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Ruby Lal explores domestic life and the place of women in the Mughal court of the sixteenth century. Challenging traditional, orientalist interpretations of the haram that have portrayed a domestic world of seclusion and sexual exploitation, she reveals a complex society where noble men and women negotiated their everyday life and public-political affairs. Combining Ottoman and Safavid histories, she demonstrates the richness as well as ambiguity of the Mughal haram, which was pivotal in the transition to institutionalization and imperial excellence.Read more
- Through memoirs and archives, the author unlocks the intrigues of the Mughal haram, and its elaborate political and personal negotiations
- There are other books on the topic, but this is the first to consider the Mughal court and to challenge the more traditional orientalist perspectives of the adjacent literature
- A must-read for students and scholars of South Asian, Persian and Turkish history, and for those in women's studies
Reviews & endorsements
"Ruby Lal [is a] young Indian historian whose study of the domestic life of the Mughals is likely to rewrite completely the social history of the period" - The New York Review of BooksSee more reviews
"Lal's work is significant and achieves much that it sets out to do. Women who inhabited the world of the early Mughals are truly brought to life in the context of wider historical processes. Her argument against the public/private division is well etched out. The book is a vivid and well-written account spanning a few generations, and weaves in the momentous historical changes that occurred in that time-span. An attempt to write such a text has perhaps never been made, and it is worth reading simply for the alternative perspective that it presents." - Indian Journal of Gender Studies
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- Date Published: October 2005
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521850223
- length: 260 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
- weight: 0.55kg
- contains: 6 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
2. A genealogy of the Mughal haram
3. The question of the archive: the challenge of a princess's memoir
4. The making of Mughal court society
5. Where was the haram in a peripatetic world?
6. Settled, sacred, and all-powerful: the new regime under Akbar
7. Settled, sacred, and 'incarcerated': the imperial haram
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