THE STRANGEST ROLE OF DANCING GIRLS AT MUGHAL HAREM
EMPERORS EVEN GAVE PRESENT OF DANCERS TO THEIR WIVES
A bizarre gift by any consideration
Emperor Babur entered Hindustan with his own ideas. Things were different here and it made differences to the life of the Mughals. The Mughal ladies were fascinated with Hindu dancing girls. The historian Rumer Godden writes about the impressions of Gulbadan, daughter of Emperor Babur:
“Undulating hips the Muslims were used to — belly dancing as it is called now was the mark of Muslim dancing girls — but they had never seen the subtle movement of neck and head and shoulders, the intoxicating movements of Hindu dance. Though used to music, the throbbing of the tabla drums was new and disturbing as were the tiny silver thumb and finger cymbals the girls used or percussion, and the tinkling of anklet bells a music made with heel and toe”.
Emperor Babur was concerned about entertaining the ladies in his harem, which included aunts, cousins, wives, sisters, etc. He knew that happy ladies meant happy existence of husbands. The women were allowed to do many many things. Interest in literature, poetry on one hand, sports activity on the other. Archery. polo, sword fighting, what not? The ladies were given free hand to entertain themselves. But the most bizarre gift the Emperors gave were the dancing girls to keep their wives happy and in good mood. Unbelievable!