“Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of reading this book“, a friend told me while discussing this book. Well, that statement was good enough to sell this book to me. There was also another thing about the discussion. I didn’t know what Cuckold meant. Like a good ambassador of my generation, I googled it and stumbled upon the wikipedia page of Cuckold. It said,
“Cuckold historically referred to a husband with an adulterous wife and is still often used with this meaning. In evolutionary biology, the term cuckold is also applied to males who are unwittingly investing parental effort in offspring that are not genetically their own.Since the 1990s, the term has also been widely used to refer to a sexual fetish in which the fetishist is stimulated by their committed partner choosing to have sex with someone else”
This took my curiosity to different level and I had no option but to read it asap. The book is first person narration of Maharaj Kumar, from the kingdom of Chittor , of the Mewad dynasty. Based on 17th century, the book shows the era of volatility of Princely states and the fear of British invasion to these states.
Fictional life of Maharaj Kumar is loosely based on real life ruler Thakur Bhojpur. Maharaj Kumar’s wife is very close inspiration from the Mira Bai, a cult figure in the Hindu devotional circles. The book portrays not only the high royal lifestyle but also the hint of Rajputana arrogance and alpha male machoness.
The plot moves to court-rooms, recreational halls, battle grounds and romantic gardens. Kiran gives tastes of all aspects of High-born emotions with love, hate, politics, lust and insecurities.
Eventually there were wars and betrayals, two of the most sought after royal recipe. Overall, the book takes the reader to the different era of Indian history. The characters are well shaped and stay honest to their architecture.
On the book cover, there is a praise by Khushwant Singh, stating “One of the best by an Indian“, which is obviously a huge compliment to the book. The language of the book did miss out the classic edge, the one we expect in historical fictions. Also some episodes might have been too obvious and too predictable at the time. However, the book knew how to entertain and keep the history relevant. In 2000, the book won the author, India’s National Academy of Letters Award.
I rated Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar, 3 out of 5 stars in goodreads.com. Definitely, one of the important books from India, even if not the finest one.
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