is Kaul’s attention to detail. The Last Queen of Kashmir is clearly a labour of love, and Kaul has done his research to ensure that every aspect of the book is historically aligned. From the descriptions of the landscapes and architecture to the clothing and customs of the people, the book provides a rich and immersive experience.

“The Last Queen of Kashmir” is a well-written and engaging novel which transports the reader to another time and place.

Ist Edition: 10 may, 2016

Publisher: Harper Collins

Category: Historical Romance | Historical Fiction

Book review by Rajesh Prothi

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