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Allahabad, early twentieth century. The British rule across India, but Avadhi culture is thriving. In this city where singers, musicians and poets assemble, a star emerges. Janki Bai Ilahabadi enthrals listeners wherever she performs, and counts as her fans maharajas and maharanis, poets and judges, nawabs and government officials-everyone. She is Janki 'Chhappan Chhuri', Janki of the fifty-six knives-attacked in her youth, she survives miraculously. Brought up in a nautch house, she rises to become the queen of Allahabad, her voice taking her from penury to palaces and royal durbars.
Based on the real-life story of Hindustani singer Janki Bai Ilahabadi (1880-1934), Requiem in Raga Janki is the beautifully rendered tale of one of India's unknown gems. Moving from Hindustani classical music's earliest times to the age of the gramophone, from Tansen's mysticism to Hassu Khan's stringent opposition of recordings, this is a novel that brings to life a golden era of music through the eyes of a gifted performer.