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Nurjahan's Daughter

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Empress Nur Jahan ruled Hindustan for sixteen long years. While her story is often told with wonder and awe, historians and writers ignore the tale of her daughter, Laadli: the reluctant princess who found herself sucked in the maelstrom of her insensitive mother's ruthless ambitions. Destiny having thrust royalty on her, Laadli was trapped into living a life dictated by her ambitious mother. She travelled through tragic events of her life with a stoic optimism.

The novel is a peep into pages of history - a saga of broken hearts, palace intrigues, ruthless machinations, endless tussles for power and riches, decadence and debauchery. Set against the background of the opulence of the Mughal Empire, Nur Jahan's Daughter is the story of a royal lineage plunged into fratricidal friction, treachery, unbelievable loyalty and passion; a colourful tapestry woven with the splendorous skeins of life in medieval India and the Mughal courts. Nur Jahan's Daughter presents a vibrant and pulsating view of those times through a fascinating kaleidoscope of events.

362 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Tanushree Podder

42 books53 followers
Born at New Delhi, she worked in the corporate sector for eight long years before Tanushree quit the rat race to wield her pen and found her calling.
A well know travel writer and novelist, she is also known for the hundreds of ‘Middles’ that entertained readers of almost all English dailies in the country for over a decade. Tanushree is passionate about travelling and writing. If the lady is not packing her bags to zip around the world, she is sure to be found tapping the keys of her computer.
Among her bestselling books in non- fiction genre are Death of a Dictator - The Story of
Saddam Hussein, Secrets of Happiness, The Ultimate Food for Body, Mind and Soul, The
Power of Relaxation. The book Smart Memory has also been translated into Tamil and Spanish.

She has published 15 novels till date. Nurjahan’s Daughter, Boots Belts Berets, Escape from Harem, On the Double, Solo in Singapore, I fell in love with a soldier, Cakewalk Murder, No Margin for Error, A Closetful of Skeletons, The Breath of Death, Decoding the Feronia Files, The Teenage Diary of Rani Laxmibai, The Girls in Green, Spooky Stories, An Invitation to Die, are a few novels written by her.

Boots Belts Berets and On the Double - are soon to be adapted into web series.

She lives with her husband in Pune.
Tanushree can be contacted by email via her website at http://www.tanushreepodder.com. on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tpodder
Her travel stories can be found at http://tanushreez.wordpress.com

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5 stars
73 (27%)
4 stars
89 (32%)
3 stars
74 (27%)
2 stars
28 (10%)
1 star
6 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Divya.
Author 9 books75 followers
June 23, 2017
The premise of this book was super interesting, given that it (supposedly) focuses on a character who's largely ignored in other Mughal retellings. However, this book has many flaws. For one, it ends up focusing on (and judging) Nurjahan more than it really gives any account of her daughter's life. And that's already been done so well by Indu Sundaresan that this book couldn't match up. Secondly, even when it does talk about Laadli, it skims over many things. And the fictional (?) love story, which seems to be the main part of her story isn't fleshed out very well. The book spends more time on detailing out various outfits designed by Nurjahan whereas it should've been detailing characters, and moving the story (whatever little exists) along!
Profile Image for Anil Swarup.
Author 3 books631 followers
August 4, 2016
It took a long time reading this book but it was all worth it. The book tells you at length about an unheralded character during the Moghul period, Laadli, the daughter of Noor Jehan . Born out of first marriage of Mehrunisa, the author takes you through travails and tragedies that Laadli suffered during her life. It was primarily on account of Noorjehan. Nurjehan herself "was just an insecure woman who lived in constant fear of losing everything". This was despite the fact that "all the years of their married life, the emperor never revoked her decisions. They were final and brooked no opposition". The author could not ignore the dominant personality of Noorjehan and the book is as much about Noorjehan.........perhaps more about her. Nonetheless a very interesting read.
14 reviews
February 9, 2015
The time period was interesting, but the writing was uneven and mostly dull. It was supposedly about the daughter but the title is a clue -- notice she's not actually mentioned by name. It's really about the famous mother, and reads like a high school history book: this happened, then that happened, then this other thing happened. I barely made it through to the end; I just wanted to find out if anything interesting would ever happen (it didn't).
Profile Image for Shubhangi Purohit.
3 reviews1 follower
August 9, 2019
After throughly enjoying Escape from Harem by Tanushree Podder, I decided to read another historical fiction with the title ‘Nurjahan’s Daughter’. As the title suggest: It is about Nurjahan’s Daughter Laadli Begum, the wife of Sharyr (Son of Jahangir). Unlike her mother, Laadli begum was simple and easy going. This historical fiction is written in a beautiful and fascinating manner but as a reader I was expecting more about Laadli. It talks about the persona of Nurjahan, her ambitions,her love for power and talks bare minimum about her daughter.
While turning the pages one by one, many thoughts occurred to me. The women of today are indeed independent but somewhere things, situations are still the same for some unlucky ones like Laadli Begum..The shackles of life still clutching the dreams of many! The lives of the Mughal princesses were not much different from many women of the 21st century.
Being born as a daughter to one of the most powerful empress, little is known about Laadli. Unwritten, unrecognised, the princess spent her life following an ambitious mother.
How was her life after the death of her mother? She died never making it to the list of the rich people in history... her love, her sacrifices unrecognised. Was she remembered as Laadli, daughter of Mehrunissa and Sher Afghan (a commoner) or the daughter of Nurjahan, the mighty Empress?
Get your hands on this mesmerising tale of Love, Power and Defeat from Amazon @₹395 #bookstagram #book #bookreader #currentread #whatshubhireads #bücherliebe
Profile Image for Srikkanth G.
178 reviews7 followers
February 1, 2021

The biggest problem I have with the book is the Title. I had this in my TBR for God knows how long and the only reason I hesitated from picking up was the Title. While I don't remember why I bought the book in the first place, I definitely felt that I didn't want to hear a sad and sorry tale of a Mughal Princess.

I'm so happy that I was so wrong. The book isn't about Nur Jahan's Daughter as the Author wanted to have but it's about Nur Jahan and a concise history about Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. Hence, for me, the Title should have been :
Nur Jahan, the most powerful Mughal Empress
Mughal Empire from Akbar to Shah Jahan and the women who was in the middle of it all

We are all told not to judge the book by its cover but in reality, we all judge book by the cover and the Title. Since I wanted to clear my TBR's and that the book was a less than 300 pages got me interested to get through the first few chapters.

Let's skip the issue of the Title and jump into the contents of the book. The story is a fictionalised (with historical references and characters) story about Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. While Akbar gets the least space, it's enough to get a glimpse of the great Mughal Emperor, his lofty ambitions, desire, tolerance and vengeance against those who stand against him.

Most of the book is about Jehangir and Mehruinssa or Nur Jahan as she was later known. We get not just a glimpse but more about the glitz, glamour, richness, politics, issues of the Mughal Empire during the time of Jehangir, we read about the relentless determination of Jehangir, his desire to have his throne from his father, his wayward behaviour during his youth, an affair with Anarkali, an attempt to marry Mehrunissa and so forth.

It was through the story of Jehangir that I got to know that Nur Jahan was married to another man and bore a single child in 10-12 years of married life. That child is supposedly the main character of the book. Her name is Laadli.

It isn't until 60% of the book that we see the world through the supposedly main characters angle. That's weird and the reason why I said the Title was wrong. You don't put your main protagonist into action at 60% of the book. The author may disagree stating that the character was introduced earlier and yes, she did. That doesn't mean the character had much to do throughout the book until the said time line.

Nur Jahan's daughter doesn't have much to do apart from being sad and lonely. Thankfully the book isn't so sad and lonely. We get back to the world of Jehangir as he has Meharunissa's husband killed and bought to the harem.

We read about the steely determination of Nur Jahan's refusal to court Jehangir and he demand to be his wife. We also read about her elevation to the Empress of the most powerful empire in Hindustan. Nur Jahan gets embroiled in the Mughal politics, her desire to control the empire when her husband's health starts failing. Her cold and political war with Shah Jahan, who didn't have it easy to get the empire on his name.

The entire account of the Mughal Empire was just fascinating to read. It did put a myth and historical misinformation, that I had, put to rest. . The myth that Mumtaz was 7th or 13th wife of Shah Jahan was put to rest. I never knew that Shah Jahan was so loyal to his wife and she bore him zillions of kids.

The biggest historical misinformation that got cleared was just this, Nur Jahan was Jehangir's wife and not Shah Jahan's. Please don't laugh. I tested this information with few of my friends and guess what, they got it wrong too.
21 reviews
January 26, 2023

I don't think I would have given this book a 2.5 if I wasn't as invested in the subjects as much. For someone unfamiliar or uninterested in the characters, the book would be remarkably dry.

To begin with, I did not like how the book describes Mehrunissa's marriage to Ali Quli. The author paints a rosy, historically inaccurate picture but I am willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt and attribute it to Laadli's perspective and her romanticism of her childhood. That isn't the only historically inaccurate thing with this book, which made for a very annoying reading experience. To elaborate, Khurram and Arjumand are stated to have gotten engaged un 1607 and Jahangir is said to have romanced Mehrunissa at the Meena Bazaar of 1611. The book changes these facts to establish a new, unnecessary narrative.

Apart from its deviation from facts, I also hated the dialogue and how characters interacted with each other. Their conversations felt stilted and sickly sweet. I would have preferred to read the entire book from Laadli's POV. Knowing everyone's thoughts and fancies as some sort of omniscient observer may work for some books, but for a book with a titular character, it feels like lazy writing.

The implication of a six-year old Laadli having romantic feelings for a teenaged Khurram also felt creepy and unnecessary. Overall, it was a sad read and while I went into the book expecting a sad story, I did not expect sad writing.
Profile Image for Zaib Rizvi.
27 reviews1 follower
September 7, 2017
Nur Jahan's Daughter was a very interesting read. It is a historical fiction about the unknown and unfortunate daughter of Nur Jahan and Sher Afghan (her first husband). The story shows the journey of a woman with commoner background who rose to be the empress of Hindustan and actually ran the country quite successfully and her daughter who was often sacrificed on account of her mother's ambition. On one hand the way Nur Jahan conducted herself as an empress - her intelligence and shrewdness is inspiring but on the other hand it is saddening to see how her lust for power and ambition ruined her only daughter's life. Moreover, it is quite an insight into Mughal's lavish and grand way of living as well as the constant power struggle that occurred inside the palaces. It is also thought provoking that the woman who literally ran the empire during her husband's life lost all power and glory after Jahengir's demise and was forced to live a uneventful and secluded life without any benefits given to dowager empress. The only companion she had was the daughter she neglected for power and ambition.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Samir Manocha.
43 reviews5 followers
May 9, 2019
I will comment on the writing first: Tanushree aint no William Dalrymple, nor is she Alex Rutherford, but on the flip side shes better than most Indian writers who write in English, and no I am not being patronising.
History is something I am very passionate about, and Tanushree, sadly couldnt create the excitement that most historical fiction writing is supposed to do, something that Tanushree attempts , well half heartedly at that. Maybe a little more of concenteration, a leap of imagination, and the results could have been a lot different.
24 reviews
July 25, 2018
Writing about a rather insignificant member of the Mughal household is challenging. As such, I really appreciate the author for choosing to write about Laadli, the daughter of the much celebrated Nur Jahan on whom, not much authentic material exists.

The author sticks to the genre pretty well; however, for a history buff like me who is still trying to understand 'historical fiction', the details were a bit too much.

Profile Image for Mimi Ray.
56 reviews2 followers
January 1, 2020
An interesting light hearted read based on in depth research. Most of the facts re Nur Jahan are known from better books by Indu Sunderesan and the like. There is some light shed on Nur Jahan as a Mother, very little on her daughter and the more homely side of Jahangir. The last part of the book after Jahangir's death redeems the book somewhat but whilst it was a good Christmas holiday read I had expected more.
Profile Image for Hadia Siddiqui.
10 reviews3 followers
November 3, 2017
One intriguing read. It becomes really hard to separate fiction from facts here. The tender relation of mother and daughter, over powered by the difference of minds between a queen and a half princess, the story makes you feel sorry for the Ladli as well as the great empress Nur Jahan. A hard to keep down book indeed
16 reviews1 follower
January 7, 2019
Excellent read

Excellent narration of feelings of a silent daughter who got shadowed by the pompous mother and empress. The author has given a captivating insight to the Harems of the Mughals empire. The epilogue us also rightly summarises the feeling one gets on completing the reading. Unputdownable from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Sneha.
272 reviews12 followers
September 6, 2020
Fabulous read

This book narrates the life story of Nurjahan's daughter Laadli. Nurse was an ambitious women and her ambitions not only destroyed life of her daughter but also her own.
The tale us narrated beautifully.
I have read about ladli in Taj trilogy ,and this book gives more insight in her life.
Profile Image for Barun Ghosh.
110 reviews2 followers
March 29, 2021
Though most of the conversations are fictitious, one gets an amazing idea about the intricacies of life in the Mughal harem and how power and politics affected the daily lives of the people born into this realm.
Profile Image for Savita Ramsumair.
423 reviews1 follower
April 26, 2022
A bit disappointing

Whilst I enjoyed this novel, it strayed from the main topic; Ladli Begum. It seems to be more about Nur Jahan rather than about her daughter. However, finally this novel mentions the name of Jodha Bai.
Author 1 book
December 21, 2022
An Exciting Read.

Travelling through Author's Imagination Travelling into the times of Mughals, it was a delight to watch.

Reminded me of Sri Parabat's Bools on historical Fiction.

An unexplored charecter well woven from reminiscences. 🌹
8 reviews
July 14, 2012
People who have heard of the Mughal Dynasty know of Akbar ,for he was the greatest ruler of the Mughal dynasty, Jehangir/Salim immortalized by his love , Anarkali and their tragic love story, Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal for their love story which has a physical personification in the Taj Mahal, Aurangazeb for being the last strong ruler of the Dynasty. and then, people know Nur Jahan , Jahangir’s Queen who was a political maestro.
But what about others who were connected to them? What about their brothers, sisters, fathers and daughters? What was their relation with their own parents? What about their personal life? Did they like being Royalty? What about the women? Where they subdued, did they live a dejected life or was it full of pleasure? How did they dress, behave? How must it have been for the women associated with the Dynasty ? Have you ever wondered?
If you have, then this is the book to read.
Ms. Tanushree Podder the author takes us back into time into the lives of the women in the Kings’ Harem through the eyes of the heroine – Laadli Begum. The (reluctant) princess - The title given to her by the very man, - her step father, Jahangir, who she felt was responsible for her father's death. We see the life of these royal people through her honest eyes.
The storyline is fast and interesting. I did not feel like skipping any pages or paragraphs ( except one in which a war tactic was described) The writing style is simple yet beautiful with Persian word strewn just in the right amount to make the reading pleasurable. All the characters were etched perfectly. The emotions of the protagonists’ were believable. Jahangir had a lover boy image - thanks to Anarkali and the filmmakers of India, but how false an image it was. The book reminded me that kings were kings first- ruthless, chained by their own power and ambition.
I liked the description of the palaces. As I have seen many of these places mentioned in the book, I could imagine as to how they must have looked during that time. I liked the detailing of their dresses and their customs. I liked the way I learned History of that era through this story -it was like taking a pill with a sugar coating. It felt as if the author had researched quite a bit before writing this piece. That’s one thing I love about historical fiction. You need to get your facts true though you may take liberty on the unrecorded parts. There, the creativity of the author flows freely.
Bottom Line - loved the book. If you ask me, Definitely worth a Read.
Profile Image for Ankur Chawla.
130 reviews2 followers
June 17, 2013
Well.. History is one of the most debatable subject. I would say the story was ok nothing much different from any other reads that are available in market... there are however much detailed reads like feast of roses series available in Market. I see that the writer has tried to write a few lines about the character portraid but the effect that it should have created did not happen and the book failes misarebly on that front in the end it is all about mugals nurjahan and khurram etc etc but not about laadli...
Profile Image for K.F..
588 reviews6 followers
February 20, 2015
Meticulously researched, but a bit dry in parts, and confusing due to the changing nature of the historical figures' names. If you don't really have a background in this area of history, the book is a bit confusing and alienating, and the glossary is definitely necessary. And the title is a bit of a misnomer, as it's really more about Nur Jahan than Laadli.

But it was a cool portrait of an area of history that western historical fiction rarely sees.
Profile Image for Radhika.
59 reviews23 followers
April 17, 2016
The book gives a glimpse into the life of Laadli, Nur Jahan's daughter, every experience and event through her eyes. It's always interesting to read about the Mughal dynasty and its people, but this book isn't written well. The language could have been a lot better, it was too pedestrian in some places. Except for the story, nothing worked well.
Profile Image for Pragya Bhatt.
Author 2 books2 followers
June 13, 2013
I generally enjoy historical fiction because it humanizes history. This book had a lot of scope for those who like history. It could've provided the untold story of those that history forgets. But I didn't like the quality of writing. I think the writer could've gone a few drafts of the story to improve the quality and that would've made the story more compelling.
2 reviews
June 7, 2013
never knew that books with historical background can be as interesting as this one...i am hooked.
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews

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