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



Download 2.11 Mb.
Page40/41
Date conversion04.02.2017
Size2.11 Mb.
1   ...   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 648
places on the Iranian plateau.”17 As a matter of fact, glazed tiles for buildings at Lahore seem to have been imported in bulk from Kashan, and in Lahore, as in Iran, the style is commonly known as Kashi. During Shah Jahan’s reign a large number of buildings in this style were erected at Lahore and its neighbourhood, but, owing to the impermanent nature of the brick construction, many of them are in ruins and some have entirely disappeared. The finest of this style is Wazir Khan’s Mosque, which was erected in 1044/1634 by the local governor. Other buildings constructed in this style at Lahore were Gulabi Bagh, Chauburji and Ali Mardan Khan’s tomb. Many of the constructions did not rise to the great architectural standards of Delhi and Agra, but tile decoration was of the highest order and ”the brilliantly designed arabesques in variegated hues lit by the eastern sun produce a vitality of effect disarming all criticism”.18 The glazed tile buildings of the Punjab and Sind incidentally reflect ”tile ardent desire for a display of exuberant colour innate in the East”.
Aurangzeb was not a great builder but amongst some buildings of merit erected in his reign is the great Badshahi Mosque of Lahore, completed in 1085/1674. Its construction was supervised by Fida’i Khan Koka, Master of Ordnance, whose engineering skill and experience enabled him to design and erect a building of great size on a sound basis. It is one of the biggest mosques in the subcontinent, if not in the world, and there is dignity in its broad quadrangle leading up to the facade of the sanctuary. Its ornamentation is boldly conceived, but perhaps representing Aurangzeb’s puritanical taste is sparingly introduced and therein the building suffers in comparison with the Great Mosque at Delhi. It is, however, a grand edifice. ”The three bulbous domes are wellproportioned, and rise into a grand mass of white marble above the western wall, which presents an almost unbroken surface masonry of imposing appearance.”
Lower Sind had an interesting architectural history, reflecting changes in the political power and artistic traditions.
64^ ”H
Art ana culture
[ Ch. 27
til di t
Sii - ~»d as well as south-western Punjab are alluvial plains, and bu - ”Sidings in bricks are, therefore, characteristic of the area. ”S - ranch a monochromatic prospect, which this vast plain pr»i ....... ,_sents, cries out for colour, so that it became the custom to
de- ««corate all buildings with brilliant scheme of glazed tiles. This of ornamentation was probably first introduced by the and was revived later by intercourse with Persia.” Sind «es are not, however, copies of the Persian model and are

- tfferent even from thoseof the Punjab. The normal Sind dition is for brick and glaze but, surprisingly enough, the known set of buildings in the area-i.e.those at the Makli Us, near Thatta-follow a different pattern. They are cc instructed entirely of stone and are carved in a style SL - aggesting the influence of Akbar’s buildings at Fathpur Sikri. S-«« ”ome of these buildings were erected when the country was fk - rst included within the Mughal Empire and some date from ae earlier reigns of Sammas, Arghuns and Tarkhans, who had ieir capital at Thatta. The similarity in the style of these Buildings and that of those at Fathpur Sikri may either be due t«: ..... - > the influences of Akbar’s largescale buildings in a distant


pa«”» art of the subcontinent, or the buildings at Thatta as well as OBhose at Sikri may both have owed something to common i r»fluences~e.g. masons and material from Rajputana. About t - Hie tomb of the Samma ruler Jam Nizam-ud-din (866>15/1461-1509), Brown says: ”It is possible that some of the stonework of this building is of Brahmanical origin, procured rom a neighbouring temple, as there are miniature shikaras and Hindu motifs among the carved details.”19 Thatta is also Famous for its Jami’ah Masjid, which was built under Shah

- Uahan’s orders in 1057/1647 and is one of the largest buildings in Sind. Although ”produced to the order of the Mughal ••emperor, it was executed according to the brick and tile tradition of the indigenous style”. It is decorated with finest type of coloured glaze and is remarkable for the prodigality of decoration. James, a former Commissioner of Sind, said about this building:

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 650
”The Emperor Shah Jahan’s mosque . . . possesses the most magnificent fictile adornment, I should say, of any buildtng in the world. Were it a cathedral in England, its history would be known to the minutest detail, and many monographs would be written about it.”20
Mughal architecture in Bengal has suffered because Raajmahal, which was the capital of Man Singh and Shah Shuja’, and which contained many beautiful palaces and other buildings, has been engulfed by the changes in the course of the adjacent river. In Bengal the main Mughal effect was concentrated on eastward expansion of dominion and its protection from the raids of the Portuguese and Arakanese pirates. For this purpose the Mughals moved the capital to Dacca, nearly 170 miles to the east of the old Muslim capital of Gaur. Lack of stone in the new area must have handicapped building activity, and Travernier, who visited Dacca in

1077/1666, says that the residences of the Mughals consisted entirely of wood and ”they usually sued to reside in tents pitched in a large court” Even before Travernier wrote, inside the old Dacca city, the Bara Katrah had been built by Mir ’Abd al-Qasim, Diwan of Shah Shuja1, who also built an ’Idgah outside the city. The more important Mughal buildings of Dacca were constructed under Sha’istah Khan, who was Viceroy of Bengal for nearly a quarter of a century. They consist of the Lalbagh Fort, the tomb of Sha’istah Khan’s daughter Pari Bibi, and a mosque near the tomb. Owing to the paucity of building material, they are of a smaller size than the normal Mughal buildings, but are solid and contain interesting architectural details.


After Shah Jahan Mughal architecture declined, even at the capital, but some interesting buildings were put up from time to time. The Tomb of Safdar Jang at Delhi, erected in

1197/1783, is indicative of the decline in the architectural standards, which was to become more manifest in the hybrid structures, exhibiting European and Mughal influences, at Lucknow.


651
An and Culture
Painting
[ Ch. 27
Bihzad of Herat, who was a great master of portraiture and has been styled the ”Raphael of the East,” is regarded as the ancestor of the Mughal school of painting. Babur, like his Timurid cousins, had some painters in his service but does not seem to have made any special efforts to foster the art in his newly-won empire. Humayun may be considered the original founder of the Mughal school. During his wanderings in Persia and what is now Afghanistan, he came across painters who had studied under Bihzad and persuaded Mir Sayyid ’Ali, the pupil of Bihzad. And Khwajah ’Abd al-Samad to join his court at Kabul in 957/1550. They accompanied Humayun to Delhi and formed the nucleus of the Mughal school, which was, however, properly developed only under Akbar. He took a personal interest in the art and organised the imperial school with his usual zeal for all creative activity. The school was under the Emperor’s direct control and supervision, and the more prominent of the painters, who, numbering more than a hundred, worked in a large State building at Fathpur Sikri, were granted imperial ranks as mansabdars or ahadis. Abu alFadl states that ”the works of all painters are weekly laid before His Majesty by the Daroghahs and the clerks; he then confers rewards according to the excellence of workmanship or increases the monthly salaries”. Akbar’s painting establishment which was headed by Khwajah ’Abd al-Samad, known by the title of Shirin Qalam (or sweet pen) with reference to his skill in calligraphy, and contained a small number of trained Persian artists, came in the course of time to have a preponderance of Hindu artists. They had previous training in wall-painting and joined with Persian painters in decorating the walls, of Akbar’s new capital, between 978/1570 and 993/1585. They were quick to learn the principles and techniques of the Persian art, and the joint efforts of Persian and Indian artists soon led to the rise of a distinct school of Mughal painting. Of the seventeen pre-eminent royal artists of Akbar’s days as many as thirteen were Hindus. The foreign artists included Khwajah ’Abd al-

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 652
Samad who became the Master of the Mint in 985/1577 and was subsequently appointed Diwan at Multan, Farrukh Beg, and Khusrau Quli. Amongst Hindus, Basawan Lai and Daswant were pre-eminent. Occasionally many artists collaborated in the painting of a single picture, the leading artists sketching the composition and other painters putting in the parts at which they were expert. Akbar’s artists specialised in portraiture and book illustration. The emperor’s album, containing likenesses, not only of Akbar and the royal family, but of ”all the grandees of the realm”, has been lost, but many examples of book illustrations of the period, e.g. Razm Namah at Jaipur, Babur Namah in the British Museum, and the Akbar Namah in the Victoria and Albert Museum, have survived.
Akbar’s traditions were maintained by Jahangir who rightly claimed to be a great connoisseur of the art. In his Memoirs, he asserts that he was very fond of pictures and had developed such a critical judgment that, by seeing a picture, he could tell the name of the painter, whether alive or dead. ”If there were similar portraits finished by several artists I can point out the painter of each. Even if one portrait is finished by several painters I can mention the names of those who had drawn different portions of the single picture. In fact, I can declare without fail by whom the brow and by whom the eyelashes were drawn and if anyone had touched upon the portrait after it had been drawn by the first painter.”21 The main remnants of Jahangir’s principal picture albums are in the State Library of Berlin, while another album, entitled Muraqqa’-i Gulshan, which was taken away by Nadir Shah during his sack of Delhi, is in the Imperial Library at Teheran.
Under Jahangir’s discriminating patronage, the art flourished and reached great heights. Indian painters became so skilful that they could faithfully copy any painting, local or foreign. The Emperor greatly appreciated gifts of paintings from foreign visitors and Sir Thomas Roe records that once when he presented a painting in the morning, by the evening several likenesses of the same had been prepared by native
653
Art and Culture
[ Ch. 27
artists. They were such faithful copies that for a short time Roe had some difficulty in spotting the original. The most famous painters of Jahangir were Agha Rida’ of Herat and his son Abu al-Hasan, the Kalmuck artist, Farrukh Beg (who succeeded ’Abd al-Samad as the leader of the school), Muhammad Nadir and Muhammad Murad, both of Samarqand, Ustad Mansur, the leading animal painter, Bishan Das, Manohar and Govardhan. These painters, with many others, were constantly in attendance at the Emperor’s establishment at the capital and during tours, and were commissioned to paint any incident or scene that struck the royal fancy. The artist’s brush made up for the absence of the camera and helped, not only to preserve likenesses for the future, but also brought distant faces nearer home. When a Mughal embassy visited Persia, it was accompanied by the painter Bishan Das who painted for Jahangir the likenesses of the Safavid king and his courtiers.
The debt of the historian to Mughal painters is however, greater. As Vincent Smith says:
”The works of the Indo-Persian draughtsmen and painters furnish a gallery of historical portraits, lifelike and perfectly authentic, which enable the historian to realise the personal appearance of all the Mughal emperors and practically of’ almost every public man of note in India for more than two centuries. It may be doubted if any other country in the world possesses a better series of portraits of the man who made history.”22
One can only regret that this invaluable source-material has not been adequately utilised by historians.
Shah Jahan was interested in architecture but painting, like all other arts, continued to flourish in his day. He reduced the number of court painters, keeping only the very best and forcing others to seek the patronage of princes and nobles, but the art did not suffer by this. Dara Shukoh was a patron of painting and nobles like Zafar Khan, the governor of Kashmir, who had a beautiful anthology of the works of the living poets

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan $54


prepared, illustrated with their paintings, employed many artists, while some set up studios in the bazars.
Smith considers Shah Jahan’s reign as the heyday of Mughal painting:
”All critics, presumably, would admit that Indo-Persian art attained its highest achievements during the reign of the magnificent Shah Jahan (1627-58) when the land enjoyed comparative peace, and a luxurious court offered liberal encouragement to all artists capable of ministering to its pleasure. The fierce scenes of bloodshed in which earlier artists delighted were replaced by pageants of peaceful splendour the old aggressive colouring was toned down, or dispensed with, and a general refinement of style and execution was cultivated.”23
An interesting feature of the period, typical of the general predominance of indigenous elements in various spheres-the secretariat, literature, music-was that only one Persian artist was employed by Shah Jahan. More prominent painters of the same person court painter to Prince Dara Shukoh, Manohar, Muhammad Nadir of Samarqand, Mir Hashim and Muhammad Faqir Allah Khan. The preponderance of Hindus amongst leading court painters, while indicative of the emancipation of the local school from dependence on Iran, also reflects the increased Hindu importance under Shah Jahan in all spheres of life.
Dara Shukoh’s album presented to his wife Nadirah Begum is now in the Commonwealth Library, London. Another splendid collection of Shah Jahans’ period, created as waqf by a Mughal nobleman in 1661-62, is in the British Museum and contains a gorgous picture of Shah Jahan’s court and the famous picture of Sher Muhammad qawwal by Muhammad Nadir.
Aurangzeb, the ultra-orthodox Muslim, could not be very fond of painting, but he did not forbid it, and the number of paintings produced during his reign does not seem to have been
An and Culture
[Ch. 27
sa.
su.
si
Di
Su
th
w
n dis
;n«BBBr-aa]ler than in the previous reign. There is no evidence of ibitious book illustrations like the Razm Namah, which is id to have cost the equivalent of 40,000, but portraiture was ^pular and many portraits of the Emperor himself have -ived. In one case, he used the artist’s skill for a purpose iLlar to the one for which Bishan Das was sent to Persia, jam ring the imprisonment of his rebellious son Muhammad Utan, his portrait was painted at regular intervals by order of ~ Emperor and submitted for royal inspection. Aurangzeb i thus able to keep himself informed of his son’s health, wi •• In ml visiting the fort prison of Gwalior.
Mughal paintings have been- praised by experts for their art=_ :aHstic excellence and are also valuable to the historians for the sidHt -Delight they throw on the dress, appearance, habits and nr - ttT” of courtiers, religious celebrities and others. The (i •• nl ii il of the art, however, depended not only on the taste of ””””” dividual ruler but on his prosperity, and with the Integration of the Empire, the artists migrated from the ital to other centres like Oudh and Hyderabad and their .dard of work greatly declined.
Efforts have been made by Havell and Anand •marswamy to link Rajput painting with Ajanta frescoes, but tz and Vincent Smith are of view that the bulk of Rajput ting was posterior to, rather than contemporary with, __j8ghal painting at the court of Akbar and Jahangir, and both
Ii mi ml have a common technique, seemingly derived from
” ’ i painting.24
Music
Mughals patronised music on a lavish scale, and in this ar led the way. Abu al-Fadl gives the names of nearly forty ninent musicians and instrument players who flourished at -ar’s court. The principal artists came from Gwalior, •wa, Tabriz (in Iran), and Kashmir. The most famous rJBcian of the period was Tan Sen. He is stated by some

• Jim chroniclers to have been brought up in the hospice of


Ak
pro
Aki
Mai
mus.
Mu;

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 656


Shaikh Muhammad Ghauth of Gwalior, while Hindu tradition describes him as a disciple of Swami Haridass. It is not certain whether he formally adopted Islam, but his son, Bilas Khan, was certainly a Muslim. ”A singer like him,” wrote Abu alFadl, ”has not been born in India for the last two thousand years.” Tan Sen composed and introduced a Malhar, a Todl, and a Sarang, which are known as Miyan ki Malhar, Miyan ki Todi, and Miyan ki Sarang, respectively, and retain their popularity. Tan Sen, though generally considered as one of the greatest musicians this subcontinent has produced, was not very popular with the ultra-conservative Hindu musicians. Hindus hold him principally responsible for the deterioration of the Hindu music. He is said to have ”falsified the rags, and two, Hindol and Megh, of the original six have disappeared since his time”.25
Although Tan Sen made some changes, the variety of music most extensively cultivated at Akbar’s court was the ancient Dhrupad. The same tradition was continued by Bilas Khan, the inventor of Bilas Todi but Jahangir’s main-interest was in painting, and music received greater encouragement under his successor Shah Jahan. He had nearly, s thirty prominent musicians and instrument players at his court, generously rewarded for good performance, and court chroniclers give a long notices of the leading musician on whom the title of Gun Raj Khan was conferred. At Shah Jahan’s court the stately Dhrupad continued its sway, though there was a marked tendency towards beautification and ornamentation. The Khiyal variety of music was also beginning to assert itself.
Aurangzeb had himself studied the art of music, but with his deepening puritanism he began to neglect it for religious reasons. In 1100/1688, he disbanded the large band of musicians attached to the royal court. A story is generally told of how the court musicians, desiring to draw the attention of the Emperor to their distressing conditions came past his balcony, carrying a gaily dressed corps upon a bier and
657
Art and Culture
[Ch. 27
chant ng mournful funeral songs. When the Emperor asked h ’ ” t0’d hlm ** mUSJC had died
wri b P n (”The Mirror of Music”),
governor of K^’H *? ^ ^ Wh° Was at tim governor of Kashm,r. It purports to be a translation of Man-
*ntl TcT ^ M e.C°Urt °f Raja Ma” ^ <* Gwalior, but sources ”’ information> Derived from other
his Trand’
Sh h withl

AuranSzeb’s Puritanism under ** hJS ^^andson, Popularity. In more Decorous and
«<>P». Probably the catering to the mundane interest of their
adapt the **££££
musida”s »« «*”«<>« of the
of

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 658
The most famous musician of the court of Muhammad Shah was Ni’mat Khan, who later appears to have taken the nom de plume of Sadarang. He composed many Khiyals in Muhammad Shah’s name. ”Nearly seventy per cent of the standard Khiyals sung today were either composed by Sadarang or Muhammad Shah Piya-Rangila, the names being put to the songs either at the beginning or at the end.”
With the weakening of he Mughal Empire and setting up of provincial governments, music was encouraged in provincial capitals, and just as Lucknow became the refuge of Urdu poets, musicians in Northern India flocked to the court of the Nawab Wazirs of Oudh. At Lucknow, music underwent some important changes. With the break-up of he Empire and the loss of the patronage of a formal and highbrow royal court, the musicians had to take account of the tastes of the middle classes, and even of the man-in-the-street. As a result, the quality and the variety of music which had been ignored by serious musicians in the past, but which had been gradually developing after the Muslim conquest, and had by now gained from the general cultural improvements of the Mughal period, began to secure recognition and some of its forms were adopted by better known musicians. .”Khival,” writes Dr. Halim:
”which required considerable exertion and exactitude made less appeal, not to speak of the acrobatic and mathematical music embodied in in Dhrupad. A music which made an appeal to sensual emotions suited people’s temperament better. In these conditions two different forms of light music took their originThumri and Tappa, both springing from the provincial court of Lucknow. Thumri may very conveniently be classified as love music because, apart from making an appeal to the sense, by harping on notes, or by the repetition of a word or syllable in scores of beautiful settings, its subject matter consists of the feeling between lover and the beloved. It differs from the Khiyal in the sense that, whereas in the Khiyal love is symbolic
659
Art and Culture
[ Ch. 27
and allegorical, in Thumri it is actual and real. Tappa was invented by Shori, a court musician of Lucknow. Its origin is traced to the song of the camel-drivers of the Punjab, its rhythm being determined by the pace of the camel. Some even trace its antiquity to the Tartar-Mongol cameleers. Shori’s contribution consisted in converting an old outlandish popular mode into a civilised form of music. But it must be remembered that Thumri and Tappa are regarded as Dhuns or tunes of music and do not conform to the actual rules of grammar as rigidly as Dhrupad and Khiyal do. Dhrupad and Khiyal singing did not go out of vogue. They existed side by side but suffered in competition with their more popular rivals, just enumerated.”27

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 660


NOTES & REFERENCES
1. Bernier, Travels, pp. 155-57.
2. This had been noticed as early as the days of Jahangir. Sir Thomas Roe wrote in a letter addressed to Archbishop of Canterbury on 30 October 1616: ”The Mahometan Mulhaes know somewhat in philosophy and the Mathematics, are great astrologers, and can talk of Aristotle, Euclid Averrocs, and others authors.”
3. Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections, pp. 523-24.
4. Ibid., p. 339.
5. Rawlinson, India-A Short Cultural History, p. 373.
6. Sarkar, India - Through the Ages, p. 64.
7. Gibb, History of Ottoman Poetry, I, 39.
8. The first cause of philosophy is God in the language of religion.
9. Literally, ”Disciplinary Science”. The Muslim intellectuals used to teach this subject to their disciples to discipline their minds before starting on the more conjectural subjects of metaphysics and Physics.
10. Logic (’Ilm-i Mantiq) is not included in this scheme. It was not regarded as in itself a science, but as the instrument by which the sciences were investigated.
11. This section follows the analysis contained in Gibb, op. cit , I, 39-40.
12. Extract of a letter from Mon Dr. Monceaux, published as Preface to Bcrnier’s Travels.
13. Bernier, op. cit., pp. 352-53.
14. Rieu, Supplement to the Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, p. 113.
15. A. Yusuf Ali, A Cultural History of India During the British Period, p, 71.
16. Article by Mahamohopadhya Dr. Lachhmi Dhar, in The Muslim Year Book,

1948-49, p. 82.


17. Percy Brown, The Cambridge Histoiy of India, IV, 559.
18. Ibid., IV, 560.
19. Percy Brown, Indian Architecture (Islamic Period), p. 125.
20. H.E. James, Sind~As A Field for the Naturalist and the Antiquarian, p. 11. K
21. Quoted in Percy Brown, Indian Painting Under the Mughals, p. 27.
22. V.A. Smith, Fine Arts in India and Ceylon, p. 221.
23. Ibid., pp. 221-22.
24. Ibid., p. 203.
25. A. Strangway, The Music of Hindustan, p. 84.
26. Popley, The Music of India, p. 20.
27. Dr. S.A. Halim, Muslim Year Book of India, 1948-.49 p. 118.
Chapter 28
1   ...   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41


The database is protected by copyright ©dentisty.org 2016
send message

    Main page