Red hot affairs- these courtesans became queens of Delhi
Delhi stories would be incomplete if I did not tell you about the red hot affairs os some of the city courtesans with the Mughal kings.
Mughals and their red hot affairs
You would not know about the Udepuri Begum, but she was the love interest of Aurangzeb. Now don’t make faces at me, he was as colorful as his ancestors were in the art of lovemaking. Except that he used to keep his love affairs hidden behind a cloak of secrecy and puritanism.
But who was Udepuri, you might ask?
Hold your horses, she wasn’t from Udaipur. Perhaps, she was a Georgian slave who earlier used to serve Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb’s elder brother. After his death, she switched sides and crossed over to Alamgir aka Aurangzeb.
But why did Aurangzeb name her Udepuri, when she came from Georgia?
You would probably not know that Aurangzeb could not achieve much to bring Rana Raj Singh of Udaipur under control. In order to spite the Rana, Aurangzeb thought of renaming his concubine as Udepuri.
Yes, concubine. She was mistress of Aurangzeb and bore him a son that later fought with his other brothers for the Mughal throne.
The Anarkali affairs
Very few among you, my dear readers, would have watched Mughal-e-Azam, the Hindi potboiler about Akbar and his son, Salim.
This film is basically about the love between Salim ( later Jahangir) and Anarkali, a courtesan.
Courtesans were dancers actually, but some of them were clever enough to become wives and girlfriends of their Mughal masters.
But do you know that Anarkali was also the love interest of Akbar?
I am not fibbing here and if you read William Finch’s account of Mughal India, you will be amazed to find that Anarkali was one of the concubines of Akbar!
Perhaps the monarch did not like Salim serenading Anarkali and that is why there was such a big fight between the father and the son.
The red hot affairs between the Mughals and their concubines continued down the ages. Let us read more about them.
Lalkunwar, one among the 700 wives of Jahandar
Here was a Mughal king who had not one, not two, but 700 women in his harem!
And Lalkunwar was just one of them, but the most famous of them all.
Who was the king here?
His name was Jahandar Shah and he was fond of packing his palace with all kinds of beautiful girls of Delhi.
One day, he found another girl, who was a courtesan, fit enough to be his concubine. Lalkunwar was too willing to enter his harem and quickly entered Shah’s heart and bedroom.
What followed was one of the hottest affairs in the Mughal history. Lalkunwar became the chief consort of Jahandar Shah and became the center of power in the Mughal court.
She did not live long, however. Jahandar Shah found her to be over ambitious for his liking. One day, she was found dead in a swimming pool.
Who killed Lalkunwar is a big mystery even today.
Lady with the hour-glass figure- Qudasiya Begum
The red hot affairs of Qudasiya Begum with a Mughal king and a eunuch are too colorful to be avoided here.
Mohammad Shah was a colorful guy. He was fond of good food, clothes, wine, music, and women.
He was madly in love with a courtesan, Udham Bai who lived in the old quarters of Delhi.
Udham Bai was indeed very charming and had lots of brains too. She wormed her way into the king’s heart and one day, both of them decided to marry.
She got a new name, Qudasiya Begum, after her marriage and thence started an era of wastefulness and profligacy.
While Mohammad was madly in love with this courtesan turned Begum, she, in turn, showered her affection on a eunuch.
Javed Khan was the superintendent of the Mughal harem and was an exceptionally handsome person. Qudasiya was attracted to this handsome eunuch and that’s how the two started their love affair.
I don’t think that the king gave any attention to this affair. Or probably, he was not bothered.
Anyway, after the death of her husband, Qudasiya Begum was jailed by her enemies. She dies in prison, and no body knows her grave.
Would you like to tour the Red Fort Delhi and the streets of Old Delhi with me? Listen to all these tales and take back home a bagful of stories. Book your tour here.