LESSON 21 : INDIA UNDER THE MUGHALS
(Revision or Short Notes)
- The nobles of the Mughal period formed a privileged class. Most of them were foreigners such as Turks and Afghan many of them settled down in India and made it their permanent home.
- While the wealthy people wore silk and cotton clothes, the poor people wore the minimum cloths
- Nikitin observed that the people of Deccan were bare-footed. It might be due to high cost of leather
- An estimate claims that the population of India at the beginning of the seventeenth century was about 125 million
- During the seventeenth century two new crops, namely, tobacco and maize were added. Potato and red chillies came later in the eighteenth century. But, no new agricultural technique was introduced during this period.
- However,India was able to export food items like rice and sugar to the neighbouring countries
Growth of Trade
- The Indian trading classes were large in numbers and spread throughout the country. They were well organized and highly professional. Seth, bohra traders specialized in long distance trade while local traders were called banik.
- Another class of traders was known as banjaras, who specialized in carrying bulk goods. The banjaras used to move to long distances with their goods on the back of oxen.
- Bulk goods were also taken through rivers on boats. The trading community did not belong to one caste or religion. The Gujarathi merchants included the Hindus, Jains and Muslims.
- In Rajasthan, Oswals, Maheshwaris and Agarwals came to be called the Marwaris. Multanis, Khatris and Afghanis conducted trade with central Asia.
- In south India, the Chettis on the Coramandal coast and the Muslim merchants of Malabar were the most important trading communities.
- Indigo and food grains were exported from north India through Gujarat
Art and Architecture
- Some of the Mughal gardens such as the Nishat Bagh in Kashmir, the Shalimar Bagh at Lahore and the Pinjore garden in the Punjab have survived even today.
- During the reign of Sher Shah, the mausoleum at Sasaram in Bihar and the Purana Qila near Delhi were built
- Large scale construction of buildings started with the advent of Akbar. He built many forts and the
- most famous one was the Agra Fort. It was built in red sandstone. His other forts are at Lahore and Allahabad.
- The climax of fort-building reached its climax during the reign of Shah Jahan. The famous Red Fort at Delhi with its Rang Mahal, Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas was his creation
- Akbar also built a palace cum- fort complex at Fatepur Sikri (City of Victory), 36 kilometres from Agra. Many buildings in Gujarathi and Bengali styles are found in this complex. Gujarathi style buildings
- The most magnificent building in it is the Jama Masjid and the gateway to it called Buland Darwaza or the Lofty Gate. The height of the gateway is 176 feet .It was built to commemorate Akbar’s victory over Gujarat.
- Other important buildings at Fatepur Sikri are Jodh Bai’s palace and Panch Mahal with five storeys.
- During Akbar’s reign, the Humayun’s tomb was built at Delhi and it had a massive dome of marble. It may be considered the precursor of the Taj Mahal. Akbar’s tomb at Sikandara near Agra was completed by Jahangir.
- Nur Jahan built the tomb of Itimaddaulah at Agra. It was constructed wholly of white marble with floral designs made of semi-precious stones on the walls. This type of decoration was called pietra dura.
- This method became more popular during the reign of Shah Jahan. The pietra dura method was used on a large scale in the Taj Mahal by Shah Jahan
- The Moti Masjid at Agra was built entirely in white marble. The Jama Masjid at Delhi was built in red stone
- features of Mughal tradition can be seen in the Golden Temple at Amritsar
Paintings and Music
- The foundation for the Mughal painting was laid by Humayun when he was staying in Persia. He brought with him two painters – Mir Sayyid Ali and Abdal Samad to India.
- Baswan, Miskina and Daswant attained great positions as Akabar’s court artists
- Historical works such as Akbar Nama also remained the main themes of Mughal paintings. The most important work is Hamznama, which consisted 1200 paintings. Indian colours such as peacock blue,Indian red began to be used
- Mughal paintings reached its climax during the reign of Jahangir. He employed a number of painters like Abul Hasan, Bishan Das, Madhu, Anant, Manohar, Govardhan and Ustad Mansur
- Akbar patronized Tansen of Gwalior. Tansen composed many ragas. Jahangir and Shah Jahan were also fond of music.
Language and Literature
- Persian language became widespread in the Mughal Empire by the time of Akbar’s reign. Abul Fazl was a great scholar and historian of his period.
- Many historical works were written during this period. They include Ain-i-Akbari and Akabar Nama authored by Abul Fazl.
- The leading poet of that period was his brother Abul Faizi. The translation of Mahabharata into the Persian language was done under his supervision.
- Utbi and Naziri were the two other leading Persian poets.
- Jahangir’s autobiography, Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri was famous for its style. He also patronized many scholars like Ghiyas Beg, Naqib Khan and Niamatullah.
- Shah Jahan also patronized many writers and historians like Abdul Hamid Lahori, author of Padshah Nama and Inayat Khan who wrote Shah Jahan Nama.
- His son Dara Shikoh translated the Bhagavat Gita and Upanishads into the Persian language.
- The most influential Hindi poet was Tulsidas, who wrote the Hindi version of the Ramayana, the Ramcharitmanas.