Author: Partha Chatterjee
Publisher: Permanent Black
ISBN/UPC (if available): 817824084X
Now in paperback edition, this extraordinary book represents an immensely valuable addition to the literature on South Asia. Richly documented, absorbingly developed, and beautifully written, this is narrative of the highest order.
In 1921, a half-naked sannyasi appears in Dhaka and is identified as a hunting-shooting-womanising zamindar-the Second Kumar of Bhawal-who was believed to have died in Darjeeling twelve years earlier. This fakir is persuaded to visit his estate, where he is interrogated. He is disowned as an impostor by his widow, but his sisters swear he is their long-lost brother.
Now begins a legal battle in which the sannyasi seeks to prove his identity while others seek to destroy his claims. Soon the whole of British India is divided on the identity of the sannyasi, and indeed on what constitutes identity-specially in relation to a man back from the dead.
This book tells the incredible story of the prince as pauper, of pauper as resurrected prince. Chatterjee’s retelling of the notorious Bhawal Sannyasi Case-one of India’s best-known and most historic legal battles-is joint winner of the Rabindra Purushkar.
This extraordinary book represents an immensely valuable addition to the literature on South Asia. It will have great influence both within and outside of the academy and will soon be regarded as a classic.
Richly documented, absorbingly developed, and beautifully written, this is narrative of the highest order.
-Supriya Chaudhuri in The Hindu
One of those rare recent books of Indian history which holds the reader’s attention from start to finish.
-Sanjay Subrahmanyam in Outlook
Around this real life story…Chatterjee has woven a fabulous narrative.
-Sumanta Banerjee in Indian Express
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
The Facts of the Matter
An Estate Called Bhawal
On Hunting and Other Sports
What Happened in Darjeeling?
First Brush with the Law
The House on Lansdowne Road
A Fondness for Miracles
The Identity Puzzle
The Trial Begins
Darjeeling: The Plaintiff’s Case
Experts on Recognition
For the Defense
To London and Back