Yalgaar

The 1659 Event That Changed Hindustan's Destiny

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
240 Pages
Reviewed on 11/01/2021
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Author Biography

I am a Technology Consultant in my working day avatar. I have worked in most major metros in the US over a 30 year career, as well as the UK, Hong Kong, and China.

I love travel and enjoy exposure to macro and micro cultures.

I am passionate about classical music, philosophy, and weapons and i live in California

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Yalgaar: The 1659 Event That Changed Hindustan's Destiny by Arnold Boleman takes us back to seventeenth-century India before the arrival of the British when large swathes of India (Hindustan) were ruled by a coterie of Muslim Shahs and their armies. The Hindu religion of the local people and their thousands of years of civilization and great writings had been destroyed. The subjugated Hindus were forced to convert to Islam or die. Many willingly submitted to death rather than repudiate their beliefs. Equally, many would kowtow to their Muslim conquerors. Some decided to make a stand, though. In the Maaval province, a king arose and began to gather the forces necessary to sustain the long journey back to Hindu salvation and the reinstatement of Hindustan to its rightful ruler. When Hiroji, a young hardworking peasant, and his father find their womenfolk raped and killed by marauding Muslim soldiers, they set out on a journey to find themselves and to exact revenge for the horrors that have been inflicted upon their family.

Yalgaar is a powerful novel that weaves its story around the true events and characters that shaped India's destiny in the mid-seventeenth century. Author Arnold Boleman has perfectly captured the period and the sheer senseless brutality of all the participants in this bloody war. He has written a novel that captures the reader from the very start and propels him or her through these tumultuous times. I have read of many conflicts over the years but had never realized the utter violence and political maneuverings that helped shape modern-day India. I thank the author for bringing this conflict to the written page and broadening my knowledge of the history of India and, indeed, two of the world's great religions. I particularly appreciated the part of the story when one of the Hindu leaders was picking apart the words of the Koran and asking the question: How can civilized peoples possibly follow these principles laid down to follow their deity. It was clear that Islamic belief was in direct conflict with the affirming messages of Hindu deities and even Buddhism. This was enlightening and also a tad frightening when analyzed in this straightforward manner. This fantastic story opens up all sorts of new avenues of thought when considering morality, philosophy, and the sanctity of life.

Tammy Ruggles

Yalgaar: The 1659 Event That Changed Hindustan's Destiny, by Arnold Boleman, is a powerfully moving work of historical fiction. The setting is 1659 India, then called Hindustan, in the Maaval province. The people were strong and determined in the face of adversity, and this is the true story of what happened that year. This location sets the stage for the young protagonist, Hiroji, to be tried and tested to the limits of endurance after the rape of women in his family. He wants nothing but revenge and is plunged into the brutal world of plunder and slavery, but how can he change the centuries-old patterns? The answer might lie in the leader of an uprising, who seeks to fight the Islamic forces that caused all this. "Yalgaar" is the Farsi word that means attack, but Hiroji knows that in order to defeat the enemy, he has to learn to think like them.

Boleman has crafted a richly detailed and deeply immersive novel based on a historical event and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to describing the violence and brutality that happened that year. From the first page, you are drawn into the situations and motives of the characters, beginning in the village of Pali. The author masterfully shows instead of tells, giving us a clear picture of who young Hiroji is and what his character is about, and his backstory. We are placed directly into his world of working the plow and the rape of his young wife, Savitri. His rage flares up, and he launches into an attack with his friend Ramaji. From there, the narrative unfolds in visceral, emotional scenes, and tension builds when they have to work with those they don't always respect or agree with in order to achieve goals. The realism Boleman conveys is so mind-boggling that you feel as if you are in the scenes with the characters, whether it be a conversation with a Khan or how Shivaji organizes hill farmers. If you like stories steeped in historical details, culture, customs, and battles of life, death, and honor - both personal and spiritual - you will enjoy the powerful and entertaining Yalgaar by Arnold Boleman.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Yalgaar, by Arnold Boleman, opens the curtain on southern India at a turbulent period in history. During the mid-seventeenth century, political upheavals and religious feuds had escalated to an alarming level. The Mughal emperors were engaged in an endless battle with the Rajputs, while the Islam force gradually spread its wings throughout India. Their vicious tactics involved the forceful conversion of the Hindus into Mohammedans. They actively destroyed and desecrated Hindu temples and idols, defiled Hindu women, and massacred the resisting forces. When a quartet of Islamic followers rape and murder their women, Hiroji and Ramaji, two Marathi farmer-soldiers, join forces with Shivaji Bhonsle, the leader of the Mavle clan of warriors. Shivaji has sworn to protect the Hindu religion and beliefs from the Islamic forces. How will his localized attacks thwart the rapidly propagating wave of carnage?

Arnold Boleman presents a vivid and horrifying image of India in 1659, suffering from the attacks of foreign invaders who wreaked havoc on her culture, economy, and people. Yalgaar centers around prominent historical figures like Shivaji Bhonsle and Afzal Khan and culminates with the fateful meeting between them that helped determine India’s destiny. However, instead of confining himself solely to the leading figures, Boleman highlighted the plight of ordinary people. His authentic portrayal of the Hindu customs and social structures made the story come alive. As an Indian myself, I was aware of some of these events, but Boleman’s attention to detail helped me view my country’s history with renewed interest and awe. Yalgaar pays tribute to the brave Indians who protected the sanctity of their religion. I would recommend this to any reader interested in Indian history; however, abundant descriptions of violence and gore demand a mature audience.