Book Review : Maharaja in Denims –- By Khushwant Singh

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 11:35 am by khushwant.singh No Comment

Namesake of a legendary author, his book has a very unusual title. The cover and the interesting blurb are just about enough to draw you towards this book. 

‘Maharaja in Denims’ is an atypical narrative which revolves around the history of Punjab and primarily the great warrior Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is a gripping tale of how an ordinary affluent boy’s life changes when he realizes that he is a re-incarnation of the first Sikh Emperor and the ruler of Punjab.
Hari Sandhu is the usual rich teenager next door who, like every other guy his age, is eyeing pretty girls around college. He soon realizes that not everything is usual with him. The opening love-making scene itself reveals his strange characteristic which leaves him astounded. He slowly realizes his connection with the great Maharaja but falls deeper and deeper into an emotional abyss with extremely disturbing past incidents hovering around him. He starts being able to recall incidents from his several past lives which leave stubborn impressions on his present life.
The book is bursting with historical incidents, political issues and is rich in every small detail revolving around these issues of that era in Punjab and Lahore. The story has several layers to it and each layer opens with a replete historical perspective and incidents that Hari Sandhu’s past lives encountered. The author has painstakingly woven intricate threads of history of Punjab through the narrative to give a very clear picture of the turmoil that the people of Punjab would have gone through over last few centuries. The fact and details clearly indicate the amount of research gone into putting them into the book.
All this is well entwined with Hari and his girlfriend Suzanne’s love story.  Suzanne, who is a student of psychology, shows keen interest to help Hari deal with his past through regressesion and while doing so experiences a lot of emotional upheaval herself.  Their intimate encounters could have been toned down considering the main theme of the book but the author’s way with words completely makes up for such small details. The author’s language is rich and his style of narration keeps the reader engrossed till the end.  The twist at the end leaves a lump in the throat and is handled very well.
The book cover is beautiful and captures the theme perfectly. All in all, a very interesting book with a different theme, interesting historical base and a young love story strung together with style.
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