Breaking stereotypes in history

Manu S. Pillai during an interaction in the city. H. Vibhu  

Manu S. Pillai, author of The Ivory Throne: Chronicle of the House of Travancore, said here on Monday that stereotypes did not do justice to the former princely states of India. Speaking about his latest book False Allies: India’s Maharajahs in the Age of Ravi Varma, he said histories of Indian princely states are complicated involving local politics, and each state had a different story.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a talk on the book at St. Teresa’s College in the city.

His latest book speaks of ‘false allies’. He said the British perceived the former princely states as being partners or supporters of colonial rule. However, they often secretly and sometimes openly supported the freedom struggle. These princely states helped the formation of the nationalist movement. He said the rulers supported and funded the Congress party, which was at the forefront of the freedom struggle.

The rulers of the princely states are more than the pictures of dancing girls and elephants, he said, emphasising the role they played in the freedom struggle and modernisation of the country.

He pointed out that T. Madhava Rao, Diwan of Travancore, took initiatives to rule the state better than the British to make a moral point over the claimed superiority of the rulers. The new book deals, among others, with princely states like Puthukottai, Baroda, Mysore and Udaipur.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 1:17:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/breaking-stereotypes-in-history/article37875892.ece

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