The Mughal emperors were larger-than-life figures, men written on a supra-human scale who exercised absolute power. The three centuries of their rule, as laid out in Eraly's previous volume, THE MUGHAL THRONE, mark one of the most crucial and fascinating periods of Indian history. Here, he looks beyond the story of the empires rise and fall - an exotic growth that was transplanted to India from Islamic Persia - to bring the world of the Mughal ruler and Hindu subject vividly into focus. Blending contemporary sources and detailed description he introduces an India full of strangeness and contrast: of sacred harems and suttee rites, of brutal war and cultural and artistic refinement, of staggering opulence, deviant indulgences and abject poverty. From bizarre religious cults to the Mughal fondness for formal gardening, from murderous female bandits to the sex lives of the nobles, almost every angle of life is examined making this a comprehensive and absorbing introduction to India's last Golden Age.
Abraham Eraly, who was born in Kerala, has taught Indian history in Madras and the United States. He is the author of Gem in the Lotus: The Seeding of Indian Civilisation. He lives in Madras.