The Mirror of Beauty by Shamshur Rahman Faruqi is a book that paints the picture of Delhi at a time when Mughal rule was breathing its last in the country. It is a work of fiction that takes inspiration from history.
The book revolves around Wazir Khanam, a beautiful, elegant and independent woman who is bold enough to seduce a number of men, including a Nawab. Khanam runs away with an officer of the East India Company, and thus begins a tale of beauty and intrigue.
While Wazir Khanam has been fictionalized in the book, she actually existed in history. According to historical evidence, she was the daughter of renowned poet Dagh Dehlavi. Shamshur Rahman Faruqi has painted an eloquent picture of India during the time. He has described the beautiful valley of Kashmir, the intricate craft of miniature paintings, and the barren deserts of the Rajputana kingdom. He has also touched upon the love between Hindus and Muslims, which was about to decline, partly due to divisive politics of East India Company and partly due to Muslims� increasingly indifferent attitude.
The Mirror of Beauty is about Wazir Khanam; a gifted and mysterious painter from a small village near Kishangarh; and the splendour of India�s capital during the time. Faruqi has adopted a poetic style of storytelling while giving depth to his characters. He brings all his experience of studying world literature into play to give his characters different layers. While the book is the debut novel of Rahman, he is a celebrated Urdu critic, nonetheless.
He is most noted for his study of poet Mir Taqi, which he wrote in a four volume book. He is also associated with a well respected journal, Shabkhoon. He has also written another book titled Kai Chaand The Sar-E-Aasman. This book has been published by Hamish Hamilton and is available for online order. The paperback edition of the book is listed with ISBN-10 number of 0670086754 and ISBN-13 number of 978-0670086757.