Book Review: The Bearded Prince by Rajesh Talwar
Although this novel is set in ancient times, The Bearded Prince tells the story of a young woman who is intelligent, sophisticated, talented, and independent. I enjoyed learning about Indian traditions from long ago, and how the main character, Princess Roopali, was able to chose her Prince Charming, which is just the opposite of the classic Cinderella story. Princess Roopali and her parents, the king and queen of Fadidad, hold a swayamvara and invite all the princes, near and far. The event ends at sunset, and by then the princess must meet each prince and decide which one should be her mate. Unable to do this, she is given 24 additional hours to make up her mind. Princess Roopali is an accomplished painter, and sees the world through her artistic vision. When at last the time comes to announce her decision, the princess is able to chose her mate because of her vision. The story was beautifully written and very entertaining. Author Rajesh Talwar did an amazing job of transporting me back through time, and Princess Roopali was endearing. I’m looking forward to reading other titles by this author.
Side note: I loved the author’s references to beards as growing plants, like “facial foliage” and “sprouts a beard.”
After much persuasion, Princess Roopali, ‘the beautiful one’, agrees to have a swayamvara. This is an ancient Indian ceremony in which an unmarried girl who has come of age chooses a husband from among several suitors. According to the tradition, at the end of the ceremony, the princess is required to place a marigold garland around the neck of the prince she has decided to marry. She is happy to meet with all the princes who will attend the ceremony, and are keen to be chosen by her. She explains to her parents, the king and queen that she does not, however, wish to meet anyone with a beard. Over the past few years there have been a string of armed robberies by a gang of tough-looking bearded thugs. The princess has come to dislike beards. Her father, the king, explains to her that it would be discourteous for them not to extend an invitation to any eligible prince, but he would be surprised if any of them still sported a beard. Will Princess Roopali find the prince of her dreams? A delightful tale set in Ancient India the story provides a window into an exotic culture and will appeal to children from all age groups – particularly those from the ages of five to one hundred.
About the Author
Rajesh Talwar studied at the University of Nottingham after going to the UK on a British Chevening scholarship in 1996. He received his LL.M in Human Rights Law. He has also participated in a programme on Negotiation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and received a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. He began working for the United Nations in various capacities. His work with the U.N. took him to places such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, Somalia and Liberia.
Talwar’s career in writing includes writing on different subjects for major media outlets including The Guardian, The Economic Times, The Sunday Mail, and The Pioneer. He has also published books on the topic of law, addressing law reform as well as trying to demystify the subject such as in ‘How to Choose a Lawyer – and Win Your Case.’
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