Book Reviews,  Rupa Publishers

Book Review: Sayajirao Gaekwad III: The Maharaja of Baroda by Uma B.

Sayajirao Gaekwad III: The Maharaja of Baroda
Uma Balasubramaniam
Rupa Publishers
Rating: 4

The people of Baroda like to call their city as the ‘Sanskari Nagari’ or Cultured City because the city does have deep and rich cultural traditions. Owing to the resilient and persistent efforts of the late ruler Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the city now occupies an important place on the Indian map. The era when the Maharaja ruled Baroda, the city witnessed significant socio-economic reforms and their implementation. As a result, Baroda soon became an educational, industrial and commercial centre.

Not only did Sayajirao Gaekwad III initiate the development of this city but also contributed to the freedom struggle of India. Though the History textbooks do not mention about this great ruler, Uma Balasubramaniam ji, through this book, leaves no stone unturned in bringing forth a story of grit, determination and love for the country. An exemplar of altruism, Sayajirao Maharaj always thought about his subjects. A victim of fate, he decided to turn all odds in his favour when he decided to train and impart the same values to his grandson. The values of honesty, integrity, dedication, empathy and responsibility run in the entire family line. Hence, the development of the city hasn’t stopped even now. Today, the royal family makes sure that people lead a comfortable life and therefore, they work to serve the interests of those people.

Written deftly following 18 months of rigorous research, this massive biography of Sayajirao Gaekwad is an absolute gem. The author throws light on the struggles that were involved in the management of the empire and also makes the readers aware of the decision-making qualities of the royal family. Even till date, Radhika Raje, the daughter-in-law of Shubhangini Raje, works with the aim of uplifting the subjugated. What I realised reading about Sayajirao Maharaj was that unlike other power-hungry rulers who were led by god-complex, Sayajirao Gaekwad III was led by a vision and fortunately, his descendants too, didn’t let that vision fade.

The language of the book is simple and the facts straight. At nearly 500 pages, Uma ji delivers a deeply-researched, everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know biography that will definitely cater to all the History lovers. However, if the thickness of the book scares the living daylights out of you, this book might just end up gathering dust on your bookshelf. I am glad I got a chance to read this book.

Buying link: Amazon

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