Study Guide

Beneath a Marble Sky Chapter 20

By John Shors

Chapter 20

Shivaji

  • Nizam and Jahanara finally reach the lush, verdant mountain range they've been aiming for, and they get sweet relief from the heat of the desert.
  • Jahanara and Nizam encounter many Deccans, but those people seem too exhausted and hungry to bother with them much.
  • Aurangzeb's forces have been raiding there in the past few weeks, but it seems that he's far from Bijapur at the moment.
  • Jahanara asks a townsperson how to get an audience with the Sultan, and she is informed that he won't see anyone while he's entertaining Shivaji—a renowned, charismatic Hindu military leader.
  • Using bribes and an air of confidence, Jahanara and Nizam find their way to the Sultan.
  • The Sultan insults Jahanara and Nizam—several times—until Jahanara finally spits out that she's the Princess from Agra.
  • Shivaji persuades the Sultan to hear Jahanara out. He's kind of taken a shining to Jahanara's pluck and verve.
  • Jahanara finally proposes that she could help the Sultan assassinate Aurangzeb with her knowledge of the secret passageways into the Red Fort—if they will just give her Isa and Arjumand.
  • The Sultan says he'll free Isa and his daughter…once Isa's done building the mosque. Could take three, maybe five years. Jahanara is appalled.
  • So, Jahanara says she will tell the Sultan about the passageway, but its entrance will remain hidden until Isa and Arjumand are free. If she's gonna wait, then so will the Sultan.
  • Jahanara will get two days with her family—two days to tide them all over for the next few years.
  • Shivaji is impressed with Jahanara's tenacity and will. He wants to see her again someday.