Just finished reading the novel “Scandal Point” by Ms. Manju Jaidka the other day.. It is a story steeped in history, romance, palace intrigues and the tragedy of the members of Patiala regency of the times , forced by circumstances or rather the turn of events to live separately . The Chhoti Maharani Betty alias Harnam kaur made to pass for Florence for political reasons, Prince RRR living as Kartar for safety reasons. . The secular credentials of the Patiala Royalty are brought forth nicely , when the Prince is named Sri Richard Ram Rahim Singh , symbolizing a mixture and coexistence of four major religious faiths. Being a Shimlaite, I could easily relate to the places like Viceregal Lodge, Gaiety Theatre , the Christ Church and the Ridge as also the Chail Palace . I could draw many parallels –though unintended by the writer- like the steed named as Sultan that reminds of Baba Bharti’s horse of the same name. in the Hindi story Haar ki Jeet , the elopement saga related in engrossing twenty odd pages reminds of the story of the Rajput king , Prithviraj Chauhan and Samyukta as also Rani Roopmati- Baaz Bahadur saga. Even the name RRR reminds of Shaheed Udham Singh’s adopted name, Ram Muhammad Singh Azad. The protagonist, prince RRR emerges as a tragic figure, the entire course of whose life is decided by others. All the characters like Rajen, Rajmata, Jasbir, Harbir, Betty , Attar Singh, Raja Jagatjit Singh are realistically drawn which apparently is the result of extensive research undertaken by the author. The Prologue and the Coda are immensely readable and thought provoking . There is no scandal involved in the elopement, however the Prince is made to carry the burden .
The flawless language, style are certainly the hall mark of the novel.
Hats off to the writer !