In Indu Sundaresan’s lush historical romance, The Twentieth Wife, we read of Mumtaz Mahal’s aunt, Mehrunnisa, a woman known to Indian history as Nur. Indu Sundaresan is an Indian-American author of historical fiction. Contents. 1 Career; 2 Personal; 3 Awards; 4 Works; 5 References; 6 External links. Career[ edit]. Her first novel The Twentieth Wife is about how a young widow named. Written by Indu Sundaresan Unfortunately, The Twentieth Wife is less than enthralling, for although its subjects are fascinating people, its setting is exotic, and.

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Mehrunnisa would later become famous as Empress Nur Jahan. When Mehrunnisa becomes the 20th and last wife of Jahangir, she is 34, hardly tue for the year She is gifted with a cunning and slyness that she uses to make herself visible to Jahangir at opportune times. Mehrunnisa got the best possible education, including a mastery of the Arabic and Persian languages.

Indu Sundaresan

In one instance, Jahangir presents Mehrunnisa with a book by Firdausi from the Imperial Library, which she had never been allowed to enter. She amazes Jahangir with her understanding of the book. She is well versed in the Imperial court affairs because her father was the diwan treasurer for the Province wifs Kabul.


Ruqayya promotes Mehrunnisa to offset Jagat Gosini.

In 17th century India, when women were behind veil and supposed to be in the background, Mehrunnisa offers sound political opinions to her first husband and then later to Jahangir. She is wily in recommending to Jahangir how to play the English traders against the Portuguese Jesuits. The latter had wofe over protecting Mughal ships until then.

The Twentieth Wife: A Novel — book review

The British offer for security for trading ships in the Arabian Sea annoys the Portuguese. She recommends that Jahangir use the services of the British. Mehrunnisa is extremely ambitious, becoming the empress despite coming from a family with no links to royalty.

She wins over Jahangir, who had over women in his harem, and who married for political reasons to expand his empire. She fails and realizes that maybe this time Jahangir is marrying for love. As the story of Mehrunnisa unfolds in the book, the reader thf exposed to the intriguing conspiracies that were the hallmark of the Mughal Empire.


Jahangir even declares himself the emperor from another city.

He later realizes his folly and apologizes to Akbar. Jahangir gets alarmed and ends up blinding Khusrau. She remains fiercely independent, designing and making ghagaras full pleated skirt reaching to the ankles and cholis form fitting blouse for the ladies in the zenana. She also earns by sewing and painting in the Imperial harem. Jagat Dife uses these men to drum up a case against Mehrunnisa.

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