The Thugs and a Courtesan by Mukta Singh-Zocchi Review
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Year of Publication: 2014
No. Of Pages: 190
This book is on traditional Indian community, the year is 18th / 19th century. This was the era when there were no proper transportations, only muddy and dusty roads, no cars, buses or airplanes, where people used to travel on foot along with their bullock carts and horse riding.
People used to travel in a group or caravans from village to village, for their safety from thugs and robbery; many times it happens to the villagers that the group with whom they are travelling were the bunch of thugs.
The protagonist Firangia is one of the thugs, whose life changes after many incidents occurred during his return journey to his village. The Author has very well narrated the traditional Indian community, orthodox mentality of villagers by killing human beings as an offering to Lordess Kali, also there are many short stories in the book, among them which I liked the most is the story narrated by Zalim Singh on Page no 86, and the story of Rana Dil on page no 138, this two stories are excellent read.
The proper description of night, the villages and jungle, deserted areas while travelling, the temple of Lordess Kali in the middle of the jungle are truly awesome, it Sims that you are watching a movie. This book is about love and betrayal.
The language is somewhat tuff, you should have dictionary along with you while reading this book. This is a must read book to know the 18th century India. The author Mukta Singh-Zocchi has thoroughly researched for this book.
I am very thankful to Thinkwhynot, once again for giving me opportunity to review this wonderful book.
Some of the Catchy lines from this book:
1. I cannot give you my word. I consider the tongue to be the most sacred member of the whole body. – Page no 20.
2. Women are as good as men in the games of politics and court-intrigues. – Page no 62.
3. I know that fortune favours only those who hold the power or are privileged. – Page no 64.
4. People can believe any tale of wickedness, but a simple story of love, they will never accept. – Page no 94.
5. The lines of fate cannot be effaced for anyone, everyone, knows that. – Page no 137.
Meander through 1819 India with Firangia as he covers villages, jungles and small towns while on a journey of romance, devotion, crime and deception. But there is someone always watching over. This is pre-railways India, when merchants travel in caravans, noblemen with escorts, and no road is secure.
On his way home after a trade expedition, Firangia’s path is crossed by the beautiful Chanda Bai, travelling with a small party of guards. Through a warrior, she wishes to travel under his protection. Should he decline?
Read about grandiose ambitions pitted against petty schemes, love and deceit, and what in our modern times is termed ‘evil’. You will find in this intellectually ambitious, meticulously researched, action-packed historical fiction a broader, age-independent significance.
Born in Ithaca, New York and raised in New Delhi, Mukta Singh-Zocchi has to write about India. Several of her short stories and columns have appeared in magazines in India. She is the recipient of the 2008 Storycove Short Fiction Award in the US.
Mukta completed her Ph.D. in Physics and spent a decade in scientific research in universities across the globe. Chicago, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen – life on the international track surely whetted her desire for storytelling. She now lives in Los Angeles and writes full-time.