“Many biographies tend to be hagiographies” says author Archana Garodia Gupta

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Archana Garodia Gupta, National Chair of the FICCI MSME Committee talks with SheThePeople.TV about her latest book “The Women Who Ruled India: Leaders. Warriors. Icons.” She gives insights about her book and why the subject fascinated her.

Gupta was asked about how she decided to dive into writing? She answered, “Books have been my constant companions since childhood. On average I have read a book a day all my life on a varied range of subjects. It was always a dream to write. I had been writing articles on retail and history for magazines. I was lucky to get opportunities to write books on history, which has been a ruling passion.”

Gupta, a member of the Brics Financial Committee from India, leading the SME Taskforce, was the President of FLO, the women’s wing of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in 2015- 2016.

She has chosen to write about this topic because women and their story and struggle is something which she has been occupied with. She has been working in the field of women empowerment for the last two decades. As president of FICCI Ladies Organization, she launched many schemes to help skill women at the grassroots and to help creative women entrepreneurs. Women rulers combine two abiding interests of my life – history, and the empowerment of women.

Asked about that how she differentiated her retelling of the history of these women from the history that we already have –

“Many biographies tend to be hagiographies – they paint unrealistic portraits which are all praise and attribute every conceivable virtue. Especially for women, they like to attribute ‘womanly’ virtues like a sacrifice, etc. I did not want to hold up the women to impossible standards. So, these portraits are ‘warts and all’. Many of these women used all sorts of questionable means to achieve their objectives. They often failed – sometimes because of the people around them, but also because of their own flaws and wrong decisions.”

She set a major criterion for the women she chose to write about, they should have ruled directly, either as regent or crowned king.

She did not want anyone who ruled by an agency – i.e. by influencing their husband, etc who was the ruler. The only exception she has made is ‘Noorjahan’, as she was probably the most powerful woman ruler the world has seen.

She wrote about rulers across all regions of India and over various periods and religions.

Answering the question of her next project, she said, “We are working on more books based on Indian history – There are countless tales waiting to be told!”

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