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The Princess and the Political Agent

The Princess and the Political Agent

Binodini Devi
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The Manipuri writer Binodini’s Sahitya Akademi Award-winning historical novel The Princess and the Political Agent tells the love story of her aunt Princess Sanatombi and Lt. Col. Henry P. Maxwell, the British representative in the subjugated Tibeto-Burman kingdom of Manipur. A poignant story of love and fealty, treachery and valour, it is set in the midst of the imperialist intrigues of the British Raj, the glory of kings, warring princes, clever queens and loyal retainers. Reviving front-page global headlines of the day, Binodini’s perspective is from the vanquished by love and war, and the humbling of a proud kingdom. Its sorrows and empathy sparkle with wit and beauty, as it deftly dissects the build-up and aftermath of the perfidy of the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891. Binodini is the supreme stylist of contemporary Manipuri literature and an icon of Manipuri modernism, and her tale of a forbidden love and ostracism vividly brings to life the court and manners of a little-known Asian kingdom. In doing so, she recovers its little-known history, its untold relations with India and Great Britain, and a forgotten chapter of the British Raj.

Imprint: India Penguin Modern Classics

Published: Jul/2020

ISBN: 9780143446514

Length : 344 Pages

MRP : ₹399.00

The Princess and the Political Agent

Binodini Devi

The Manipuri writer Binodini’s Sahitya Akademi Award-winning historical novel The Princess and the Political Agent tells the love story of her aunt Princess Sanatombi and Lt. Col. Henry P. Maxwell, the British representative in the subjugated Tibeto-Burman kingdom of Manipur. A poignant story of love and fealty, treachery and valour, it is set in the midst of the imperialist intrigues of the British Raj, the glory of kings, warring princes, clever queens and loyal retainers. Reviving front-page global headlines of the day, Binodini’s perspective is from the vanquished by love and war, and the humbling of a proud kingdom. Its sorrows and empathy sparkle with wit and beauty, as it deftly dissects the build-up and aftermath of the perfidy of the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891. Binodini is the supreme stylist of contemporary Manipuri literature and an icon of Manipuri modernism, and her tale of a forbidden love and ostracism vividly brings to life the court and manners of a little-known Asian kingdom. In doing so, she recovers its little-known history, its untold relations with India and Great Britain, and a forgotten chapter of the British Raj.

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Binodini Devi

MAHARAJ KUMARI BINODINI DEVI (1922-2011) was an award-winning writer from Manipur, in North-east India. She was the youngest daughter of Maharaja Sir Churachand Singh of the erstwhile kingdom of Manipur and his queen Maharani Dhanamanjuri Devi. Besides her Sahitya Akademi Award-winning Boro Saheb Ongbi Sanatombi (The Princess and the Political Agent), she wrote short stories, radio plays, dance dramas, essays and song lyrics. She wrote original film scripts for features and documentary films and adapted several of her works into screenplays for films like My Son, My Precious (1981) and Ishanou (1990) that premiered internationally at Cannes and the Museum of Modern Art. She was also a translator of Bangla literature and a sculptor who studied at Santiniketan. She held political office and used her writing for environmental, civil and women's causes. She was the founder of LEIKOL, the Manipuri women writer's collective and a founding member and president of Roop Raag, an arts organization of Manipur.

L. SOMI ROY is the translator of his mother Binodini's works from their original Manipuri. He is the founder of Imasi: The Maharaj Kumari Binodini Devi Foundation in Imphal. A film curator from out of New York, he has curated for US institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art and Asia Society. He has written on film, theatre and photography for Artforum, Drama Review, the British Film Institute and International Documentary Association. He has given talks at the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian,
Harvard University and the Royal Asiatic Society of London, and has taught at New York University and Manhattan Marymount College. His translations of Binodini include Crimson Rainclouds (2012) and The Maharaja's Household: A Daughter's Memories of Her Father (2015). He is a promoter of international polo in Manipur and works for the preservation of the Manipuri pony.

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