Friday, August 20, 2010

                          History has never ceased to amaze me and personally it was one of my favourite subjects back in school . I would almost always dreamily move into war zones , battle fields and court scenes in my imagination . My reverie during history classes would transport me to the Maurya kingdom , the Mughal grandoise or our very own modest Chera , Chola Pandya dynasties.  However I always had an inclination towards the Mughal dynasty and like any one else Akbar's reign fascinated me .
                        The Twentieth wife by Indu Sundaresan is a historical fiction set in the backdrop of the Mughal Empite. The book's protagonist is Meherun-nisa popularly known to the world as Noor Jahan.The story revolves around the undying love and passion that both Nur jahan and Jehangir had for each other from their adolescent days. However it took them more than fifteen years to sanctify it into a wedding. It depicts Nur jahan to be a strong willed woman , well learned and as a woman who could run the show with an iron fist. She proved to be a filial daughter , a dutiful wife , a nurturing mother and a soulmate to the Emperor. Though history glorifies kings and their conquests , very little is spoken about the women behind them running the show. This book could be  an eye opener to people who thought that women were subdued characters in the yester years.
                             This book gives us good insights into the Mughal way of life. The Mughal harem in particular is described in great detail . The harem comprised of the Emperor's wives, slaves , eunuchs and his concubines all pining to spend time with him . The one who would bear a son (heir) would be considered lucky.
                           Primarily set in Lahore, Agra and Kabul this book is definitely an interesting read. It transports you to a  time of pomp , grandeur and valour. A time about which we have read from mere text books. A book worth reading for anyone who likes history ...else you can just read it as a wistful romantic novel


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