Biography series exploring the greatest people who ever lived. Matthew Parris interviews an eminent…
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Co-chairman of the Conservative party, Baroness Warsi recalls her Pakistani-born father during her Yorkshire childhood telling her about the heroic martial deeds conducted by a thirteenth century Indian princess, Razia Sultana.
Descended from humble stock, the much mythologized Sultana ruled for less than four years in the 1230s, but has long been celebrated as the first female Indian Muslim leader. Sayeeda Warsi explains why she's fascinated by this character whose reign was abruptly brought to an end by the jealous rivalries of the male nobility around her who could not tolerate the fact that she had been chosen by her father above the heads of her brothers. We'll hear whether Sayeeda draws inspiration from Razia's model of bold leadership, and whether she finds parallels with her own experience of British politics today within the senior ranks of the Conservative Party.
Writer and expert on India, William Dalrymple sets the scene, explaining how and why Turkish Muslims had an empire that reached as far as the Himalayas, at a time when northern India was having to withstand the Mongol incursions of Genghis Khan.
Producer: Mark Smalley.
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