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The Women who Ruled India: Leaders. Warriors. Icons. by Archana Garodia Gupta, 2019

Title: The Women Who Ruled India: Leaders. Warriors. Icons.

Author: Archana Garodia Gupta

Publisher: Hachette India

Genre: Historical

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 299


The history of India, more often than not, is a history of the men who were in charge. Largely forgotten are the women who, even centuries earlier, shaped the fates of entire kingdoms.

In The Women Who Ruled India, writer and researcher Archana Garodia Gupta revives 20 such powerful figures from the archives, offering us a glimpse of their fascinating lives. Among them are Begum Samru, a courtesan who went on to become the head of a mercenary army and the ruler of Sardhana; Didda of Kashmir, known for her keen political instinct and a ruthlessness that spared no one; Rani Abbakka of Ullal, the fearless queen who took on Portuguese colonizers in their heyday; and Rani Mangammal of Madurai, the famed administrator who built alliances at a time when going to war was the order of the day.

These women and others like them built roads, instituted laws and were generous patrons of the arts and sciences. Their stories of valour and diplomacy, leadership and wit continue to inspire today. Peppered with anecdotes that showcase little-known facets of their personalities, the accounts in this book celebrate heroic rulers who – ‘quarrelsome’ though they might have been – were iconoclasts: unafraid to forge new paths.

My review:

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Women who Ruled India was a really inspiring read. I personally think that this is a great book to gift to the young women as well as men, in our lives. Reading this book at an impressionable age with be a great benefit.

The women here are brave and just, and that is a great lesson. It teaches us to understand that being brave and courageous does not necessarily mean that we do not fear anything, rather we overcome the fear. This book also shows so many instances when these wonderful, beautiful women always put their people and their subjects above their own lives. Being so selfless is another quality that is worth mentioning.

The manner that this book is written in – inclusion of the history first as an introduction, the woman’s general life span history and a short story or instance at the end. This makes sure that you are not bored as you move through the amazing stories of such inspiring women.

The language used is standard without being too complex so I think that it will be understandable for pretty much everyone.


I am rating this book a solid 4/5 for its amazing inspiring factor.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .