Vagabond Princess

Vagabond Princess by Ruby Lal

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Vagabond Princess:

Her Instagram account would have been awesome.

Quick synopsis:

The biography of Mughal Princess and writer Gulbadan Begum from the 1500s.   

Fact for Non-History People:

Royal couriers were super-fast back in the day. A good rider with a solid horse could cover around 350 miles on a great day.

Fact for History Nerds:

In the Mughal Empire, it was common that a royal child would be raised by a different mother.

My Take on Vagabond Princess:

Did you ever party so hard you got kicked out of an entire city? Well, Gulbadan did. Ok, not entirely. It wasn’t for partying, but she did get kicked out of a city.

Gulbadan is the titular character in Ruby Lal’s Vagabond Princess. As the title suggests, Gulbadan was a princess, and she did a fair bit of traveling. Along the way, she spends time with her own family members who are part of what was the Mughal Empire.

One thing which is important to note is that I would hesitate to call this a biography of Galbadan and leave it at that. As with much of history, we have lost quite a bit of it and women’s lives were not especially documented on top of that. Very often, this would make me like a book less. However, Lal does an amazing amount of research and fills in many of the historical gaps with other stories or flourishes about the world Gulbadan lived in. Lal does exceptional work and makes this story feel complete even while there are a maddening number of gaps in Gulbadan’s full life.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Yale University Press.)


It’s very interesting. Give it a try! Buy it here!

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