TRIPTI PANDEY is a well-known name in the field of tourism, culture and travel writing. Often termed as Rajasthan's cultural ambassador, she has been a pioneer in researching and presenting living heritage. With her innovative approach, she has set many a milestone creating international events like the Desert Festival, Jaisalmer. Her books on heritage include Where Silence Sings, Rajasthan's Silver Jewellery, Pushkar: Colours of the Indian Mystique and India's Elephants: A Cultural Legacy. She is a recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Gold Cross of the President of Austria and the Maharaja Bishan Singh Award of the Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust, Jaipur. Connect with her on Instagram, @triptipandey1.
Among the rulers of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jagat's name is taken with contempt, because of his affair with a tawaif, or courtesan, Raskapoor, the daughter of a Muslim mother and a Brahmin father. The Maharaja defied all norms and bestowed upon her the title of 'Half Empress'. With little experience, Raskapoor resiliently navigated her way through the cobwebs of the royal life. But, pitched against a fleet of plotters in an atmosphere filled with deceit, she finally fell into their trap and was imprisoned. There are many stories about how her life ended-the compassionate prison chief allowed her to flee or she flung herself on to the pyre of Jagat Singh. But today, she is best remembered by the guides who routinely mention her as a celebrity prisoner at the famous Nahargarh Fort.
In her historical novel The Half Empress, Tripti Pandey transports the reader to the royal corridors of nineteenth-century Jaipur and brings to life the story of a formidable woman who has been deliberately omitted from history.