The Trial of the Maharaja by Debleena Majumdar Review – Unveiling the Historical Drama

The Trial of the Maharaja

The Trial of the Maharaja

The Trial of the Maharaja by Debleena Majumdar provides a gripping and precisely researched account of one of the key figure in Anglo-Indian history. This books dives in the true story of Maharaja Nandakumar, whose execution was the first ever British judicial murder. Debleena Majumdar has presented a very gripping narrative that has shed light on the main event that led to this tragic event and following impeachment proceedings of prominent British officers.

Maharaja Nandakumar who is also known as Maharajah Nuncomar was a very well reputed Brahmin who gained the trust of Murshidabad Burbar and took responsibilities of different administrative roles for Bengali local administrations. Ultimately, he was recommended to Lord Robert Clive for dewan position who was responsible for tax collection in Burdwan, Nadia and Hooghly districts. The fate of Nandakumar took a dramatic turn when Warren Hastings who had great hostility towards him became governor general.

Hastings was unhappy with Nandakumar as he was exposing the corrupt activities of Hastings. Nandakumar revealed the bribes accepted by Hastings from Munni Begum and many influential zamindars. Though majority’s findings were sent to court of the directors, Hastings managed to overturn the allegations and turn the tide against Nandakumar. Nandakumar was accused of forging the official documents in 1775 and at the end he was found guilty after a trial was conducted by Elijah Impey who was not just the first Chief Justice of India but also a friend of Hastings. Maharaja was given a death penalty and he was executed in Kolkata on 5th August, 1775.

Debleena Majumdar’s narrative has provided an educational as well as a gripping account of this historic judicial murder at the end of 18th century. It is a well-researched book which is the evidence of author’s skills. Majumdar has explored even the tiniest of the details of the eight-day Supreme Court trial that unfolded during this period. This book illuminates the legal system of British India through the story of Nandakumar’s fight against authority.

As a storyteller, Majumdar has delivered a stunning performance by engaging the readers. This book has maintained a perfect balance of suspense and it forces the readers to follow the story with interest. All in all, ‘The Trial of the Maharaja’ is without a doubt a success, providing a sensational piece of crime that excels its genre. This book is highly recommended to the one who is looking to explore British India’s dark past.

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