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



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[Ch. 27
general pujblic. He lies buried, according to his will, in the precincts of the tomb of Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya1.
Yunani Tibb, as compared to modern allopathic medicine,
was of a rudimentary nature. The supply of physicians was not
plentiful and, judged by the demand for European doctors-
particularly surgeons~and the extent to which their services
proved valuable to the members of royal family, e.g. to
Princess Jahan Ara and Emperor Farrukh Siyar, the local talent
was apparently unequal to all demands. The general health and
longevity of inhabitants, however, suggests that the medical
services were not so inadequate and the local physicians were
able to deal with normal problems. As early as 1025/1616,
they were able to observe the important characteristics of the
bubonic plague and suggest suitable preventive measures.
According to a contemporary account in Iqbal Namah, written
in Jahangir’s reign, ”when the disease was about to break up a
mouse would rush out of its hole, as if mad, and striking itself
against the door and the walls of the house, would expire. If
immediately after this signal the occupants left the house and
went away to the jungle, their lives were safe. If otherwise, the
inhabitants of the village would be spirited away by the hands
of death”. As pointed out by Edwardes and Garrett, the writer
may claim the credit of having established three hundred years
ago two facts about plague which are now widely accepted by
modern medical science, viz. the association of the rat (or
mouse) with the spread of the disease, and the need of
evacuating infected areas without delay.
A crude form of the vaccination against smallpox seems to have been employed by Eastern doctors and it was vaguely realised that the introduction of a mild form of cowpox prevented the virulent form of smallpox. ”Inoculation against smallpox, that is, the introduction of a mild form of cowpox to prevent virulent form of smallpox was introduced from Turkey in England in 1771, by Lady Mary W. Montagu, whose husband had been British Ambassador at Constantinople”.15 An article in the Asiatic Register (London) for 1804 contained the

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translation of a memorandum by Nawab Mirza Mahdi Ali Khan who described from personal observations the method adopted by a Hindu chaube of Benares to keep a thread drenched in ”the matter of postule on the cow” to cause an easy irruption on the two arms of a child to avoid a virulent attack of smallpox.
Vedic medicine was well developed among the Hindus, but, as stated by Dr. Chopra, /’education in surgery was abhorred by the Hindus as the dissecting of limbs was considered to be inhuman. But the Muslims had no such aversion, and they practised inocculation and performed operations”. He quotes Elphinstone’s remarks about Muslims: ”Their surgery is as remarkable as their medicine especially when we recollect their ignorance of anatomy. They cut for the stone, couched for the cataract, and extracted the foetus from the womb and in their early works enunciate no less than one hundred and twenty-seven surgical works.” According to Munucci, Jarrahs performed some remarkable operations and could provide artificial limbs. Muslims’ neglect of anatomy, however, militated against any great progress in surgery and, when the West discovered the use of chloroform, the Muslim East was left far behind.
Literature During the Mughal Period
Persian Literature. Since the Ghaznavid occupation of Lahore in the beginning of the eleventh century, Persian had been the official language of the Muslim government and the literary language of the higher classes, but with the advent of the Mughals it entered a new era. Hitherto Persian had reached this subcontinent mainly from Afghanistan, Turkistar and Khurasan, and had many common features with Tajik, but with the establishment of closer relations between India and Iran after Humayun’s visit to that country and arrival of a large number of distinguished Iranis in the reign of Jahangir and later Mughal rulers, the linguistic and literary currents began to flow from Iran itself. Shiraz and Isfahan now replaced Ghazni and Bukhara in literary inspiration, and there was considerable polishing and refining of the language.
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A very large number of prominent Irani poets, like ’Urfi Naz.n, Tahb and Kalim permanently migrated to theIndo-Palc subcontinent, and at times level of Persian literature was higher m Mughal India than in contemporary Safavid Iran Unluckily the type of poetry, which was popular in both countries at this time was the subtle and involved style, made popular bv Fugham of Shiraz. It lacked the simplicity and spontaneity Of early poets like Hafiz, Khayyam and Amir Khusrau, and the poets wrote more from the head than from the heart. Thil school of poetry culminated in Bedil, the best known poet of Aurangzeb’s reign. He is so subtle in his ideas and far-fetch^ m his similes and metaphors as to be often obscure, but his poetry ,s marked by a great originality and profundity Of thought. From love, the traditional preoccuption of Persian poets, he turned to the problems of life and human behaviour and in certain circles (particularly in Afghanistan and lajikistan) he ranks high as a philosophical poet Two poets who outshine others in a distinguished crowd, were Faidi and Uhahb. Faidi, whose genius matured before the largescale immigration of poets from Iran and the introduction of the new school of poetry, was Akbar’s poet laureate, and his poetry mirrors a great and triumphant age. Ghalib (1796/1869) who was attached to the court of the last Mughal king, Bahadi,; Miah, began in the style of Bedil, but soon outgrew it and came under the spell of the immigrant Irani poets-’Urfi, Naziri Zanun and Hazin. His maturer work epitomises all that is besi m different schools of Mughal poetry-profundity and originality of Bedil’s thought combined with the polished diction of ’Urfi and Naziri. He wrote largely of love and life, but the deep, melancholy note in his poetry reflects the sad end to which the Mughal Empire was drawing in his day.
Next to poetry, history and biography were most extensively cultivated. Historians of the Mughal period include Abu al-Fadl, whose comprehensive Akbar Namah has been called by Rawlinson ”the most important historical work which India has produced”. Bada’uni, who had his bias and even

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 640 venom, but was a consummate artist, a master of the telling phrase and capable of evoking a living picture, with a few deft strokes, the intelligent and orderly Firishtah and Khafi Khan, and last but not the least the author of Siyar al-Muta’akhirin, recognised by foreign students not inferior to ”the historical memoirs of Europe” and a compilation of which ”Lord Clarendon or Bishop Burnett need not have been ashamed to be the author”. In biographies the palm is borne by Babur’s autobiography, originally written in Turkish, but soon translated into elegant Persian by ’Abd al-Rahim Khan-i Khanan. There were several other • biographical works, including the comprehensive Ma’athir al-Umara’ dealing with Mughal nobility, and numerous other biographies of saints, poets and statesmen. A very interesting historical work written during the early years of Aurangzeb’s reign is Dabistan-i Madhahib, which had been translated into English under the misleading title, ”School of Manners” but which is really a ”History of Religions” written by a liberal, objective seeker after truth. The author belonged to the band of writers and thinkers who had gathered around Dara Shukoh, and contains considerable firsthand information about the non-Muslim sects like Sikhs and Yogis.


European writers (like Professor E.G. Browne, who was writing ”A Literary History of Persia” and not ”A History of Persian Literature” ), do not rate the Persian literature produced in the Indo-Pak subcontinent very high, but the Persian stholais like Dr. Rida Zadah Shafaq are more appreciative and have given it a prominent place in their histories of Persian literature. Persian literature produced in this subcontinent is important, not only for its intrinsic worth, but also on account of the influence it has exercised on the formation and shaping of regional literatures, especially those cultivated by Muslims. Apart from the influence on vocabulary and deep invisible influence on thought, Persian contributed a number of literary genres to Urdu and regional languages, provided models for writers and supplied themes for manj
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major literary works. Next to Islam, the Persian literary heritage is the most important basis of the cultural unity of Muslim India.
Hindi. It is characteristic of the policy and outlook of the Mughal government, that, next to Persian, the language which received great patronage at the Mughal court, was Hindi. From Akbar’s days the practice started of having a Hindi Kavi Rai (poet laureate) along with the Persian Malik al-Shu’ara’. Already Muslim poets like Ja’isi and Kabir had enriched the Hindi language. Indeed, a Hindu writer says: ”It must not be forgotten that Muslims were the first to employ the regional language of Hindi for a literary purpose which as we know was totally neglected by the Brahmans as a vulgarized speech unworthy of attention.”16 The greatest Hindi poet of Akbar’s days was the famous Tulsi Das who wrote away from the worldly courts, but there were well known poets amongst Akbar’s courtiers. Raja Birbal (1528-1583) was the Kavi Rai, but the Hindi works of Akbar’s famous general, ’Abd al-Rahim Khan-i Khanan, have been better preserved. ’Abd al-Rahim was not only a skilful Hindi poet himself but patronised a number of other Hindi poets. Even in the time of Aurangzeb, ”The title of Kabirai continued to be given to deserving poets.” Aurangzeb’s sons, including Mu’azzam, who ascended the throne as Bahadur Shah, and Prince A’zam, were known as patrons of Hindi literature. It is interesting to observe that during the later Mughal period Hindi poets like Bihari followed the same ornate style which was popular with contemporary Persian poets.
Rise of Urdu. Until the decline of the Empire, Urdu literature scarcely received any encouragement at the Mughal court, but it was being systematically nourished in the south by sufi saints and the Deccani kings. Nusrati, the first prominent Urdu poet, was attached to the court of Bijapur. He mainly wrote mathnavis. His language is archaic and far remote from modern Urdu. The first diwan of Urdu ghazals was comP”~ by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (989-1020/1581-1611), ruler of Golkonda and founder of the city of Hyderabad,

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Deccan. There were many other poets at the courts of Bijapur and Golkonda. But modern Urdu poetry really began with Wali (d. 1119/1707) who came in contact with the standard spoken Urdu of the Mughal camp during the long campaigns of Aurangzeb in the Deccan. He was a great artist and a poet of true feeling. Originally from Ahmadabad (Gujarat), he spent a number of years in the Deccan and also visited Delhi. He blended the Deccani and Gujarati idioms with the polite and more sophisticated language of the north, and, following the traditions of standard Persian literature, produced poetry which took Delhi by storm. In the language which had been neglected at the Mughal court, he had produced poetry which could not but win respect and attention. This stirred the poets of the capital and the tradition started of writing poetry in Urdu, instead of or in addition to Persian poetry.
Development of Urdu Poetry and Beginning of Urdu Prose. Once Urdu was adopted as the medium of literary expression by the writers of the metropolis, its development was rapid, and it soon replaced Persian as the court language and principal literary language of Muslim India. To some extent Wali had paved the way for this. He was advised by his teacher, Gulshan, to draw upon the vast storehouse of themes and metaphors in Persian poetry. He followed this adviced, and transferred to Urdu poetry ideas and images with which readers of Persian poetry were familiar. Thus enriched, Urdu could replace Persian poetry, and, although a portion of Wall’s verse is in Deccani idiom, a good portion is in polished, standard Urdu, which became the literary language of Muslim India and Pakistan. The process of change-over to the new literary language was facilitated by certain other factors. The invasion of Delhi by the Persian monarch Nadir Shah and the massacres perpetrated by his army must have led to a revulsion of feeling against everything Persian-including the language. An acute literary controversy of the period further hastened the process. Hazin, a major Persian poet who came to India to escape Nadir Shah, was subjected to great hardship in the unsettled
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conditions prevailing at that time, and in a controversy with Arzu, the foremost local writer of Persian verses, expresses his contempt, not only for the Persian poetry written in the IndoPakistan subcontinent, but everything pertaining to the area. Some local writers sided with him, but the general effect of the controversy must have been to set people thinking about the advisability of writing in Persian, and it is not without significance that Arzu trained two rising poets Mir and Sauda) to write in Urdu rather than in Persian.
Thus the ground was prepared for the literary changeover. What was needed was the appearance of talented writers in the new language to give it a literary status. This was provided by Mazhar (1111-1196/1699-1781), Sauda (1130-

1194/1717-1780), the sufi poet Dard (1131-1200/1719-1785) and above all Mir (1136-1223/1724-1808)-popUlarly known as the ”four pillars of classical Urdu poetry”.


Flowering of Regional Literature. The encouragement, which the growth of regional languages and literatures received with the advent of Muslim rule, has been mentioned earlier. Muslim rulers, who were not hampered by any religious devotion to Sanskrit, freely patronised Bengali, Kashmiri, Hindi, Deccani and other languages of the people. This trend was most powerful in the regional kingdoms which grew up after the weakening of the Delhi Sultanate. Persian continued as the court language in these kingdoms but local languages were freely patronised and became respectable vehicles of literary expression.
The literary trend under Mughal rule was not exactly in the same direction. The establishment of a well-organised central government at Delhi, with cohesive control over the outlying regions, resulted in greater linguistic unification, and the influence of Persian became far more dominant. Mughal rule, however, indirectly assisted the regional literatures. Apart from the direct patronage of Hindi at the Delhi court, the conditions in the country helped regional literatures. The general peace and tranquillity, greater prosperity, particularly

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 644
in urban areas, the more general diffusion of education and the extensive patronage of literature by the Mughal Emperors and nobility, led to extensive literary activity, from which the regional literatures benefited. By now they had developed so much that they could not wither away by want of direct court patronage, and the general prosperity in the country was enough to sustain them on the basis of public support. The result was that a marked literary activity in the regional languages continued along with the cultivation of Persian, and particularly in the later part of Mughal rule there was a great outburst of literary activity in Bengali, Deccani, Hindi, Sindhi, Pushto, Kashmiri and other regional languages.
Architecture
Architecture, which had already achieved a high level of development under the Sultanate, was to reach a pinnacle of glory under the Mughals. Although Babur’s stay in India was brief, and he was preoccupied with the conquest of the country, he found time to summon from Constantinople pupils of the great Ottoman architect Sinan, and entrust to them construction of mosques and other buildings. He states in Babur Namah that every day 680 Indian stone masons worked on his buildings at Agra and another 1500 were employed at Gwalior, Sikri, Bian’ and other places. Time has dealt harshly with the buildings constructed in the reigns of Babur and Humayun, and only four of the minor ones have survived. It is, however, interesting 10 observe that these buildings exhibit no trace of local influence and are distinctly foreign. The most important building belonging to this period--but owing nothing to the Mugha tradition-is the mausoleum of Humayun’s successful rival Sher Shah, built on an elevated plinth in the midst of a lake a Sahsaram (Bihar). It is a magnificent structure, and has beer described as an intermediate link between the ”austerity of th< Tughluq buildings and the feminine grace of Shah Jahan’i masterpiece”.
Akbar evinced great interest in architecture. His most ambitious project was his new capital and the numerous
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[Ch. 2.1
buildings at Sikri, which was the seat of the imperial court from 977/1569 to 992/1584. Some of the buildings at Sikri are Dominated by Hindu style of architecture and reflect the Emperor’s regard for Hindu tradition. Persian influences were equally strong in his day and are reflected in the magnificent tomb ot Humayun, built early in 1569 at Delhi. Akbar’s efforts were not confined to tombs, mosques and palaces but covered a wide field. He built fortresses, villas, towers, serais, schools and tanks. The Buland Darwazah-\hQ magnificent southern gate of the’mosque at Sikri--is for all practical purposes a separate structure, and has been described as ”one of the most perfect architectural achievements in the whole of India”. Akbar built two major fortresses at Agra and Lahore. The fort which was built on the banks of the Ravi, at about the same time as than at Agra, was planned and constructed on practically the same grand scale. As a matter of fact, ”its layout generally indicates an advance on that of the more southernly capital as it is rectangular in plan and the interior arrangements are more regularly aligned”. The buildings within the Lahore Fort were greatly altered by Shah Jahan and, later, suffered at the hands of the Sikhs. The material and the style of the structure at Lahore are different from those of the buildings at Fathpur Sikri. At Lahore there is plenty of carved decoration, representing living things. ”Elephants and lions figure in the brackets and peacocks on the friezes, from which it may be inferred that Hindu craftsmen predominated, and that the supervision of the Mughal overseers was of a very tolerant order.” Perhaps, these features may be more correctly ascribed to Akbar’s own taste and predilections.
Akbar’s death in 1014/1605 was followed by a pause in building activities of the Mughals. His successor Jahangir was less interested in architecture than in painting and gardens. Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra and some other buildings were constructed during his reign, but, perhaps, in this field Jahangir’s greatest contribution was in laying out of a number of large formal gardens which adorn many cities of Kashmir

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & faKisian 646 and the Punjab. The Mughal garden is a regular and formal arrangement of squares, usually in the form of terraces places on a slope (for easy distribution of water), with pavilions at the centre. Artificial pools with numerous fountains form an important part of the plan and the flagged eausways are shadowed by avenues of trees. Babur and Akbar had made a beginning in this direction, but during Jahangir’s reign a number of lovely gardens came into existence, like the Shalamar Bagh and the Nishat, laid out in Kashmir by Jahangir and his Wazir Asaf Khan, respectively. Later Shah Jahan had a larger garden (Shalamar) constructed near Lahore, but his interest was primarily in grand edifices. Jahangir’s beautiful mausoleum at Shahdara near Lahore was probably planned by the Emperor himself, but it was completed in the next reign by his widow Nur Jahan. It suffered serious damage in the reign of Ranjit Singh, when, amongst other things, the marble pavilion in front of the building, which offered a central point of interest, was removed. Jahangir’s tomb has been overshadowed by the great Taj Mahal. It cannot be fairly judged after the spoliation by the Sikhs and in any event it lacks many noble features of the later construction, but even now it is a beautiful building, decorated by ”lavish application o£ inlaid marbles, glazed tiles and painted patterns, some of which are remarkably good examples of mural decoration”. Not far from Jahangir’s resting place Nur Jahan lies buried in an unpretentious tomb.


Shah Jahan was the greatest builder amongst the Mughals. One secret of his success was the liberal use of the marble. ”Like the Roman emperor who boasted that he found Rome of brick and left it of marble, he could fairly claim that he found Mughal cities of sandstone, and left them of marble.” He replaced many sandstone structures of his predecessors in the forts of Agra and Lahore and other places with marble palaces, but the change of the material was not the only new feature. This change itself called for and facilitated a corresponding change in architectural treatment. ”The building acquired a new
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sensibility. Instead of the rectangular character of the previous period there arose the curved line and flowing rhythm of the style of Shah Jahan while the chisel of the stone carver was replaced by the finer instruments of the marble cutter and the polisher.” Even more important than the change of the material and treatment was the grand conception, the bold and elaborate vision of the great artist, the Emperor himself.
The style of Shah Jahan’s principal edifices is basically Persian, but it is clearly distinguished from the Irani style by the lavish use of white marble, minute and tasteful decoration, particularly the open-work tracery which ornaments the finest buildings and provides ”the apt combination of spacious design with an almost feminine elegance”. Amongst the more famous of Shah Jahan’s buildings are the Pearl Mosque and the Taj Mahal at Agra, the Red Fort and Jami’ah Masjid at Delhi, palaces and gardens at lahore, a beautiful mosque at Thatta in Sind, a fort, a palace and a mosque at Kabul, royal buildings in Kashmir and many edifices at Ajmer and Ahmadabad.
At Agra and Delhi the white marble style was in vogue, but a different style was current in the Punjab. It consisted of brick construction, with occasional sandstone additions and its distinctive character lay in the glazed tile decoration which often covered the entire surface. Brick and tile style of Lahore was away from the sources of the stone material, hut artistic traditions also played their part. ”Since the days of the Ghaznavid occupation, the Punjab capital has been inclined to cultivate an independent architectural tradition, and instinctively to took to the north-west and beyond for its aesthetic inspiration. In the first half of the seventeenth century the Safavid art of Persia had attained its zenith, and for a time Lahore appears to have come under its powerful spell. It was not that the buildings of the Punjab were exact reproduction of those of Shah Abbas the Great; they displayed a certain individuality, but the brick construction was based on that prevailing in Persia, and the glazed tiles were of the same style as those produced in the famous kilns of Kashan and other
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