The Peacock Throne by Sujit Saraf

The Peacock Throne by Sujit Saraf

“What you do not see is the most important seat in the empire of Hindustan,” he says.
“That is where the Peacock Throne stood. Thousand of diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds, watched over by two peacocks. Enough to build entire cities, equal to the revenue from entire provinces!”
“Where is it now?” she asks.
“All over the world. Persia. England. Who knows? It still stands here and everyone wants to mount it. The prime minister, the chief minister, ministers, MPs, MLAs, councillors, Naresh Agrawal, Harilal, Sohan Lal, Parvati, every whore and every chaivala in Chandni Chowk.
He who sits on the Peacock Throne
rules the empire of Hindustan.”

October 31, 1984 begins like any other day for Gopal Pandey as he sets up his tea stall in a lane off Chandni Chowk – the most magnificent and crowded street in all Delhi. At its head lies Red Fort, once the home of the gem-encrusted Peacock Throne, symbol of the Mughal Empire’s dazzling might, and of its downfall. By the end of the day, Indira Gandhi has been assassinated, violent riots have erupted and Gopal is the bemused possessor of a large sum of money.

Fourteen turbulent years and four dramatic turning points in Indian history later, this illiterate, bumbling man stands on the verge of immense political power. Gopal’s unlikely journey is a tale of accidents, scheming, murder and tragedy, religious and political rivalries, corruption and hubris.

Irreverent, farcical and as enlightening as it is entertaining, The Peacock Throne, is a novel of breathtaking scope and reach, which looks deep into the heart of human nature and into the soul of modern India.

Sujit Saraf was born in India in 1969. He was educated in Darjeeling and Delhi, and graduated as an engineer from IIT in 1991. He subsequently studied at Berkely, receiving a PhD in 1997. His first novel, Limbo, was published by HarperCollins India in 1994 and in 1995 he co-founded the theatre company, Naatak, for which he has written and directed plays as well as two feature films. In 1999, after two years of conducting research for NASA, he moved back to India to teach at IITT, but a year later returned to the United States. He currently works as a research scientist on space missions and satellite control, and lives with his wife and daughter in San Jose, California

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