New Delhi, November 17
Indian-American author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new novel will bring alive one of the most fearless women of the 19th century – the legendary warrior queen Jindan Kaur.
“The Last Queen” will be released by HarperCollins India in January 2021, the publishers announced on Tuesday.
Daughter of the royal kennel keeper, the beautiful Jindan was Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s youngest and last queen besides his favourite. She became regent when her son Dalip, barely six years old, unexpectedly inherited the throne and went on to become a legendary warrior queen.
Passionate and dedicated to protecting her son’s heritage, Jindan distrusted the British and fought hard to keep them from annexing Punjab. Defying tradition, she stepped out of the zenana, cast aside the veil and conducted state business in public.
Addressing her Khalsa troops herself, she inspired her men in two wars against the British. Her power and influence were so formidable that the British, fearing an uprising, robbed the rebel queen of everything she had, including her son.
She was imprisoned and exiled. But that did not crush her indomitable will.
“The Last Queen” is being described by the publishers as an exquisite love story of a king and a commoner, a cautionary tale about loyalty and betrayal, and a powerful parable of the indestructible bond between mother and child.
The novel has already been optioned for film rights.
Divakaruni said she is delighted to bring the “amazing and largely-forgotten” Maharani Jindan Kaur to readers.
“From the beginning, I was struck by her strength and unfaltering courage even as she goes through the worst challenges of her life. Delightfully human with her faults and foibles, the resolute Jindan has been an inspiring companion to me through these troubled times,” she said.
“I trust she will do the same for all who pick up this book. I am additionally excited because the book has already been optioned by Endemol Shine for a movie,” she added.
According to Diya Kar, publisher (commercial) at HarperCollins, Divakaruni’s “matchless storytelling is a great gift to the world. What a perfect time to be given this incredible story of a remarkable woman, a real icon for us today”.
Houston-based Divakaruni has authored books like “The Forest of Enchantments”, “Before We Visit the Goddess”, “Oleander Girl”, “The Mistress of Spices”, “Sister of My Heart”, “Palace of Illusions” and “One Amazing Thing”. “The Mistress of Spices” and “Sister of My Heart” have been adapted into movies. PTI