Book I the Sultanate Period Chapters /. The Arabs and the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent 1



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[Ch.12
I
who never laughed in public and wBnom even his valet did not see without his shoes stockings.
Hindu Thought and Culture. W m th the end of Hindu rule in Ajmer, Kanauj, etc., Hindu Cultim. re was deprived of State patronage at many important centr&.s. It suffered certain other handicaps also, but the impression gained from the study of court chronicles that Hindu cultural activity ceased during the Sultanate is correct, some sources «of State patronage did dry up, but Hindu scholars and writers amoved to other centres like Mithila, Gujarat and Rajputana. Plat aces like Navadip in Bengal rapidly regained their importances as centres of Sanskrit learning. And, on the whole, Hind «j intellectual and religious life does not seem to have suffered .3^ serious setback. This was due to the fact that, apart from the cr-ontinuance of Hindu States in Rajputana, Bundhlkhand, Mith Ula, etc., powerful Hindu landlords continued in rural areas stind the economic power of the Hindu commercial classes remaianed undiminished.
Writing about Sanskrit literatLzaire of the period Panikkar
says:
”We have in Gujarat th^s great resurgence of Sanskrit associated with Hem^aichandra Suri and the magnificent and learned court of Viradhavala whose minister, Vastupala, himself a poet of eminence, revived the traditions of Bhojau in the west. Nor was Sanskrit less patronized in REL,ajputana. Apart from prithviraja Vijaya of Jonaraja and Hammiravijaya of ’Ala-ud-din ’s time, we have tn*. «e outstanding figure of Kumbha whose court was a czrentre of learning and culture. Kumbha himself was sa commentator of Gita Govinda, and author of Sangit*faraja, an encyclopedic work on music, and numeKr-ous other poems in Sanskrit. What presumably ha»_ppened was that with the conquest of the Gangeticr: valley, scholars and poets took refuge in the cour-ts of Hindu rulers in distant areas and this wouldB perhaps explain the

Bk. I] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 230
sudden efflorescence of Sanskrit literature in places
like Mewar, Kalinjar and Gujrat.”12
Contemporary with the sultanate was the great revival of jainsim, which produced teachers like Hemachandra Suri, ”comparable only to Sankra” and who according to Panikkar, ”is one of the makers of modern Indian mind and takes his place with Valmiki, Vyasa and Sankara.”13 There were numerous other Jain writers of Sanskrit, some of whom were honoured by Muslim Sultans like Muhammad Tughluq.
Hindu religious life found vigorous expression in the Bhakti movement with which we shall deal later. Equally interesting were the developments in the Hindu law. Islamic conquest posed new social problems, and led to legal adjustments. A large number of commentaries and digests of Hindu law were prepared during the period 1200 to 1500 A.D. ”The great Mitakshara of Vijaneswara cannot be placed earlier than the twelfth century. Kalluka, the most famous commentator of Manusmriti, lived early in the fourteenth century in Bengal. Chandeswara, who belonged to Bihar and who wrote numerous digests of Smrities, claims that he was a minister and had himself weighted in gold in 1314 A.D.”14
In the early period, the cultural activity at Delhi was
mainly Muslim. This was partly on account of the heritage of
Ghazni and Lahore, and was also due to the fact that Delhi,
which was a town of no importance immediately before the
Muslim conquest and ranked second-below Ajmer-even in
Prithivi Raj’s kingdom, was essentially a centre of Muslim
immigrants. Gradually, however, Hindu influences and an
interest in Hindu culture became manifest. There was no al-
Biruni, but Khusrau wrote Hindi poetry, and even in his
Persian work Nuh Sipihr (718/1318), eloquently raised Indian
sciences, religion and other products of the Indian genius. We
have already referred to Diya’ Nakhshabi’s versions of Sanskrit
books. When Firuz Tughluq conquered Kangra in 762/1361, he
came across Sanskrit books dealing with astronomy and music.
Under the order of the Sultan, they were translated into Persian
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[Ch. 12
prob Shai’iMaus-
e help of BraJiman scholars. The book on astronomy is Dalail-i Firuz Shahi, while the book on music is ly Barah Sangata, which was translated by ’Abd al-Aziz of Thanesar.
-Aw^nother interesting development of Firuz1 s reign was the > ~pcr>sition by a Muslim of a Hindi mathnavi on a Hindu and its popularity with all classes of Muslims. Maulana _d wrote the romance of Lorak and Chanda in the local :age and dedicated it to Khan Jahan \\, \vazir of Firuz. The
anical Bada’uni, who wrote his history at Agra two
tviL. ries later, says: ”In view of the popularity of the book in se*=a areas it needs no introduction. Makhdum Taqi-ud-din, [uslim preacher in Delhi, used to recite verses from this **- from the pulpit, and this used to have a wonderful effect ttme congregation.”15
Regional Languages. Perhaps the most important cultural -SKnomenon of time pre-Mughal period and the greatest cultural •WBcribution of IMuslim rule to india was in the realm of •gm^onal languages. The rise to the literary level of modern o-Pakistani languages was directly due to the encouragement

3fi-v «en by Muslin* nobles and kings, as they were not hampered ”- ~~y the Hindu ban on the patronage of languages other than ^iT ac-iskrit. For Hindus, Sanskrit was Deva Bhasha or the ^-an-iguage of gods and the all powerful Brahmans threatened v..-Ti^»i-^n a Divine di spleasure those who cultivated other languages. *~ ~””3tf a person h_ears the eighteen Puranas of the Ramayana J^sited in Bengali, he will be thrown into the hell called ^CDurava hell.”1* Muslims were free from this crippling taboo, »r»d freely encouraged the languages of the people. Dr. Sen, afr^er explaining this, tersely remarks: ”If the Hindu kings had cczDntinued to enjoy independence, Bengali would scarcely have g*”ct an opportunity to find Us way to the courts of the kings.”17 & or far as Hindi is concerned, Dr. Lachhami Dhar Krittivas s -aiys: ”It must not be forg;otten that Muslims were the first to easmploy the indigenous language or Hindi for a literary purpose wavhich, as we Icnow, was totally neglected by he Brahmins as a



Bk. I] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 232
vulgar speech unworthy of attention.”18 The same was true, in a varying degree, of the other regional languages.
The Muslim rulers of Bengal engaged scholars to translate the Ramayana and the Mahabharata from Sanskrit into Bengali. ”Thus Sultan Nusrat Shah of Gaur had the Mahabharata translated into Bengali. Vidypati says much in praise of this Sultan and also of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din, whose Bengali version of the Ramayana had been regarded by some as the Bible of Bengal, enjoyed the patronage of a ’King of Gaur’. Maladhar Vasu translated the Bhagavata into Bengali under the patronage of Sultan Husain Shah received from him the title of Gunaraja Khan. Husain Shah’s general, Paragal Khan, caused another translation of the Mahabharata to be made by Paramosvara, also known known as the Karindra, and Paragal Khan’s son, Chuti Khan, governor of Chittagong, employed Srikara Nadi to translate the Asvamedha Porvo of the Mahabharata into Bengali.”19
In the distant Kashmir, Hindu literature, Philosophy and arts were studied enthusiastically at the court of Zain al’Abidin. Rajatarangini was translated from Sanskrit into Persian, and a supplement was prepared to bring the account up to date. Other works on Music and Mathematics were composed by Hindu scholars at the Kashmir court. In the south, the Muslim rulers of Golkonda and Bijapur employed Hindus as ministers, and maintained state records in the Marathi language.
Cultural histories of provincial governments are yet unwritten, but a similar process was at work every where although the scale of activities varied and at different centers different activities were given prominence.
Painting. There are some indications that the art of painting was not completely neglected during the Sultanate. There are references of ornamental figures, both animate and inanimate, painted on walls. The orthodox Firuz forbade the practice of decorating the walls by coloured representations of
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living objects. This would confir m the view suggested b) references in literary works that such decorations were no unknown. Dr. Goetz, who had made a special study of India painting, says: ”To judge from late indications, painting seem
to have followed what is commonly called the Baghdal School of the thirteen century ”20
Music. Though the art of painting did not come into is own until under the Mughals, thte art of music was well developed during the earlier perioc3. The Indians had a’readi developed the art of music when the Muslims came to th> subcontinent, but the newcomers? were neither new no indifferent to this art. Arab music h ad flourished at Daflascui Baghdad and Granada, and serious thinkers and philosophy like al Farabi and Ibn Sina had written learned books on tk subject. We have already referred to Dr. Halim’s views on tli impact of Indian music on the Penso-Arab system during tli Abba^id period, and the affinities between the two system When Muslims came to India, they were not only heirs to tli rich Arab heritage in music, buit had also benefited In development of this art in Iran and Central Asia. They brougl1 a number of new musical instruments and new rules ail regulations. In course of time, tharmks to the work of mastec like Amir Khusrau and Sultan Husa_in Sharqi, the two stream’ of Perso-Arabic and Indian music «ningled more closely thi was possible at Baghdad, and a new school of music arosf which is today, for all practical purp»oses, the national music it India. Writing on the history of Indian music, a Hindu scholii says:
”Just after Sharangdeve,21 i.e., soon after the close of tli thirteenth century, the Muhammadans invaded the Deccan ail overthrew the dynasty of the Yadavas of Devagiri. This had n own reaction on Indian music, as om other aspects of cultur! Persian models began to be introduced into Indian rnusi: evidently widening the gulf betwe-en the Northern and ft Southern schools. The Northern school later on adopted a ne» scale as its model or Shudda scale, while the Southern schotl

Bk. I] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 234


retained the traditional one. Scholars believe that this change in the Northern School was wholly due to our contact with the Persian art, of which Amir khusrau was the poineer.”22
Dr. Halim says:
”The time of Sultan ’Ala-ud-din Khalji may rightly be considered as the period of assimilation of the Indian system by the Muslim and even importing a certain individuality of their own to the Indian system. Thus Amir Khusrau himself introduced into Indian music nearly a dozen Perso-Arabic airs like aiman, ghara, sanam, ghamam, sazgari, firudast, zilaf, ush-shaq, muwafiq sarparda, etc. The Hindu, for the first time, conceded to a Muslim, Amir Khusrau, the coveted title of Nayak (one proficient in the theory and practice of the music of the past and the present), a title which was denied to Tan Sen, who was only a Gandhar’* (one proficient in he practice of music).”23
While this far-reaching process of assimilation was going on, unalloyed Perso-Arabic Music continued to flourish at the royal court-as it continued to do until the days of Shah Jahanside by side with the Indian system.
Amir khusrau started the process of synthesis, and raised the prestige of the art in the eyes of local Muslim. The interest of the Chishti sufis in the art and its practical cultivation by them further ensured its popularity. The next important stage was reached during the establishment of the independent Muslim kingdom at Jaunpur, not far from Benares and Kanauj, the old centres of Hindu arts. Here music received special attention, both at the royal court and in the sufi monasteries. The two most important Indian Muslim musicians of the day were Sultanat Husian Sharqi, the last king of Jaunpur, and the contemporary saint, Pir Bodhan of Barnawa, to whom Sultan Husain would send distinguished musicians of his court and his own compositions for advice and opinion. The monastery of the saint became a rendezvous of musicians from Delhi, the Deccan and Jaunpur, and these traditions were more than
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maintained by his son and grandson. The contribution” Husain to the development of Indian music was much more specific. He is regarded as the original i the Khiyal School of music, which slowly matured 0 un final shape in the days of mhe later Mughals, particul Muhammad Shah. So far t_he traditional Hindu mus^
of Dhrupad, which was devotional in its am ^
Hindu gods and goddesses as its them ^
invocation to ^
though generally echoing ^rishan’s pranks with the,* not devotional music, an-d its themes were secuW veiled descriptions of hurman love and romance.
. 4ls highly Another regional k ingdom, where music ’ Gwalior
cultivated after the breakdown of the Sultanate, vf» ^
Here the ruler, Raja Maim Sigh (1486-1516) was a’ the chief musician at the court Nayak Mahmud, ^ under whose leadership a band of musiciarf ft , resystematise the Indian music in the light of ch> ^ .n ^ undergone since the advewt of the muslims. This re> ^ ^ compilation of Man Kan tuhal, ”which contains al” ,,24 airs introduced by the nvutslim musicians in the con” J-
,o an end at
The independent kingdom of Jaunpur came ’ hew>
the hands of Bahlul I_odi, but he appointed ^.^ Sikandar, to the viceroy=alty of the newly conque -nterested Sikandar, during his staj* at Jaunpur, became deeP^ fiahlul in music and maintained that interest when he suo fegret on the throne of Delhi. * Students of art must » ^ of his Sikandar’s destruction o~f many architectural mon» ^ de&troy predecessors at Jaunpur. He ”was ready at one st» .n Qrder to even the beautiful mosqaes built by the Sharqi ki » fc by ^ obliterate the memory of his foes, but was hel’ s he was ’ulema.”26 He had a fmrious temper, but ”evert1 ^^ Qn the first orthodox Musi i m King of Delhi to patro ^ Mughal a lavish scale, and his example was followed W
successors” .ned outside the
During the Sultana«te period, Kashmir remalveloped special
control of Delhi and in the realm of music de

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features of its own. ”Kashmiri music is the product of divers elements, which have blended with one another. But the chief contribution to its development was made by Persia and Turkistan. In fact, the main schools of music in the valley were founded by the Irani and Turani musicians in the time of Sultan Zain-al- ’Abidin.
”The classical music of Kashmir is known as Suftana Kalam, mystic theme or poetry which borrowed its style from Persian music. It has about fifty-four maqamat (modes), out of which some are like the Indian ragas and bear Indian names like Bhairavin, Lalit and Kalyan, while others have persian names, as, for example, Isfahan!, Dugah, Panjgah, Iraq, Rast-iFarsi and Sehgah. The most prevalent tals are Sehtals, Nimdur, Dur-i-Khafif and Turki Zarb. These tals are different from those of India. The boils too are different. Moreover, unlike the Indian classical music, the Sufiana Kalam is always sung in chorus. In this respect accompaniment of Hqfiz Naghma, a dance which expressed the meaning of songs by physical movements. The accompayning instruments are Dukra, Santur, Saz and Sitar. Other musical instruments common were Mizmar (a kind of flute) and Tambur (lute or guitar). The most popular instrument used in folk music is the Rabab which was borrowed from Persia. Ud, which was introduced in the time of Zain-ul- ’Abidin, is also common. The most popular types of folk music are the Chakkri, Tambur Naghma and Bacha Naghma, all of which are sung in chorus with often a little dancing. Among these the most common is the first which is sung in spring to the accompaniment of the Rabab.”27
Architecture. Music attained a high level when the synthesis of Indian and Perso-Arabic music took place during the pre-Mughal period, but the main expression of the artistic genius of the Muslim rulers in Indian has been in architecture. In this, as in other spheres, they were able to effect without a ”decisive break in the continuity of thought in India,” a gradual ”change and broadening of vision extending over a considerable transition period, which eventually had a far-
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reacting effect on ail the human activities of the country.”2» Indian masons had for centuries been engaged on the erection of ” jgr«at stone temples of exquisite design,” and had achieved grea_t mastery in the art of handlin jg stone, but as Percy Brown says.: ”During this long period Architectural activity under- the Sultanate commenced immediately with the establishment of the Muslim Empire. In the same year in which Delhi was. occupied, the foundations of the mosque of Quwwat al-Islann were laid by Qutb-ud-din Aibak ”to commemorate the captrtre of Delhi, and dedicated, as its name implies, to the might of Islam”. Aibak, however, spent most of his brief reign at Lahore, and the adornment of th& new Muslim capital was essentially the work of his successor, Iltutmish. He more than doubled the size of the Qx»w-wat al-Islam mosque, built Hhe Qutb Minar, regarded by FeTgxjson ”as the most perfect example of a tower known to exist anywhere,” built the college known as Nasiriyyah Madrassah and, to meet the need s of the growing population of Delhi, excavated the great HauAfter the death of Iltutmish , there was a prolonged lull in architectural activity, presuma_fcly owing to Balban’s pre-

Bk. I] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 238 occupation with the consolidation of the newly conquered areas, and it was not taken up on a large scale again until the reign of ’Ala-ud-din Khalji who made beautiful additions to the Quwwat al-Islam mosque, excavated huge tank known as Haud-i- ’Ala’i extending over 70 acres, built the Madrassah-i’Ala’i and constructed many other buildings.


In architecture, as in other spheres of cultural life, early
Muslims were helped by the indirect effect of the Mongol
. invasion. Writing about this great tragedy of human history
during which ”countries were obliterated, civilizations
destroyed and whole populations exterminated”. Percy Brown
says:
”Delhi fortunately escaped, and it seems fairly clear that artisans trained in the practice and traditions of the building art as evolved under the Saljuq rule, came and settled in the rising capital to find ready patronage at a time when by its architectural and other enlightened activities the Sultanate was aspiring to the position of a leading cultural power.”31
The newcomers also changed the pattern of Indo-Muslim architecture, and the Indian element ceased to be dominant.
The golden age of Sultanate in architecture, as in other spheres, was attained after the arrival of these refugees. Other factors contributing to the flowering of the art were the vast resources which the Indo-Pak subcontinent offered to the newcomers, and the availablity of skilled indigenous masons, but as these things had been there even before the arrival of the Muslims, the fact the that available opportunities were explioted fully was due to the ”remarkably good taste and to natural talent for building” which the newcomers had. ”Doubtless, it was due,” says Sir John Marshall, ”in a great measure to this inborn artistry, coupled with a natural catholicity of taste, that the newcomers were so quick to appreciate the talent and adaptability of the Indian craftsmen and to turn these qualities to account on their own buildings. Few things in the history of architecture are more remarkable
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than true skill ’with which, from the very outset, the MuhaTrnjmadans transformed Hindu and Jaina temples into mosques for the Faithful, or the imagination which they disr>l a^yed in employing Indian sculptors to adorn their edifices with ”designs incomparably more exquisite than their own. To create^ a successful building out of such alien materials, to r-ecos»«ci3e two styles so characteristically, opposed, without transgressing the standard formulas of Islamic art, might well have ifceen deemed an impossible task.”32
Htr»do-Musliin architecture derives its character from both Muslims and indigenous sources, but the degree of local influ-eruce varied Avith the period and the areas. The buildings at DelK3, where foreign Muslim builders were available in the larg;e=-st numbers., display the traditional characteristics of musl inn architecture at its highest. Here Hindu craftsmanship liad «Dnly a very limited play. ”At Jaunpur, on the other hand, and. In the Deccan, the local styles enjoyed greater ascendancy, whll-e in Bengal the conquerors not only adopted the established fashion of building in brick, but adorned their stru-crures with chiseled and molded enrichments frankly imitated from hindu prototypes. So, too, in western India they appropriated to themselves almost an ibioc the beautiful Guy sar ati style, which had yielded some of the finest buildings of rwediaeval India; and in Kashmir they did the same with the strD-cimg wooden architecture which must long have been pre-wa-lent in that part of the Himalayas. But much as M^kltianunadan architecture owed to these older schools, it owed rnu chk also to Hie Muhammadans themselves; for it was they \vb o, in every case, endowed it with breadth and spaciousness, and enriched it with new beauties of form and colour. Before th e^ir advent, concrete had been little used in India, and mortar sc=a.rc:ely ever; by the Muhammadans these materials were arm j)l oyed as fr eely as by the Romans and became two of most ii»H)ortant factors of construction. Thanks to the strength of thiesis- binding p roperties it was possible for the Muslim builders to span wide spaces with their arches, to roof immense areas

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with their domes and in other ways to achieve effects of grandeur such as the Indians hand never dreamt of.”33
Even at Delhi the styles varied with different periods. In the buildings erected during the very first few years, when the newcomers had to make arrangement out of whatever was available to them-even the ruins of old Hindu temples- and when Muslim architects and supervisors were not yet available, the Hindu elements are more marked. But the reaction against the Indian style began almost immediately and the manifestations of true Islamic style can be clearly seen in Iltutmish’s buildings. By the time of Ala’-ud-din Khalji, Muslim traditions had become firmly established on Indian soil, with the result that, not only had methods of construction been revolutionised, but ornament had become an integral part of the scheme, rather than a quasi-independent accessory, as was the case in the earlier Hindu buildings. The Jama’at Khanah mosque at the dargah of Nizam-ud-din Auliya’, constructed in the reign of ’Ala-ud-din Khalji, is the earliest surviving example in India of any mosque built wholly in accordance with Muslim ideas. Even more important from an architectural point of view is the ’Ala’i Darwazah, which even in an imperfect state of preservation is ”one of the most treasured gems of Indian architecture”. The tomb of Shaikh Rukn-i- Alam at Multan, ”one of the most splendid memorials ever erected in honour of the death,” was also built during the Khalji period.
The Tughluqs introduced a new and austere phase in architecture as in other spheres. Muhammad Tughluq, who shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, had no interest in the old capital while many buildings erected during the reign of his successor Firuz show ”a severe and puritanical simplicity,” possibly due as much to the need for economy as Firuz’s own strict orthodoxy. In the Tughluq architecture, Hindu influences were reduced to the minimum, but it suffered from some serious faults--”the monotonous reiteration of self-same
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