The Badass Women of the Mughal Empire

In the beginning, this was going to be the title of the novel – The Badass Women of the Mughal Empire. But then I thought more of it, and it became a series of novellas called The Mumtaz Chronicles.

Salima Sultan Begum

I call her Queen Salimeh.

Born in 1539. Died in 1613.

She is, by far, the most powerful woman in the story.

Ruqaiya Sultan Begum

Queen Ruqaiya is the first wife of Emperor Akbar. Born in 1542. Died in 1626.

Betrothed at the age of 9. Married at 14!

I call these women ‘queens’ just to Americanize the story a bit. Begum is the equivalent to an aristocratic title.


Her birth name is unknown. Later historical accounts give several suggestions for her birth name. In an 18th-century genealogy of her clan (the Kachwahas) for example, she is referred to as ‘ Harkhan Champavati ‘. Other names provided by various sources include Harkha BaiJiya RaniMaanmati baiHarika baiHira KunwariHeer KunwariShahi-Bai and Shahi Begum.

She was bestowed an honorific Muslim name, ‘Wali Nimat Begum’ (lit. ‘Blessings of God’) by Akbar, in 1564, after two years of her marriage. ‘Mariam-uz-Zamani’ (lit. ‘Mary/Compassionate of the Age’) was a prestigious title bestowed on her by Akbar on the occasion of their son Jahangir’s birth. This was the title by which she was referred to in contemporary Mughal chronicles, including Jahangir’s autobiography, the Tuzk-e-Jahangiri. Apart from the title of Mariam-uz-Zamani, she also bore two more glorious titles of ‘Mallika-e-Muezamma’ (lit. ‘Exalted Empress’) and ‘Mallika-e-Hindustan’ (lit. ‘Empress of Hindustan’). She was commonly referred as ‘Shahi Begum (lit. ‘Imperial consort‘) throughout her reign. She would officially use the name Wali Nimat Mariam-uz-Zamani Begum Sahiba.

Reference on Wikipedia. So it must be true! lol

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