The Peshwa is another story about the brave and skilled Peshwa, Bajirao. He is said to have been praised as one of the greatest cavalry generals India has produced by an English General and while he is known for his expansion of the Maratha reign to the north, he is even more known for his love affair with the famous (or infamous) Masthani.
Now love is all well and good but that’s not interesting to me. What is interesting to me is reading about a powerful Peshwa, a man who wasn’t supposed to be a warrior, plan and excel better than most other at something he was probably not expected to do well. And by god this book delivered on that front. The book follows Bajirao and his father, Balaji Vishvanath, as they recover from a scarring defeat by the Mughals, gather up their wits and make the Maratha empire a formidable power again.
There aren’t many spoilers in this book since most of us have already heard of Bajirao and know of his life, however briefly, but it also follows his marriage to the lovely Kashibai and what a brat he really was. Naturally, however real the person may be the story is a work of fiction as the author himself says in this post of goodreads and must be taken as such. Despite knowing that I had a hard time separating fact from fiction and this is where the book scores a massive win.
Another place where the author excels is the pacing. While it was all very slow, it was evenly slow and not rushed in places and dragging in places. He gives the right amount of time to the right amount of events and while it did deviate into philosophy and unnecessary tangents here and there, those were well paced too. I wonder if the author, Ram Sivasankaran, was inspired by books like Ponniyan Selvan because this style seems so slow and deliberate (I mean that as a compliment) that it felt like an old school book. Especially the style of stopping the story to give a paragraph of philosophy.
The story follows Bajirao as he learns about warfare, people and philosophy from his extremely intelligent and hands on father. He watches as attempts are made on his father’s life and as his father is challenged by jealous people in court. The relationship, as shown, between them is very heartwarming as is the relationship shown between him and Kashibai. This book sort of in Bajirao before Masthani, and while most people only want to read about the romance, please pick this up too. It’s worth the effort.
Damn I enjoyed this book. A lot. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much, especially after reading the recently released English translation of Rao (i thought it would be the same story). But this was such an interesting read, well planned and well thought out. While the author’s language does falter in certain places, becoming too formal or changing into Indian English, he makes up for it with the actual story.
This is a tale that will make you rise with patriotism and courage (I’m not even Marathi and I felt patriotism!) and it feels like that’s what it aims to do. It’s hard to find fault with this book. It’s sort of that kind of book that isn’t the next big thing but shows off the author’s skills and promise in a quiet way. This may not be a decadent lasagne but it is a warm soup on a cold winter’s day. I shall look forward to anything else the author releases in the future.
It is the 18th century and despite the dominant Mughal rule, the Maratha Confederacy has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Indian Subcontinent. The fragile peace between the two powers is threatened when Balaji Vishvanath Bhat, Peshwa of the Confederacy, foils the plans of Nizam Ul Mulk of the Mughal Empire, and asserts the power of the Marathas. However, little does the Peshwa know that he has dealt the Nizam an unintended wound—one with roots in his mysterious past and one that he would seek to avenge till his last breath. When the Peshwa surrenders his life to a terminal illness dark clouds gather over the Confederacy as it is threatened by a Mughal invasion as well as an internal rebellion. All the while a passive spectator, the Peshwa’s son, Bajirao Bhat, now needs to rise beyond the grief of his father’s passing, his scant military and administrative experience, and his intense love for his wife and newborn son to rescue everything he holds dear.
I received this as part of the WritersMelon book review program. Learn more about it by clicking this link.