Farhan Abbas, a 19 year old soldier, is astounded when he sees an uncanny facial resemblance between himself and the ruling monarch, Queen Razia Sultan. His desire to imitate the queen becomes a prime obsession, leading Farhan to neglect his duties as a rough and tough soldier in Razia’s regiment. Farhan’s proclivities are noticed by his younger sister Shaista who reports her brother’s effeminate antics to their parents. In a hapless bid to “cure” their son, the parents forcibly get Farhan married to an acquaintance’s daughter, Aisha Begum. Unnerved by the prospect of consummating the wedding as a male, Farhan escapes from the venue dressed in female attire. Immediately after Farhan’s absence is noticed, Aisha’s brother Imran Farhat starts hunting the entire city for him. In the dimness of the night, Malik Altunia, Razia Sultan’s resentful childhood sweetheart, mistakes Farhan for Razia and abducts him. Altunia realizes that he has made a mistake only when he and his abductee reach the palace. Farhan explains his predicament to Altunia and begs the latter to allow him to take shelter in his harem. Altunia agree on the condition that Farhan undergoes ritual castration. After being castrated, Farhan is allowed to guard the harem dressed in female clothes.

Obsessed by Resemblance

Important Notice : Razia Sultan was the Sultan of Delhi in India from 1236 to May 1240 and was the first female sultan. Razia abandoned the veil and adopted masculine attire. She possessed all necessary qualities of a ruler and was an efficient sultan. Razia’s romance with Malik Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia is well known. This book is a product of liberal artisticlicense around such legendary historical characters. This book is NOT an authentic depiction of the course history or of the life, character, sexual orientation of Razia Sultan or any of the other historical characters. The opinions in this book are not intended to hurt the sentiments of, or defame any race, religion, country, community, system or individual.

Chapter 1 – Queen Razia’s Facsimile

The day was hot. Rivulets of perspiration ran down my back. Yet I could swear that particular day was the happiest in my 19 years of existence. I was inducted into the army of Queen Razziat ud din Sultana, more popularly known as Razia Sultan who belonged to the Mamluk dynasty and was the first female ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. She had been inducted to the throne two years before in 1236 at age 31. Currently, a figure wearing a visor came galloping on a white horse. “The sultan is here” one of the other soldiers whispered in my ear “stand at attention”. Since Razia wanted to be taken as seriously as any man, she dressed in male clothes when she appeared in court or on the battle field. Razia’s upper body was covered with a silk caftan (a long coat with front buttons) over which she had worn a vest. As my gaze slid down, I caught a glimpse of her salvar (loose Indian trousers) and silk moccasins that curled inwards. I couldn’t help noticing that even though Her Majesty had made every possible attempt to hide her body, she hadn’t quite succeeded in concealing her luscious shapely figure and small decanter-shaped waist. I was still to see Razia’s face, yet was already besotted by her beauty.

“Warriors!” Razia commanded in her silky yet powerful voice “Please arrange yourselves in the shape of a lotus! This technique, I’ve discovered, is the best way to combat the enemy”.

The lotus technique in Indian warfare was one Razia especially favored. It was a pattern that prompted the archers to arrange themselves at the core, while the infantry and the cavalry arranged themselves around them in the form of petals. Strictly speaking, this was an ancient Indian technique, but Her Majesty still used it as she had great faith in its efficacy.

I took my position at the core and poised my bow and arrows to shoot whenever the queen directed me to. At this juncture, Razia took off her visor, allowing me to catch a glimpse of her jewel studded, feather-decked red silk turban. Waves of luxuriant ebony black hair came cascading down, as Razia freed herself of the visor.

I caught sight of her face for the first time. My world stopped for an entire minute.

I had seen quite a few beautiful women, but Razia was the most beautiful by far. Her heart-shaped face tapered down to meet the most elegant, swan-like neck I had seen on any woman. Her glossy whitish-ocher complexion reflected unrivalled health and vitality. The honey-brown eyes that peeped out through velvety eyelashes were those of a doe’s. Razia’s eyebrows were slender, her unadorned ears like a sea-nymph’s and puffy, heart-shaped lips a rich ruby red.

The queen’s beauty wasn’t the only thing that rendered me immobile. It was something else. That “something else” is so weird that no one would believe me if I told them about it. It was that…I, a 19 year old man, saw a resemblance between myself and Razia Sultan.

Of course, the idle observer wouldn’t have noticed it. This was because they were conditioned to look at me as a male. Also, I don’t claim that my every feature was like Razia’s or that I was a spitting image of the sultan. However, the pallor of the skin, the color and shape of the eyes, nose and mouth were the same. My face was squarer and my frame muscular, so no one could have confused me for Razia as I stood in the battlefield dressed as a soldier. However, at 5’7, I may not have been too much taller than the queen whom I estimated to be 5’5 or 5 feet 6 inches tall.

I was in a delicious sort of a stupor for the rest of the day. I forgot all about shields, armors, javelins and swords and thought only of the enchanting face of the sultan. I returned home and went into my room without bothering to acknowledge my parents or converse with my younger sister, Shaista. I would lie on my bed in sweet yearning, dreaming of putting my arms around that slender decanter-shaped waist, caressing the sea-nymph ears and tracing the arch of Razia’s slender eyebrows with my light kisses. Razia Sultan would melt under my touch and mewl with pleasure. Emboldened by her reaction, my own carmine pink mouth would move to her puffy, heart-shaped ruby-red lips. As I tasted the sweet syrup of her mouth; unsurpassed bliss would flood my body.

I got up from the bed and walked towards my plain full-length no-frills mirror. Like a man in a trance, I gazed at myself for the longest time. In my mind’s eye, I saw my bushy eyebrows trimmed to resemble a slender arch, carmine pink lips reddened to become ruby red and thin flat body padded to resemble a woman’s curves. At this point, a startling truth dawned on me. I realized I wasn’t just in love with Razia Sultan. I wanted to become her.

I fervently wished to be the exacted replica of Razia Sultan. I desired to be her mirror image.

An uncontrollable desire to dress like the queen and ape her mannerisms seized me. However, there was a minor obstacle in the expression of this desire. Since I had seen Razia Sultan dressed only in male attire, I had no idea as to what she looked like in female clothes and jewelry. Since Razia strode and rode dressed like a male, I hadn’t had the chance to observe the dainty gestures of her white hands, the feminine sway of her hips and the womanish fluttering of her velvety eyelashes.

I realized that something had to be done to get around this predicament. I needed to gain access to the queen’s private chamber to see what she looked like, when she dressed as a woman. I had to see my beloved in the full throes of femininity to be able to love her more wholly. I needed to see Razia in the full bloom of her womanhood in order to become her clone.

For the son of a petty shop keeper to sneak into a royal palace wasn’t an easy task. Hence, I rehearsed my part until I was sure I could play it to perfection—even in my sleep. I had also spent a few hours putting together the accoutrements I needed for the role play. After a brief journey by foot, the palace domes and minarets decorated with cribs, zigzags, floral and geometric star designs came into view. Marveling at how the embellished minarets led to the beautification of the city line of Delhi, I approached the guard at the gate. He was a slow, shriveled old man of about 90. However, his eyes were bright and alert.

“Salam, huzoor (Salutations, Sir)” I said “I’d like to meet the sultana please”.

“May I know who you are?” the gatekeeper asked. His piercing blue eyes appraised me suspiciously.

“I am the son of a holy man the queen met at the mosque” I said in naïve, sincere tones “my father wished to gift the sultana a holy armlet that would shield her from the evil eye. Since he is old and arthritis-ridden, my father couldn’t come here himself. Hence, he asked me to deliver the armlet to the queen”.

“An armlet….” Said the old gatekeeper “May I see it?”

“Of course” I said and procured a sequin encrusted armlet I had spent a few hours crafting. Needless to say, it had no holy significance.

“It seems genuine enough” said the gatekeeper, barely bothering to hide the fact that he had previously been suspicious “however, I am not sure if the sultana would be very pleased if I let a strange young man into the royal palace. Give the armlet to me and I shall pass it on the queen myself”.

“I am sorry” I said with resolve “but my father asked me to give the armlet to none other than the queen herself. If you won’t allow me inside, I guess I’ll have to leave without giving the queen the armlet”. After uttering the above words, I turned to go.

“Wait a minute” said the old guard reluctantly. After a whispered consultation with a young colleague, he said: “Fine, we’ve decided to let you in. However, please come out in half an hour. The queen is a busy woman”.

“Thank you” I said and walked into the exquisite palace lawns. I was allowed inside the palace and noticed that its architectural delights comprised of enameled and gilded glass, inlaid metal and woodwork. Plush Turkish carpets covered the smooth marble floors. After passing through an in-house hunting pavilion and a small mosque, I reached the queen’s chamber. Since Razia Sultan prided herself on being as strong and independent as a man, no eunuch guarded the entrance to her chamber. I gazed into the queen’s inner chamber through translucent pistachio green curtains that separated us. The sight that met my eye made me hold my breath.

The queen sat on her royal bed dressed in female attire. She was wearing an opulently embroidered rose pink caftan over a shirt tucked into baggy pants. The ruffles along the neckline and wrists accentuated the daintiness of her wrists so much so that it was hard to believe that the same hands brandished the sword on the battle field! An ornamental small plum-colored cap sat perched over Razia’s beautiful ebony-colored hair. An elegant multi-colored scarf was tied around the nape of her neck. Razia wore curly toed shoes made of silk velvet, embroidered with gilt-silver yarns and seed pearls.

Razia wasn’t free of ornaments. A phul or a hair ornament shaped like a flower hung upside down from the crown of her head. Around nine necklaces made of gold and silver were hung around her swan-like neck, almost reaching her abdomen region. Since it was considered inauspicious for a woman to leave her arms bare, a bajubandh and kangan (armlet and bangle, respectively) adorned her delicate creeper-like arms. Long earrings shaped like a peacock hung from Razia’s delicate ears brushing the fabric on her shoulders. As the queen moved to look at herself in the full-length mirror, the tantalizing fragrance of rose attar (perfume) reached my nostrils.

I let out an involuntary gasp as the queen started undressing. With a slow methodical precision I had known her to possess on the battlefield; she started taking off her ornaments one by one. Then the scarf came off revealing a significant expanse of her creamy neck, followed by the caftan, vest, salvar and shoes. Razia flung the abovementioned on the bed with a kind of stylish nonchalance. It was too late for me now to turn to my heels and run. I watched with petrified fascination, as the queen stripped to her soft muslin undergarments which were embroidered with fine gold thread.

I averted my eyes as the queen stripped down to nothing and disappeared into her bath. Once inside, she drew the opaque sound-proof curtains. At this moment, a force outside my body took possession of me. I found myself scurrying into Razia Sultan’s inner chamber, collecting her clothes and jewelry and stuffing them into a cloth bag that was lying beside her bed. I checked the dressing table in front of the mirror and found an attar bottle and what appeared to be the queen’s cosmetic box. Without stopping to look back, I dashed out of the palace and sprinted without pausing until I had reached the front gate.

“Good, you’re back in twenty minutes” the guard observed looking at the ancient clock in front of the palace. Then, his sharp eyes travelled down to the packet I held in my hand. “What’s that?” he asked in a voice thick with suspicion.

“Oh just the queen’s discarded clothes” I said trying to feign nonchalance “Her Majesty was so pleased at receiving the armlet, that she gave me her old clothes as a gift for my sister”.

“Oh, okay” said the guard buying my explanation “I am sure it’s an honor to be able to wear Her Majesty’s clothes. Your sister is a lucky girl”.

“Indeed she is” I said and tried to suppress an inner gurgle of laughter that threatened to make itself audible. I couldn’t possibly tell the guard that the “lucky girl” was going to be me.


I trained as Razia Sultan’s soldier during the day, a little saddened by the fact that she barely looked in my direction. During the night, I plunged my eager paws into the splendorous treasure trove that I had pilfered from her chamber. I stripped of my coarse soldiers’ habiliments and felt the beautiful soft muslin underwear against my cheek. It smelt of sweat, attar and of…Razia. I put it on and felt that the process of my transmuting into the queen’s replica had begun.

As I put on the lavishly embroidered rose pink caftan, I felt richer than I had ever before. I buttoned the rose-petal shaped buttons, wishing that my bosom also swelled as gently as a woman’s. I salvaged two handkerchiefs from somewhere and stuffed them at the front of my dress. I wore the pistachio green sleeveless, collarless, embroidered vest on top of the caftan and enjoyed the feminine contrast between the rose-pink caftan and the pistachio green vest. I slipped my feet into the queen’s embroidered slipper and found that they were a perfect fit. After wearing the cap, the head ornament, necklaces, earrings, armlets, bangles and scarf, I looked like a mirror image of Razia Sultan.

Well, almost. I still had too short a hairstyle, eyebrows that were too bushy and lips which were too pale to pass off as the queen. Over the next few days, I bought myself a wig, discreetly trimmed my eyebrows and chewed paan (betel leaves preparation) to redden my carmine pink lips. After anointing my body with oil and unguents and lining my eyes with lampblack, I looked so much more like Razia Sultan than before.

Just when I was admiring myself in the mirror, I heard footsteps. I turned around to see my meddlesome fifteen year old sister Shaista standing at the doorway.


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