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In The City of Gold and Silver [Format Kindle]

Kenize Mourad

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Here is the long-forgotten story of Begum Hazrat Mahal, queen of Awadh and the soul of the Indian revolt against the British, brought to vivid life by a writer whose own story reads like a novel.

Begum was an orphan and a poetess who captured the attentions of King Waiid Ali Shah of Awadh and became his fourth wife. As his wife, she incited and led a popular uprising that would eventually prove to be the first step toward Indian independence. Begum was the very incarnation of resistance: as chief of the army and the government in Lucknow, she fought battles on the field for two years; she was a freedom fighter, a misunderstood mother, and an illicit lover. A remarkable woman who risked everything only to face the greatest betrayal of all.

Begum is a fitting subject for Kenizé Mourad, whose mother was a Turkish princess and father an Indian Raj. When Mourad’s mother moved to Paris in the company of a eunuch and died shortly after, the eunuch entrusted the child to the care of Catholic nuns. The nuns hid Mourad from her father, not wanting the child to be raised Muslim. Mourad only discovered her true identity and her parents’ tragic fate in her twenties. Her story is the subject of an autobiographical novel, Regards from the Dead Princess, to be published by Europa in 2015.

Biographie de l'auteur

Kenize Mourad was born in France to a Turkish Princess and an Indian Raj. For almost fifteen years, she was a reporter and war correspondent, working, most notably, at Le Nouvel Observateur. De la part la princess morte has sold over a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 34 languages. This is Mourad's first novel.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1659 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 400 pages
  • Editeur : Europa Editions (4 novembre 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00ISEON62
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°265.665 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Story of 1857 via Begum Hazrat Mahal 15 mai 2013
Par Kim - Publié sur
Little is known and written about 1857 (the First War of Indian Independence) from the Indian perspective. Most easily available accounts today are from the British perspective and the British press of the time. So in their language, 1857 was a mutiny, a revolt by the armed forces, not a mass uprising against them and their practices in India.

Vishnu Bhatt Godshe Versaikar's 1857: The Real Story of the Great Uprising is one of the few personal accounts from an Indian perspective that has been published in English. Mahmoood Farooqui's Besieged: Voices from Delhi 1857 is a unique perspective in which Mahmood has translated correspondence between aam aadmi - common people - during the run up to 1857. Sangeeta Bhargava's - The World Beyond is set in Lucknow, during 1857, but its more about an impossible love story than history. But neither of these books speak about the strategy and the planning that went into this First War of Indian Independence and how it was scuttled by an untimely revolt in Meerut.

Kenize Mourad's "In the City of Gold and Silver" fills in this gap very well. While it is a book of Historical Fiction, the facts haven't been altered.

In the City of Gold and Silver revolves around Begum Hazrat Mahal - one of the wives of Wajid Ali Shah the ill fated Nawab of Oudh (Awadh). After facing multiple ignominies by the East India Company, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah is unceremoniously deposed and deported to Calcutta. He takes some of his wives and children with him, while his Queen Mother Malika Kishwar heads to England to petition the British Queen to restore her son's kingdom to him.

Begum Hazrat Mahal is left behind in Lucknow, with her son Birjis Qadar. With the help of a few loyalists like Raja Jai Lal, the endorsement by Bahadur Shah Zafar, and allies like the Rani of Jhansi, Nana Saheb and Maulvi of Faizabad she launched a formidable defense and attack against the British.

In the City of Gold and Silver is the tale of a dancing girl who grew up to become one of the most powerful women in India in the 19th century and one of the few people who actually threatened the might of the East India Company. Politically astute and a leader of the masses, she successfully unites the masses and the gentry to repel the invaders. However, in the long run, the First War of Indian Independence did not succeed in driving out the British and Begum Hazrat Mahal and her son were finally exiled into Nepal.

Kenize Mourad has researched this book, very thoroughly, quoting both British and Indian sources. But the tale she spins, is so masterfully crafted, that while it brings history alive, it also keeps the reader hooked into the story. The present continuous style of writing is a little tedious at first, but I soon learned to ignore it as the story was so gripping and captivating.

The success of a book for me is in how emotionally involved it makes me and this was a book I got very emotional when reading. I am not easily prone to anger, but some of the facts and the callous nature of the East India Company when it came to dealing with the "natives" quite enraged me. I was completely unaware of the role of the Nepali Prime Minister and the Sikh regiments during 1857 and it was quite a shocking revelation for me. I always thought of the Salar Jungs as wealthy philanthropists who gifted their collection to the country in the form of Hyderabad's Salar Jung Museum, so it was equally shocking to learn that Salar Jung I - Prime Minister of the Nawab of Hyderabad in 1857 was an Anglophile and prevented the Nawab from joining the war.

I just wish history in schools was taught with details like these that make characters come alive rather than just rote memorisation of names and dates.

This book in the wrong hands could be quite incendiary, but what the reader needs to realise is that this is history, its time has passed. The generations of today cannot be held responsible/accountable/liable for what happened 150 years ago or what their predecessors did. The only thing that we can learn from history is how not to repeat the mistakes from our past.

This is a definitely a book worth reading.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In 1844, a fourteen-year-old orphan girl dances in the “house of fairies” in Lucknow, Awadh, India. 20 mai 2015
Par Waheed Rabbani - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
In 1844, a fourteen-year-old orphan girl dances in the “house of fairies” in Lucknow, Awadh, India. Her beauty and poetic abilities catch the eye of Nawab Wajid Ali. He marries her (as his fourth wife) and, following the birth of a son, names her Hazrat Mahal. The fun-loving nawab relishes the good life.

Although Wajid is gleefully governing Awadh under a treaty with the British East India Company (BEIC), they are displeased with his extravagant spending of Awadh’s abundant resources. When in February 1856, the BEIC forcefully annexes Awadh, Wajid decides to plead his case before Queen Victoria in London. He sets off with his entourage, leaving Hazrat behind, despite her pleadings. The BEIC’s sepoys mutiny in May 1857, and Awadh’s population joins in the rebellion, proclaiming Hazrat’s teenage son as the king. Hazrat, as queen-regent, takes charge of the rebel army, their first objective being to oust the Europeans ensconced in the British Residency.

While the failure of the 1857 Mutiny is historical fact, this brilliant atmospheric novel presents another perspective on its events. Based on extensive research, Murad also used her family’s primary sources: her father was an Indian raja. The real motives of the BEIC in annexing Awadh, the insight on how Hazrat rose to become a rebel queen, and the causes of the rebellion are all narrated in depth. Moreover, some very plausible details are dramatized on why the rebel army, despite overwhelming numbers, was unable to repel the much smaller, albeit better armed, BEIC force. Highly recommended.

Waheed Rabbani is a historical fiction author, whose books are available on Amazon and elsewhere.

This review first appeared in the Historical Novels Review Issue 72 (May 2015)
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Fitting Tribute To An Extraordinary Woman And Queen 9 mai 2015
Par Rajiv Chopra - Publié sur
This is an excellent book. It is a romanticized story of Begum Hazrat Mahal of Lucknow, who was married to Wajid Ali Shah, "The Last King Of India". Unlike him, who was a foppish character, the Begum was an extremely admirable character. It is a pity that not too many people remember her.

The Begum was one of the key players in the Indian Mutiny of 1857, not that too many of the British historians who have covered the events of the times mention her adequately.

The book traces her history from that of a young child to her imprisonment in Nepal. The character development is masterful, and the book has a steady pace. This is an extremely good tribute to an extraordinary woman, one who gave up her life and her riches for her ideals, but never compromised on her ideals.

A highly recommended book.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent book, both from an historical account and a ... 27 décembre 2014
Par Michel Karma - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Excellent book, both from an historical account and a romanticized novel. For once, the Westerners (the British) are generally speaking "the bad guys", and most of the story is written from an Indian and Muslim alternate viewpoint. An excellent read, helps better understand contemporary warfare.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Awesome 25 juillet 2013
Par Ramana Gadiraju - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
A must read. Anyone who loves history and especially interested in learning about the Indian History, they would love it.
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