About the Book
Chandrakanta, Devaki Nandan Khatri’s extraordinary novel, first published in 1888, is set in the courtly world of princes and princesses, magnificent palaces and gardens. The beautiful Princess Chandrakanta is imprisoned in an ancient tilisma, and waits to be rescued. Her lover, the valiant Prince Birendra Singh, battles jealous rivals and tries to break the ancient enchantment in order to reach her. The real protagonists of the story, however, are not the prince and the princess, but their secret agents, the ‘spy-magicians’ known as aiyaars. Written in the spoken Hindi of northern India rather than in any difficult literary idiom, Chandrakanta became an instant hit upon publication and was modern India’s first bestseller. Over the years its appeal has remained intact through various translations and adaptations, both in the printed form and in the visual medium. Now in a sparkling new translation by Rohini Chowdhury, this fantastic classic will enchant a fresh generation of readers and entice them into an unforgettable realm of magic and bravery.
About the Author
Devaki Nandndan Khatri (1861–1913) was born in Pusa, Bihar, in the home of his maternal grandfather, Jivanlal Mahato, a wealthy landowner. His father, Lala Ishvardas, descended from an illustrious family from Lahore. He shot to literary fame with his first novel, Chandrakanta, at the age of twenty-six. He subsequently set up his own printing press, the Lahari Press, in Banaras. His other popular works include Chandrakanta Santati and Bhutnath. R ohini Chowdhury is a children’s writer and literary translator, with some thirty books to her credit. She is widely regarded for her translations of the seventeenth century text, Ardhakathanak, the autobiography of poet and thinker Banarasidas, and of the acclaimed Hindi novel, Tyagpatra by Jainendra.