Thursday, June 27, 2019

Book Review - Didda: The Warrior Queen of Kashmir

Today if you speak word Kashmir all you hear would be terrorism, violence, and POK. The place has already lost its status of "Swarg - Heaver on the Earth" or "Switzerland of India". But what was the situation of Kashmir before British rule or even before that? Slowly that history is eroding from our mind. Ashish Kaul has brought a wonderful character from the pages of the past and shown us a warrior queen of the Kashmir Didda. I didn't think for once to decide whether to review it or not, as I have already made my mind to read it.

Book Blurb
A girl abandoned by her parents. A disabled princess who fights all odds to become the most feared warrior queen. A woman almost forced into Sati by her trusted prime Minister. A mother whose son brands her as a witch. This is the story of Rani Didda, the forgotten Hindu queen of undivided Kashmir. History is often unkind and cruel to women, especially women who wield power. Trampled by Wars and religious crusades, lies hidden the story of a glorious woman who was considered a harbinger of bad times when she was born but went on to become a legendary warriors saviour of Srinagar, the capital city of Kashmir. Didda: the warrior queen of Kashmir is the untold story of a woman’s rise to power during the tenth century. The legend of Didda is entwined with a life of solitary struggles against prejudice and patriarchy. She eventually went on to rule the unified Kashmir encompassing the lohar kingdom and Kashmir for a period of forty-four years, taking it to glorious heights and making it the most powerful kingdom in mediaeval Asia. The foundation laid by Didda helped Kashmir defeat the dreaded warlord Mahmud of ghaznavi twice.
Didda is our central character. She became cripple in her childhood (maybe due to Polio) and became the least favorite/wanted member of her family. In spite of that the fighting spirit of Didda and bravery, intelligence combo in her trait made her pass the sea of problems. After much efforts, she was married off to an addict King of Kashmir. When Didda came to Kashmir she saw a dilapidated kingdom, which needed a kind nurturer. With the help of her husband, she got control over the kingdom. When she lost her husband she revolted against Prime Minister & traditions and got herself out of Sati tradition. From then on she ruled Kashmir with an iron clad till his own son under influence of his wife asked Didda to step down. Read the book to know how she came back to rule and tried to steer the kingdom from a tough time.

The jewel of the story is the way Didda flow from one situation/place/role to another. Each situation demanded different expectations and she fought through them. I found her as a role model for today's women instead of modern ones who think wearing cloth of their choice and behaving like men are women empowering. (But that's a myth.) A must read on women hero from the history of India.

Good points about the book
  • Nice characterizations.
  • Each language usage
  • Moderate in size and length
Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Characterization - 4.5/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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