Indian history has for long been politicised. But beyond hackneyed narratives and mainstream tales lies a wealth of information, packed with fascinating stories that have sadly been forgotten.
In his book The Courtesan, the Mahatma, and the Italian Brahmin, Manu S Pillai covers many such tales–of a goddess with three breasts, and a woman with none; of a courtesan who became a warrior, and another who sang for the gramaphone–while in Rebel Sultans he introduces us to the remarkable, eclectic universe that was the early modern Deccan. We learn of Hindu Sultans here, as we do of Muslim rulers who worshiped Hindu gods. We hear of cow-headed angels, just as we do of tantric goddesses in Islamic texts. A free-flowing discussion on these forgotten aspects of our rich heritage, this evening will be all about Deccan history and gems from India’s larger past, reminding us that the story of India has many layers and exquisite diversity, and is not a matter of black and white.
Manu S. Pillai, Author
Manu S Pillai is the author of the critically acclaimed The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore (2015) and Rebel Sultans: The Deccan from Khilji to Shivaji (2018). Formerly chief of staff to Shashi Tharoor MP, he is also a winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar (2017). His other essays and writings have appeared in Mint Lounge, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Open Magazine, The New Statesman, and other publications. The Courtesan, the Mahatma & the Italian Brahmin is Manu’s third book, and a collection of essays on Indian history.