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In his latest book, Manu Pillai breaks down the common misconceptions which have shrouded the maharajas of India, as he traces iconic painter Raja Ravi Varma’s travels between 1860s and 1900s. An oft-overlooked side effect of colonialism was the speed at which it propagated the notion that India’s princes were merely ceremonial heads who were largely swayed by the British Raj. This idea is broken down systematically and effectively in Manu Pillai’s upcoming book where he offers readers a different perspective – one where the princes of India do not come across as the pushovers that the colonisers made them out to be. These princes were educated men, with deep insights into ideas like nationalism and industrialisation, who actively challenged the British Raj in their own ways.
A winner of the 2017 Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, Manu Pillai’s critically acclaimed essays and writings – based on different periods in history – has made him one of the most refreshingly honest voices in contemporary Indian writing. He is best known for works like The Ivory Throne and The Rebel Sultans.
You can now pre-book his upcoming book False Allies, which is set to release on September 24, 2021 and promises to carry forward his trademark candid voice as he walks readers down the lesser known lanes of Indian history.
- Upasya Bhowal