Vagabond Princess: The Great Adventures of Gulbadan--Ruby Lal in conversation with Anjali Enjeti

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Vagabond Princess: The Great Adventures of Gulbadan--Ruby Lal in conversation with Anjali Enjeti

By Charis Books and More/Charis Circle

Charis welcomes Ruby Lal in conversation with Anjali Enjeti for a discussion of Vagabond Princess: The Great Adventures of Gulbadan, a captivating biography of one of the world’s greatest adventurers, the itinerant Mughal Princess Gulbadan, based on her long-forgotten memoir. This event is co-sponsored by Raksha, Inc. Raksha's mission is to promote a stronger and healthier South Asian community through confidential support services, education, and advocacy. Raksha works towards healing, empowerment, and justice for survivors of violence.

Situated in the early decades of the magnificent Mughal Empire, this first ever biography of Princess Gulbadan offers an enthralling portrait of a charismatic adventurer and unique pictures of the multicultural society in which she lived. Following a migratory childhood that spanned Kabul and north India, Gulbadan spent her middle years in a walled harem established by her nephew Akbar to showcase his authority as the Great Emperor. Gulbadan longed for the exuberant itinerant lifestyle she’d known. With Akbar’s blessing, she led an unprecedented sailing and overland voyage and guided harem women on an extended pilgrimage in Arabia. Amid increasing political tensions, the women’s “un-Islamic” behavior forced their return, lengthened by a dramatic shipwreck in the Red Sea. Gulbadan wrote a book upon her return, the only extant work of prose by a woman of the age. A portion of it is missing, either lost to history or redacted by officials who did not want the princess to have her say. Vagabond Princess contemplates the story of the missing pages and breathes new life into a daring historical figure. It offers a portal to a richly complex world, rife with movement and migration, where women’s conviviality, adventure, and autonomies shine through.

Ruby Lal is an acclaimed historian of India and a professor of South Asian history at Emory University, as well as the author of three books and numerous essays, op-eds, and literary pieces. Her most recent book, Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan, won the Georgia Author of the Year Award in biography, and was a finalist in history for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Lal taught previously at the Johns Hopkins University, where she directed the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

Anjali Enjeti is an Atlanta-based former attorney, journalist, and organizer. She is the author of Southbound: Essays on Identity, Inheritance, and Social Change, and The Parted Earth. She is the winner of the Georgia Author of the Year for first novel, a gold medal recipient for Best Regional Nonfiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and was a finalist for the Townsend Prize for fiction. Her other writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing in the MFA programs at Antioch University in Los Angeles and Reinhardt University.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

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Charis Books and More/Charis Circle

Charis Books and More/Charis Circle


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