House of Roys: A 400-Year-Old Family Saga Against the Backdrop of Bengal Renaissance
About the Book:
The future Premier was in the middle of a discussion when the watchman announced an unexpected visitor.
“Quick!” said his host, “hide behind the sofa.”
And the future Premier crouched behind the sofa as the new guest, a great nationalist leader, held forth on political alliances with his host, Surendranath Roy.
It was only after the unexpected visitor, C.R. Das, had left that A.K. Fazlul Haque, the first Prime Minister of Bengal Province, would emerge from his hiding place.
All this happened in Ambica Mandir, the house named after Ambica Charan Roy who had drafted the widow remarriage petition over half a century earlier. Surendranath was the eldest son of Ambica Charan.
How many of us know this “behind-the-scenes” story from an era when Bengal was in its high noon of political pre-eminence?
Probir Roy’s book, House of Roys, which traces the history of his family, the Roys of Behala, are full of such anecdotes that recur throughout its wide canvas of incidents and individuals, from Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and M.N. Roy to Dr. B.C. Roy, Yuri Gagarin, Jyoti Basu and Russi Mody, to name a few.
Some are more familial accounts, such as of a young lady who put her hand inside the snarling jaws of a Bengal tiger to save a boy from being mauled. It was, of course, a pet tiger and the young lady, Shyamasundari Devi, emerged largely unscathed and lived to tell the story to her grandson, the author of this book.
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