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Book Cover for: A Journey to Mecca and London: The Travels of an Indian Muslim Woman, 1909-1910, Daniel Majchrowicz

A Journey to Mecca and London: The Travels of an Indian Muslim Woman, 1909-1910

Daniel Majchrowicz

Descended from Mughal nobility, Akhtar al-Nisa Begum Nawab Sarbuland Jung grew up in Hyderabad in southern India, where she lived a quiet, private, and privileged life at the heart of the state's royal court. In 1896, at the age of 20, she married Nawab Muhammad Hamidullah Khan Sarbuland Jung, a prominent lawyer and the scion of a leading Muslim reformist movement. In 1909, the wealthy couple embarked on a four-month journey through the Middle East and Europe, performing the hajj in Mecca and sitting for tea with the future king and queen of England.

A Journey to Mecca and London provides the first full English translation of Begum Sarbuland's travel diary from this journey, of which only two extant copies in their original publication remain. Originally intended for circulation among friends and family and later published in Urdu, her informal entries not only reveal the everyday practices of an Indian woman of her time, but also detail her impressions and reactions as she explored the world alongside her husband. As Begum Sarbuland encountered other women and Muslims during her travels, those encounters in turn shaped her reassessment of her own identity as a Muslim woman, and her observations hold continued significance for those who confront critical questions about gender, Islam, and identity. Daniel Majchrowicz has thoroughly annotated his translation and paired it with rich appendices, including a biographical sketch of Begum Sarbuland and excerpts from Hamidullah Khan's concurrent travel accounts.

Engagingly written and substantiated with years of original research and archival work, A Journey to Mecca and London restores the nearly forgotten narrative of one of India's first Muslim women travel writers to its rightful place in Indian and Islamic history.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publish Date: Jan 7th, 2025
  • Pages: 328
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00lb
  • EAN: 9780253071699
  • Categories: Essays & TraveloguesWomen's StudiesIslamic Studies

About the Author

Daniel Majchrowicz is Assistant Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture at Northwestern University. He is author of The World in Words: Travel Writing and the Global Imagination in Muslim South Asia and editor (with Siobhan Lambert-Hurley and Sunil Sharma) of Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women (Indiana University Press, 2022).

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