NONFICTION: Mughal men ruled South Asia — and one man was ruled by a woman

By Vikas Bajaj
"The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan"  by Ruby Lal.  Illustrated. 308 pp. W.W. Norton & Company. $27.95.
The story of Nur Jahan, the daughter of Persian immigrants who became queen of the Mughal Empire, approaches the status of legend in South Asia. She has been the subject of comic books, a Bollywood movie and innumerable tall tales. What has been missing is an accessible biography that explains how a woman came to amass power and influence in a patriarchal dynasty that ruled much of what is now India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Ruby Lal sets out to fill in some of those gaps with “Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan.” [More]
Nur JahanCreditIndiaPictures/UIG, via Getty Images