Book review: Ocean of Cobras, by Murad Ali Baigm


Want to know what happened in the court of Shah Jahan in the 16th entury as his sons squabbled and fought for power?  Well, you need to hear the story of Mubarak Ali, a trusted eunuch in Shahjahan’s court who travelled freely between the warring factions.

The Mughals may have been in power for over 300 years, but being a member of the family wasn’t an easy affair.  Battles for power were bloody.  Fathers fought sons, and sons battled it out amongst themselves.

The Mughal Empire was founded by Babur in 1526 and remained in power until the British took control in 1857.

By the 1650’s, under the rule of Shah Jahan much of what we know as modern day India and Pakistan was under Mughal administration.  And with this vast wealthy land under control, Mughal architecture, the arts and culture flourished.

Under Shahjanhan the Empires capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi and a new city, known now as Old Delhi was built from teh bottom up.  But all was well and harmonious as Shah Jahan’s grew older.  His time on the throne at the end of his rule was bitter and bloody.

But how did the relationship between father, his eldest son, Dara Shikoh, the philospher prince and his third son, Aurangzeb, a warrior, play out as the family started to split.

In this novel, Mubarak Ali, a eunuch, tells the story.  A servant with access to the princes, the princesses of other members of the royal court, he had unique insight.

As a trusted aide, travelling between the walls of Shah Jahan’s great court and across his vast empire, Ali had a unique insight and story to share.  In this novel, set against the backdrop of real historical events, Murad Ali Baig tells the story of Mubarak Ali, the eunuch with unprescedented access to the women and the court of Shah Jahan.  There’s some romance in her too.

It’s a fiction, but as it based on real life events so there’s plenty in here to help newcomers build their knowledge of the city and what happened up one of its most important rulers.

If you are wondering where to buy these great five books, give Amazon a miss and head on over to any one of these five fine book shops  


Meet the Mughals: The Mughals are responsible for building many of the iconic architectural marvels that make India a massive draw for millions of tourists. The legendary Bamber Gascoigne, of the BBC fame, pulls together what I reckon is the definitive guide to the Great Mughals in this brilliant documentary. Click here to find out more.


One thought on “Book review: Ocean of Cobras, by Murad Ali Baigm

  1. Pingback: Brilliant books all about India | Namaste New Delhi

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