We are very fortunate to have Anupam Srivastava the author of THE BROWN SAHEBS as guest on our blog today. Anupam Srivastava is a journalist by profession and worked with Times of India, Oxfam India Society, Unicef and other development agencies. THE BROWN SAHEBS is his first novel and tells the story of India not taking off its colonial clothing even as it became a democracy.

Here is what he has to say about the characters of his book.


How do you create the characters for your book? Are they imaginary or inspired by someone you know?

This is something that happens by itself – as the story begins the characters appear. When the plot progresses, characters come and go. They have been drawn from life, from books, from situations real and imaginary. We all know good and bad, the contradictions that exist in ourselves, the constant see-saw game that is on between opposite values in ourselves. One character in the novel is Gandhi who conceptualized not only the freedom movement and the involvement of ‘masses’ as it is said, but also dreamt of an India that would be created after Independence. An assessment of India to understand if it achieved the ideal that its leaders had set for the country after the ouster of the British cannot be done without taking into account the vision of Gandhi. It was Gandhi and his vision that drew the common Indians into what was, until then, no more than a political movement.

The other characters in the novel are based on public figures, and one may catch a glimpse of Nehru, even Narendra Modi, or Indira Gandhi. However, I have taken the liberty of mixing traits of different people in one person. So, while the novel follows a historical path and does not interfere with the key facts of India’s past, the fictional story has a life of its own.

While writing the story I was sometimes no more than an observer and witness and was was merely recording what was being played out. At other times, I waited patiently for the story to progress but by now the characters had a life of their own and would not obey an author. At the end, I was susprised by what I had written, and quite pleased as well.


The Raja of Teekra, a dusty and forgotten kingdom near Lucknow, gets lucky when the British Resident visits him but also brings with him a leading revolutionary. The Raja enters India’s struggle for freedom and is rewarded with a berth in the cabinet of free India. He is shocked to see the ministers and officers living and operating like their imperial masters but is suitably rewarded for his silence. As he begins to enjoy the good life of Lutyens’ Delhi, the British capital which India’s freedom fighters abhorred, he faces only one adversary in his plans—his journalist son Pratap. A novel that will blow you away with its depiction of love, passion, intrigue and betrayal.
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About the Author 
Anupam Srivastava was born in Lucknow, India, where his novel, The Brown Saheb’s first part is set. However, he never lived there as his father and mother, Ashok and Veena Srivastava, lived in different parts of India. However, Anupam spent some of his childhood and most of his vacations in Lucknow where he flew kites and learnt about the craft of pigeon-flying. He went to a boarding school near Delhi, the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai, where he played cricket but earned his college colours at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, in cross-country running. He studied English literature (BA Hons and MA), won the college annual poetry prize while pursuing his MA, and being sure his vocation was writing and journalism, became a journalist with The Times of India in 1993. In 1999, he was awarded the British Chevening scholarship by the British government.
In 1999, he left journalism to work with the United Nations Population Fund in India in communications. Subsequently, Anupam worked with Oxfam India Society, Unicef and other development agencies. The Brown Sahebs is his first novel and tells the story of India not taking off its colonial clothing even as it became a democracy.
Anupam is married to Radhika Srivastava, and they have two children who figure in his children’s novel, A Family Secret.
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