THE KING IN EXILE Sudha Shah.

The king in exile is a book about the last king of Burma Thibaw Min who was exiled with his family of 4 daughters and two wives in Ratnagiri from 1885 to 1916.

Why I bought this book – 

I have lived in Ratnagiri where my father used to live, and I used to go there and work in the factory , in the evening to socialise i used to hang out with my only local friend, and we would pass by this beautiful bungalow (almost palatial) called Thibaw palace. I was around 17/18. When I asked him about this, he told me that the Burma King was exiled here, I couldn’t believe it. My life was miserable in Ratnagiri as I couldn’t make a single friend, how could a king survive here?

About the Book :

The book is a grand tale of a family spanning across 3 generations, its melancholily sad to see a family which were the rulers being exiled for 30 years in Ratnagiri and after then thibaw children and grandchildren to live on government pensions till British independence.

The story is told in extremely non-judgemental way as it should be, the story is about decisions and choices we make as well as about how the political and social environment shapes our lives and futures of our children’s and grandchildren’s.

One of most important question for me it raised was how the entire Thibhaw clan was a spendthrift as shown in the book, like were they were genetically disposed to living over their means?? and always had to beg and plead with British Government for the money.

It a simple book without any literary trappings, also told in a diplomatic way as to not offend the Burmese and care seems to have been taken as to not throw muck. Do read it, if what I wrote interests you.

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