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Dara Shukoh

Nominated | Book Awards 2020 | English Non-fiction

Dara Shukoh

Author: Avik Chanda
Publisher: Harper Collins India

Award Category: English Non-fiction
About the Book: 

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.


About the Author: 

Avik Chanda holds degrees in economics from Kolkata's Presidency College and the Delhi School of Economics. With two decades of global Big 4 Consulting experience, he is a business adviser, entrepreneur, trainer and a speaker at the Outstanding Speaker's Bureau. He has published two poetry collections, Jokhon Bideshe, in Bengali (Protibhash, 2006) and Footnotes (Shearsman, 2008), besides a novel, Anchor (HarperCollins, 2015). His acclaimed business book, From Command To Empathy: Using EQ in the Age of Disruption (HarperCollins, 2017), co-authored with Suman Ghose, was featured in 2018 in Amazon India's Best Reads, under 'Business, Strategy and Management'. A global soul, Avik divides his time peripatetically between the Middle Ages and the twenty-first century.


Review: 

‘The book we needed – about the man we need.’
– Arun Shourie, Economist, journalist, author and politician, winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award

‘This is a stunning book … Avik Chanda makes Dara Shukoh, the man, come alive and, in an engaging way, makes history come alive too.’
Bibek Debroy, Author and Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister

‘An elegantly written study of the promise and tragedy of a Mughal prince whose vision of India remains relevant to this day.’
Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs, Harvard University

‘A lively account of Dara Shukoh’s tragic life. I was much impressed by the prodigious research that has gone into the study. The book marks an important contribution and deserves a wide readership.’
Richard Eaton, Professor of History, The University of Arizona

‘An engrossing account of the life and thought of Dara Shukoh, who took the Indo-Islamic tradition to a place it had never been.’
Arvind Sharma, Birks Professor in Comparative Religion, McGill University

‘A remarkable work, weaving together evidence, scholarly research, and legend into a sensitive and fascinating narrative. This is in the best tradition of the popular-but-authentic history.’ – Tirthankar Roy, Professor in Economic History, London School of Economics

‘If there was any prince in the Mughal dynasty who needed a sympathetic biographer with a turn for speculation, it is surely Dara Shukoh. Avik Chanda provides us with precisely such a sensitive biography.’
Shireen Moosvi, Professor of History, Aligarh Muslim University

‘A meticulously researched and engrossing account of a tragic figure, who could have changed Mughal history. An important revisitation.’
Navin Chawla, Author, and former Chief Election Commissioner of India

‘The saintly prince has come alive in these pages – an exquisite portrait gracing the sweeping mural of time.’
Kunal Basu, Author of Kalkatta

‘Captures the essence of the poet prince who was beloved by the mystics for his intellect and spiritualism, but alienated from his father’s courtiers because of his arrogance and intellectual disdain.’
Rana Safvi, Author of The Forgotten Cities of Delhi

‘Deft strokes of a biographer-painter’s brush bring alive the tragedy of a multifaceted poet and visionary.’
Chinmoy Guha, Professor, translator, and Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France

“In this book, the author cuts through the myths … to bring to life the enigmatic prince.”
The Indian Express

“A fascinating new history of Dara Shukoh.”
FirstPost

“A lovingly developed biography.”
The Hindu

“A scintillating read.”
Assam Tribune

“Brings the story of this enigmatic and complex Mughal prince to life.”
Asian Age / Deccan Chronicle

“Avik Chanda revisits the Mughal prince and makes him more relevant to contemporary times.”
The Pioneer

“Explores with sympathy and considerable erudition Dara’s experiments with truth.”
The Statesman

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