the good book corner

Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews

The Mirror of Beauty by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

The Mirror of Beauty by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi is 952 pages long and as it goes with most historical works, the detailed description cannot be avoided. From the intricate and vibrant Kishangarh miniatures to the rich world of carpet weaving in Kashmir and the Mughal era of the 19th century, this book takes the reader on a journey that enthrals and captivates.

Through the story of the beautiful Wazir Khanum, the author illuminates a world of literary, artistic and cultural extravagance spanning almost 2 centuries.
With a highlighter in hand, I enjoyed marking the rubais and verses of Mir Taqi Mir, Mirza Ghalib, Mirza Dagh, Hafiz and so many countless masters of Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi poetry. The subtle references to ghazals and ragas left me wanting to research more and explore the world of Hindi and Urdu Poetry from Hindustan.
The story ends with yet another lost love for Wazir Khanum, but it draws our attention to the station occupied by women in the subcontinent even now. There are still many regions where women do not enjoy freedom of choice and any step taken outside the parameters set by the male dominant society are looked down upon. Wazir Khanum is portrayed as a woman who was brave enough to make the choices she deemed favourable and someone who bore the rejection of the society that she did not conform to.
I would have liked to know more about her. The book left me hungry for more. It awakens the desire to read the original in Urdu and dive into the world of subcontinental poetry during the Mughal period.
This unique masterpiece is a must read for history and Indo-Persian literature enthusiasts.

Rating 4/5
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About artikabakshi

Artika Aurora Bakshi Artika co-manages thegoodbookcorner.com. She comes from a family of lawyers and has a master's degree in International Banking & Finance. Currently based in Sri Lanka, she teaches Commerce and History on a part-time basis at an international school and enjoys being part of the literary scene in Sri Lanka. A regular at the Galle Literary Festival and other literary events in Sri Lanka, Artika's articles and book reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror and Daily News and various blogs, such as, talkingcranes.com, sikhchic.com, sikhnet.com. She is actively involved with SAARC Women's Association of Sri Lanka. An avid reader, Artika runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members. Her passion for reading has led her to helping other writers with their manuscripts. Her short stories have been published online and she is also working on her own novel. Artika has published My Little Sikh Handbook and is currently working on her second children's book, with Sikhism as its central theme. You can reach Artika at bakshiartika@gmail.com .

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This entry was posted on September 1, 2014 by in Book Reviews, Fiction, translation and tagged .
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