I first heard about Dara Shukoh (1615-1659) from my mother. She was fascinated by his brilliance, his poetry. She was also mesmerised by the tragedy that befell him. I wondered why Dara was an enigma and a hero for many others of her generation.
Supriya Gandhi probes that very question, unraveling the entwined histories and memories of Dara. Through scholarly reading, Gandhi retrieves Dara as a historical personality with a political role. The relationship between Aurangzeb and Dara is a crucial discourse in our history, but Gandhi’s meticulous analysis shifts the focus away from Dara’s tragic end to his political ambitions and intellectual journey.