Indian publisher Speaking Tiger has just published 2 new editions;
An accomplished scholar and author of the Humayun-nama, Gulbadan Begam was also Babur’s daughter, Humayun’s sister, and Akbar’s aunt.
In this compact biography, Rumer Godden draws upon the Humayun-nama and other records, as well as her own soaring imagination, to create a portrait of the begam and the Mughal Empire as detailed and exquisite as any miniature.
This rich, broad sweep of history, written from Gulbadan’s point of view, is interspersed with colourful re-creations of goings-on within the zenana and the many diversions and internecine politics of the royal court.
Combining a historian’s rigour with a novelist’s gift for invention, Gulbadan is a timeless classic.
“I will lend it to you,” Subhana said, “so that you can feast your eyes on it.” For two days it adorned the sitting-room of the houseboat. He might have added, “Once it has been in your possession you will find that you can’t live without it.”
The carpet merchant Subhana artfully spins a complex web of charm, enticement and an extended wazwan to make a Persian rug irresistible to a customer. Sister Malone of the Elizabeth Scott Hospital finds her adamantine faith in the power of God and medicine tested when she meets a man quietly but firmly resolved to die. Young Ibrahim of the nomadic Bakriwar tribe, full of fire and sap, descends in a boisterous party from high mountain pastures to fetch his bride home but finds his courage turning to water when he finally meets her. And Miss Annie Passano worries about the comfort of the parrots and the monkey who travel with her and the agony of the bullocks and ponies straining at their harnesses under the hot sun but, when her maid Lily trips and drops a birdcage, cannot stop herself from beating the girl to within an inch of her life.
Compassionate, wise, effortlessly told stories, Indian Dust transcends time and space. This volume is a true classic.