Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King by Avik Chanda | Book Review

Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King by Avik Chanda has been recently published by Harper Collins India.


Dara Shukoh – the emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite son, and heir-apparent to the Mughal throne prior to being defeated by Aurangzib – has sometimes been portrayed as an effete prince, incompetent in military and administrative matters. But his tolerance towards other faiths, and the myths and anecdotes surrounding him, continue to fuel the popular imagination. Even today, over 350 years after his death, the debate rages on: if this ‘good’ Mughal had ascended the throne instead of his pugnacious younger brother, how would that have changed the course of Indian history?

Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King brings to life the story of this enigmatic Mughal prince. Rich in historical detail and psychological insight, it brilliantly recreates a bygone age, and presents an empathetic and engaging portrait of the crown prince who was, in many ways, clearly ahead of his times.

My Take:

Author Avik Chanda, with his latest work Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King has opened the doors to the life of the elusive prince. While rooted in facts and extensive research, the life and times of the prince have been brought to life through the beautiful storytelling of Avik Chanda. The unique writing style of the author makes reading Dara Shukoh an immersive experience. The readers get an opportunity to step into the world of the Mughal empire, the regal opulence, and the politics of the time.

The book endeavors to slake the curiosity that has always seemed to surround Dara Shukhoh, the heir apparent, the man who was supposed to be the king and those around him.  Through the seamless transition of point of views, the author presents a fascinating insight into the psyche of the dramatis personae and the socio-political milieu of the time. To help provide context to the reader, the book also has a detailed dramatis personae, a chronology of all the relevant events and a glossary to help navigate through the vernacular.

When considering context, it is important to appreciate the inclusion of arts of the time. It is a nod towards Dara Shukoh’s love for art and culture. The portraits and poetry provide a significant perspective on the historical journey created by Avik Chanda in  Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King. 

Overall it is an intriguing and informative read, and definitely not what you would expect going in.

Thank you for reading the review!

I would like to thank the author Avik Chanda for sending Bookish Brat a copy of Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King. It was an absolute pleasure to read it! If you would like to know more about his previous book, head on over to: From Command to Empathy


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Happy reading!

Bookish Brat

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7 Responses

  1. DJ Sakata says:

    Excellent reviewing, no brat behaviors noted – you may have to change your name 😉

  2. Kathy West says:

    Looks like a really interesting book.

  3. Great review I’m glad you enjoyed reading this book it really does looks and sounds like an very intriguing book. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

  4. This book and author are new to me, thank you for putting on my radar!

  5. Great review, I love informative reads. Not familiar with this book though so I will have to check it out.

  6. So glad that you found this book enjoyable.

  7. vidya says:

    Oh.. It has been a while since I heard this name – Dara Shukoh.. and I was awed by him when I first of him in my history textbook years ago.. I think I am going to check this one out..

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