by Rumer Godden. Viking, $14.95. Gulbadan (the name means “Rosebody”) was a daughter of the first Mughal emperor of India, Babur the Tiger, and aunt to the Emperor Akbar, who asked her to write her recollections of family history as a contribution to his own biography. Possibly because Gulbadan failed to refer to her nephew as either “jewel of the imperial mine” or “unique of the eternal temple,” little of her text was used by the court biographer, a man who dipped his own pen in honey and rose water. Fortunately, a copy of Gulbadan’s memoir survived and has been translated. Working from the translation and her own knowledge of India, Ms. Godden has reconstructed the story of Princess Gulbadan. It covers eighty years of Mughal history, involves great danger and great luxury, and illustrates the impressive degree of authority possessed by Islamic noblewomen. The book is generously illustrated with delightful Indian and Persian miniature paintings, located by Helen Topsfield and reproduced in color. Bibliography.