When Coorg's Gowramma captivated Queen Victoria

April 21, 2010 04:05 pm | Updated 04:05 pm IST - Bangalore:

BANGALORE - 20.04.2010 :  Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy releasing the book 'Victoria Gowramma - The Lost Princess of Coorg' by C P Belliappa (R), at British Council in Bangalore on April 20, 2010.    Photo K Murali Kumar.

BANGALORE - 20.04.2010 : Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy releasing the book 'Victoria Gowramma - The Lost Princess of Coorg' by C P Belliappa (R), at British Council in Bangalore on April 20, 2010. Photo K Murali Kumar.

“The British used Christianity as a tool. They were, of course, very cunning about it,” said litterateur U.R. Ananthamurthy.

He was speaking after releasing C.P. Belliappa's “Victoria Gowramma: The Lost Princess of Coorg”, here on Tuesday.

Prof. Ananthamurthy said he had read the book twice and recommended it to friends. “What I like about Mr. Belliappa's book is that he has effortlessly fictionalised history to make it readable through an excellent narrative style. There is a subtle comment which runs through it about how the British and Indians used each other. The winner, of course, was the British,” he said.

Queen's concern

He remarked that the book also makes one think about whether the British rule in India was inevitable or if history was on their side. “The merit of the book is that it shows how Queen Victoria was genuinely concerned and fond of Gowramma,” he pointed out.

Speaking about his book, Mr. Belliappa said that in 1852, the exiled raja of Coorg and his 11-year-old daughter Gowramma went to Britain. “They spent the rest of their lives there. Gowramma embraced Christianity and Queen Victoria even lent her her name. The Queen took a lot of interest in her and wanted Maharaja Duleep Singh of Punjab, another exiled king, to marry Gowramma. The intension was to popularise Christianity in India, as both Gowramma and Duleep Singh embraced Christianity,” he said.

Former Minister M.P. Prakash was present.

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