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Princess Zeb-un-Nisa Begam and the voice of womanhood: an aspect of gender identity in 17th century mughal royal house


Abstract

The advent of Turko-Mughal power led to the significant changes in the social and cultural sphere of medieval India. The former continuation of manliness had mingled with the newly emerged Muslim orders, and gradually intensified it towards the women of that age. But, in spite of various restrictions, the royal ladies of Mughal Harem had shown their versatile excellence in the fields of politics and learning, simultaneously, directed a counterreaction against the existing masculine approach. Among them Zeb-un-Nisa Begam was the most prominent female figure. Although number of works have conducted on the other distinguished women of that time, like- Jahanara Begam, Noor Jahan Begam and Mumtaz Mahal, but less attention has given to Zeb-un- Nisa Begam. This paper is an analysis about her scholarly achievements and also a voice of femininity. In this respect, the contemporary primary sources such as Zab-un-Nisa’s Diwan-E-Makhfi, Maasir-i-Alamgiri, Ahkam-iAlamgiri, and the accounts of foreign travelers supplied ample evidences to represent her life, and notable secondary works of Krieger Karynicki Annie, Rukhsana Iftikhar, Rekha Mishra, Sudha Sharma and Poonam Pant are equally helpful to comparatively evaluate this theme. 

Keywords

Zeb-un-Nisa, Mughal, Aurangzeb, Makhfi, feminism

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