Mughal Women in Maritime Trade: Mariam-uz-Zamani

By Sadaf Khan, Archives & Collections Associate (Maritime History Society)

Figure 1 Mariam-uz-zamani  Source:

The grandeur of the Mughal court narrated in the chronicles of foreign travellers are well documented pieces of history. These stories were carried to places far across the world. The Mughals today are well known for their palaces, artworks, marble works, stone intarsia, painted stuccos and tile works. They are also known for their bewitching luxurious fabrics, their magnificent palaces filled with visitors from far and wide and their sumptuous court cultures. One major aspect of the Mughal era is the status and the position of women, both at court and the realms. The Mughal women have always made their presence felt in domains such as literature, art, politics, religion, architecture and trade. Their contributions have in turn helped in strengthening the cause of the Mughal empire.  Popular belief portrays Mughal women as caged birds who lacked freedom due to the establishment of a fixed harem (zenana), a sacred and forbidden sphere where women lived, veiled and separated from the courts of the emperor.[1]  This caricatured representation of Mughal women can be refuted by the lives of famous Royal women thriving in the empire, notably Mariam-uz-Zamani, Nur Jahan and Jahanara. These women had the benefit of education and were masters of their own will which aided in expanding their horizons over their various pursuits. This article on Mariam-uz-Zamani will be one in a trilogy of the three Mughal Women and their Maritime pursuits. Continue reading “Mughal Women in Maritime Trade: Mariam-uz-Zamani”