Zēb-un-Nisā (1638 – 1702) was the Imperial Princess of the Moghal Empire. She was the eldest daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb and his wife Dilras Banu Begum. She was a very smart girl, and by the age of 7 had memorized the Qur’an- making her a Hafiza (a muslim term for “Memorizer”). She also studied science, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, literature, architecture and languages.
Her father, the emperor, was incredibly proud of his daughter (As he should be!) however, he did NOT approve of her true passion in life… poetry. So she wrote poems in secret under the pen name “Makhfi” (which means “hidden one” in Persian).
Zebunnisa never married, despite many suitors. Eventually her father caught wind of her extensive writing (and her sympathies towards Prince Akbar’s rebellion), and had her imprisoned. After twenty years in isolation, she passed away in 1702. Her tomb is in the garden of “Thirty thousand trees” outside the Kabuli gate of Delhi.
“No moth am I that in impetuous fashion
Fly to the flame and perish. Rather say
I am a candle that with inward passion
Slowly and silently consume away.”
-translated from “Makhfi’s” book Wisdom of the East.
There is a book on her life and captivity by Annie Krieger Krynicki and Enjum Hamid. I was able to find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Captive-Princess-Zebunissa-Daughter-Aurangzeb/dp/0195798376
but you may want to surf the web for other sources.
More of her poems here: https://razarumi.wordpress.com/2006/08/19/the-invisible-princess-zebunnisa/