Captive Princess: Zebunissa, Daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb

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Oxford University Press, 2005 - History - 216 pages
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The book revolves around Princess Zebunissa (1638-1702) who is defined as the symbol of female power of the Mughal dynasty and portrays their stature in the court life in the seventeenth century.

In those days, the Mughal empire was at its zenith and famous in the world for its magnificence and wealth. Princesses were adorned with diamonds, dressed in clothes embroidered in gold and showered with exquisite luxury. They were the true patrons of art and loved books. She also contributed to the architecture by way of mosques and edifices and played the role of a political and social advisor.

The book shows the Mughal way of life and sketches the political and religious organization of the empire under Shah Jehan's reign and the austere government of Aurangzeb, the princess' father. The filigree of Zebunissa's life holds debates about her religious beliefs. The prism of her knowledge expanded to the study of calligraphy, Sufism and poetry. By giving herself a pen name Makhfi "The hidden," which had become an amusing and paradoxical disguise, she used it to moderate the 'Light of the World'. For her the name signified a life dramatically suppressed, cut off from the world.

Her mysterious and unexpected imprisonment is also described in this book: Zebunissa's fate changed drastically when she was sent to prison by her father Aurangzeb, where she died leaving a landmark near the Red Fort of Delhi.

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About the author (2005)

Annie Krieger Krynicki is Docteur d'Etat in Public Law. After a career as barrister at law in Paris she also served as a professor at the University of Paris IX Dauphine and at Sorbonne-Nouvelle 3. She is a graduate in Urdu (Inalco, Paris) and has written numerous books and articles about the constitutional and political life in Pakistan. She has been awarded the Knight of Merite and the Sitara-e-Quaid-i-Azam for her studies on Pakistan.

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