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CHANDRASHEKHAR

“How many Gurgan Khans have they fought?”

“Serajuddowla also thought in a similar strain. However, let that go. I am a woman, I believe in what my mind prompts me to. To my mind it seems, that in our war with the English we shall never come off victorious. This war will be our ruin. Therefore, I have come to beseech you——do not advise this war.”

“In matters like this a woman's advice is not to be accepted.”

“Oh, do listen to me! Be my saviour, I see darkness all around!” and Dalani began to weep.

Gurgan Khan was astonished. “Why do you weep?” he asked. “Suppose Mir Kasim should lose his throne, I would take you back to our native country.”

Dalani’s eyes flashed fire. In a paroxysm of rage she cried, “Dost thou forget that Mir Kasim is my husband?”

A trifle taken aback and confused, Gurgan Khanr replied, “No, I do not. But no one’s husband lives for ever. After the first, one can take a second husband. I entertain hopes that one day you will be another Nurjehan of India.”

Trembling with passion Dalani stood up. She stifled her tears and with dilated eyes and trembling limbs, she began to pour forth :-

“Perdition take you! In an evil moment was I born your sister; in an evil moment did I pledge myself to help you. That a woman is capable of charity, affection, and virtue, does not enter your head. If you desist from instigating this war, well and good; if not, from this day forth, I will disclaim you; or why disclaim only, henceforth I will look upon you as my enemy. I will consider you as my ‘dearest foe,’ and I wish you