The heart of the riddle

THE IVORY THRONE: CHRONICLES OF THE HOUSE OF TRAVANCORE (HarperCollins, Rs 699) by Manu S. Pillai focuses on the life and works of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (picture), the last queen of the House of Travancore. The author also speaks of other members of the Travancore royal family. The book is a meticulously researched account spanning five generations and three centuries. The author successfully captures the power struggle that existed within the royal family. Lakshmi Bayi is the granddaughter of the artist, Raja Ravi Verma. Pillai portrays her as a simple woman who puts in a tremendous effort to carry out her royal duties diligently while staying abreast of palace politics. The other maharani, Sethu Parvathi Bayi, is not afraid of flouting rules and traditions. The book gives the impression that the author wants to make a comparative study of the two queens, with Parvathi Bayi being presented as bad and Lakshmi Bayi as good.

Pillai also comments on the culture that existed at the beginning of the 20th century in the princely state, which maintained cordial relations with the colonial rulers. The book makes for a gripping historical account in which Lakshmi Bayi tries to carry out her royal duties with dignity, her powerful husband, Rama Verma, controls everything from behind the scenes, and Parvathi Bayi tries to ensure that her son inherits the crown.

Source: The Telegraph

%d bloggers like this: