Forgotten Heroine Of Mughal India
Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan, is a Historical fiction with a captivating subject, that will take you to the era of Mughal India. Witness the glamour of Mughals described at its best and making of its Empress NurJahan a forgotten heroine from the pages of history.
Story is a journey of a girl child Mehrunnisa, born in tents to becoming the 20th and the last wife, Nur Jahan of Mughal Prince Jahangir or then known Salim. She was just a young child when she saw the first royal wedding of prince Salim. Enchanted by the prince she would not know that her destiny was making her ready for that. It was then she caught the attention of Sultan Begum Ruqayya, the Chief wife of Emperor Akhbar at that time.
Having spent her childhood in close proximity of Begum Rukaiyah, Mehrunnissa was quick to pick up the ways of Zenana, which would prove useful to Mehrunnisa in due course.
Having survived an abused marriage and mothering a girl child from that marriage, it was Mehrunnisa’s belief in herself and her grit that took her to the place where no other Mughal queen had reached. She not only became the chief queen leaving behind all the 19 previous royal wives and 100s of favourite concubines, but also earned a special place in the heart of Emperor Jahangir. He not only let her special rule the heart of the Emperor but let her rule the entire emprire. It is said that during the regime of Emperor Jahangir, it was Nur Jahan who actually ruled the country and Jahangir was a puppet in the hands of Nur Jahan.
Indu Sundersen at times tends to be over descriptive but in all she has beautifully portrayed the glamour of the royal Mughal court and its main characters with a great marvel. You can skip few over descriptive pages in between and enjoy the main storyline.
A Glimpse :
Salim turned to Mehrunnisa “ will you wait for me ? I will be back soon.”
“Where would I go, your Highness? If you have commanded me, I can only obey.”
He Leaned close to her, his eyes bright with amusement. “This from the girl who released my pigeons. I do not command Mehrunnisa, I request. Please wait, so I can come back to you.”
Mehrunnisa sat down on the stone bench under the tree and pulled her veil…… A slow smile spread over her features.
…………. She heard the sound of approaching footsteps and looked up with a smile that faded when she saw Sultan Begum entering the garden, attendants in tow. Please, Allah the Empress should leave before Salim returned. Ruqayya left servants and came to her.
Mehrunnisa stood up and bowed.
“What are you upto now, Mehrunnisa?” Ruqayya sat down and patted the bench.
“I have no idea what you are talking———–“
“Yes, you do, Listen to me. Salim may outwardly be a man, but inside he is a child. He is always searching for his ideal mate.”………….” I can see you know the prince’s character and are taking advantage of it.”
“You Majesty,” Mehrunnisa protested hotly. “That is unfair. I am doing nothing of the sort. The Prince is interested in me. Why shouldn’t I encourage that interest?”
“Because you are as good as married, that’s why.” Ruqayya said firmly. “And his Majesty will not sanction an end to your betrothal.”
Witness the Royal romance, Mughal Glamour, cunning ways behind the veils of Zenana, grit, betrayal and history mingled with fiction.
In all a great read for all those who get enchanted by the Indian Mughal history and its Glamour. Wonderful read about yet anothet forgotten heroine from the pages of history “Empress NurJahan”.