A Finalist for the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History
Four centuries ago, a Muslim woman ruled an empire.
When it came to hunting, she was a master shot. As a dress designer, few could compare. An ingenious architect, she innovated the use of marble in her parents’ mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna River that inspired her stepson’s Taj Mahal. And she was both celebrated and reviled for her political acumen and diplomatic skill, which rivaled those of her female counterparts in Europe and beyond.
In 1611, thirty-four-year-old Nur Jahan, daughter of a Persian noble and widow of a subversive official, became the twentieth and most cherished wife of the Emperor Jahangir. While other wives were secluded behind walls, Nur ruled the vast Mughal Empire alongside her husband, and governed in his stead as his health failed and his attentions wandered from matters of state. An astute politician and devoted partner, Nur led troops into battle to free Jahangir when he was imprisoned by one of his own officers. She signed and issued imperial orders, and coins of the realm bore her name.
Acclaimed historian Ruby Lal uncovers the rich life and world of Nur Jahan, rescuing this dazzling figure from patriarchal and Orientalist clichés of romance and intrigue, and giving new insight into the lives of women and girls in the Mughal Empire, even where scholars claim there are no sources. Nur’s confident assertion of authority and talent is revelatory. In Empress, she finally receives her due in a deeply researched and evocative biography that awakens us to a fascinating history.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Dramatis Personae xi
1 Queen of Queens, an Introduction 1
2 Miracle Girl 14
3 Al-Hind 29
4 The Cupolas of Chastity and the Perfect Man 38
5 The Wak-Wak Tree 46
6 The Mirror of Happiness 60
7 Grave Matters 76
8 A Key for Closed Doors 94
9 Ascent 104
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"... finding her entails peering around the towering figures of men ..." With nothing written in her own hand or by another expressing her own words, we know very little about this woman, except through the eyes of others. And Nur Jahan is not alone in this; there are many authors today, trying to piece together the fragmentary lives of notable women, to retell their stories from, I guess, a more retrospective and understanding voice. Some succeeded - others haven't. There was still so much I wanted to learn about Nur Jahan that wasn't really covered here as the information was just not there. What Lal's book does do is gives us a fairly decent introduction into this woman. ~~~ Melisende (Melisende's Library)
Before reading this book I was not familiar with Nur Jahan. This book brings this fascinating woman to life. The book is very well written and easy to read. I really enjoyed learning about Nur Jahan and her impact on history. All of her accomplishments are recounted, and she had many. This book is clearly focused on her and not just on the love story legend. Enjoy this magical biography.