Anita Jari Kharbanda
Lioness of Punjab
“We will fight here,” I commanded the warriors. “We are strong. We will have no fear. As Sikh warriors, we are ready to fight for justice. Vahiguru Ji Ka Khalsa! Vahiguru Ji Ki Fateh!”
It is the winter of 1705, and the tenth Guru of the Sikhs is under attack by the armies of the mighty Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Under siege and isolated, Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s men are exhausted beyond measure, and forty soldiers decide to head home. Back in the villages of Punjab, these forty men are met by a fiery Sikh woman—a warrior who has been preparing all her life for this very moment—who leads the deserters back to the Guru. This is the story of that warrior, the fierce Mai Bhago, who chose the sword to symbolize her unwavering loyalty and devotion to her people and her faith.
This energetic coming-of-age young adult novel brings us closer to Mai Bhago—a woman revered in the Sikh community and beyond—to imagine her growing to embrace her many roles in a way that was entirely her own and, in the process, becoming a shining inspiration for young women everywhere.
Publisher: Yali Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2022
"LIONESS OF PUNJAB is exciting, surprising and important with a heroine we won't forget. Kharbanda gives Mai Bhago her own special voice in a coming-of-age story that is simple but adventurous, intimate but epic. We are the fortunate ones to have this novel and author debut." -- Kalisha Buckhanon, American Library Association ALEX Award-winning author of UPSTATE
“An incredible debut from Anita Kharbanda, LIONESS OF PUNJAB brings to life the story of the unsung Sikh heroine, Mai Bhago.” -- Preeti C. Sharma, author of “Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter” and the Stargazer Conservatory novels
"A powerful, heart-stopping debut, LIONESS OF PUNJAB explores love, duty, honor, and faith. Mai Bhago is a strong and complex heroine." -- Kelly Loy Gilbert, Author of Multiple Award-Winning CONVICTION and PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT
"LIONESS OF PUNJAB is an immersive, poignant, coming-of-age tale of legendary heroine, Mai Bhago. Kharbanda masterfully brings to life a remarkable, complex young woman who finds the strength and courage to fight for her beloved people. Everyday life, family dynamics, action, adventure, and significant historical events are blended seamlessly and skillfully to create an unforgettable world. This is historical fiction at its best!" -- Betty G. Yee, Author of GOLD MOUNTAIN
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Anita Kharbanda is an Indian-American engineer by trade and a storyteller by heart. She lives in North Texas with her husband and two sons. An avid lifelong reader of all kinds of fiction, she revels in seeing her children do the same. The healing power of letters filled with family history inspired Anita to start writing. She now writes the kinds of stories she’s devoured through the years, with one difference. She promised herself she’d write stories about the characters she dreamed of seeing in books growing up and lift the voices of those who go unheard.
Find her on IG: @anita_kharbanda_78 Twitter: @jarianita and TikTok: @anita_kharbanda_78
Tags: YA, Historical Fiction, Retelling, Women's Fiction, BIPOC