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Books > Performing Arts > The Legend of Amrapali (An enchanting saga buried within the sands of time)
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The Legend of Amrapali (An enchanting saga buried within the sands of time)
The Legend of Amrapali (An enchanting saga buried within the sands of time)
Description
Back of the Book

Amrapali is potentially a wonderful subject for a book…

A fascinating enigma of godly grace and captivating charm, A contrasting medley of motherly tenderness and ruthless acumen, A danseuse with the elegance and poise of the divine Apsaras, And yet, just a humble girl brimming with dreams, hopes and desires was..

Aryavart (around 500 B.C.) was a land of many prosperous kingdoms and among the most prominent of them was the Vajji Confederacy one of the first democratic republics known to mankind. Vaishali, the capital of the Confederacy and that of the illustrious Lichchavis was not only a center of commerce and political activity but also the blessed motherland of Amrapali.

The Legend of Amrapali is the story of mayhem and turmoil brought about by the obstinate desires of one man-a man blinded by the intoxication of power. It is a story of sinister plots and political wizardry, of chaste love and unbridled passion, of naked ambitions and dogged loyalties that lead to the transformation of an innocent young girl into one of the most revered, even worshipped, and occasionally feared personalities of her times.

A gripping cocktail of fantasy, fiction, fable and history that retains its charismatic appeal through the centuries gone by!

 

About the author

Anurag Anand is a Banking Professional from the city of dreams, Mumbai. His passion for writing is an offshoot of one of his favorite pastimes- cuddling up with an interesting book and embarking on a voyage of fantasy, severing all ties with the world around.

 

Author Note

The human memory, much like the editorial staff of a renowned publication house, is a necessarily evil, proudly brandishing its sharp blades and scissors, pruning the occurrences and information relegated to its attic. While the cherished and happy moments and the bitter ones with disturbing intensity manage to seep through this filter with relative ease, there are numerous mundane and inconsequential underlying episodes that often get lost in transit. And when the memory in question is not that of an individual whereas a collective one for the entire society, such omissions are expectedly more widespread.

One such fable that continues to echo within the walls of numerous households lining up the Ganga basin, the most populated river basin in the world, is that of Amrapali-the Nagarvadhu or Courtesan of the illustrious kingdom of Vaishali. Amrapali, it is said, was one of the most exquisite creations of the almighty to have dwelled on earth – a divine beauty whose glories transcended much beyond the frontiers of Aryavart.

The longing for her companionship was such that it brought numerous young nobles of Vaishali, her suitors, at loggerheads with each other. It was to prevent the probable consequentiality of bloodshed that saw her being adorned with the title of the Nagarvadhu –literally meaning, ‘ the bride of the city’. The price for witnessing her dance performance for an evening was exorbitant, way beyond the purse strings of the commoners, but the resolution worked in appeasing those who mattered-the influential nobles, landlords and merchants. Amrapali was no longer a lamp illuminating the confines of any one room but the pervasive sun whose rays touched every life, in this case of those who could afford the price.

Thought the elite rejoiced, unraveling the enigma of her beauty and dancing prowess, she ensured that she reached out to the masses through her benevolence and compassion. Her acts for the general good of society-construction of schools, temples, roads and digging of wells are still spoken about with no mean degree of reverence. To the general populace she was an image of motherly kindheartedness who would scale great heights to rid them of their difficulties. Her discreet but enveloping tenderness had woven an invisible web even around those who had not intended to be among her patrons. A testimony of Amrapl’s influence among the citizenry is the fact that even the names of the Lichchavi rulers from her time fizzled out from public memory and now remain untraceable even in the accounts of history.

Though tales and accounts of her magnanimity, compassion, kindness and even of her splendor and magnificence are galore and can be heard as lullabies or as proud reminiscences of past glories among the habitants of the Gangetic plains, the real story of Amrapali seems to have eroded from their memories along the centuries gone by. Subjugated to the overpowering aura of Amrapali-the Nagarvadhu, Amrapali-the girl, seems to have been forgotten, leaving behind a barrage of unanswered questions.

Was it such a simple choice for her to adorn the title of Nagarvadhu and agreeably invite the voyeuristic gaze of lusty eyes upon her, evening after evening? Or, was there a battered path, strewn with the corpses of her desires and dreams that led to the eventuality? In a society where, to put it mildly, women had to struggle to even earn their rightful place, was the shroud of influence and power that a mere lady brandished, achieved with ease? Or, does that path too conceal within its brooks, hitherto unknown tales of tribulation, suffering and even horror? Was Amrapali’s overriding authority an effortless outcome of her alluring persona or was it the conclusion of a sagaciously crafted plan?

When I set out to answer these questions, armed only with my imagination and the so called ‘literary license’, I was amazed at the world that effortlessly emerged in front of my eyes. A world of curiosity and intrigue inhabited by a plethora of fascinating characters, converging to create a sequence of exhilarating events. A canvas spread long back in time and yet the shades emerging upon it-love, passion, sacrifice, greed, anger and revenge, mirroring those that we see and experience at an alarming regularity in the current times. It is this world of Amrapali that I welcome you to, with the hope that it enchants you as much as it captivated me when I was in its throes.

There are many who knowingly or unknowingly have contributed to the eventual outcome that you now hold in your hands, but some whose names I can’t go without mentioning are: Dr Ashok Kumar Singh, my father- his enthusiasm on barely hearing about the subject of my next work left my own fervor significantly dwarfed. Neeru, unarguably my better half, whose constructive criticism reflects in every well articulated sentence that you shall read, sending pages after pages of my writing to the confines of the recycle bin often got me to the brink of frustration, but the results usually corroborated the efforts. The sections which, you think, could have been presented better, if any, are those where I doggedly chose to ignore her advice, wielding the veto I enjoyed in my capacity as the author of this work. My grandparents and my mother, whose bed time stories were responsible for first introducing me to the legend of Amrapali at a tender age when I struggled even to pronounce the word ‘Nagarvadhu’.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the renowned danseuse and social activist Ms Mallika Sarabhai for consenting to lend her image to ‘The Legend of Amrapali’. In the current times, if there is a name I can think of that comes even remotely close to the fabled grace and poise of the Nagarvadhu of Vaishali, it is you.

Mr. William Dalrymple, not just an author par excellence but also a great human being, thank you for your kind words on the subject of my story.

I would also like to thank my Publishers, Srishti, for sharing my zeal on the subject and their keenness to make the book a reality in record time.

It is only the love and support of reader like you that defines any author. I thank you for choosing to splurge your precious time in my work and hope that it manages to live up to your expectations. As always, I shall eagerly await your feedback and comments.

 

The Legend of Amrapali (An enchanting saga buried within the sands of time)

Item Code:
NAG136
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2012
ISBN:
9789380349473
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
221
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 220 gms
Price:
$15.00   Shipping Free
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Back of the Book

Amrapali is potentially a wonderful subject for a book…

A fascinating enigma of godly grace and captivating charm, A contrasting medley of motherly tenderness and ruthless acumen, A danseuse with the elegance and poise of the divine Apsaras, And yet, just a humble girl brimming with dreams, hopes and desires was..

Aryavart (around 500 B.C.) was a land of many prosperous kingdoms and among the most prominent of them was the Vajji Confederacy one of the first democratic republics known to mankind. Vaishali, the capital of the Confederacy and that of the illustrious Lichchavis was not only a center of commerce and political activity but also the blessed motherland of Amrapali.

The Legend of Amrapali is the story of mayhem and turmoil brought about by the obstinate desires of one man-a man blinded by the intoxication of power. It is a story of sinister plots and political wizardry, of chaste love and unbridled passion, of naked ambitions and dogged loyalties that lead to the transformation of an innocent young girl into one of the most revered, even worshipped, and occasionally feared personalities of her times.

A gripping cocktail of fantasy, fiction, fable and history that retains its charismatic appeal through the centuries gone by!

 

About the author

Anurag Anand is a Banking Professional from the city of dreams, Mumbai. His passion for writing is an offshoot of one of his favorite pastimes- cuddling up with an interesting book and embarking on a voyage of fantasy, severing all ties with the world around.

 

Author Note

The human memory, much like the editorial staff of a renowned publication house, is a necessarily evil, proudly brandishing its sharp blades and scissors, pruning the occurrences and information relegated to its attic. While the cherished and happy moments and the bitter ones with disturbing intensity manage to seep through this filter with relative ease, there are numerous mundane and inconsequential underlying episodes that often get lost in transit. And when the memory in question is not that of an individual whereas a collective one for the entire society, such omissions are expectedly more widespread.

One such fable that continues to echo within the walls of numerous households lining up the Ganga basin, the most populated river basin in the world, is that of Amrapali-the Nagarvadhu or Courtesan of the illustrious kingdom of Vaishali. Amrapali, it is said, was one of the most exquisite creations of the almighty to have dwelled on earth – a divine beauty whose glories transcended much beyond the frontiers of Aryavart.

The longing for her companionship was such that it brought numerous young nobles of Vaishali, her suitors, at loggerheads with each other. It was to prevent the probable consequentiality of bloodshed that saw her being adorned with the title of the Nagarvadhu –literally meaning, ‘ the bride of the city’. The price for witnessing her dance performance for an evening was exorbitant, way beyond the purse strings of the commoners, but the resolution worked in appeasing those who mattered-the influential nobles, landlords and merchants. Amrapali was no longer a lamp illuminating the confines of any one room but the pervasive sun whose rays touched every life, in this case of those who could afford the price.

Thought the elite rejoiced, unraveling the enigma of her beauty and dancing prowess, she ensured that she reached out to the masses through her benevolence and compassion. Her acts for the general good of society-construction of schools, temples, roads and digging of wells are still spoken about with no mean degree of reverence. To the general populace she was an image of motherly kindheartedness who would scale great heights to rid them of their difficulties. Her discreet but enveloping tenderness had woven an invisible web even around those who had not intended to be among her patrons. A testimony of Amrapl’s influence among the citizenry is the fact that even the names of the Lichchavi rulers from her time fizzled out from public memory and now remain untraceable even in the accounts of history.

Though tales and accounts of her magnanimity, compassion, kindness and even of her splendor and magnificence are galore and can be heard as lullabies or as proud reminiscences of past glories among the habitants of the Gangetic plains, the real story of Amrapali seems to have eroded from their memories along the centuries gone by. Subjugated to the overpowering aura of Amrapali-the Nagarvadhu, Amrapali-the girl, seems to have been forgotten, leaving behind a barrage of unanswered questions.

Was it such a simple choice for her to adorn the title of Nagarvadhu and agreeably invite the voyeuristic gaze of lusty eyes upon her, evening after evening? Or, was there a battered path, strewn with the corpses of her desires and dreams that led to the eventuality? In a society where, to put it mildly, women had to struggle to even earn their rightful place, was the shroud of influence and power that a mere lady brandished, achieved with ease? Or, does that path too conceal within its brooks, hitherto unknown tales of tribulation, suffering and even horror? Was Amrapali’s overriding authority an effortless outcome of her alluring persona or was it the conclusion of a sagaciously crafted plan?

When I set out to answer these questions, armed only with my imagination and the so called ‘literary license’, I was amazed at the world that effortlessly emerged in front of my eyes. A world of curiosity and intrigue inhabited by a plethora of fascinating characters, converging to create a sequence of exhilarating events. A canvas spread long back in time and yet the shades emerging upon it-love, passion, sacrifice, greed, anger and revenge, mirroring those that we see and experience at an alarming regularity in the current times. It is this world of Amrapali that I welcome you to, with the hope that it enchants you as much as it captivated me when I was in its throes.

There are many who knowingly or unknowingly have contributed to the eventual outcome that you now hold in your hands, but some whose names I can’t go without mentioning are: Dr Ashok Kumar Singh, my father- his enthusiasm on barely hearing about the subject of my next work left my own fervor significantly dwarfed. Neeru, unarguably my better half, whose constructive criticism reflects in every well articulated sentence that you shall read, sending pages after pages of my writing to the confines of the recycle bin often got me to the brink of frustration, but the results usually corroborated the efforts. The sections which, you think, could have been presented better, if any, are those where I doggedly chose to ignore her advice, wielding the veto I enjoyed in my capacity as the author of this work. My grandparents and my mother, whose bed time stories were responsible for first introducing me to the legend of Amrapali at a tender age when I struggled even to pronounce the word ‘Nagarvadhu’.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the renowned danseuse and social activist Ms Mallika Sarabhai for consenting to lend her image to ‘The Legend of Amrapali’. In the current times, if there is a name I can think of that comes even remotely close to the fabled grace and poise of the Nagarvadhu of Vaishali, it is you.

Mr. William Dalrymple, not just an author par excellence but also a great human being, thank you for your kind words on the subject of my story.

I would also like to thank my Publishers, Srishti, for sharing my zeal on the subject and their keenness to make the book a reality in record time.

It is only the love and support of reader like you that defines any author. I thank you for choosing to splurge your precious time in my work and hope that it manages to live up to your expectations. As always, I shall eagerly await your feedback and comments.

 

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