Open the book and you ‘see’ Shah Jahan, imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb, gazing at the Taj Mahal from his prison. Reading on, and with the help of Kavita Singh Kale’s illustrations, you get pulled into the captive emperor’s thoughts and get a peep into his cherished memories. Those of the happy days spent with his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. And of the sad days too, when Mumtaz died after giving birth to their fourteenth child. Mumtaz’s death pushed Shah Jahan into deep mourning for a very long time. It was during this period that he envisioned the Taj Mahal—a grand mausoleum (maqbara) at the bend of a mighty river. Agra, with the glorious Yamuna flowing through, was chosen as the site for Mumtaz Mahal’s maqbara.
November 2022, volume 46, No 11