Hindustan was never 'a place of plunder' for Mughals: Writer Ira Mukhoty

The ambition of the Mughals in India, according to Mukhoty, was to found an empire worthy of their glorious ancestors. The author, in an interview with IANS, highlighted that Babur, the prince of Ferghana, accepted that he would never beat the Uzbeks (in Kabul) and decided, instead, to try and found an empire in Hindustan.

Indo-Asian News Service
New Delh, Publish Date: May 22 2018 1:53PM | Updated Date: May 22 2018 1:53PM
Hindustan was never 'a place of plunder' for Mughals: Writer Ira MukhotyHindustan was never ''a place of plunder'' for Mughals: Writer Ira Mukhoty

At a time when demonising the Mughal empire has become fashionable in India and a negative perception of their rule comes a new book "Daughters of the Sun: Empresses, Queens and Begums of the Mughal Empire", whose writer, Ira Mukhoty maintains that Hindustan was "never a plunderous foray" for the Mughals.

The ambition of the Mughals in India, according to Mukhoty, was to found an empire worthy of their glorious ancestors. The author, in an interview with IANS, highlighted that Babur, the prince of Ferghana, accepted that he would never beat the Uzbeks (in Kabul) and decided, instead, to try and found an empire in Hindustan.

"After winning the battle of Panipat, he then did everything in his power to keep his noblemen and his amirs in Agra and summoned their families, women and children, to Hindustan. Babur saw Hindustan as the land of hope, albeit a somewhat poor substitute for his glorious childhood cities. Hindustan would be the land in which he would forge his dream of empire, dreams nurtured by a desire for grand architecture, magnificent courtly culture and etiquette. It was never a place of plunder from which to take wealth and then return to his homeland as there was no other homeland for Babur to return to.

"But somehow we have conflated the histories of all the different Muslim rulers/invaders including the likes of Nadir Shah, the Delhi Sultans, and the Tughlaqs into one, amorphous, dangerous heap. I am interested in extricating the Mughals from this morass, to bring them to life as much as possible so people can see them for the living, dreaming, ambitious and talented family they were," Mukhoty contended.

The author pointed to Babur's "Baburnama," Gulbadan's "Humayun-nama" and Jahangir's "Tuzuk i Jahangiri", maintaining that these primary sources show us the real motivations, concerns, ambitions and griefs of the Mughals.

Mukhoty, who has previously authored highly acclaimed "Heroines: Powerful Indian Women of Myth and History", has, in her new book, chronicled the lives of women who played a vital role in building the Mughal empire. In doing so, she brings forth an illuminating and gripping history of a little known aspect of "the most magnificent dynasty" that the world has ever known.

"When I set out to write this book, I had the same view of the Mughal women that I suppose a lot of lay people do -- that they were essentially domesticated and exotic women, quite unchanged through 200 years of history. As I did my research, I was truly amazed at the way the physical space that these women occupied evolved over the course of this time. The early Mughal women were physically so mobile and adventurous, journeying in harsh and unpredictable conditions, that it completely challenged my preconceptions about a "harem" or a "zenana". Over time they did become more sedentary, as Akbar built the high walls of Fatehpur Sikri, and yet the women refused to be constrained by these limitations and kept setting off on Hajj journeys, or on unexpected pleasure excursions," she said.

The Mughal women, Mukhoty said, influenced politics, and art and architecture; commanded immense wealth -- and often used this wealth to stake their own claims to a legacy.

"Influential women were a part of their Central Asian nomadic culture so it was never unusual for a woman to be ambitious or to wish to leave a legacy or influence politics. This ambition, this independence, this power that many of the women showed, were all startling discoveries for me," noted Mukhoty, who was educated in Delhi and Cambridge.

She further recalled that at the onset, the idea of the "harem" made her "somewhat uncomfortable", with "vague but tenuous notions of lascivious kings and nubile women" associated with the whole concept.

"This is a post-colonial construct, as the western travellers in the 18th and 19th centuries wrote with fervid imagination about the Mughal world they encountered in india but could not understand. As I looked a little deeper, I realised that the zenana was often like a traditional Indian joint family, just more so! With Babur and Humayun, it was quite a contained space but with Akbar onwards, the zenana became much larger. It was almost like a mini-city, in which every profession was carried out by women, from administration to military to entertainment. It was from within this space that the Mughal women operated and they found ways to exercise their influence despite the desire of later 'padshahs' to impose greater order," she elaborated.

Mukhoty said that Indian history has not been written about in anywhere near the extent it deserves to be.

"If you think of any British monarch for example, Henri VIII or Queen Elizabeth I, there are countless books on them. Similarly for the French, there are reams of writing on Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. Indian history has so much to offer, but so much is still shrouded in mystery, or myth-making," she contended.

Priced at Rs 699, "Daughters of the Sun" has been published by Aleph and comes with an elaborate Notes and References section.

  • More in this Category
  • Rahul Gandhi is fit to be Prime Minister: Kushwaha

    Rahul Gandhi is fit to be Prime Minister: Kushwaha

    After the snub from Samajwadi party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and amidst reports of rumblings within the Mahagatbandhan (Grand Alliance) in Bihar, a new ally says Congress President Rahul Gandhi is fit to be Prime Minister and the party backs him for the top post.

Latest News

  1. Jammu violence: JCCI accuses state administration of failing to take effective steps
  2. Jammu violence: JCCI accuses state administration of failing to take effective steps
  1. PDP stages protest in Srinagar urging Centre to ensure safety of Kashmiris
  2. PDP stages protest in Srinagar urging Centre to ensure safety of Kashmiris
  1. Governor’s advisor reviews security measures for students studying outside Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Governor’s advisor reviews security measures for students studying outside Jammu and Kashmir
  1. Don't attack innocent Kashmiris: CPI-M
  2. Don't attack innocent Kashmiris: CPI-M
  1. Kashmir colleges to remain closed until February 21: Div Com
  2. Kashmir colleges to remain closed until February 21: Div Com
  1. Pulwama attack: CRPF cautions people against fake pics aimed at spreading hatred
  2. Pulwama attack: CRPF cautions people against fake pics aimed at spreading hatred
  1. U'khand police asks Kashmiri students to not issue provocative statements, assures them safety
  2. U'khand police asks Kashmiri students to not issue provocative statements, assures them safety
  1. AMU issues advisory asking Kashmiri students not to move out of campus
  2. AMU issues advisory asking Kashmiri students not to move out of campus
  1. Shabir Shah was never provided security by govt: JKDFP
  2. Shabir Shah was never provided security by govt: JKDFP
  1. Move employees in Jammu urge governor to facilitate their journey back home
  2. Move employees in Jammu urge governor to facilitate their journey back home
  1. Fire raging in your bosoms is in my heart too: Modi on Pulwama attack
  2. Fire raging in your bosoms is in my heart too: Modi on Pulwama attack
  1. Banihal shuts against Jammu mob attacks
  2. Banihal shuts against Jammu mob attacks
  1. Attacking, terrorising Kashmiris outside JK will alienate them further: Omar Abdullah
  2. Attacking, terrorising Kashmiris outside JK will alienate them further: Omar Abdullah
  1. Withdrawing security not an issue for us, had never asked for it: Hurriyat (M)
  2. Withdrawing security not an issue for us, had never asked for it: Hurriyat (M)
  1. Pulwama attack fallout: Kashmiri students in Delhi fear for their security
  2. Pulwama attack fallout: Kashmiri students in Delhi fear for their security
  1. JK Governor announces Rs 20 lakh ex-gratia for kin of CRPF man killed in Pulwama attack
  2. JK Governor announces Rs 20 lakh ex-gratia for kin of CRPF man killed in Pulwama attack
  1. Mobile Internet service suspended in Kashmir
  2. Mobile Internet service suspended in Kashmir
  1. Valley shuts to protest attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu, other states
  2. Valley shuts to protest attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu, other states
  1. Pulwama attack fallout: Security cover of five Kashmiri separatist leaders withdrawn
  2. Pulwama attack fallout: Security cover of five Kashmiri separatist leaders withdrawn
  1. Four injured in leopard attack in south Kashmir’s Pulwama
  2. Four injured in leopard attack in south Kashmir’s Pulwama
  1. Move employees in Jammu to boycott duties from Monday, cite insecurity
  2. Move employees in Jammu to boycott duties from Monday, cite insecurity
  1. Four Kashmiri students of NIMS Rajasthan suspended over WhatsApp posts on Pulwama bombing
  2. Four Kashmiri students of NIMS Rajasthan suspended over WhatsApp posts on Pulwama bombing
  1. JNU students union urges state governments to prevent attacks on Kashmiri students
  2. JNU students union urges state governments to prevent attacks on Kashmiri students
  1. ICJ to hold public hearings in Kulbhushan Jadhav case from Feb 18
  2. ICJ to hold public hearings in Kulbhushan Jadhav case from Feb 18
  1. Guwahati teacher suspended for FB post blaming army for atrocities on civilians in Kashmir
  2. Guwahati teacher suspended for FB post blaming army for atrocities on civilians in Kashmir
  1. Army Major killed in Rajouri landmine explosion was to tie the knot next month
  2. Army Major killed in Rajouri landmine explosion was to tie the knot next month
  1. IUST Awantipora extends winter vacation until February 19
  2. IUST Awantipora extends winter vacation until February 19
  1. Divisional  Administration Kashmir establishes helpline
  2. Divisional Administration Kashmir establishes helpline
  1. JK children are being taken care of: Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir
  2. JK children are being taken care of: Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir
  1. Curfew continues in Jammu for third consecutive day
  2. Curfew continues in Jammu for third consecutive day
  1. Pulwama attack: MNS asks music companies to stop working with Pakistan singers
  2. Pulwama attack: MNS asks music companies to stop working with Pakistan singers
x
This site uses cookies to deliver our services and to show you relevant news and ads. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service.That's Fine