When I was in school, History was by far my most beloved subject, and I still remember reading about past battles, conquests and empires- all wonderful fodder for an already overactive imagination. The best thing about being a writer is that you can pretty much create the world you want, populate it with characters of your making and then let the story unfold. When I began writing, I always had in the back of my mind that one day, I'd combine my love of History and writing- and this month, the result sees the light of day. My novel, Hindustaan has just been released- and will over December be making its way to your friendly neighbourhood book-shop in India courtesy my publishers Vitasta and Times Book Group, which is marketing it.
In writing Hindustaan, rather than just picking up a historical period to set the story in, I thought I'd have a bit more fun and throw in what is perhaps one of the coolest `what ifs' of Indian history.
What would India be like if it had never been conquered by the British?
Here's a litte bit about Hindustaan to give you a feel of what went into the story:
Till the 17th century, one superpower accounted for almost a quarter of the world’s income- the same share as that of the United States today. That superpower was what we know today as India under the Mughal Empire. Years of internal strife, attacks by Afghan raiders and finally conquest by the British led to the decline and destruction of this mighty empire.
But what if India had never been conquered by the British? What if it remained a mighty and prosperous nation under the rule of the Mughal Empire?
A nation known as Hindustaan.
Dilli, 1857. The Mughal Empire is at the peak of its power and is gearing up to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of its victory over the British, an occasion where the popular Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar is widely expected to announce his successor.
The Empire is thrown into sudden chaos when the Emperor is assassinated and a new regime seizes power in a bloody coup.
In this maelstrom, three unlikely companions find themselves thrown together by fate. Ranveer, a young officer in the elite Mughal cavalry, who is now hunted by the very Empire he served; Theo, a rakish English traveller with a mysterious past and Maya, a beautiful and spirited Princess they rescue.
Together, they embark on a series of dramatic adventures across Hindustaan. A journey that takes them from bloody skirmishes with Afghan raiders, rescue missions in remote forts, joining a coalition of rulers who band together against the new despotic regime to protect their independence, and finally back into the heart of Dilli for a dramatic mission.
The stage is set for a monumental struggle that will decide not just their fate, but that of the whole of Hindustaan.
Just got my first copy and as usual, am flipping through it, looking at the cover, re-reading portions- a dozen or more times a day, and living the best part of being a writer- finally seeing what was an idea in the back of your mind come to life.
While it works it's way to bookstores, anyone interested in Hindustaan could just get it from my publishers' website .
What other `what ifs' in history would you find interesting to have a story set in? Let me know, and I'll add it to the ideas circulating in my head for my next effort in the genre…..
Keep reading, and I'll keep writing…