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'Queen of Ice' by Devika Rangachari

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

Book Review

By Mehr Sohal

I wrote this review a year or two ago, but I believe the book is still extremely relevant in 2020, and is an absolute must-read for two reasons– Indian literature is losing its' popularity amongst the younger generations, and this novel is guaranteed to leave one hopeful

The one book that I just can’t stop thinking about is ‘Queen of Ice’ written by Devika Rangachari. The plot revolves around a lame, but zealous princess in 10th century Kashmir struggling to prove that a kingdom without a king is not inevitably doomed. From the evolution of Princess Didda to Queen Didda, the one question she found asking herself was, “Did I achieve greatness?”

Yes. In my opinion, she did. Contrary to what society around her believed, she was able to build a kingdom for herself while being disabled and a woman– two things thought to be a disadvantage.  She, alone, was capable of filling Kashmir’s king-shaped void. Didda was competent in maintaining and sustaining her power even through several tragedies and events of emotional turmoil. She made those who did her wrong bow down to her, begging for mercy. So yes, she did achieve greatness. In tenth century Kashmir, she was able to attain something that women in 2020 are still struggling with. 

Queen Didda is the epitome of the modern woman…Bursting with energy and power, but oppressed by stereotypes of her gender. Just how she feared of being accepted by society due to her crippled foot, women all around the world have an equivalent insecurity or cripple. And all of us have faced one point in life where our opposite gender was provided with an advantage.                                  

What differentiates Kashmir thousands of years ago with modern society? The fact that in the 21st century, gender equality is perceived to be achieved, when in reality it truly isn’t. We are all Didda in some way or another. But what truly matters is that we find a way to live up to our success story just like she did.

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