Book Review: Pearl by the River by Sudipta Mitra

  • ISBN: 978-81-291-4488-1
  • Genre: Fiction /History
  • Publishers: Rupa
  • Price: Rs.299/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)
‘[The author] has excelled in recreating in the reader’s mind the enormity of the tragedy a man suffered and how he chose to sculptor his choked passion into a concrete beauty…’

—Dr Meerza Kaukab, great-grandson of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.The last king of Audh, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow was exiled by the British to Metiabruz in Bengal, on the fringes of Calcutta. Despite being robbed of his rightful throne, the Nawab did not lose hope; instead, he set about establishing a new mini-kingdom on the banks of the River Hoogly. Little by little he brought in the Laknawi way of life to this area of Bengal, so much so that Metiabruz came to be called ‘Chota Lucknow’. Extensively researched and evocatively written, this book looks at a forgotten king and how he turned his exile into a victory of sorts.

Behind the Book
About the Author

Sudipta Mitra is a freelance columnist who has been published both in English and Bengali. He has authored two books—Gir Forest and the Saga of the Asiatic Lion and History and Heritage of Indian Game Hunting.

Me thinks

I consider myself lucky to have got to read both the books written on this king. The previous book which I had read in 2014 can not be compared to this one as that would be unfair to both. For me reading this book was like filling in the gaps which were left behind by the previous book. Now, the entire story seems complete with its details intact.

Like I have said in my previous review 3 years ago , King Wajid Ali Shah doesn't cease to amaze me. Such an extra-ordinary life. I have always been curious about history and stories of kings and queens. Every time I visit some historic monument my mind automatically tries to decipher the stories that monument holds within itself. This book was one such experience. It felt as if the walls had started singing a song of their own and it was magical.

Though written as a non fiction by a historian, the story of the last king is so enchanting that it pulls you in. There is action, drama, emotions, love, revenge, betrayal,  songs, dance and ofcourse lot of moments where you wish you could time travel and witness the grandeur for yourself. I could connect with this book more so at this moment because I am just back from a long trip to Kolkata and I happened to visit all the places mentioned in this book making it seem more real and plausible.

I liked the in depth research that backs each and every chapter along with the flow of the narrative. After reading two books on him, His Majesty now seems like someone I know well. With wonderful pictures and painful poignant poetry from king's personal collection, the author has managed to bring out the exact pathos of his life in this book. The author's words perhaps otherwise wouldn't have done justice to the turbulent life of King Wajid Ali Shah.

I would recommend this book to all history lovers and people who are curious like me to know about different places and their stories in our country.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Galouti Kabab - finger licking good and something that always reminds you of the good old days left behind in the past.

Source: Official Feazt Blog - Feazt