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Saturday, December 24, 2016


The Mughal Age is called as the “Second Classical Age”, the first being the Gupta Age in northern India. Three most important aspects of cultural developments during the Mughal period were:
1)    The Mughal culture was largely secular and aristocratic.
2)    In the growth and enrichment of this culture, people from different parts of India and outside contributed equally, and
3)    The cultural norms which the Mughals introduced in India in the field of architecture, painting, music etc. deeply influenced the future course of Indian culture during the subsequent centuries.
·         The history of Mughal architecture begins with Babur, who have undertaken many building projects at Agra, Dholpur, Gwalior and other places. He built two mosques, one at Kabulibagh in Panipat and other at Sambhal in Rohilkhand.
·         In the early years of Humayun’s reign, he built a city at Delhi, called the Din-panah (World Refuge). The mausoleum of Humayun in Delhi heralded the new movement. In spirit, the structure of Humayun’s tomb stands as an example of synthesis of two great building traditions of Asia, namely the Persian and the Indian. It was built by his widow Haji Begum.
·         Thus, the contribution of both Babur and Humayun to the growth of Mughal architecture is almost negligible.

·         Akbar was the founder of several fortified royal residences, each of which served as his capital during the period. The first of such royal residences to be erected was the fortress palace at Agra.
·         Abul Fazl writes in the Ain-i-Akbari that within the fort, the emperor built upwards of five hundred edifices of red stone. Among those that have escaped destruction, mention may be made of two palace buildings known as Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal.
·         The new capital city that he built on the ridge at Sikri, 36km west of Agra, to commemorate his conquest of Gujarat in 1572 was named Fatehpur (city of victory). The monuments of Fatehpur Sikri may be divided into two classes, one religious and the other secular.
·         Undoubtedly the most impressive creation of this new capital city is the grand Jama Masjid which had been described as the glory of Fatehpur Sikri. The southern entrance to the Jama Masjid is an impressive gateway known as the Buland Darwaza made of red sandstone.
·         Two other additions were later made within the mosque enclosure. One of these is the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chisti (the patron saint of Sikri), a small, square and attractive building in marble (first Mughal building in pure marble). The pierced screens of the corridor of this tomb are very finely worked. To the east of the tomb of the Shaikh, stands the mausoleum of Islam Khan, a grandson of the saint, built in 1612.
·         The other is Diwan-i-khas or the hall of private audience in which the arrangement of a hanging throne platform connected with hanging galleries by radiating passages represents a novel and original conception.
·         Other buildings include Jodha Bai’s palace, houses of Birbal and Mariam’s palace, Diwan-i-Aam and the Panch Mahal (a fantastic five-storied pillared structure).

·         Jahangir’s chief interest lay in painting rather than in architecture. He was also fond of laying gardens. One of the most famous gardens laid by him was Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir.
·         One of the earliest building projects of Jahangir was the completion of the tomb of his father at Sikandara near Agra. It was started by Akbar himself.
·         The most important feature of this period is the substitution of red sandstone by white marble.
·         Jahangir also loved color and thesis was imparted to the buildings of his period by encaustic tiling and the system of pietra dura (floral designs made up of semi-precious stones), i.e. the inlaid mosaic work of hard and precious stones of various hues and shades, which began towards the end of his reign.
·         Jahangir’s own tomb was built on similar lines at Shahdara near Lahore. It has lavish color imparted through inlaid marbles, glazed tiles and paintings.
·         He also built Moti Masjid at Lahore.
·         Nur Jahan was responsible for the construction of her husband’s tomb and also the tomb of her father Itmad-ud-daulah at Agra, which has rich ornamentation in pietra dura.
·         The tomb of Akbar Rahim Khano Khana at Delhi was built more or less as a copy of Humayun’s tomb, but in certain respect, it anticipates the Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan:
·         Marble of a pure white texture was procured from the quarries of Makrana in Jodhpur.
·         By demolishing some of the earlier buildings, he built marble edifices at Agra, such as the Diwan-i-Aam, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Khaas Mahal, the Shish Mahal, the Mussamman Burj (Jasmine Palace where he spent his last years in capitivity), the Anguri Bagh, the Machhni Bhawan and the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque, only mosque made of marble).
·         In 1638, Shah Jahan began the construction of a new capital city Shahjahanabad at Delhi.
·         The palace fortress, the Red Fort as it is known because of the red sandstone fabric of its rampart walls, with its halls, palaces, pavilions and gardens was completed in 1648.
·         He also built Takht-i-Taus (peacock throne).
·         The Diwan-i-Khas (also called Imtiyaz Mahal) and the Rang Mahal are the two most conspicuous buildings inside the Red Fort.
·         The grand Jama Masjid at Delhi, the largest and the most well known in the whole of India, also forms part of the scheme of the city of Shahjahanabad.
·         Mausoleum of his wife, Arjumand Banu Begum (better known as Mumtaz Mahal) at Agra is called the Taj Mahal after the title of the empress. The Taj is the crowning glory and culmination of Mughal architecture. It was commence in 1631 and completed sometime around 1653.

·         Two mosques erected during his reign were: the Moti Masjid within the Red Fort in Delhi and the Jama or Badshahi mosque at Lahore.
·         Bibi ka Makbara, the tomb of Aurangzeb’s queen Rabbia-ud-Daura, at Aurangabad illustrates the rapid deterioration of the Mughal architectural style. Erected in 1679, it is a frank imitation of the Taj Mahal at Agra. But compared to the Taj, this tomb is a very mediocre production which, as Fergusson says, “narrowly escapes vulgarity and bad taste”.
Mughal School of Painting:
·         Mughal painting was largely influenced by the Persian school of Painting, which again was an amalgam of the Chinese, the Indian, the Buddhist, the Bactrian and the Mongolian influences.
·         Mughal School of painting is broadly represented in two forms: the portraiture and miniature in the form of book illustrations.
·         Humayun, who during the years of his exile in Persia and Afghanistan secured the services of Persia’s two greatest masters (Mir Sayyid Ali and Abdus Samad), laid the foundation of Mughal painting. Both these masters followed Humayun to Delhi, and were able to work in the art establishment of Akbar.
·         The most important work produced in the Mughal studio, one of the earliest and most important, is an unusual manuscript, Dastan-i-Amir Hamza, better known as Humzanama, which has nearly 1,200 paintings.
·         During the reign of Akbar, there was a fusion of Persian and Indian style of painting. Akbar employed a large number of Hindu painters, which includes Daswant, Basawan, Lal and Mukund.
·         Mughal painting witnessed a rapid change and reached its logical culmination during the reign of Jahangir. The most important feature of the history of painting in Jahngir’s reign is the decline of Persian influence, which made way for a style that was essentially Indian.
·         Some impact of European art also became clearly visible in the paintings of the period. In the early years of his reign, he was keenly interested in miniature, but later he became interested in portraits and got a large number of them prepared. The most important of all Jahangir’s painters were Ustad Mansur (great expert in painting of miniatures), Abdul Hassan and Bishandas.
·         During the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it migrated to regional centers of painting where it prospered under different styles, such as Pahari and Rajput (particularly Jaipur, Bikaner and Bundi) styles.
·         The subjects of Mughal painting were mainly derived from court life and nature. Animals like deer, lion, peacock etc. and Indian dresses and ornaments were faithfully represented, but the life of the people was sadly neglected. A keen appreciation of nature was a remarkable characteristic of the Mughal artists.
·         The Mughal portrait painters were noted for their rich coloring, sympathetic outline drawing, decorative treatment and the delineation of actual features.
·         The Mughal artists excelled in color composition that was generally a beautiful mosaic of reds, blues and gold.
·         Some of the Mughal rulers like Babur, Humayun, Jahangir and many Mughal princes and princesses were themselves great literary personalities. Some other rulers like Akbar and Shah Jahan, were themselves not great authors, however, great patrons of literature.
·         The greatest literary development during the period took place not only in the field of Persian literature, which was the court language, but also in several Indian and non-Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Urdu and Arabic which brought forth a vast treasure of literary compositions.
·         It has been said that ‘the Summer of Persian Poetry’, brought about by the patronage of Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan, is one of the brightest features of the Mughal rule in India. They, along with literary men born in India, evolved a distinct Indian style (Sabk-i-Hindi) of Persian poetry.
·         The reign of Akbar was a period of ‘renaissance’ of Persian literature in India.
·         The Ain-i-Akbari by Abul Fazl gives the names of fifty-nine great Persian poets of Akbar’s court.
·         The Persian works of the period may be classified into three parts:
o   Literary and theological works
o   Translations and
o   Historical works
·         In the second category, many books of Sanskrit and other languages were translated into Persian. Different parts of the Mahabharata was translated by several Muslim scholars and put together under the title of Ramzanama.
·         Badauni translated the Ramayana.
·         Haji Ibrahim Sirhindi translated the Atharva Veda.
·         Faizi translated the well-known work of Hindu Mathematics, Lilavati.
·         Mahammad Khan Gujarati translated a work of Gujarat under the title Jahan-i-Zafar.
·         Todarmal translated the Bhagavata Purana into Persian.
·         Abul Fazl’s Akbarnama and Ain-i-Akbari are complementary works. His Insha (collection of official dispatches sent by Akbar to foreign rulers) and Raqqat (collection of his own private and personal letters) are important from historical as well as literary points of view.
·         Among other noble works of history were:
o   Nizam-ud-din Ahmad Baksh’s Tobaqat-i-Akbari,
o   Gulbandan Begum’s Humayun-namah,
o   Abbas Khan Sherwani’s Tuhfa-i-Akbar shahi alias Tarikh-i-Sher,
o   Mulla Daud’s Tarikh-i-Alfi,
o   Babur’s Tuzuk-i-Baburi,
o   Abdul Qadir Badauni’s Muntakhab-ul-Tawarikh,
o   Kamgar Khan’s Maasir-i-Jahangiri,
o   Mutamad Khan’s Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri,
o   Abdul Hamid Lahori’s Padshanama,
o   Amini Qazwini’s Padshanama.
o   Inayal Khan’s ShahJahan-nama.
·         Persian literature continued to flourish under Akbar’s successors.
·         Jahangir, himself a scholar and critic, wrote his own autobiography in imitation of his great grandfather Babur and named it Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri.
·         Shah Jahan’s eldest son Dara was a great scholar of many works on Sufi philosophy and on the biographies of Muslim Saints. His most original work was Majma-ul-Bahrain or the Mingling of the Oceans, in which he attempted to show that Hinduism and Islam were two paths to one goal. He also wrote Sirr-i-Akbar and Safinat-ul-Auliya.
·         Aurangzeb had no taste for poetry and was opposed to the writing of the histories of his period. Yet several important histories were written during his time. Some of these were Khafi Khan’s Muntakhab-ul-lubad, Mirza Muhammad Qazim’s Alamgirnama, Ishwar Das Nagar’s Futuhat-i-Alamgiri, Bhim Sen’s Nuskha-i-Dilkusha, Sujan Raj’s Khulasat-ul-Tawarikh, Aquil Zafar’s Namah-e-Alamgiri, Saqi Mustaid Khan’s Massir-i-Alamgiri.
·         The most authoritative and elaborate digest of Muslim law, known as Fatwa-i-Alamgiri, was produced by a syndicate of theologians under the orders of Aurangzeb.

·         Akbar was the first Mughal emperor to extend patronage to Sanskrit and many scholars and poets of Sanskrit adorned his court. During his reign the first Persian Sanskrit lexicon, called Parsi Prakasha, was compiled.
·         Mahesh Thakur of Darbhanga worte a history of Akbar’s reign in Sanskrit.
·         Siddhi Chandra Upadhyaya wrote Bhanu Chandra Charitra, which gives an account of the Jain mission to Akbar’s court.
·         Jahangir and Shah Jahan also patronized Sanskrit scholars.
·         Jagannath Pandit, the author of Ras Gangadhar and Ganga Lahari, was court poet of Shah Jahan.
·         The reign of Akbar constitutes the golden age of Hindi poetry.
·         The most notable luminaries of Hindi were Tulsi Das, Sur Das, Abdur Rahim Khanekhana, Ras Khan and Birbal.
·         Ras Khan, although a Muslim, was a devote of Lord Krishna and an author of a large number of first rate poems on Krishna’s life.
·         A number of great Hindi poets also flourished during the reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Of these Keshav Das, Chintamani, Mati Ram, Bihari and Bhusan (1613-1712) who wrote on Shivaji’s struggle against Aurangzeb, are the most noteworthy.
·         Other modern Indian languages, including Urdu, also received impetus during the Mughal period. After Persian and Hindi, Bengali language and literature recorded the greatest progress during the period.
·         Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan greatly contributed to the development of Indian music.
·         Akbar, who had a profound knowledge of music, took first step in this direction.
·         Tansen was the most accomplished musician of the age.
·         Ain-i-Akbari gives the names of thirty-six first-rate musicians of Akbar’s court where Hindu and Muslim systems of music mingled freely.
·         Jahangir and Shah Jahan also equally patronized music.
·         The national music, which had its birth at Agra in the time of Akbar, holds the field even today.

Navratna i.e. nine jewels of Akbar’s court:
1.    Birbal (administrator)
2.    Abul Fazl (scholar and statesman)
3.    Faizi (scholar and statesman)
4.    Todarmal (finance minister, introduced Dahsala Bandobast)
5.    Bhagwandas (mansabdar)
6.    Man Singh (mansabdar)
7.    Tansen (musician)
8.    Abdur Rahim Khanekhana (Hindi poet and statesman)

9.    Mulla Do Pyaja (advisor)


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