'I am Rani Jindan, Mother of the Khalsa. That is my identity. That is my fate.'
While we have all heard tales of Rani Lakshmi Bai and Padmavati, not many of us are familiar with another Indian queen.
Daughter of the royal kennel keeper, the beautiful Jindan Kaur went on to become Maharaja Ranjit Singh's youngest and last queen; his favourite. She became regent when her son Dalip, barely six years old, unexpectedly inherited the throne. Sharp-eyed, stubborn, passionate, and dedicated to protecting her son's heritage, Jindan distrusted the British and fought hard to keep them from annexing Punjab. Defying tradition, she stepped out of the zenana, cast aside the veil and conducted state business in public. Addressing her Khalsa troops herself, she inspired her men in two wars against the 'firangs'. Her power and influence were so formidable that the British, fearing an uprising, robbed the rebel queen of everything she had, including her son. She was imprisoned and exiled. But that did not crush her indomitable will.
An exquisite love story of a king and a commoner, a cautionary tale about loyalty and betrayal, and a powerful parable of the indestructible bond between mother and child, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's unforgettable novel brings alive one of the most fearless women of the nineteenth century, an inspiration for our times.'A fascinating story... Fast-paced and a quick read, [The Last Queen] manages to capture Rani Jindal's character and indomitable spirit quite well. Banerjee Divakaruni's magic with words and exceptional storytelling skills shine through her writing.'
Times of India
'A stunning and moving reimagining of the life of one of the most remarkable women in Indian history. In The Last Queen, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is writing at the very top of her game.'
'In The Last Queen, Chitra [Banerjee Divakaruni] has written an unforgettable story about the fearless much-feared queen whom history seems to have forgotten. Jindan is heroic. Her strength and spirit are a lesson for us.'
'A story of politics, nostalgia and courage, The Last Queen retrieves Rani Jindan from the forgotten annals of history.'
'The greatest victory of The Last Queen is perhaps that it leaves the reader eager to know more about the real life of this royal rarely spoken of outside the kingdom she called home. There are forgotten histories that need to be known widely, and Rani Jindan‰۪s is undoubtedly one of them. In the absence of a definitive biography, Banerjee Divakaruni‰۪s novel seems like an apt place to start.'