Deftly weaving the everyday battles of siblings Rattu and Poorie into those of the famed heroes of the past such as Rani Lakshmi bai of Jhansi and Nana Sahib of Kanput to the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Parvati Sharma brings history home to her young readers. Her soldiers don’t come charging onto the pages of her new book, Rattu & Poorie’s Adventures in History; instead they gently pat their horses goodnight and eat ice cream cones with their young friends. And yet, they tell stories of legendary battles where they took extraordinary decisions in a crisis, stood up for what they believed in and refused to be cowed into submission.
Here are the heroes who took Rattu and Poorie on their adventures and the lessons they teach the children:
LAKSHMI BAI AND JHALKARI BAI
Like two sides of a coin, victory and defeat come to each one of us. It is important to celebrate one and learn from the other. Having fought many wars, the courageous Lakshmi bai and Jhalkari bai share this wisdom with the children-
As the horses carried the soldiers, the two sisters and Damodar Rao, back home, Rattu said, ‘Did you fight many wars?’
‘Yes,’ said Lakshmi Bai, ‘lots.’
‘Did you win all of them?’ asked Poorie.
‘Nobody can win all wars,’ said Jhalkari Bai.
NANA SAHIB AND AZIMULLAH KHAN
Azimullah Khan emphasizes the need to stand up to bullies with courage and to never give up without trying –
‘Another way,’ said Azimullah Khan, ‘would be to say we tried.’
‘Trying is not the same as winning,’ said Poorie.
‘Maybe not,’ said Azimullah Khan. ‘But if some big bullies took your ice-cream, wouldn’t you want to try and get it back?’
Poorie thought about it. ‘I suppose so,’ she said.
BAHADUR SHAH ZAFAR
Grampa Ajju and Mughal badshah Zafar reflect on how anger makes us take bad decisions that we tend to regret later-
‘Poor cook,’ said Poorie.
‘Yes,’ said Zafar.
‘It wasn’t really his fault,’ said Rattu.
‘Babur was angry,’ said Ajju. ‘Anger makes you take bad decisions.’
‘Once I stomped on Poorie’s bed,’ said Rattu.
‘Oh, I see,’ said Zafar. ‘Did you take your shoes off?’
‘No,’ said Rattu. ‘I made a muddy mess.’
‘Well,’ said Zafar, ‘better stomp on beds than heads!’
‘Did you make bad decisions?’ said Poorie.
‘I suppose I did,’ said Zafar. ‘And I certainly had my share of foes!’
Vividly illustrated and peppered with engaging dialogues, Parvati Sharma presents to children a slice of history along with a lesson in life. Read Rattu and Poorie’s Adventures in History.