NOTES & REFERENCES
I. T.W. Arnold. The Preaching ofhlam. p. 266.
2 Imi’i’rial (iittfltffr of litilia (.*ul nln )• The Indian rmpirr,” p. 434,
3 Alfred C Lyall Asiatic Studies (First Series), p. 305.
4. E.D. Maclagan, Gazetteer of Multan District, p. 38.
5. K.R. Qanungo, History of Bengal, II, 69-70.
6. Moreland and Chatterji, A short Hlitory of India, p. 91.
7. D.C.Sen, History of Bengali Language and Literature, p. 7.
8. J.P. Oulraj, Slnd and Its Sufis, P. 76.
9. Quoted by Tara Chand, Influence of Islam on Indian Culture, p.107.
10. Ibid., P. lit.
II. Quoted in ibid., p. 144.
12. Ibid., pp. 176-77. ” , ,
13. Quoted in ibid., pp. 227-28. » ’’•?
14. Ibid., p. 288. ’
15 R C. Majumdar, History and Culture of the Indian People, V, xvii.
16. Ariz Ahmed, Studies in Islamic Culture in India Environment, p. 100
17. ”The teaching of Kabir has gradually become more Hindu in form At any rate we have no right to assume that the teaching of Kabir was identical with that given at the present time by Mahants of the Pinth that bears his name” (Wettcott, Kabir and the Kabir Panihls, p. 28).
18. This term, Muwahid, was not, so far as I can learn, ever applied by Muhammadans to those they regard as idolaters. It implies that he (Kabir) was a Theist, and not a Pantheist. The prevailing impression that Kabir was a Pantheist appears to be based upon two false impressions, (1) that he is responsible for all the teaching given by his Hindu followers at a later stage and (2) that all statements contained in the Bijak represent his personal views” (ibid., p.
19. Kshilimohan Sen, Mediaeval Indian Mysiricizm, pp. vi-vii. For an authoritative discussion of Kabir’s origin, see p. 2 of Dr.Mohan Singh’s, Kabir-His Biography.
20. N.O. Otr, A Seventeenth-Century Indian Mystic, p. 51.
21. Ibid., p. 55.
22. Kchitimohan Sen, op. cit., p. viii.
23. Tara Chand, op. cit., p.151.
24. Yuiuf Huiain, Medieval Indian Culture, p, 19.
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25 Dr Qureshi says about Kabir: ”He adopted popular word Rama for God but his ’ R«ma had nothing to do with the hero of Kamayana and the incarnation of Vinhnu He siad explicitly ” (The Muslim Community, p. 113)
26 W.tf-Orr., op cit , p. 71
27 G. Duff, History of the Maraihas, I, 73-74.
29. Edwardei and Garrett, Mughal Rule in India, p. 2. r___
30. Roychaudhuri, Bengal Under Akbar and Jahangir, p. 146.
31. Growse, Mathura-A District Memoir, p. 177.
32. Roychaudhuri, op cit., p 96.
33. Ibid., p. 119.
34 Ibid , p. 88.
35. Ibid., p. 94,
37. Ibid., p, 96.
38 G Mukerjee, Modern Indian Culture.
39 Moreland and Chalterjee, op. cit., p. 193.
40. Ibid , p. 194.
41 M.T. Titus Indian Islam, p 164.
42. R.A. Nicholson, The Mystics of Islam, quoted by Tan Chand, op. cit. p 68.
43. The impact of Islam on Hindus was not ao small as Prof. Majumdar thinks. For example, Hindu devotion to Muslim saints was not uncommon till recently. In the Census of 1891, as many as 5.78% of the total Hindu population of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh (i.e. Modern U.P) had ”returned Ihemsleves as worshippers of Muhammadan saints: (Census of India, 1891, Vol. XVI, Pi I, pp. 217, 244. Quoted in Arnold’s TJie Preaching of Islam (2nd ed), p. 289. This was the position in what is now the United Provinces. The devotion of Hindus to Muslim saints in areas like Punjab and Sind was even more widespread. A typical is of the Sultanis, i.e. the Hindu followers of Sultan Salchi Sarwar, regarding whom the District Gazetteers of Jullundur and Ludhiana give a good deal of information. According to the Ludhiana District Gazetteer (1907), the Sultanit ”make up the greater part of the Hindu Jat population. These are the followers of the Muhammadan taint, Salchi Sarwar Sultan, whose tomb is at Nigaha, in the Dera Ghazi Khan District” (p.82). The Gazetteeriddt that from Western Punjab the Sultani creed ”spread eastwards in the 15th and 16th centuries and that at the time of Guru Govtnd Singh most of the lats held it, the conversions to Sikhism being from it. The Sultanis are nominally ordinary Hindus, worshippers of Shiv or of Devi: but it is characteristic of popular Hinduism that the saint and his shrine, being something more tangible than the deity, have entirely excluded the latter, and that the saint should have been Muhammadan” (pp. 82-83). The District Gazetteer of Jullundur gives further details regarding the Sultanis.
44. R.C. Majumdar, op.cit., VI, 617.
45. Sschan, Tr., Albiruni’s India, I, 22-23.
47 Ibid., I, 26
48. H A.R. Gibb, Ibn Bauuta, p. 262.
49. See the account of Ibn Baltutah, summarised in Majumdar, op. cit., VI, 629-30.
THE MUGHAL PERIOD
THE EARLY MUGHALS
The Mughal period. There is a broad continuity in Muslim history of the subcontinent, but with the foundation of the Mughal Empire in 933/1526 we reach a political and cultural watershed. The succeeding three centuries differ, in many important respects, from the sultanate. For one thing the Mughal period is much better documented. There was, also, a much greater continuity in administration, as members of the same dynasty sat on the throne for more than three hundred years, while Mughals also ushered in an era of a much richer cultural life. They were the first Muslim rulers of Delhi to patronise and encourage painting and music, and in the realm of architecture their monuments challenged comparison with similar activity anywhere in the world.
These features mark off the Mughal period from the earlier regime. But the differences went deeper and extended far beyond material and visible developments. As Professor Spear has said, ”The Mughal era had a personality and an ethos of its own”. It was marked by a different atmosphere and breathed a different air. Partly the difference in atmosphere arose out of a greater cultural refinement. But it was even to a greater extent due to the broad, large-hearted basis on which the foundation of the Mughal system of administration was laid.
Babur (933-937/1526-1530). Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, was a Chughtai Turk, who claimed descent from Timur on his father’s side and from Chingiz Khan on his mother’s. He became the ruler of Farghanah, a petty principality in Central Asia at the age of eleven. He was driven
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out of Farghanah soon after accession and was continually engaged in a struggle thereafter to repossess himself of his ancestral kingdom. He captured Samarqand, which claimed as it has been the capital of his ancestor Timur, but was ultimately driven out of Central Asia by the Uzbegs, and in 910/1504 established himself in Kabul. In 920/1514, after the final destruction of his hopes of reconquering Samarqand, he turned his eyes towards India, the north-western part of which had once been included in Timur’s empire, but before entering on a military conquest of the Punjab, he wisely spent a number of years in consolidating his position in Kabul. In 931/1524, Daulat Khan Lodi, the ruling governor of the Punjab, sought his help against Ibrahim Lodi, the ruling sovereign at Delhi. Babur welcomed the opportunity and marched into the Punjab, but Daulat Khan turned against him and Babur did not consider it opportune to advance further. He returned to Kabul and continued his preparation. In Safar 932/November 1525, he left Afghanistan and shortly thereafter occupied Lahore. He desired to conquer Delhi and in this he appears to have been encouraged by Rana Sangha and some other Indian chiefs, who thought that, like his grandfather Timur, he would pay India only a flying visit. Babur met Ibrahim at the historic battlefield of Panipat on 21 April 1526. His army was smaller in numbers but had the advantage of a fine artillery, and the Lodi King suffered a decisive defeat. Ibrahim died on the battlefield, and Delhi and Agra fell to the victor. This was followed by the occupation of Gwalior, Kanauj, and Jaunpur. Shortly thereafter Babur had to deal with Rajputs. The combined Rajput forces headed by Rana Sangha met him on 16 March 1527 at Kanwaha, and, in spite of the heavy odds against him and the advice of his companions to return to Kabul, he decided to take the risk and made arrangements to fight the enemy. He realised, all the same, that a supreme effort was called for, and displayed his gifts as a great leader of men in dealing with the situation. He made an inspiring speech before his troops, in which he appealed, not only to their bravery, but vividly portrayed the eternal damnation which would be their lot if
281 The Early Mughals t Ch 14
they weakened on the battlefield of jihad, and the rewards in this world and the next, if they were steadfast. He also took a vow to give up drinking and appeared before his soldiers as a true leader of jihad. His army fought with enthusiasm and Rana Sangha’s forces were routed. The place came to be known as Fathpur Sikri (Sikri, the abode of victory), in commemoration of the successful battle. Next year, Babur occupied Chanderi and then turned to the Afghan chiefs in Bihar and defeated them on 6 May 1529 on the banks of the Gogra. Babur’s career of triumph was, however, cut short by failing health. Next year, he fell ill and died in Agra on 26 December 1530. Although Babur was successful in laying the foundation of an empire in India and was aware of its enormous resources, the cultural and social conditions there did not impress him. He started laying gardens and founding cities in his newly won empire, but he chose for himself a resting-place in Kabul, where his body was ultimately taken and buried in a beautiful garden. Babur possessed a very attractive personality. He was not only a born leader of men, a brave soldier and a skilful general, but a man of wide culture, deeply interested in architecture, painting and literature. He wrote both prose and poetry and his Tuzuk or Babur Namah has been regarded as one of the great autobiographies of the world.
Humayun. Humayun, who succeeded Babur at the age of twenty-three, was faced with many serious difficulties. Some of these were due to his tenderness towards his three younger brothers-Kamran, Hindal and ’Askari, -all of whom were constantly plotting against him. The dangers from outside were even more formidable. Babur had conquered Northern India, but the country was far from settled. The Lodis and other Afghan chiefs were not reconciled to their loss of power and soon found a new leader of genius who was more than a match for Humayun. Bahadur Shah, the powerful king of Gujarat, also entertained designs of becoming supreme in Northern India. Humayun was of an amiable disposition, scholarly and intelligent. He had done quite well under the watchful eye of his
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father, but he lacked Babur’s vigour and toughness, and was for the time being over whelmed by the difficulties confronting him.
Humayun’s first conflict was with Bahadur Shah, the ruler of Gujarat, who had extended his power to Malwa and parts of Rajasthan, and had given shelter to some of Humayun’s hostile relatives and leaders of Afghan resistance. In 941/1534-35, Humayun invaded Malwa, defeated Bahadur Shah and drove him out of his eastern possessions. He showed unusual activity at this time, and hotly pursued Bahadur into Gujarat, and distinguished himself by reckless bravery in taking the strong fortress of Champanir by assault in August 1535. But he failed to press home the advantages he had gained. This enabled Bahadur to collect another army. In the east Sher Khan Sur became a threat to the rising Mughal power, and, therefore, Humayun had to abandon the conquered territories in the west and turn his attention to the east. Here, he was far less successful. Sher Khan Sur had defeated Mahmud Shah of Bengal in 945/1538, but he did not oppose Humayun on his arrival and even allowed him to pass through his territory and occupy Gaur, the capital of Bengal. Humayun was charmed by the lush scenery of Bengal, gave Gaur the name of Jannatabad (the abode of Paradise), and gave himself up to pleasure. In due course the monsoons brought torrential rain, and epidemics spread in the Mughal army. Humayun started withdrawing towards Agra, but now Sher Khan Sur blocked his communication and defeated him at Chausa (946/1539). The Mughal army was completely routed, all the imperial household and treasure falling into Sher Khan’s hands. Humayun saved his life by crossing the river on a water-ski lent by a water carrier, whom he rewarded years later by sharing the throne with him for one day. In May 1540, the armies of the Mughals and the Afghans once more met at Kanauj, but as Mirza Haidar, the author of Tarikh-i Rashidi and an eyewitness of the battle, recorded, the Mughal army was so much demoralised that on Sher Khan’s advance they broke into a panic, and Humayun’s last chance of making a stand against
The Early Mughals
the bold Afghans was gone. He fled towards Rajputana and Sind, and at one time turned towards Qandhar where his brother Kamran was in power, but he received no help and had to seek refuge with the Shah of Persia. Northern India came under the sway of the Suri Afghans, and it was only fifteen years later, less than a year before his death, that Humayun was able to return and re-establish himself at Delhi and Agra.
I he (ient’M\ of Mughal Culture Babur and Humayun were in the Indo-Pak subcontinent for less than thirteen years, but their reigns have a great political and cultural significance. Apart from laying the foundations of the Mughal Empire, soon to be consolidated under Akbar, they introduced a new, vigorous, and aesthetically beautiful culture into the subcontinent. Babur and his descendants are generally called Mughals (a variation of ”Mongol”) but they were directly descended from Timur, a Central Asian Turk, and were only remotely connected with Chingiz Khan, the Mongol ”Scourge of Asia”. Babur disliked * turn in his grave to know that his dynasty was called Mongol, or Mughal, for he hated the name and the tribes who bore it,” but it is too late to alter the universally accepted nomenclature. It is, however, worth remembering that the Mughal dynasty was Turkish in origin, and the cultural tradition which Babur imported into the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent was the one which under Timur and his descendants, had flourished on the banks of the Oxus.
Timur denuded India, Iran and Asia Minor of men and material to enrich his capital and ”sought deliberately to make Samarqand the centre of Muslim civilisation”. He attracted a large number of poets, musicians, and philosophers to his brilliant court, and built and embellished his capital in a truly magnificent style. After Timur’s death in 808/1405, these cultural traditions were more than maintained by his descendants. One of them was Shah Rukh (808-851/1405-
1447), Timur’s favourite son, who had his capital at Herat, but whose kingdom included the whole of Persia. He was himself a scholar and a poet, and took special interest in keeping himself
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informed of the achievements of other countries. He sent wellequipped missions to China and to India, with instruction to the member that they should keep a journal in which everything not worthy seen by them should be recorded. He was the first Timurid prince to maintain painters at his court. He was succeeded by several princes of the house of Timur, who equalled, if not excelled, him as patrons of learning, and under them Astarabad, Bukhara, Samarqand and Merv become great centres of art and learning. All these princes employed a large number of Artists in copying or illustrating manuscripts. They included patrons of learning like Shah Rukh’s two sons, Ulugh Beg, ”the astronomer-king” (who ruled at Samarqand), and Baisanqar, ”one of the greatest bibliophilis of the world,” who was governor of Astarabad, but the prince who achieved greatest fame as patron of art and literature was Sultan Husain Mirza, who ruled Khurasan with his capital at Herat for thirtyeight years (873-912/1468-1506). He was the great-grandson of Timur’s son, Umar Shaikh, and at his court were gathered renowned poets such as Jami and Hatifi, and historians such as Mir Khwand and his grandson Khwandamir. His talented minister Mir ”Ali Shir Niwa’i was not only a great patron of learning, but was himself a writer of distinction. Towering above all this brilliant gathering was the famous painter Bihzad, usually called the ”Raphael of the East”. Not only was Bihzad a great artist himself, but he had a large number of pupils and followers who carried on his tradition. His great speciality was in portraiture, and ”it was in the subject of portraiture, one of the most striking developments of the Mughal era, that the Indian School shows its closest affinity with the production of Husain’s protege”. In 912/1506, Sultan Husain died and Bihzad entered the service of Shah Isma’il, the founder of the Safavid dynasty in Persia, and Timuri tradition merged into that of the Safavids.
This was the atmosphere in which Babur grew up. He was on friendly terms with Sultan Husain (who summoned him for help against the Uzbegs), and was acquainted with the cultural
activities carried on by other Timurid princes in Central Asia He held these traditions dear, and was disappointed when on arrival he found conditions completely different. His description of what he saw, although one-sided and based on incomplete information, is worth quoting as giving the reactions of one accustomed to the refinement and elegance of Herat and Samarqand He wrote:
”Hindustan is a country that has pleasures to recommend of friendly society, of trankly mixing together, or of familiar intercourse. They have no genius, no comprehension of mind, no politeness of manner, no kindness or fellow-feeling, no ingenuity or mechanical invention in planning or executing their handicraft works, no skill or knowledge in design or architecture; they have no horses, no good flesh, no grapes or musk-melons, no good fruits, no ice or ceid water, no good food or bread in their bazars, no baths or colleges, no candles, no torches, not a candlestick. Instead of a ca Je and torch, you have a gang of dirty fellows, whom the> called divatis, who hold in their left hand a kind of small tripod, to the side of one leg of which, it being wooden, they stick a piece of iron like the top of a candlestick; they fasten a pliant wick, of the size of the middle finger, by an iron pin, to another of the legs. In their right hand they hold a gourd, in which they have made a hole for the purpose of pouring out oil in a small stream, and whenever the wick requires oil, they supply it from this gourd. Their great men kept a hundred or two hundred of these divatis. This is the way in which they supply the want ot candles and candlesticks If their emperors or chief nobility, at any time, have occasion for a light by night, these filthy divatis bring in their lamp, which they carry, up to their master, and there stand holding it close by his side ”
Babur attempted to transplant into his new kingdom the amenities and the gracious life which he missed, but he did not live very long. His work was, however, continued by his descendants under whom Agra, Lahore and Delhi became worthy successors of Samarqand and Herat.
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His successor Humayun may not rank high as a general or as a ruler, but he played an important role in the cultural history of the subcontinent. Persian culture form his reign had a far greater influence in moulding Indian Muslim civilisation than at any previous period of Indian history. He spent almost fifteen years in wandering beyond the frontier, and was for a whole year at the court of Shah Tahmasp, under whose patronage the Safavid school of painting had come into existence at Tabrez and Shiraz. At Tabrez, Humayun met Mir Sayyid ’Ali, whose father was a pupil of Bihzad, and who himself followed the same tradition, and Khwajah ’Abd alSamad, another rising artist. To both these, young and promising artists Humayun seems to have held out prospects of employment, when he was in a position to maintain a court of his own, and in 854/1550 both of them joined him at Kabul, which he had occupied prior to his reconquest of India. Humayun entrusted the two artists with various commissions including the illustration of the famous Persian classic, Dastani Amir Hamzah, of which portions have luckily survived. Both of them accompanied Humayun to Agra, and were later retained by Akbar as his court painters. They formed the nucleus around which the Mughal School of Painting grew, and, by training local talent and attracting others from abroad, a school of painting was established, which was to shed lustre on Mughal rule.
It is interesting to recall that Nasta’liq script, in which Urdu and Persian are normally written in the Indian subcontinent, was developed about the same time. Its earliest master was Khwajah Mir ’Ali Tabrezi, who was a contemporary of Timur. There may have been same earlier writings in this script but it was he who laid down its principles and rules. Later, the script was improved by the calligraphists of Herat and Meshhed. All the four sons of Timur were excellent calligraphists, and Babur himself was specially interested in the art. With Babur and Humayun
The Early Mughals
[ Ch. 14
Nasta’liq gained popularity in the subcontinent and replaced Naskh, the earlier script.
This was the genesis of the Mughal culture, as introduced by Babur and Humayun. To this Perso-Turkish basis, Akbar added other elements like the Indo-Muslim music, Hindu philosophy and Hindu literature which had received very little official support during the heyday of the Sultanate, but which had flourished in the regional kingdoms. The intellectual and philosophical basis of the new cultural life was provided during Akbar’s reign by the immigrants who brought the fruits of contemporary intellectual activity in Iran and Central Asia. Muslim East was not to produce another Avicenna or al-Biruni, but after the effects of the Mongol holocaust had blown over, there was a revival of learning. On a smaller scale men like Dawwani, Hakim Sadrah and Mir Ghiyath-ud-din Mansur filled the gap, and the ninth/fifteenth century saw a new era of intellectual activity in Shiraz and other centres of Iran. Akbar reaped the fruits of this minor intellectual renaissance. He attracted to his court Mir Fathullah Shirazi and several other intellectuals of Iran, who transplanted the new traditions to the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Their efforts were augmented by logicians and intellectuals, whom ’Abdullah Khan Uzbeg had exiled from Transoxania, and who found a refuge in India.
With this broadened basis, the Mughal culture assumed a pattern which left a permanent mark, not only on the cultural life of the Indian Muslims but of the entire subcontinent.
Movements of Populations on the Frontier. When Babur was laying the foundation of the Mughal Empire, developments were taking place in the north-west which were later to alter the demography of the area and also to pose many a problem for Babur’s successors. The final picture of the history of the Pathans has not yet emerged. Presumably they have been in occupation of some of their present areas~e.g. Ghandharasince ancient times, but it is also certain that in the ninth/fifteenth century large scale immigration of Pathans, particularly Yusufza’is, took place in many other areas now
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occupied by them. According to the Yusufza’is, they were originally settled in the neighbourhood of Qandhar and slowly made their way to the Peshawar valley, by way of Kabul. Their rivals, the Khalils and the Mohmands are also said to have come from the same neighbourhood, north of Qandhar. Many other tribes moved about the same time and, after sanguinary conflicts and a process of gradual tribal displacement, occupied their present position on the frontier.
Babur, who had a Yusufza’i wife (Mubarakah), and spent much time in the area preparing a dependable base for his operations in Hindustan, refers to ”Bajaur, ”Swat,” ”Peshawar” and ”Hashtnagar” in his autobiography, and states that the area ”had now been entirely occupied by Afghan tribes and was no longer the seat of the government.”
The other important development in the area was the land settlement associated with the venerated Shaikh Malli. He was the Chief Mulla of the Mandaur tribe, and, after taking into account various factors and occupation of lands by various tribes,he made a settlement, which remains, up to the present day, the basis of tribal land tenure all over the country north of the Kabul River. There was much activity in the Afghan areas at this time. An Afghan dynasty-the Lodi-was on the throne of Delhi, and Bahlul, its founder, had taken special steps to attract Pathan immigrants from the land of Roh. This led to the migration of a large number of Pathan families to India. Other factors also helped this process. For example, Khweshgis have a tradition that they came from Peshawar with Babur’s army and were granted lands in the Central Punjab as a reward for co-operation with the Mughal Emperor.
The Baluchs also moved to the east about this time. When Sher Shah expelled Humayun and came to Khushab towards the end of 947/1540, he was met, not only by thousands of Pathan tribesmen of Roh, but he also received a visit from the Baluch chiefs, Isma’il Khan, Path Khan and Ghazi Khan, the three founders of Dera Ismail Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan, collectively known as the Derajat.