Author: Mahasweta Devi
Publisher: Seagull Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170461756
Mahasewta Devi's first book, it traces the history of growing resistance to the British which came to a head with the 1857 uprisings.
The Queen of Jhansi remains one of India's most important historical figures, a legendary heroine who led her troops against the British in the uprising of 1857, now widely described as the first Indian War f Independence. Oral tales and songs about her abound, glorifying the image of a spirited young woman warrior who died on the battlefield but lives on in the minds of an entire people.
This image of the warrior queen captured the imagination of Mahasweta Devi who, almost 50 years ago, was herself a young woman writer just beginning a career. Fascinated by the personality of Lakshmibai of Jhansi and frustrated at finding almost no written material on her, she took off on a journey that revisited the mental and geographical landscape of those stirring times. Her research encompassed family reminiscence, oral literature, people's histories, as well as the more traditional sources of British and Indian historians. From these she wove together a very personal history of a heroine the more conventional historians had chosen to ignore - an unusual woman, widowed at an early age, who grew from a free-spirited child into an independent young leader.
Sagaree Sengupta teaches South Asian languages and literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has translated several works from Hindi and Urdu into English. She has collaborated on this translation with her mother, Mandira Sengupta, an artist who maintains an active interest in her native Bengali literature despite her long residence abroad.