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Rajmahal

Kamalini Sengupta

Publication Year: 2010

Marriages, affairs, suicides, murder, madness, and true love – Rajmahal is the story of families brought together in a Calcutta mansion over a century of change. Generations of tenants struggle to come to grips with the social, economic, and intellectual forces working in India as it moves from the British Raj to independence. The personal battles of ex-pats, colonizers, Hindus and Muslims are a mirror of the struggle for possession of the country’s future. “Rajmahal is Sengupta’s Howard’s End.” – Nadine Gordimer

Published by: The Feminist Press

rajmahal

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pp. 1-4

Contents

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pp. 5-6

One

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1

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pp. 9-21

"The rajmahal rose in 1910, new, creamy white and crystalline on a prime site on Chowringhee. The clear green of the Maidan opposite and the Palladian mansions juxtaposing it served as its setting. Chowringhee metamorphoses from residential Tollygunge and Alipur at the southern end and breaks into noisy thoroughfares of commerce..."

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2

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pp. 22-60

"The stracheys lived in number 4 rajmahal, a handsomely sized apartment though it occupied only one half of the second floor. The most remarkable set of rooms was the main bedroom, dressing room and bathroom, the Sardar Bahadur’s marital suite. The bedroom was largely..."

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3

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pp. 61-89

"Proshanto mojumdar, scion of a rich zamindari family, had the good luck of bagging the apartment on the conservatory floor of the Rajmahal. It included the Sardar Bahadur’s favorite bedroom, heavy glass panels embossed in the contemporary European style of the Rajmahal’s..."

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4

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pp. 90-129

"In one of the second floor apartments lived the russian Anatoly Sergeivich Petrov. Firmly fixated on India and India studies, he fled the Bolsheviks, and was forced to take a tortuous and decade-long route to Calcutta via Tashkent and Europe. He reached the city when British Calcutta was descending from its imperial apogee with the shift of..."

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5

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pp. 130-162

"When polo-widow maudie jessop moved in with her brother David Norman, the Rajmahal was neither pleased nor dismayed. Uneasy, it was uneasy about the widow who spent so much of her time prettifying herself yet with a clothes pin on her tongue. The house was sorry for her,..."

Two

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1

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pp. 165-178

"For a time after the sardar bahadur’s momentous departure, the ground floor Rajmahal apartment acted as a curtailed visiting pad for the Ohris till Surjeet Shona moved in. Much to its delight, for it longed for one of the blooded Ohris to honor its insides ermanently. Surjeet Shona..."

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2

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pp. 179-182

"Surjeet shona took the break with martin staunchly. it passed her by and left her calm. She felt the demented but therapeutic interim after Gurdeep’s death must have been provided by God, in whom she simply believed. And she carried on with her interrupted mourning in..."

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3

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pp. 183-192

"When ali mallik bought the major part of the rajmahal in 1942, he had chosen the top floor apartment for himself because he didn’t want tenants trampling all over him and preferred this distancing from up on high. The Malliks furnished their apartment luxuriously. Apart from..."

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4

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pp. 193-201

"The raj mahal was to witness another marriage soon. neel Banerjea, who had caused Surjeet Shona so much confusion at their first meeting, was to became a regular visitor at the Rajmahal. And she would go shining-eyed, and paradoxically, blindly, into her next love affair,..."

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5

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pp. 202-209

"Surjeet shona shunned her constant array of suitors, convinced no spark could ignite her again. Any thought of going back to the Sharp’s job drained her of energy. She concentrated on Gurdeep, and examined the possibility of other occupations. She tried painting, went..."

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6

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pp. 210-219

"The malliks were growing old. and reluctantly, Ali Mallik found himself turning his gaze on himself and Saira, reluctantly because he was afraid to invite bad luck. Saira, his wife since the beginning of time and in at least the last six lives. Saira of the unsurpassable tall nobility,..."

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7

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pp. 220-226

"Ali Mallik, responding to the shifting balances in the Rajmahal, wondered if the long run of luck with his marriage could hold out. 'Saira,' he said. 'Look at our Rajmahal, almost empty! How much longer do you think we have? What do you think of our lives?"

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8

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pp. 227-230

"The rumblings of the rajmahal volcano could no longer be ignored. Feelings between sections of the mansion staff had heated up with the goading of Junior’s musclemen. The neighbor, who couldn’t forget the breaching of his wall to make room for the tomb, had passed on his ill-feeling to his son. And the son was kept fully informed of all the goings..."

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9

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pp. 231-238

"Surjeet Shona lies on the grass under the raintree. it is a broiling summer day and the sun scorches everything that allows it access. She lies in the deepest, soothing yet dark, dark shadow, saved from this access by the raintree. She is naked, her body almost white in the gloom and she..."

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10

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pp. 239-247

"To Mumtaz, that season was bonded to the lurking unpleasantness of a certain summer in his childhood. A hot, humid, windless summer, when the children of the Rajmahal, normally so vividly active, were overcome with a torpor which they threw off only toward..."

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11

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pp. 248-252

"Old Jainab, uneasy after the loss of his glass eye, was restless. The shakiness of age addressed him directly through the wrinkled, quivering, empty socket and all attempts to get him fitted up again failed against his logic."

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12

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pp. 253-260

"Surjeet Shona remembers one by one and over and over her marriages and the deaths of her men. 'I won’t send for Gurdeep. I will not!' Will Mumtaz live or die? Will she lose her fear of that ghoul, transcend it? Hasn’t she talked to Mumtaz of the now because of that fear?"

Glossary

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pp. 261-264


E-ISBN-13: 9781558616936
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558616080

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Mansions -- India -- Calcutta -- Fiction.
  • City and town life -- India -- Calcutta -- Fiction.
  • Calcutta (India) -- Social life and customs -- Fiction.
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