Author Interview: Rana Safvi (Author, Historian & Translator)

Rana Safvi is a passionate believer in India’s unique civilizational legacy and pluralistic culture which she documents through her writings, podcasts, and videos. She has published seven books so far on culture, history, and the monuments of India. These are Tales from the Quran and Hadith, The Delhi Trilogy: Where Stones Speak, The Forgotten Cities of Delhi, and Shahjahanabad: The Living City of Old Delhi. She has translated both the editions of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s seminal work on Delhi, Asar-us-Sanadid, Dastan-e-Ghadar, and four accounts of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Delhi from Urdu to English. 

In her latest book A Saint, a Folk Tale and Other Stories (Rupa Publications, 2021), she talks about the long-forgotten monuments of India and the stories behind them. Travelling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. Ibn Battuta Indian architecture offers one of the most glorious forms of built heritage anywhere in the world. India, with its geographical expanse, rich history, and diversity, offers a veritable feast for the senses in every way, especially its spectacular range of built heritage. Starting from the earliest cave shelter paintings, rock-cut architecture, and the first urban cities of the Indus Valley Civilization to modern skyscrapers, India has it all. 

In A Saint, A Folk Tale and Other Stories, acclaimed author Rana Safvi takes the reader into secret, hidden parts of India beyond the usual tourist destinations. The often-overlooked monuments of India are rich with history, architecture, and scenery begging to be explored. The book takes you back in time and on a journey to explore the vast architectural heritage of India. Discover the secrets that Khusrau Bagh hides in its heart, marvel at a Queen’s forgotten resting place, listen to the folk tales and fables embedded in the structures and walk down the poetic path to some of the places where the great poets sleep, with the hope that the book sets the reader off on a journey of their own. 

Read the full interview on Kitaab