Problems in Visulising and Validating History: A Discourse on Jaishree Misra’s Rani
History is neither about 'past' nor 'dead' in India. The past mingles with the present in a continuous confluence and the dead infuse life too often in today. This is because the ancient social, cultural, literary and historical traditions spanning several thousand years, sustain the present day India. It is therefore, natural that history is pulsating with life and verve. For this reason writers in all ages have turned to history for inspiration and to draw material for their themes. However, the linguistic and ethnic heterogeneity which comprises the complex socio-cultural fabric of India facilitates viewing the past from various angles. According to their perception and socio-cultural concerns, writers have painted Indian history in various hues in their fiction. The interrelationship of history and literature is intricate and deep rooted. Therefore, it is not surprising if different literary works sharing the same historical theme receive divergent reviews and responses of readers from different regions. It is difficult to define the parameters of historical fiction, and equally baffling to explain and predict the reception a particular work of historical fiction will have among readers, or that the author's vision will reach the readers in the same light as he perceived it. A reaction substantiating this argument is the row over and the subsequent banning of Jaishree Misra's novel Rani in the State of Uttar Pradesh in Central India few years back, whereas other works on the same historical personality have been immensely popular.