Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Hind Pocket Books

Empress

Empress

The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

Ruby Lal
Select Preferred Format

The fascinating biography of the most powerful Mughal woman in history

When it came to hunting, she was a master shot. As a dress designer, few could match. An ingenious architect, she innovated the use of marble in her parents’ mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna, which 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 Emperor Jahangir. While other wives were secluded behind walls, Nur ruled the vast Mughal Empire alongside her husband, and governed in his stead when his health failed and his attention wandered from matters of state. An astute politician and a devoted partner, Nur led troops into battle to free Jahangir when he was imprisoned by one of his 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 cliches of romance and intrigue, while giving a new insight into the lives of the women and the girls during 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.

Imprint: India Penguin

Published: Jul/2021

ISBN: 9780143454885

Length : 304 Pages

MRP : ₹399.00

Empress

The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

Ruby Lal

The fascinating biography of the most powerful Mughal woman in history

When it came to hunting, she was a master shot. As a dress designer, few could match. An ingenious architect, she innovated the use of marble in her parents’ mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna, which 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 Emperor Jahangir. While other wives were secluded behind walls, Nur ruled the vast Mughal Empire alongside her husband, and governed in his stead when his health failed and his attention wandered from matters of state. An astute politician and a devoted partner, Nur led troops into battle to free Jahangir when he was imprisoned by one of his 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 cliches of romance and intrigue, while giving a new insight into the lives of the women and the girls during 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.

Select Preferred Format

Ruby Lal

Ruby Lal is an acclaimed historian of Mughal India. Her previous books are: Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005), which won much acclaim, including numerous reviews in major international magazines, such as The New York Review of Books, The Economic and Political Weekly, Revue Historique, and The Times Literary Supplement. Her second book, Coming of Age in Nineteenth Century India: The Girl-Child and the Art of Playfulness (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2013) was reviewed extensively in academic journals and magazines with wider intellectual concerns. Her short stories have appeared in Indian Literature and in The Little Magazine. She teaches at Emory University and divides her time between Atlanta and Delhi.