Empress

The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

In 1611, thirty-four-year-old Nur Jahan became the twentieth and favorite wife of the Emperor Jahangir, who ruled the vast Mughal Empire. An astute politician as well as a talented dress designer and innovative architect whose work inspired her stepson’s Taj Mahal, Nur was the only woman to acquire the stature of Empress in her male- dominated world. Here, she finally receives her due in a deeply researched and evocative biography that awakens us to a fascinating history.

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Empress

“A luminous biography… It is a captivating account, its depth of detail recreating a world whose constraints of lineage would seem to preclude the advance of an unknown, self-made, widowed queen… Lal’s book is an act of feminist historiography.”
– Rafia Zakaria, Guardian

The New York Times

Editors’ Choice / Staff Pick in the August 19 issue of The New York Times Book Review!

The Guardian

The Rise and Reign of a Self Made Mughal QueenThe Guardian reviews Empress

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Kirkus gives Empress a starred review

A must read!

A top ten read for July!

Op-ed on Empress Nur Jahan and the Politics of Erasure in Modern India

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Four centuries ago, a Muslim woman ruled an empire.
Her legend still lives, but her story was lost — until now.

Ruby Lal

Photo by Myron McGhee

Ruby Lal

Ruby Lal is an acclaimed historian of Mughal India. Her previous books are: Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005), which won much acclaim, including numerous reviews in major international magazines, such as The New York Review of Books, The Economic and Political Weekly, Revue Historique, and The Times Literary Supplement. Her second book, Coming of Age in Nineteenth Century India: The Girl-Child and the Art of Playfulness (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2013) was reviewed extensively in academic journals and magazines with wider intellectual concerns. Her short stories have appeared in Indian Literature and in The Little Magazine. She teaches at Emory University and divides her time between Atlanta and Delhi.

“Ruby Lal has written a classic.”
– Amanda Foreman, author of The World Made by Women

More Books by Ruby Lal

Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World

Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World

Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century India

Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century India

“Ruby Lal’s marvelous account of Empress Nur Jahan’s life is as intriguing, inspiring, and relevant to us today in 21st century America, as it was to her times in 17th century India.”
– Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran