By Narendra Singh Sarila
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Additional resources for Once a Prince of Sarila: Of Palaces and Tiger Hunts, Of Nehrus and Mountbattens
Her library was composed of Hindi books, mostly poetry and novels. The novels and short stories of Munshi Premchand were her favourite. My mother was a traditional Indian wife. She found happiness and strength in devoting her energy to ensure the welfare of her husband and children. She tried to achieve her goals primarily by influencing them, rather than directly. The modern feminist movement would have appalled her. 33 Chapter 4 Life in the Palace: I A S I GREW up there were enough nooks, corners and winding staircases in the house to play hide and seek and courtyards in which to kick a ball around.
But she respected him as a person seeking to uplift Bharat Varsha, as she called India, and who to her was a rishi. At some stage the hymn Ishwar Allah Tero Nam: Sab Ko Sanmati De Bhagwan was chanted. This hymn was an appeal to the Almighty that since Ishwar, in Hindi, and Allah, in Arabic, were both His (the same God’s) names, he may confer benediction on one and all. To the followers of a pluralistic faith, this was perfectly understandable, but to those believing in one God to the strict exclusion of all other gods, like the Muslims, Gandhiji’s message was not appealing, even sacrilegious.
Throughout my life I have chewed neem tree twigs and used the crushed end to brush my gums. 39 ONCE A PRINCE OF SARILA The best silks came from Surat, Mysore and Assam and the silk brocades from Varanasi. Sequin work was done on saris in Bombay. At that time chiffon saris from Lyons in France were becoming popular, for they were light, did not crush and showed off slender forms well. The French saris were in more subtle pastel hues than the generally brighter colours of the Indian silks. Itinerant salesmen used to come from Banaras or Kanpur with trunk loads of wares to display in a room of one’s house, giving one a day or two to select the fabric to be made up at leisure.