The Tailor’s Needle


  • Author: Lakshmi Raj Sharma
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • ISBN-13: 9780143416760
  • Pages: 356
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Year of Pub / Reprint Year: 2012


About The The
The Tailor’s Needle is set in British India. Through the stories of its characters, the novel traces the political and social changes taking place in the country during the early decades of the twentieth century.
Summary Of The Book
Sir Saraswati Chandra Ranbakshi is the protagonist of The Tailor’s Needle. Sir Saraswati is Cambridge educated and is accepted among the high British social circles. At the same time, he is also not allowed to forget his colonial status.
When the story begins, he works for the Maharaja of Kashinagar. But, when a new ruler ascends the throne, Sir Saraswati moves to Mirzapur with his family. He has three children, Maneka, Yogendra and Sita.
The Tailor’s Needle is a metaphor used by Sir Saraswati to teach them how to conduct themselves in society. He tells them to be like the tailor’s needle that runs through all kinds of cloth without discrimination.
His two younger children are content to follow all his rules, but Maneka is a rebel. She wants to get the most out of life and she does not care for social norms. She has a failed romantic affair with Larry Stevens, the District Collector. She then meets and marries Mohan, a stranger of whom little is known. Yogendra does not flout the rules as much as his sister does. But, he does get into a confrontational situation with his father when he falls in love with a low caste girl, Gauri. Sita is the only child who never even thinks of going against her parents’ wishes.
Meanwhile, Sir Saraswati is again drawn into the politics of Kashinagar, as he is called upon to help thwart the plans of the British Viceroy to annex that small kingdom. As he matches his wits with the might of the British Raj, he loses touch with his children and the problems they are facing. Maneka especially lands in a lot of trouble with her hasty marriage to Mohan. He is a strange man who lives in a house that seems to be haunted. To make matters worse, he is murdered and Maneka returns to her parents’ house with her child.
The Tailor’s Needle is a sort of mixed genre novel. It reflects the social changes taking place at the time. It has political intrigue, it has some supernatural elements with the the events in the Nadir Palace. It has a murder mystery when Maneka’s husband is killed.
About Lakshmi Raj Sharma
Lakshmi Raj Sharma is a professor and a writer.
He has co-authored a book, The Twain Shall Meet, with his wife Bandana Sharma. He has published an ebook of short stories, Marriages Are Made In India.
Lakshmi Raj Sharma was born in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, in 1954. He studied at the University of Allahabad for his graduate and postgraduate degrees. He also earned his doctorate from that University. He is now a professor in the English department at the University of Allahabad. He is married to Bandana Sharma, who is also in the faculty of that university.