THE INDO-ISLAMIC CULTURE


There are two distinct phases of the growth of this culture.

The first was the early medieval and sultanate phase, the other was the mughal phase when, under the akbar, aided by his liberalism, it bloomed as a common cultural heritage of Hindustan.

While the Muslim scholars studied hindu philosophy and sciences, such as the systems of yoga and vedanata, medicine and astrology, the hindus learnt from the muslims subjects like geography, arthematic and chemistry, in which the arabs had made striking progress.

Caliph harun-ul-rashid invited the Indian vaida manikya to Arabia.

Caliph mansur invited astrologers.

Md of Ghazini may be regarded as a foregn invader but not shihabuddin ghori and his successors. Infact no turk who had entered India ever looked back on iraq or Turkistan at his homeland. The turks loved India, and loved it ardently. Amir khusrau hailed delhi as hazarat-i-delli (or the holy delhi), and as “the second heaven and a great culture of justice”.

Factors which have contributed to the growth of the indo-islamic cultures, the most important was
1. the system of common administration
2. the rise of a common language
3. the sufi and bhakti moments and
4. the development of indo-persian literature.

A common central administrative arrangement, extending over a lengthy period and over the greater part of India, was bound to influence the minds of everyone on certain specific common lines.

A common religious or spiritual ideology for the whole country viz., Abkhar’s Deen Ilahi.

Sultan md tughlaq appointed a hindu named sri raja as his wazir.

The hindu superstitions of the ‘evil eye’ (nazar), the utara and the ceremony of arti, which was termed by the muslims as nisar, took deep roots in the muslim societies.

The puarda system and seclution of women, unknown till early medieval India, was introduced elaborately into the hindu society.

Women of the aristrocracy were confined in the walled areas called antahpura (inner sanctum) or harem.

The poor muslim women were normally covered by burqa. Malik Md Jaisi refers to purdah.

Even the custom of Jauhar, prevalent among the rajputs, influenced the muslims.

Kamaluddin, the governor of bhatnair, and his followers had gone to fight timur after burning their women folk.

Dr. K.S. Lal says that the muslim women of bhatnair did jauhar at his time.

Ibn batuta mentions sati in his account.
Death ceremony was performed by both the communities – hindus performed sraddha and muslims siyum (the ceremony of the third day).

It is clear from the accounts of foreign travelers that during the mughal period the hindus and muslims generally put on virtually the same dress, and the only marked difference was what whereas the muslims tied the strings of their coats on the right side, the hindus did it on the left.

Primary education to both hindu and muslim children was imparted at home.

Among hindus upanayana samskara marked the beginning of education.

The muslims on the other hand performed bismillah khani or sending the child to makhtab.

Madrasas were the centres of higher education.

Iltutmish established the nasiriyya college (after his son nasiruddin Muhammad).

The contemporary history minhaj-us-siraj was appointed the principal of the college.

Hindu shastras discusses four types of slaves – born in household, purchased, acquired and inherited.

The khwaja sara (eunuchs) were a separate category of slaves who guarded the harem.

Eunuchs were brought and sold in Bengal.

FST was known for retinue of 180,000 slaves, who were trained in various crafts and thus formed the backbone of the royal kharkhanas.

Language and literature:

The language which the muslim invaders spoke or employed in the administration was arabicised Persian mixed with Turkish.

Punjabi, western hindi, eastern hindi, Bengali, gujarati, sindi and marathi were popular.

Some of the literary works written in marathi during the 18th century, A2 tarachand, nearly 30% of the words used were of Persian origin.

The number of Persian words in Punjabi and sindi are also quite high.

Nusrat shah of Bengal got both the Ramayana and mahabarata translated into Bengal.

The mahabarata were translated by kavindra and srikarandi and the Ramayana was translated by kritivasa ojha.

Under his patronage the bhagavata was also translated into Bengali by maladhar basu.

This period also saw the emergence of mangal kavya in begali.

Vidyapati wrote devotional songs in maithili, kumar vyasa under the patronage of the VN kings, translated the mahabharate into kannada in the mid-15th cen.

This period also saw the flowering of Sanskrit literature under the patronage of rajput rulers.

Kalhana’s rajatharangini, the history of kashmiri rulers, was produced in the 12th century.

Jona raja wrote a second rajatharangini and the third was written by srivara.

Prabandhas or semi-historical texts were also written.

Among them, rajashekara’s prabandhakosa is a prime significance.

A few Persian writings were also translated into Sanskrit – the love story of yusuf and zulaikha by Persian poet jami was one such next.

Zia nakshabi was the first scholar who translated Sanskrit stories in Persian, which came to be known as tutinama (book of parrot) during MBT’s reign.

He also translated the old treatise on sexology, the koka shastra, into Persian.

Zain-ul-abedin, the kashmiri ruler, got the Mahabharata and kalhana’s rajatharangini translated into Persian.
Urdu originally known as deccani.

Famous poets like mulla nusrati, wajhi and khawasi, and kings ibrahim adil shah, md quli shah made immense contribution to the thought and literature of deccan in this language.

The unani or the greek system of the medicine perfected in the days of the mughals.
Muslim scholars, like amir khusrau, malik md jayasi, qutuban etc, wrote on hindu life, culture and religion in hindi.

Amir khusrau real name was abul hasan. He lived through the reign of six delhi sultans, right from balban’s time. He was the disciple of the famous chisti saint nizamuddin auliya.

He created a new style of Persian called sabaq-i-hindi or the Indian style.

His important literary writings are mutla-ul-anwar, shirin khusrau, laila majnun, ayina-i-sikandari and hasht-bihisht.

He wrotes diwans (ghazals) and masnavis.

His other writings include the stories of the sultan; in khazain-ul-futuh he talks of alauddin khalji’s southern expeditions, nuh siphr (the nine skies) is a description of mubarak khalji, ashiqa is the romantic interlude of khizr khan (alauddin khalji’s eldest son) with dewal devi, daughter of raja karna of Gujarat; miftah-ul-futuh deals with the military exploits of jalaluddin khlalji and tuglaqnama talks of jalaludding khalji’s rise to power.

He composed the verses in hindavi.

Amir khusrau added a new dimention to urdu language through his writings.

The sufi literature was mainly produced in Persian in the form of malfuzat i.e., the conversation and discourses of the leading sufi saints of the period.

Fuwaid-ul-fuwad was a malfuzat of nizamuddin auliaya authored by amir hasan sijzi.
Khair-ul-miajah, a malfuzat of chiragh dilli, sheikh nasiruddin Muhammad.

Siyar-ul-auliya is a biographical dictionary of Sufis by mir khwurd.

The use of explosive (cannon etc) was made by the muslim for the first time in India.
Calander – zich

Branch of horoscopy called tajik

Among the books translated from Sanskrit into Persian, noteworthy were those dealing with medicine, and these were collected under the title of tibbi-i-sikandari.

Many of the crafts and arts introduced in India by muslims were assiduously practiced by the hindus.

Manufacture of paper, of enameling and faience, many wovens stuffs and damascening.

Religion:

Ramanand, kabir, dadu, nanak, and bhulle shah in north India, and namdev and tukaram in MH.

Among the great names of the sufi order, who worked in India in this period, mab be mentioned ali bin osman at hujwairi, khwaja moinuddin chisti, jalaluddin maqdoom jahanian jahan ghasht, nizam-ud-din auliaya, khwaja qutbuddin bakhtiyar kaki, baba farid gunj shankar, nasiruddin chirag-i-delli, syed Muhammad gesu daraz, qadar wali, nithar wali, baba hayat qalander.

Common worship of satyapir (the true saint).

Though they were bitterly opposed to idol worship, in bengal they followed the practice of worshipping the hindu gods and goddesses like sita, kali, dhamraraj, vaidhyanath etc.

The eastern variety of Sufism is an offshoot of hindu Vedanta, and some of the sufi saints (especially of the chisti order), who lived and acted like hindu saints and adopted a symapathetic attitude towards the hindus.

From the time of akbar onwards, the contact between the upper class hindus and the muslim sufi saints became quite frequent.

Art and architecture:

Long before the muslims invaded India, they had developed a good style of architecture adopting the architectural designs of western and cenral asia, north Africa, and south-west Europe.

The early muslim invaders freely employed hindu master craftsmen for designing and constructing their buildings. These craftsmen naturally introduced the characteristics of hindu architecture like solidity and grace, while adopting muslim features like arches, domes, minarets, grometrical devices etc.

The architecture during the DS was utilitarian.

Congregational prayers were preferred by the muslims, hence the construction of mosques became significant.

The main features of the monuments of this period were:
1. arch and dome: the earlier beam and lintel was replaced by arches and the shikhar was replaced domes.
2. use of lime and mortor: lime and mortar came to be used for cementing. This helped in the construction of arches and domes.
3. building material: stone was abundantly used for masonry work. Buildings were mostly plastered with gypsum.
4. decorations: calligraphy, geometry and foliation were used for decorations. The Quranic sayings or kufi were inscribed on panels, which formed the main art work. This form came to be known as arabesque. Hindu motifs like bell, lotus, swastika etc. were also incorporated.

The construction of mosques assumed importance as the turks established themselves. The important ones are the Quwwat-ul-islam mosque near Qutb minar and the Adhai din ka Jhopra in Ajmer. These were incorporated out of the materials taken from a Jain temple, later a Vishnu temple, and a masonary respectively.

The minar adjacent to the Quwwat-ul-islam came to be known as Qutb Minar. The construction was started by Qutbuddin Aibak and completed by iltutmish. The minar was a four-storeyed building initially but lighting destroyed the upper storey. FST added two more storeys to it.

The first three storeys were constructed with grey quartzite faced with red sandstone, the fourth and fifth were constructed with red sandstone faced with marble. The minar is decorated with arabesque and floral patterns.

The khalji period brought some new innovations like the arches, shaped like horse-shoes, with complete use of red sandstone and marble for decorating.

Alauddin khalji planned to get a minar constructed, while would be twice the height of Qutb minar, but unfortunately he could not complete it. However, he added an entrance to the Quwwat-ul-islam mosque, which came to be known as Alai Darwaza in 1311.

Siri fort in delhi was also built by Alauddin khalji.

There was an increase in building activity during the Tughlaq period.

Tughlaqabad, a huge palace fortress, was built by Ghiyasuddin and Muhammad Tughlaq.

An artificial lake was built around the fortress by blocking the Yamuna.

The tughlaq buildings are marked by the presence of “batter” or the sloping walls.

FST repaired a number of monuments, including Qutb Minar. He built a huge pleasure resort, with a lake around it, in Hauz khas.

He also built a fort in Kotla in delhi.

The tughlaq period saw the use of cheap greystone in comparision to the red sandstone.

The lodis brought a new phase in the architecture. The buildings came to be placed on high platforms.

The use of double dome was introduced to impart a definite skyline to the monuments.

The garden around the monuments was another significant innovation of the lodis. The best examples of this are the lodhi gardens in delhi.

All these featues were adopted by the mughals, manifested in the mughal architecture.
The regional architecture of the period too deserves mention. The sharqis of jaunpur built a number of mosques.
Ibrahim sharqi built the Atala Mosque.

The other mosques built in the pattern are: the khalis-mukhlis mosque and the Jhanjhiri (perforated) mosque.

The largest mosque at jaunpur was the jami masjid built by hussain shah sharqi.

In Bengal the Adina mosque was built by sultan sikandar shah at pandua.

The bara sona masjid (the great golden mosque) was the largest mosque at Gaur.

In mandu, sultan hushing built the jami mosque.

The asharfi mahal was built near the jami mosque in mandu.

The hindola mahal at malwa is a masterpiece.

The regional architecture in many ways was a manifestation of the indo-islamic architecture.

We find the best synthesis of the muslim ideas and hindu methods in the tombs of isa khan and humayun, and also in the buildings at Fatehpur sikri.

The muslims added to the hindu architecture the special characteristics of spaciousness, massiveness, majesty and width.

The new foreign rulers introduced mehrab or arch, minar, dome and tomb to the indigenous architecture.

They enriched the design and beauty and adopted the use of coloured stones and glazed tiles to highten the effect of colours.

The design of the golden kalash (the ornate lotus cresting and its metal finial) at the top of the shikar of the hindu temples was adopted by the muslims in placing a stone kalash on the domes of mosques and tombs.

The hindu schemes of profuse ornamentation were applied to decorate the arches or mehrabs.

On the eve of babur’s invasion, behzad was honoured as a perfect master of this art and his paintings became models for artists, through the encouragement given by engrafting the traditions and elements of the timurid school upon those of ajanta.

“upon the plasticity of ajanta were imposed the new laws of symmetry, proportion and spacing imported from Samarqand and herat.”

The indo-islam style developed rapidly and a number of sub-styles came into existence.

For example, the rajput and pahadi style of jaipur, kangra, and the hindu states of the Himalayan regions were influenced more by ancient hindu ideas, while the style of the deccan, lucknow, Kashmir and patna had predominantly muslim characteristics.

The regional forms of painting deserve special mention. The western Indian style of painting were mainly discovered from the jain bhandars in the form of palm leaf manuscripts.

They follow a special format called the pothi format.

The caurapancasika style developed from the caurapancasika text written by the kashmiri poet bilhana, who composed his songs in it as a manisfestation of his love for the king’s daughter while awaiting his execution.

However, the caurapancasika paintings are not directly related to the text but constitute a representative form of art for this period.

Calligraphy flourished in jaunpur in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Generally the verses of the Quran
were calligraphed.

The deccani painting began around the same time in Ahmadnagar, Bijapur and Golconda.
It became a precursor of the Mughal painting.

Music:

Great musicians like Khusrau flourished in the Sultane period.

The muslims adopted musical instruments like the sitar and the tabla of the hindus and their dhrupad style.

Akbar was a great lover of music.

The amirs and courtiers of Akbar, like Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khana, Raja Bhagwan Das and Raja Man Singh patronized musicians.

The celebrated singers and musicians composed and introduced new varieties of ragas and forms like tarana, thumri, ghazal, etc and some Sanskrit works on music were translated into Persian.

The most notable results of thispatronage was the compilation of Gunyat-ul-Munya,meaning ‘pleasure of desire’, written in the fourteenth century, which was the first work on Indian music by a Muslim scholar.
Sangeet Ratnakar is the earliest medieval treatise on music written by Sharangdev(1210-47).

It provides the description of 264 ragas, which were further divided into different categories.

Sultan Husian Shah sharqi of jaunpur was responsible for the invention of the khyal form.

Baz bahadur of malwa created an immortal tradition by his love of music.

Raja man singh of gwalior’s love for music is reflected in his work man kautuhal.

Raga tarangani is a fifteenth century work by Lochan Kavi that carries illustrations from jaidev’s geet govinda.

The Hindustani music style of north India, which had its birth at agra in the time of akbar, holds the field even today.

The growth of the kathak style of classical north Indian dance was also one of the results of the this cultural fusion.

The rulers of regional kingdoms in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were also patrons of music.

In 1420 a musical treatise, sangitasiromani, was dedicated to ibrahim shah sharqi of jaunpur.
Husain shah sharqi (1458) was a music expert and he devised many notes, scales and melodies, of which husaini or jaunpuri is very famous.

He composed an Arabic air known as zangula or jangla and is credited with making improvements in the khayal.

In Kashmir, sultan zainul abedin’s patronage of musicians was responsible for the compilation of a commentary on the sangitaratnakara.

Pir bodhan, a sufi saint, is known for his musical skills.

In the south Indian or karnatak style, swarmel kalanidhji by ramamatya, is the representative treatise on music.

Amir khusrau was a favourite of both sheikh nizambuddin auliya and the delhi sultans.

After sultan alauddin khalji’s conquest of the deccan, many distinguished musicians from the region moved to Delhi.

Amir khusrau seized the opportunity to study the deccani music of the karnatak school, which preserved the musical tradition of ancient India with the greatest purity.

Among the deccani migrants, the most prominent was naik gopal.

The literary sources recount several stories of the encounter between him and amir khausrau.
Amri khusrau never mentions the sitar (now the most popular classical instrument of north India), which is popularly regarded as his invention.

Later works credit him with inventing about nineteen melodic forms, of which the khayal, tarana and qawwali are the most noteworthy.

Amir khusrau is thus believed to be the inventor of the sitar and the qawwlai, representing the sufi music tradition to invoke god.

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