The Boy Who Fought the Empire- Book Spotlight

One more book by Rajesh Talwar is now available for you read – The Boy Who Fought the Empire


Book Blurb – The Boy Who Fought the Empire

The Boy Who Fought an Empire is a play that seeks to inform children, and have them meaningfully engage with the fascinating boyhood, adult and mature years of the person who became known as ‘Netaji.’

Subhash Chandra Bose searched for meaning and purpose since a young age. Influenced by his headmaster he spends time with nature and reads widely but then turns to religion in the hope of finding greater meaning. Dissatisfied with following religious rituals, he is taken up by the words of Swami Vivekanand who emphasizes serving the poor and needy. As a young man, Subhash Bose tries to save lives in a cholera-infected village even as he fights bullying in college. A brilliant student, he turns down a lucrative career in the ICS. A leading light within the Congress, he gives it all up to wage a war for India’s independence. How did Netaji raise an army, and try to stave off the Bengal Famine? Did he succeed in securing independence for India?

Dramatic incidents in Netaji’s life are interspersed with scenes in which five children react to his life, struggles and achievements in terms of their own identities. This fabulous device gives this unique and exciting play a contemporary feel, adding to the modern-day relevance of his life.

Know the Author- Rajesh Talwar

Rajesh Talwar has written thirty-seven books, which include novels, children’s books, plays, self-help books and non-fiction books covering issues in social justice, culture and law

His novels include Simran, on aesthetics, and Inglistan, on cultural contrasts. An Afghan Winter and The Sentimental Terrorist explore the theme of terrorism. How to Kill a Billionaire reveals the workings of the Indian justice system. From the Lips of the Goddess – Mata Vaishno Devi is on the sacred feminine.

Rajesh’s plays cover diverse contemporary themes and historical retellings. They include Inside Gayland, The Bride Who Would Not Burn, Conquest at Noon, The Killings in November, Kaash Kashmir, Aurangzeb: The Darkness in His Heart, Gandhi, Ambedkar and the Four-Legged Scorpion, High Fidelity Transmission and A Nuclear Matricide.

His non-fiction works include The Judiciary on Trial, Courting Injustice: The Nirbhaya Case and Its Aftermath, The Third Sex and Human Rights, The Vanishing of Subhash Bose, The Killing of Aarushi and the Murder of Justice. Self-help books include How to Choose Your Lawyer and Win Your Case, Making Your Own Will, The Divorce Handbook and Indian Laws of E-business.

His books for children include The Three Greens, The Bearded Prince, The Sleepless Beauty, Fabulous Four Battle Zoozoo, the Wizard, Playwrights- A One-Act Play for Children on Human Rights, The Boy Who Wrote a Constitution and most recently The Boy Who Became a Mahatma.

He has contributed to The Economic Times, The Guardian (UK), The Daily Guardian, The Pioneer, The Times of India, Manushi, The Sunday Mail and the New Indian Express. He is a sought-after speaker at Literary Festivals.

He has a Wikipedia page and can be followed on Insta and Facebook where he has nearly fifty thousand followers

Extract from the book- The Boy Who Fought the Empire


As we mark the 127th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on January 23rd, Rajesh Talwar, former UN official current consultant, lawyer, and best-selling author comes out with his new revetting playwright for children that teaches standing up against bullies, ‘The Boy Who Fought the Empire’ (Ponytale Books). A play that seeks to inform children, and have them meaningfully engage with the fascinating boyhood, adult, and mature years of the person who became known as ‘Netaji.’

The Boy Who Fought the Empire is a compelling and enlightening playwright featuring five schoolchildren, to bring Netaji’s life to light.

Book excerpt: Pg 31-34

Parmedic Abhinav, Nurse Ayushi, the village elder and a young boy from the village enter one of the huts and bring out a charpoy. Subhash, Kalyan and the village elder then enter a second hut and bring out another charpoy.

Subhash:                     Tell us, now, who amongst all here

appears to be the sickest?

Village Elder:             It is my granddaughter, Saheb. She is

but a child. (points at a young girl lying on the ground in a comatose state)

Abhinav:                     (to the nurse) Nurse Ayushi, if you

could help me carry her and put her on the charpoy.

Nurse Ayushi:           Of course.

Meanwhile, the sound of a vehicle approaching can be heard. A bus hoarding appears at one end of the stage once again. Uncle Joy who is Subhash’s maternal uncle

descends from the bus. He walks towards the village and approaches Subhash.

Uncle Joy:                   Subhash! I’m so glad to see you safe!

Subhash:                     How are you, Joy Uncle. How have you


Uncle Joy:                   Forget about me. I’m perfectly well.

(pause) Your parents are worried sick about you. Your mother is besides herself with anxiety. Why did you come here, without telling anyone?

Subhash:                     (after a pause) I am here, Uncle Joy, to

try and help save the lives of at least a few villagers. As you know a cholera epidemic is raging in this entire area.

Uncle Joy:                   This work entails great risk, Subhash!

You are only a young boy. You should leave all such work to the government.

Subhash:                     (smiles wryly) What happens when no

one from the government comes to help? Shouldn’t there be someone else who helps?

Uncle Joy:                    Subhash! I repeat, this is not your work!

Please come back with me at once. Your parents are so worried about you, as am I.

Subhash:                     Thank you for your concern, Uncle. I

did not wish for my parents to worry and feel anxious. Yet, if all of you

are so concerned about me, I too am concerned about the plight of the poor and suffering in this village – whom no one else appears to care for.

Uncle Joy:                   Subhash!

Subhash:                     I have made up my mind, Uncle. I do

respect your kind wishes, but you should not stay any longer lest you yourself catch some infection.

Uncle Joy:                   (now pleading) Subhash! Nephew!

Subhash:                     (smiles) You know very well, Uncle,

that I cannot leave my friends and go back to you. That would be an act of great…. cowardice and a betrayal too.

Uncle Joy:                   You will not come back with me then?

Subhash:                     I cannot abandon the task I have set


Uncle Joy:                   (resignedly) I suppose I had better be

going back then.

Subhash:                     Yes, Uncle. If you delay any longer,

you may even find it difficult to get a bus back home. (to Kalyan) Could you please take my uncle back to the bus stop? In the meanwhile, let me speak with Abhinav and Ayushi to see the situation with our patients. (folds his hands in a goodbye gesture to his uncle) Namashkar, Uncle. Please excuse me.

Kalyan takes Uncle Joy gently by the hand and walks towards the stage exit at one end of the stage where the bus hoarding had appeared earlier.

Exit Uncle Joy with Kalyan

Subhash walks across to Abhinav, the paramedic and Nurse Ayushi who are in the process of setting up a second bed with another patient.

Subhash:                     What is the situation, Abhinav?

Abhinav:                     We can only help a little, Subhash. Just

this village. I understand that there are dozens of villages where the epidemic is raging.

Subhash:                     (nods sadly) Let’s do what we can…

Extracted with permission from the author and the publisher Ponytale Books.