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Mon, 11 Dec

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The Theatre, India Habitat Centre

The Karwaan Keynote 2023 | Historian's Craft

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The Karwaan Keynote 2023 | Historian's Craft
The Karwaan Keynote 2023 | Historian's Craft

Time & Location

11 Dec 2023, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm IST

The Theatre, India Habitat Centre, H6QF+FQF, Institutional Area, Lodi Colony, New Delhi, Delhi 110003, India

About the Event

We are delighted to announce the third edition of #TheKarwaanKeynote with one of India's most eminent Historians, Prof. Ruby Lal. On 11th December 2023, at 7 PM IST, join us at The Theatre, India Habitat Centre as Prof. Ruby Lal explores the lives of two Mughal Women - Nur Jahan and Gulbadan Banu Begum.

Nur Jahan was the only woman ruler in the long dynasty of India’s great Mughals. How did the Empress’s extraordinary strengths, the emperor’s lamentable weaknesses, the twists and turns of 17th-century politics, and the power of their love combine to defy a time and a culture that ought to have made the reign of Nur Jahan impossible? And why is it that this phenomenal figure has been effectively expunged from Mughal histories? What happens to the question of evidence that historians fervently guard when it comes to history-writing? Might it be the case that our beloved propositions of the “archive” – and indeed those of history and biography – are unsettled when we turn to narrating history? Based on my biography of Nur Jahan, Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan, I will address the question of evidence and the status of archive in historical practice. I will illumine parallel practices of erasure of the unique prose work of the only woman Mughal memoirist, Gulbadan Banu Begum's book - and a literary mystery that surrounds its missing pages.

Ruby Lal is Professor of South Asian history at Emory University and the author of Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, among other works. She lives in Atlanta, GA.

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