The Mulberry Courtesan by Sikeena Karmali

Category: Fiction
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Rights: World Rights Available (excluding Indian subcontinent)

The Mulberry Courtesan is a story of resilience: the tale of an extraordinary woman who survives astonishing odds with nothing but the strength of her personal power. Delhi 1852: the British East India Company has usurped most of Hindustan along with its considerable revenue chiefly from the Mughals, and a host of princely states. A sepoy soldier foraying into Afghanistan kidnaps a radiant young woman. Her name is Laale. Thus begins Laale’s adventure into Hindustan – where she will be violently raped, commit two murders, be sold as a slave and gifted to the harem at the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar. Laale must learn how to survive quickly. Begum Taj Mahal schools Laale to become a courtesan. She learns poetry from Mirza Ghalib, music from the Mughal maestro Ustaad Tanras Khan and a whirling kathak from the illegitimate princess Shabana Jaan.