I came across an interesting drama series on Epic Channel called Siyaasat and later found out that it was based on a book by Indu Sundaresan titled ‘The Twentieth Wife’. I immediately ordered it online. The book is so well written that I finished reading it the evening I received it! It was simply ‘unputdownable’.
The Twentieth Wife is the first book of the ‘The Taj Mahal Trilogy’ and it traces the life of Mehr-un-Nissa, the blue-eyed daughter of a Persian refugee who is almost abandoned at birth to her marriage with Emperor Jahangir. She was Jahangir’s 20th wife and the only one he married for love. He loved her to the extent of letting her be the most powerful person in the Empire!
I quickly followed this book with the other two books in ‘The Taj Mahal Trilogy’ – ‘The Feast of Roses’ and ‘The Shadow Princess’. ‘The Feast of Roses’ gives us a glimpse of how Mehr-un-nissa became Nur Jahan – The Light of the World. ‘The Shadow Princess’ is about Princess Jahanara, Emperor Shah Jahan’s daughter who holds the empire together when her father neglects his duty after the death of his wife – Mumtaz Mahal (who is Nur Jahan’s niece). It is a tale of a daughter’s unconditional love for her father and a princess’ sense of duty towards her empire.
Mumtaz Mahal is known across the world because of the monument built in her honour by her husband – The Taj Mahal. Indu Sundaresan has done a remarkable job in bringing to us the stories of Nur Jahan and Jahanara – women relatively unknown today but powerful and influential in their times.
P.S: I was really impressed with the trilogy and I wrote to Indu Sundaresan about my thoughts. I never expected her to reply but I received a reply from her within a week! So excited!