Hyderabad – A liberation? A tragedy? The result of the Ironman’s will and Nehru’s vision to build a nation? The daydreams of a Nizam? The diplomatic strategies of Nehru and Dickie? Dreams of a Communist revolution? The common people’s struggles and sacrifices for land and a fistful of grain? But everything finally ends with a never-ending, silent violence on women’s bodies in the formation of a state. This is well-researched history woven as a thrilling novel by a terrific novelist, Manreet Sodhi Someshwar.’ – Says Volga, author of Vimukta Kadha Samputi
Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is a bestselling author of eight books, including the award-winning The Radiance of a Thousand Suns and the critically acclaimed The Long Walk Home. Hailed as ‘a star on the literary horizon’ by Khushwant Singh and garnering endorsements from Gulzar for two of her books, Manreet and her work have featured at numerous literary festivals. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the South China Morning Post, and several Indian publications. Manreet lives in New York City with her husband, daughter and cat.
Her book ‘Hyderabad’ second in the partition trilogy brings to life the tense negotiations to bring one of the wealthiest Indian kingdoms into the fold of the Indian state during the rearrangement of states that followed India’s independence and partition. From jewel-leaden trucks to reckless aviators on stealth missions, to Communists clashing with the Razakars, Manreet’s book is a breathless glimpse into an epochal era, says Prema Govindan, Senior Commissioning Editor – Literary, HarperCollins Publishers India. “On the 75th anniversary of the transfer of power from the Nizam to the Indian government, we are excited to present Manreet’s second book of The Partition Trilogy to our readers.”
At a time when there is ongoing politics on whether to call September 17 The Day of LIberation or National Integration Day – Manreet Sodhi’s book ‘Hyderabad’ gains relevance.
Author Manreet Sodhi Someshwar says, ‘In the riverine border town where I grew up, Lahore had been left behind on the other side of the Sutlej in 1947. But it remained in my town’s countless tales with the same denouement: Partition. All my writing has been an attempt to bring to paper stories I grew up with, stories that spoke of an undivided land and time, stories that I didn’t find in books I read. The Partition Trilogy is the culmination of a two-decade quest to research and write about a cataclysm at the margins of our collective memory, yet wholly resonant with our times. Whilst Lahore, Book 1 of The Partition Trilogy, is set in the months leading up to independence, in Hyderabad, Book 2, I uncover the forgotten story of how the largest Princely State became a part of India – not on 15 August 1947, but a year later, through annexation via a ‘Police Operation’! It’s a pulse-pounding story in which the Nizam of Hyderabad, beset by a terrible prophecy, manoeuvres for freedom amidst mounting violence, palace intrigue, weapons smuggling, and a raging Communist rebellion that threatens a newly-independent India and the princely state alike. I’m excited that this is my fifth book with HarperCollins India, who continue to be great partners in my writing journey.’
Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, is the Nizam of Hyderabad, the largest Princely State of the Crown. It sits in the belly of newly independent India to which Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel want Hyderabad to accede. The Communists have concurrently
mounted a state-wide rebellion.
But the Nizam’s family has ruled Hyderabad for 200 years. As the wealthiest man in the world, whom the British consider numero uno amongst India’s princes, he will not deal with two-penny Indian politicians! An ancient prophecy, however, hangs over the Nizam –
the Asaf Jahi dynasty will last only seven generations. So, he keeps his jewel-laden trucks ready for flight even as he schemes with his army of militant Razakars.
Meanwhile, in the palace thick with intrigue, the maid Uzma must decide where her loyalties lie: with the peasantry or the Nizam. Among the Communist recruits, Jaabili finds love in unexpected quarters. Violence escalates and lawlessness mounts. Caught between a volatile Nizam and a resolute India, what price will Hyderabad pay?