The Legend of Amrapali : My Take
Amrapali is one of the most inspirational women in the history of India. Her story, one that illustrates self less sacrifice and great love for the nation has been retold quite a number of times in various art forms. From novelists to the top honchos of Bollywood everyone was smitten by the mix of beauty, intelligence valor and patriotism in her and paid their tributes to her in their own way. One such attempt is made by Anurag Anand, who in his work “The Legend of Amrapali” tries to speak about the early life, first love and probably the first and the best revenge of Amrapali.
It would be interesting to know that India had democracies in the pre-christian era itself. The “Vajji Confederation” considered the oldest democracy is the host to the entire happenings of the book. As we start the book we witness “Manudeva” getting elected as the king and his swearing-in ceremony. A farmer while returning to his place after witnessing the ceremony finds an abandoned infant girl near a mango tree, takes her with, later adopts and gives her the name “Amrapali”. Now what’s the connection between Amrapali and Manudeva ? Why should a king and a commoner fight over something? What means are used by them to reach their ends is some thing you ought to read in the book.
The style of the writing is simple and good. “Easy to understand English” was used and that makes the book a jolly read. The plot keeps the user glued to the book, you might not call it a racy page turner but be assured that you will not lose interest at any point of time. The pace is good and interest is sustained.
I specifically liked the way the author laid foundations for the things to come, the user gets to read about the experiences and life events that make Amrapali strong, we get to know why she thinks more and behaves more responsibly than the girls of her age. Then the teacher episode was good as well. Narahari and his love for kid’s talent were well narrated. I particularly loved the episode where we are told on how a kingdom degenerates due to a few wrong decisions and the misguided zeal of the rulers. How an otherwise rich and great Vajji confederacy becomes weak and directionless in few months time was well written. It teaches us a very important lesson that, things that might look like concessions and harmless entertainment can actually wreak havoc in the State. Then, the way a lady finds her way through corridors of power and achieves what she wants was also well depicted.
Coming to the part which I thought could have been improved, I felt the reference to Huns and then the Mongols had some rough edges, we exactly do not know why those battles happened and why someone from the Gangetic plains went there to fight. A little more details on this and on the schemes of Amrapali would have been good. Amrapali’s political moves definitely need more detail I felt it was sort of rushed through.
I do not know if Anurag anand is planning for a sequel but then we also miss out significant part of Amrapali’s life in the book. Her love for Bimbisara and then her encounters with Ajatashatru were not there in the book.
Overall I would say it is definitely a good book to read, you would definitely enjoy reading it. Do pick it up. Happy reading