Shubadra Sen Gupta's 'Mahal' Uncovers The Little-Known Lives Of The Remarkable Women Who Inhabited The Mahal During Mughal Reign

Published by Hachette India, Mahal talks about all the extra ordinary women who have played an important role during the Mughal reign.

Shubadra Sen Gupta's 'Mahal' Uncovers The Little-Known Lives Of The Remarkable Women Who Inhabited The Mahal During Mughal Reign

Try to name any 5 influential women during the Mughal reign and you wouldn't go beyond Nur Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. All our history lessons about the Mughal rule have a chronology that goes about Babur-Humayun-Akbar-Jehangir-Aurangzeb, but what they never talk about is all the women of the Mughal empire that have played a crucial role in establishing and maintaining the empire. 

Once you get to know more about the women of the Mughal rule, another thing that is associated with them is the Mahal that they lived in. Despite what we would like to believe, the Mahal was not an exotic sexual playground; it was a family space. And the stories of these women, from queens and princesses to foster mothers and female officers, deserve to be heard.’

In every citadel of the Mughal Empire, there existed a luxurious fortress that housed the women of the court. Known as the ‘Mahal’, this closely-guarded space that few men could enter has intrigued the world for centuries.

Uncovering the little-known lives of the remarkable women who inhabited the Mahal, this book introduces us to Ehsan Daulat Begum, Babur’s grandmother, without whose enterprise there would have been no Mughal Empire; the Padshah Begums who ran the vast establishment of the Mahal with an all-women team; the female scholars and poets – like Zeb-un-Nissa, Salima Sultan Begum, Zeenat-un-Nissa – who influenced the emperor in matters of diplomacy and state policy.

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The family tree of the Mughals which includes all the women on the first page is a very helpful guide throughout the book. However, the book is very elaborate and fails to be crisp. The women characters are not really full-fledged and it fails to be compelling at many ends. The amount of research that has been done for the book is commendable and anyone who's looking for facts is in for a read. But, if you're someone who's looking for intriguing storytelling, then it's not for you.  

If you're a history geek and enjoys Abraham Eraly's work, then it's a perfect read. The best part about the book is that it is not just focused on the royal family's kings and queens but also talks a lot of how the common man lived during the Mughal rule. 

Mahal is a rare peek into life behind the veil and an illuminating account of the role women played in the courts of the Mughal Empire.

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Subhadra Sen Gupta has written over 30 books for both adults and children. Her most acclaimed work is A Children's History of India

Book details: Publisher- Hachette India| Genre- Historical Non-fiction | Date of Release- October 2019 | Paperback- 304pages  

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