Indian Tales of Valour
‘What is courage?’
Some think it is the ability to be fearless.
Others say that it is the knowledge of fear, and yet refusing to be affected by it.
Some define it as strength in the face of pain and grief.
My own favourite definition is: ‘to do something that frightens one.’
This book was originally published as Kesariya Bana and Other Tales of Valour almost a decade ago. The
idea was simple: to narrate incidents of courage from Indian history to inspire the reader. And in order to
do so, I opted to go for a story-telling approach, rather than an academic one. This involved blending in a
certain level of fiction with historical narrative, especially when it came to conversations. For, I have
always believed that history is something that should inspire, and not just be read for the sake of
reportage. As my publisher, Pranav Kumar Singh, said once, ‘If it does not move you, you are unlikely to
And that perhaps was the core objective of Kesariya Bana: to move our young readers by making them
aware of the deeds of the bravehearts of India, many of whom have alas, received but a cursory mention
in their history textbooks. There is the tale of the Pathans who fought for the body of a Rajput, the
revolutionary who cut off his arm as he fought for freedom, the general who led his army in spite of being
on his sickbed . . . all narrated with as much attention to fact as feeling.
To say that we were overwhelmed by the response to Kesariya Bana would be an understatement. The
book received favourable reviews and a fair deal of recognition as well. So much so that we were asked
for a sequel. Well, ten years down the line, here it is. Indian Tales of Valour has the original tales from
Kesariya Bana, and a few more besides. There are fourteen tales in all, and they are from all parts of
India, covering different races, religions and regions. Once again, our objective has been to narrate not
just with fact but with feeling.
For courage, too, is not about facts.
It has no religion. It can belong to anyone. It has no language.
It is about feeling.
And it is about inspiring.
If these stories at any stage make you feel just a little braver when the odds seem overwhelming, or make
you square your shoulders and smile rather than retreat when faced with adversity, then this book will
have served its purpose.
Delhi Nimish Dubey
4 March 2017