By far and easily one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. This book is a masterpiece of historical investigation. There is a wonderful nerBy far and easily one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. This book is a masterpiece of historical investigation. There is a wonderful nerdiness about the presentation which is joyous and satisfying. If this is a topic that is of interest, you will love it....more
I was looking forward to this book, after the author's historical fiction debut. That one was a well-researched book, but the dramatisation in the ficI was looking forward to this book, after the author's historical fiction debut. That one was a well-researched book, but the dramatisation in the fiction wasn't to my liking; it was trite, and often unimaginative.
Challenging Destiny: A Biography of Chhatrapati Shivaji is a non-fiction book by the author, and is a very well-researched book. It refers to many of the various biographies of Shivaji that are in circulation and makes extensive use of extracts from these books. As the author tells you early on, Mehendale's biography of Chh. Shivaji is the primary source for this book; needless to say, this book borrows heavily from Mehendale's biography.
I was a bit surprised that the author has chosen to use an academic (in-text, APA) form of citation, rather then using endnotes of footnotes, especially given that there are numerous direct quotes from other authors. Perhaps, because of this, the texture of reading seems uneven, at times. There are times in the book, where references (like the definition of a gaon, mauja, and kasbah), are completely out of place, irrelevant, and do not fit in the narrative at hand.
Overall, for someone who does not know the life and times of Chh. Shivaji, it is good first book, which covers his life and career, fairly well. For someone with a more serious interest in history, there are other biographies.
I return to my pet peeve. This book is published by The Write Place, the publishing arm of Crosswords. It is a sorry state of affairs in Indian publishing where copy-editing isn't given the importance it deserves.
It's not oddicers, its officers. Not tilted, but titled. And, definitely there isn't a word called agreeded....more
This is easily one of the best books I have read so far, on the ancient history of India. This book comprises of four lectures that were given by D. RThis is easily one of the best books I have read so far, on the ancient history of India. This book comprises of four lectures that were given by D. R. Bhandarkar, when he was the Carmichael Professor of Ancient Indian History and Culture in the University of Calcutta, pertaining to a very specific period: 650 - 325 BCE.
The nature, process, and approach to historical research is an interesting one, to say the least. He uses multiple references and resources to form the conclusions that he does. The second lecture, which deals with the political history of the period; I especially found fascinating. As a student of administrative systems of medieval periods, I found the the third and fourth lectures especially enlightening, which helped broaden my scope of understanding.
I’d imagine that you would need some background of ancient history; the Aryans, the Sixteen Mahajanapadas, and other Buddhist history, along with a sense of ancient geography (primarily - place names).
One thing stands out, however. I have said this before and I will say it again. The copy-editing is shoddy and does great disservice to the value that these lectures hold. It is sad, that a publisher like Rupa wouldn’t employ proper copy-editors for a book that is so important. That is a great dis-service to a book of this stature.
Loved the pace. Loved the visual storytelling. But visualisation isn't easy, given that most items/objects are described in Tamil, which assume that tLoved the pace. Loved the visual storytelling. But visualisation isn't easy, given that most items/objects are described in Tamil, which assume that the reader is Tamil or knows the language. In the beginning the author makes some effort to explain a few Tamil words, after that, it's all on assumption.
Also, towards the end, the quotes of freedom fighters seem laboriously inserted. At places, it seems that an entire chapter has been inserted for the explicit purpose of quoting someone.
If you understand Tamil, you may enjoy it more than I did.
It would be an understatement to say that this is one of the better and popular play in Marathi, of all times.
The play explores the relationship betweIt would be an understatement to say that this is one of the better and popular play in Marathi, of all times.
The play explores the relationship between a Shivaji - A king as well as a father and his eldest son Sambhaji - the natural successor to the throne. The play tumbles through the relationships and the roles of these two great personalities, the misunderstandings that distance and time had caused between this father and sun duo. For good measure, the key character turns out to be the second son of Shivaji - Rajaram - the younger step-brother of Sambhaji.
Court intrigues and scheming for the succession struggle play an important part in this wonderfully crafted play. While a large part of the popularity of this play may have been due to the characters in the play, that's only the skin: the meat, bones, and the nerves of this play are in the exploration of the raw emotions and exchanges between a father-king and a prince-son (who have been estranged by distance and time) come to experience: partly because of the actions of the prince, more because of the schemes and the intrigues of the court.
The aphorisms and metaphors are a readers’ delight. The writing is pacy, even if you imagine the mighty Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar on stage delivering the performance, with his signature pauses and voice modulation. The event of the escape of Shivaji from Agra is used to perfection as a presentation of perspective; the text for each of the perspectives, of Shivaji and Sambhaji, are very compelling.
The language employed is Olde Marathi, if I can call it that; the medieval usage of certain words, which have now, unfortunately fallen out of favour, is enriching to the entire context of the play. For a person, who is not well versed in Marathi, it was relatively easy to read (with some help from my mother, who was referred to throughout the two days that I took to read the book.