The Taj Conspiracy- A Book You’d Love To Revisit
I’m no history enthusiast yet when it comes to putting up a question mark on the most famous monument in India, there is bound to be a lot of excitement & a lot of raised eyebrows( yeah I did a lot of that while reading). Manreet Sodhi Someshwar has shown her finesse in weaving an intriguing story around a sensitive topic with such aplomb that its worthy of applause.
Coming to the story, a Mughal scholar of Indo-Persian origins Mehrunisa Khosa, is the first one to recognize the threat to the monument of love, the Taj Mahal but no one believes her. One cold winter morning changes everything, as she meets a dead body instead her friend & supervisor of the Taj, Arun Toor. And that’s not the end, the murderer has challenged the intellect of the people guarding the Taj by making subtle inconspicuous changes to the famous tomb & leaving behind cryptic messages.
The Police is at a loss & immediately resort to the only sane conclusion there is-another terrorist attack. Security is beefed up but Mehrunisa remains unsatisfied. And rightly so. For the real plot is something so different & so unimaginable that it’d left me with gaping at the pages, refusing to believe it!
The girl Mehrunisa is labelled a ‘mongrel’ by her cousin in her childhood with reference to her belonging to Indo-Persian origins. And as any offspring of two rich cultures, Mehru feels bound to find her true roots. Delving deep into the arts & architecture of the world, she strives to recognize her true self. With the help of her godfather, Professor Kaul a renowned historian himself, Mehrunisa had come to learn a lot about the Taj, ultimately finding comradeship with it-a monument of love built on Indian soil by a Mughal, just as she was of mixed parentage. A lady of strong determination & intelligence, our protagonist is the one who leads us through this maze of conspiracies.
We get glimpses of Arun Toor-her friend & the supervisor of Taj, throughout the book in Mehrunisa’s reminisces. He comes across as a man with the passion to match that of Mehrunisa yet humble roots to begin with. Loud & yet knowledgeable, Arun possessed a character that contradicted itself in some parts.
Others notable in the story are Mehnrunisa’ cousin Pamposh-bubbly & cheerful yet a fierce social activist running her own orphanage, the cops that feature are the daredevil R.P Singh & the SSP Raghav who are men who take no nonsense & are more like the cops the public needs, a change from the usually corrupt ones.
The amazing flow of narration that carries the story of the Taj, the many legends I was unaware of & the final truth about the monument made for an amazing read. This book is not only written for the sake of reading & enjoying a good story but in the author’s words-“I have attempted, through this book to create a greater appreciation for the monument that’s more symbolic of our heritage than we realise”.
Based on the exciting plot, the wonderful language used( keep your dictionary nearby), the many amazing facts revealed about the Taj, I’d give The Taj Conspiracy a 5/5! And am also going to grab a copy of the author’s earlier novels-Earning The Laundry Stripes & the Long Walk Home, soon.
If you are interested in history & even if you are not, this book is a must-read anyway!