Her short fiction has been published in The Vincent Brothers Review. One of her short stories was chosen as a winner in iVillage.com's Ghost Story Contest. The Twentieth Wife is her first novel. Indu is currently working on the sequel.
The daughters of the emperor, Jahangir and Roshanara, conspire and scheme against one another in an attempt to gain power over their father's harem. As royal princesses, they are confined in the imperial harem and not allowed to marry. However, this does not stop them from having illicit affairs or plotting who will be the next heir to the throne.
These royal sisters are in competition for everything: control over the harem, their father's affection, and the future of their country. Unfortunately, only one of them can succeed. And despite their best efforts to affect the future, their schemes are eclipsed, both during their lives and in posterity, as they live in the shadow of the greatest monument in Indian history, the Taj Mahal.
Indu Sundaresan presents a candid and stunning collection of stories about contemporary Indians and the cutting-edge issues surrounding them -- where ancient tradition and modernity can often clash.
The Splendor of Silence opens twenty-one years later with Olivia, Sam's daughter, receiving a trunk of treasures from India, along with a letter from an unknown narrator that finally fills all the silences of her childhood -- telling her the story of her parents' passionate and enduring love for each other that throws them in the path of racial prejudice, nationalist intrigue, and the explosive circumstances of a country and a society on the brink of independence from British rule.
Mehrunnisa is known to us by the title Jahangir bestows upon her -- Empress Nur Jahan. Over the next seventeen years of Jahangir's life, in The Feast of Roses (Atria Books, May 2003) she becomes Emperor in all but name of the vast Mughal lands that encompass modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and a massive chunk of northern and central India.
Over the next seventeen years, Nur Jahan rules the empire in Jahangir's name. In a time when women were never seen and rarely heard, Nur Jahan shapes the destiny of the empire from behind a veil, signing on royal orders, owning ships that plied the Arabian sea routes, and commissioning many of the gardens and tombs that still stand in India today.
The Twentieth Wife is the story of Nur Jahan's life before she marries Jahangir. She sees him at his first marriage, when she is eight and Jahangir seventeen, and there decides that one day she will marry him. In the years before this becomes an actuality, she is married to someone else against her wishes, and her family falls into disgrace at the imperial court, her husband kills Jahangir's friend, her father is accused of embezzling from the royal treasury, her brother is put to death for attempting to assassinate Jahangir. Despite all these obstacles, Nur Jahan and Jahangir marry when she is an "old" thirty-four.
Although a work of fiction, The Twentieth Wife is rooted in historical fact and detail culled from accounts of seventeenth-century travelers to Emperor Jahangir's court and the memoirs of the Mughal kings. The sequel, titled Power Behind the Veil, continues the story of Nur Jahan's life as an empress until the year of her death.
South Asian Women authors