The Moghul Hedonist, published by Editions Dedicaces, is fourth in the series of the War of Moghul Succession in India. Emperor Jahangir reigned in name alone, while his empress Nur Jahan possessed the power to rule the emperor and the empire. Jahangir, a mystic and a naturalist laid kingdoms at the feet of his empress, abandoning himself completely to his love for wine, both from the nature's cups and from gold flagons. His hunger and passion for beauty in nature lured him to the paradise in Kashmir five times during his twenty-two years of reign splintered with intrigues and rebellions. The beautiful gardens of Kashmir, some built by Nur Jahan and some restored by her, became the sanctuary of this Moghul couple, away from the royal burdens of the court intrigues. With the exception of Jahangir's sons rebelling against him, peace and prosperity flourished during his artistic and sensuous reign. Industry and commerce yielded great revenues. The art of painting in detail and accuracy reached its culmination under his patronage and indulgence. The poets basked under the sunshine of the emperor's generosity, and literature attained the heights of nobility and veneration. Though cultural development rose to its peak, the emperor's health failed due to excessive drinking, his bane and challenge. Two major challenges finished his life. The rebellion of his favorite son styled as Shah Jahan, and one hundred days of captivity by his faithful vizier, Mahabat Khan. The last blow to his frail health came from the hands of a tragedy, when his son Prince Perwiz died of his own indulgence in drinking. At the age of fifty-eight, when Jahangir died, Shah Jahan ascended the much-coveted throne with great pomp. Not in the least suspecting that he would know grief shortly, wedding only Taj Mahal as his lost love and bride.
The main contribution of this sequel toward scholarly pursuits lies in the fact that the emperor Jahangir steps out of the pages of history as a scholar himself. A man of varied talents and interests, his observations about plant and animal life are worth exploring, if not his passion for art and literature.