‘The last Raja died without any heir,’ Bade Panditji said when Shiv asked about the rulers of Navgarh. ‘That was the end of the kingdom. The angrez took over after that.’
‘But didn’t he have a daughter?’ Shiv looked at Amma for confirmation.
‘What could a girl have done? If there was a son, he would’ve become the Raja and the British wouldn’t have got Navgarh,’ Panditji answered.
Shiv refrained from pointing that despite the Rajas and Rajkumars all over India, the British did take over the country. Heir or no heir, Navgarh did not stand a chance. But Panditji was already looking sullen.
‘Suna hai, there was a Rajkumari,’ Amma took over from Shiv. ‘She married a firangi.’ Her tone was softer than usual. It smoothed a few creases on Panditji’s wrinkled forehead.
‘A daughter like that doesn’t count. This is what happens when you thrust a man’s job on a girl… pollution in the family, the throne, the whole town.’ Panditji was visibly unhappy about the topic.
‘That means the king had a daughter,’ Shiv caught the inconsistency. ‘And she married an angrez.’
‘I don’t know. I haven’t heard of her. Never.’ Panditji looked the other way.
From 1857 Dust of Ages: A Forgotten Tale.
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