Nur Jehan: A politician, an expert marks-woman, a designer. Today we journey through the world of the multifaceted Queen Mehr un Nisa, who was given the title of “Nur Jehan” (Light of the World) by her husband, emperor Jehangir. And she really lived up to it! In his memoirs, Jehangir marvels at the time when Nur Jehan killed a tiger with one shot, perched up on a swaying elephant. A woman being out in public, shooting an arrow, and with such expertise, in that day and age was extraordinary. In a very 21st century way, need we say: WE STAN. Nur Jehan held a powerful position in court; one never before held by a Mughal woman. She issued her own imperial orders, handled business, coins bore her name, and her authority was no less to the king. She sat where no woman sat before – the “jarokha” (the imperial balcony) from which she handled various businesses. Nur Jehan owned ships for trade with Arabia, Persia and Africa. The queen also championed social justice and supported the poor. One of her most iconic moments: she led troops to rescue Jehangir when he was taken prisoner by a nobleman. It doesn’t get better than that.
Mughal Brave Queen Nur Jahan with Her Husband King Jahangir After Killing Tiger with Her Spear. Painted by Ustad Haji Muhammad Sharif (1878–1981).
Politics, rescue missions, and archery are not the only areas she conquered. She was also an an artist. From architecture to poetry and fashion, her legacy has always left people in awe.She also proved her talent in architectural design. In fact, her design of her parents’ mausoleum was the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal.
Today we shall celebrate her, all the while taking fashion inspiration. Watch out for GENERATION outfits in between the fascinating accounts of her life.
The first empress to truly rule the Mughal empire, Nur Jehan, was known for her simple and modest pieces and often used sophisticated colours and especially white. As seen in the portrait below.
A miniature portrait of Nur Jahan, to be worn as a jewels (Harvard Art Museum)
It wouldn’t be spring or summer without a heavy dose of white to get us in the warm-weather mood. Get inspired by her well known use of white. Embroidery was one of the pursuits of Mughal Begums, a skill Nur Jehan was accomplished in. Buy our solid white kurta with minimal embroidery details. Buy this Yes Kurta for Rs.3,498/- online.
What a strong visual of a woman. (Notice the henna designs on her feet!)
The Silhouette that continues to shape South Asia fashion
The anarkali being one of them. A style named after her, an anarkali has been modified over time, turning into both a peshwas and anarkali owing to their similar styles but will always allure the regal of Nur Jehan. Get inspired by her well kknow use of flared dresses and buy this gold printed Goldsmith dress here for Rs.4,298/-
She also created the silver threaded brocade called “badla” and lightweight floral textiles in cotton and muzlin such as the “Panch-toliya” and“Dudami” – a fabric, said to be, as light as two copper coins or “dams”. Imagine how lovely that would be in the hot Indian summer! She also created the “Nurmahali”: cost effective wedding clothes for cost conscious brides. She also made affordable clothing for people from humbler backgrounds, from her more expensive designs and dresses.
Take inspiration from the regal Queen and shop Saru jacquard frock Buy here on sale for PKR 3,719/-
For our more vibrant queens, the red Shahi Swag frock is perfect with its mughal miniatures. Find it here for PKR 2,099/-
Striped tung pyjama!
A painting of Nur Jahan holding a portrait of Jahangir, c. 1627, the Cleveland Museum of Art.
In Ruby Lal’s book “Empress”, one of Nur Jehan’s outfits is described as tight trousers; and shoes open at the back, exposing the henna designs on her feet. Take inspiration from the tung pyjama and shop from our Sangeeri Pants.
Shop these straight pants now for Rs.1,199/-
Nur Jehan has been the subject of at least 8 movies, several plays and opera, and numerous historical romances in various languages. When times were tough, she fought back. Her life is a fascinating medley of wits, beauty, creativity, strength and wisdom.