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Life and Letters Under 
the Mughals 


SDr. C P. 92. gkopra 
Editor, Indian Gazetteers 

GOPALA ;-,, J ' ' -. IL..ARY 

2 ? JAN I97B 

Ashajanak Publications 

New Delhi 

"THk KE - : 

6. !l2FS3iiT!J:r Jt 'i "" 


GOPALA I. i\C f~ ' 


I am glad to present to the reading public a comprehen- 
sive volume entitled Life and Letters under the Mughals. It 
includes my two earlier works Some Aspects of Society and 
Culture during the Mughal Age and Social Life under the 
Mughals, which have been thoroughly revised in the light of 
recent researches. The third volume Literature during the 
Mughal Age, which I intended to bring out separately, has now 
been included in this volume. I hope this volume will be use- 
ful not only to the scholars and litterateurs interested in the past 
but also to students of contemporary social affairs by indicating 
elements in our rich and composite heritage that have stood the 
test of time and deserve to be preserved. 

I am grateful to Shri B.D. Jatti, Dr. Karan Singh and 
.Shri Abdul Hameed for the keen interest they have always been 
taking in my literary endeavours. I have received encouragement 
and help from many friends particularly Prof. Charles Adams, 
Prof. A. T. Embree, Prof. M.N.Pearson and Shri Ausaf Ali. 
Besides assisting me throughout, Dr. (Mrs.) Prabha Chopra has 
prepared the index of this volume. I am also obliged to Shri 
T.S. Narula who worked so hard to bring out this book. 

New Delhi 
December 1975 



Ain : Ain-i-Akbari. 

A.N. Akbarnama. 

B.N. Babarnama. 

B.S.O.A.S. Bulletin of the School of the Oriental and African 
Studies, London. 

C.A.A.M. Central Asian Antiquities Museum. 

Crooke's or Herkiots' Islam in India : Reference is to Qanun-i- 
Islam or Islam in India by Jafar Sharif, translated by G.A. 
Herklots and edited by William Crooke. 

E. and D. Elliot and Dowson, The History of India as Told by 
its own Historians. 

H.N.G. Humayunnama by Gulbadan Begam. Sometimes the 
abbreviation 'GuF for Gulbadan Begam is used in the pre- 
sent work. 

H.S.S. Hindi Shabd Sagar by Shyam Sundar Das. 

I.A.E. Indian Art Exhibition. 

I.N . Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri. 

J.B.O.R.S. Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society. 

JJ.H. Journal of Indian Historical Society. 

J.P.A.S.B. or A.S.B. Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic 

Society of Bengal. 

J.R. A.S.B. Journal of Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal. 
J.U.P.H.S. Journal of the United Provinces Historical Society. 
K.K. Khafi Khan's Muntakhab-ul-Lubab. 
Lahori : Abdul Hamid Lahori's Padshahnama or Badshah nama. 
M.A. : Maasir-i-AlamgirL 
Pelsaerfs India : Reference is to Francisco Pelsaert's Remans* 

trantie., translated by W.H. Moreland and P. Geyl. In the 

present work Jahangir's India also has been used for 

Pelsaert's work. 
Purchas' India : Reference is to Purchas' Pilgrimes, 20 volumes. 

R. and B. Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, translated by Rogers and Beve- 


Tuzuk (Lowe) : Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, translated by W.H. Lowe. 
T.A. Tabaqat-i-AkbarL 
Y.L.H. Vernacular Literature of Hindustan by Grierson. 





1. Dress, Toilets and Ornaments 

2. Diet, Tastes and Intoxicants 

3. Games, Sports and other Amusements 

4. Festivals and Fairs 

5. Position of Women in Society 

6. Education 

7. Customs, Rites and Ceremonies 

8. Social Etiquettes and Manners 

9. Charity and Fasts 

10. Houses and Furniture 

11. Mode of Travelling and Conveyance 

12. Literature I Persian Poetry 

13. Literature II Persian Prose 

14. Literature III Hindi Poetry 








India inherits an ancient civilization which is the result of 
diverse forces operating for many millenniums. Many races 
Greeks, Sakas, Pallavas, Kushanas, Huns and othersthat from 
time to time found their way to this country contributed 
consciously or unconsciously to its evolution. It is, therefore, 
endowed with that dynamic character which explains its 
.exceptional vitality. We possess the will to assimilate whatever 
appears to us good in the life and thought of the peoples with 
whom we happen to come into contact. The advent of Islam, 
however, presented a challenge at the outset to the process of 
synthesis and fusion that had been going on for centuries in the 
past. Unlike the earlier invaders, Muslims came to India with 
a well-defined faith. Simple and clear-cut, Islam had nothing 
in common with the elaborate, ritualistic and absorptive 
Hinduism. Its well-defined social system, philosophy, laws and 
a strong monotheistic outlook made its absorption in Hinduism 
impossible. Throughout the medieval ages, the problem, as 
Jawaharlal Nehru put it, was how these "two closed systems, 
each with its own strong roots, could develop a healthy relation- 

For seven centuries the struggle for supremacy went on. 
On the one hand, there was the "influence of Islam and the 
philosophy of life represented by it. On the other hand, there 
has been the pervasive influence of Indian culture and civilisa- 
tion." The initial clash was inevitably followed by rapproche- 
ment, fusion and mutual adjustment. 

The Iranian-Arab culture, which the Turko-Afghan con- 
querors brought with them, was a composite culture, Arabs 
having absorbed the ancient civilizations of Iran and Egypt and 
the remnants of the Graeco-Roman civilization. Characteristi- 
cally enough^ the Arabs had accepted in course of time some of 



the ancient traditions and legends of these countries as part of 
their own national heritage. 

The idea of the brotherhood of Islam and of theoretical 
equality among its adherents, belief In one God and complete 
surrender to His will, which are the characteristics of this reli- 
gion, made a deep impression on the minds of some of the Indian 
thinkers and reformers of the period. The contact of Islam 
with Hinduism in south India led to the revival of anti-caste 
and monotheistic movements. The south became the "home of 
religious reform" from the 8th to the 10th century. The 
Vaisnava and Saivite saints started schools of Bhakti, and 
scholars like Sankara, Ramanuja, Nimbaditya, Basava, Vallabh- 
acharya, and Madhava formulated their philosophical systems. 
These impulses for re-awakening and religious revival were 
transmitted to the north chiefly through Ramananda of 
Banaras, who was a distinguished pupil of Ramanuja. About 
1450 the mystic weaver Kabir "assailed at once the worship of 
idols, the authority of the Quran and Shastras and the exclusive 
use of a learned language." It will, however, be incorrect to 
say that these monotheistic and anti-caste movements among 
the Hindus in the Middle Ages though strengthened by Islam 
had originated in it. Indeed the Upanishads (8th century B.C.- 
6th century B.C.) had propounded the idea of the oneness of 
God. And as Sir Jadunath Sarkar, the Indian historian, 
remarks, "all the higher thinkers, all the religious reformers, all 
the sincere devotees among the Hindus from the earlier times 
have proclaimed one and only one supreme God behind the 
countless deities of popular worship and have declared the 
equality of all true adherers and placed a simple sincere faith 
above elaborate religious ceremonies. They have all tried to 
simplify religion and bring it to the doors of the commonest 
people."^ So what really happened after the Muslim conquest 
was a "re-emphasis on the essential monotheistic character of 
the idea of God and the superiority of the path of devotion over 
ritualistic sacrifice and mere books of knowledge and wisdom." 
Thus stress was laid on the subordination of rites and cere- 
monies, pilgrimages and fasts and the multiplicity of gods. The 
Bhakn movement served two main objects. It rescued the 
Hindu religion and enabled it to withstand the onslaught of 
Islamic propaganda and proselytisrn. It also brought about an 

understanding between Islam and Hinduism and fostered 
friendly relations between the two communities. 

Many a sect arose which tried to harmonize Islam and 
Hinduism and to find a common meeting ground for the devout 
of both the creeds in which their differences of ritual, dogma, 
and external marks of faith were ignored. Ramananda, Kabir, 
Nanak, Dadu, and Chaitanya were some of the leaders of the 
Bhakti movement, which practically covered the whole of 
India. Muslim Sufis and mystics were close to Bhakts. 
Mainly an off-shoot of Vedaata of the Hindus, Stifism rapidly 
spread in India from the time of Akbar and produced a large 
mass of literature. It tended to bring Hindus and Muslims 

Interaction of these cultures led to the birth of a new 
language, Rekhta or Urdu (from the Turki word 'Urdu* meaning 
*Camp'), as it was called, which was really Hindi appreciably 
transformed by the addition of Persian and Arabic words and 
idioms. Amir Khusrau (1255-1325) later called this language 
Hindavi and Abul Fazl named it Dehlavi. Prithvi Raj Ras 
by Chand Bardai, a court poet of Prithviraj, was perhaps the 
first work in Hindi, which distinctly contains the traces of this 
development. The works of Amir Khusrau and Ras Khan, 
Malik Muhammad Ja\asi's Padmavat (completed in 1540), and 
Tulsi Das's Ramacharit Manas (1574) are some of the important 
earlier works in the new language. However, the religious 
poems or rather the aphorisms of religious reformers like Kabir 
(died 1518), Dadu (flourished about 1600), Nanak (1469-1538) 
and Naradev ( 14th century) and others, who used it as a me- 
dium of expression, greatly helped its growth. 

The impact of Islam also led to the development of 
regional languages. Sanskrit ceased to be a living language 
even on a limited scale by the end of the 13th century when a 
major part of this country passed under Muslim rule. For over 
three centuries (1200-1550) the Hindu intellect in north India 
was almost barren and no work of merit was produced. The 
peace and prosperity of Akbar's reign, however, gave a literary 
stimulus and there was a sudden growth of vernacular literature 
throughout the country. A number of good works were pro- 
duced in Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Sindhi and eastern Hindi. 
Yidyapati's songs in Maithili, Chand i Dass' in Bengali, Mira's 


poems in Rajasthani, and Eknath's in Marathi were not only 
popular but recognised literary works. Arabised Persian mixed 
with Turkish being the language of the Muslim invaders, many 
of their words found their way into the regional languages. 

Marathi, for example, had 35% words of Persian origin in 1830 
and the percentage in Punjabi and Sindhi was still higher. 

Hindus were not interested in recording events, because 
they "despised this world and its ephemeral occurrences." Only 
four biographies have been perserved in Sanskrit and in all of 
them "facts lie buried under a mass of flowers of rhetoric, 
tricks of style and round-about expressions." Dates are com- 
pletely ignored. The dry, methodical and matter-of-fact Muslims, 
on the other hand, kept a regular record of their campaigns and 
achievements in whatever part of the world they went to. Their 
advent in India led to the production of a large number of 
chronicles and autobiographies, which serve as source material 
for the history of the period. Hindu writers naturally imitated 
their style, and thus was introduced, as Sir Jadunath Sarkar 
writes, "a new and very useful element into Indian literature." 

The contact of Islam was beneficial in another way. 
Contrary to the Hindu practice of making a secret of their 
productions, the Muslims believed in copying and illuminating 
and circulating their works on a large scale. The introduction 
of Kagaz (paper) also helped this process. Many of the older 
Indian works were translated under the patronage of Mughal 
rulers like Akbar, and freely circulated, which led to the diffusion 
of knowledge. 

In the domain of fine arts, the richest contribution of the 
Muslims, Sir Jadunath Sarkar writes, is the Indo-Saracen School 
of painting. As the painting of human figures or anything that 
has life is forbidden in Islam, the earliest Muslim paintings to 
reach India from Khurasan or Bukhara showed "complete 
Chinese influence, especially in representing the human face, 
rocks, sheets of water and dragons." Intense individuality, 
proper spacing and symmetry were the characteristics of this 
art. Theonly specimens of Hindu art, which had escaped the 
ravages of time and invaders, are those in the Ajanta caves 
which depict the full throngings of life, power glory, love and 
youth, and on the same canvas are exhibited tranquillity, which 
lies in a life of detachment, devotion, piety and faith. The 


medium of art was chosen to express "the illimitable fecundity 
of life" and unity of the real Here in India, the Chinese 
characteristics imported by Muslims were rapidly dropped. The 
rigidity of the Chinese line was softened. The scenes and 
features were indianized. As a result of the impact of this 
foreign culture on the traditional art, new laws of symmetry, 
proportion, and spacing were imposed on the plasticity of 
Ajanta. It also led to the development of a number of sub- 
styles, as the Rajput and the Pahari styles, which were greatly 
influenced by ancient Hindu ideals, while the Deccan, Lucknow, 
Kashmir, and Patna styles of painting had predominantly 
Muslim characteristics. 

The style of architecture which the Turkish invaders 
brought in India was not exclusively Muslim or Arabian. It 
was in fact the product of fusion of the style of architecture of 
various countries such as Transoxiana, Iran, Afghanistan, and 
Northern Africa with that of the Muslim Arabia. They had 
developed a good taste and also talent for refinement in archi- 
tecture. In India they were greatly impressed with the skill of 
Indian masons and architects whose style they also adopted some- 
times unconsciously. Indian architecture had some unique 
features, such as fiat roofs, corbel brackets, tapering domes,, 
wide eaves, narrow columns, and decoration and ornamentation. 
Moreover, the emphasis of Indian architectural style was on, 
solidity and grace. This is evident in the temples of the south. 
Hindu kings were very particular about extensive decoration, 
and variety of themes were exhibited through sculptures. The 
best examples are the temples of Conjeevaram and Simhachalam. 
The Muslims had also something to impart to Hindu archi- 
tecture by introducing certain new features, such as arches, 
spherical domes, geometrical patterns, and window screenings, 
which gave a new dimension to architecture. While the Hindu 
kings spent huge amounts on the building of temples, the 
Muslims built forts, palaces, mausoleums, and mosques. Indian 
masons and architects also played an important role in the 
fusion of these two different styles of architecture by uncons- 
ciously introducing decorative and architectural details which 
they had been practising over the centuries. The synthesis of 
these two architectural styles led to the evolution of a new 
school of architecture which is known as Indo-Muslim or Indo- 


Iranian. The Taj Mahal Is a living monument of the perfect 
synthesis of these two cultures, while Fatehpur Sikri and the 

tombs of Akbar and Itmad-ud-Daulah remain specimens of an 
imperfect fusion. The influence of this style is visible not only 
in the monumental art of India but also in utilitarian works 
houses, streets and bathing places (ghats) and even in places 
of worship. 

Music was a well-developed art in India. Islam, which 
had a sort of religious disliking for it, had not much to contri- 
bute, excepting some of the inventions which are attributed to 
the poet, litterateur and mystic of the time, Amir Khusrau. By 
combining the Indian vina and the Iranian" tambura, he was able 
to produce the sitar, a very popular Indian musical Instrument. 
Tabla is nothing but a modification of the Indian mridang. A 
fusion of Hindu and Iranian systems led to the evolution of 
light songs like qawalis a counterpart of the religious music 
of the Bhakts. 

The cultural influence of Islam is also visible in dress, diet, 
in the celebration of fairs and festivals, In the ceremonial of 
marriage, and in the manners of the court. Achkan and salwar, 
the popular northern Indian dress, owe their Introduction to 
Muslim influence. Hunting, hawking, chaugan, nard or back- 
gamon, and many other games assumed a Muslim character in 
form and technique. The Muslims, generally leading a more 
luxurious life than the Hindus, were responsible for setting new 
fashions which were copied by the richer classes. They were 
accustomed to sumptuous dinners and sometimes as many as 
100 dishes were served on their tables. Abu! Fazl enumerates 
these dishes in his famous work Ain-i-Akbari. It naturally led 
to the introduction of new articles of food and new styles of 
cookery, which in course of time became completely Indianized. 

The immediate result of the Muslim conquest was the 
rigidity of the caste s} stern. A large number of conversions 
during this period, sometimes prompted by the desire to have a 
more affluent life and a higher social status, but often by fore 
and coercion, produced a strong reaction. Brahmans, the 
priestly class among the Hindus, who had lost their former 
privileges of exemption from taxes, etc., found in this an opport- 
unity to consolidate their hold by making the caste system rigid. 
Caste rules were framed in such a way that no loophole was left 


for any intrusion by outsiders who were considered malechhas 
or untouchables. 

Purdah, or the strict veiling of women, was another impact 
of the advent of Islam in India. Hindus adopted purdah as a 
protective measure to save the honour of their womenfolk and 
to maintain the purity of their social order. The tendency to 
imitate the ruling class was another factor which operated in 
favour of its introduction among the Hindu ladies. 

The above review of the impact of Islam on different 
aspects of life in India shows concretely how the Hindus reacted 
to a culture very different from their own. Some features of it 
which added richness and variety to their life were more easily 
assimilated. They tended to accept in varying degrees those 
others which impinged on their established pattern of living 
but not seriously. Where the differences were radical and 
irreconcilable, they were content to be allowed to follow them 
quietly side by side with the unacceptable ways of their rulers. 
Only the forces of time could evolve a pattern of integration in 
such cases. 

We cannot, therefore., say that culture during the medieval 
times was something entirely new or radically different from the 
culture of the preceding or succeeding ages. Indian culture in 
al! ages has been fundamentally the same and the inew strains 
have only added to its fabric. They only add richness to it. 
Take, for example, the dress or the mode of life of the Indian 
people. Great political upheavals and economic and military 
revolutioos have hardly brought about any radical change in 
the dress of the mass of our people Although some new ele- 
ments, such as shirts and skirts, achkans and salwars have added 
to the variety and colour of our costume, the indispensable 
dhoti and the graceful sari have continued to be as popular 
today as they were in the days of the Buddha and Mahavira. 
The ultra modern person may take pride in his European 
apparel, but he too relapses at times to the garb of his ancestors 
when homely comfort or religious conventions so demand. So 
too with food and drink, mode and style of living, and habits. 
Seldom have our people except the elite taken to European diet. 
During the Mughal age not many except the nobi'ity and high- 
ups among the Hindus adopted the food of our rulers. Many 
of the upper-class and middle-class Hindus, no doubt, borrowed 


something of the Mughal dress, language and vocabulary, be- 
sides the Mughal mode of life and behaviour, but the masses 
continued to follow their traditional path. At the same time 
social customs and personal laws still continued, in varying 
degrees, to be influenced by religious creeds. The present 
work is an attempt to portray Indian society in Mughal times 
in concrete terms in different spheres of our social, literary 
and cultural life. 


Dress, Toilets and Ornaments 


Indian dress is a product of the soil and is eminently 
suited to the climate and conditions of life in the country. But 
we have to admit that foreign influence has also played 
an important part in its evolution. Aesthetic considerations, 
too, have been responsible for determining our clothing. We 
have different types of dresses for different seasons of the year, 
and there are different ways of putting them on, especially for 
women. The cut or the fashion, once introduced, takes a long 
time to alter. There is more truth in Orme's observation 
about us that "the habit has at this day the same cut which it 
had a thousand years ago." 1 Our medieval dress impressed 
foreigners, especially European travellers, who spoke highly of 
the neat and well-fitted costumes of the Bengalis, 2 the Punjabis, 3 
and the people of other provinces. The Goanese were said to 
have excelled all. The rich among them would change their 
dress everyday and sometimes even oftener. 4 Delia Valle writes 
about the Indian dress : "I was so taken with the Indian dress 
in regard of its cleanliness and easiness and for the goodly show 
I caused one to be made for myself complete in every point 
and carry with me to show it in Italy." 5 

Poor people of different communities dressed very much 
alike, and so did the rich. The poor contented themselves 
with a piece of cloth wrapped round their waist, called dhoti , 
which used to be usually five yards long. The rich imitated 
the darbari (court) dress an intermixture of Indo-Persian 
style consisting of a long coat and tight trousers of Indian 
^.jnake. 6 The head-dress of the poor was a cap, and that of the 
rich a puggree. Hindus, irrespective of their position, wore 
turbans. According to Delia Valle, the nobles changed their 


clothes daily. 7 Muhammadans spent lavishly on their dress, 8 
particularly their women, 9 and used silk, brocade, etc., accord- 
ing to their position in life. 10 But the orthodox among them 
ahstained from yellow 11 and silken clothes. 12 The historian 
Badaoni was enraged to see a mufti dressed in a "garment of 
unmixed silk." 13 Muslim ascetics wore a tall darvesh cap and 
wooden sandals, and wrapped themselves in a sheet of unsewn 
cloth. 14 In Bengal some of the Muslim faqirs or pirs used black 
attire. 144 A simple loin-cloth was sufficient to cover the body of a 
Hindu yogi. 15 Muslim scholars or ulema put on a turban, a qaba 
m&&pyja ma - Bernier thus describes the dress of Kavindra- 
charya, the great Hindu scholar of the time of Shahjahan, 
whom he met inBanaras : "He wore a white silk scarf tied about 
his waist and hanging half-way down the leg, and another 
tolerably large scarf of red silk which he wears as a cloak on his 
shoulders." 16 Such must have been the dress of other medieval 
Hindu scholars, except that the poorer among them must have 
used cotton instead of silk. 

Dress of the Royalty 

The Mughal kings were very particular about new fashions 
and variety in dresses. Humayun invented several kinds of 
new dresses, particularly the one called ulbagcha. It was a 
waistcoat, open in front and hanging down to the waist over 
the coat or qaha. 17 Akbar, whose aesthetic taste was highly 
developed, employed skilled tailors to improve the style of the 
costumes in his wardrobe. 18 Humayun and Akbar generally 
changed their dresses daily to match with the colour of the 
planet of the day. 19 Monserrate writes about the dress of 
Akbar : "His Majesty wore clothes of silk beautifully em- 
broidered in gold. His Majesty's cloak comes down to his 
hose, and boots cover his ankles completely and (he) wears 
pearls and gold jewellery.' 520 Father Rudolf found Akbar clad 
in a Hindu dhoti of the "finest and most delicate silk falling 
to his heels and there gathered in by bangles covered with 
pearls." 21 Sir Thomas Roe describes the dress of Jahangir 
thus : "On his head he wore a rich turban with a plume 
of heron's feathers, not many, but long. On one side hung a 
ruby unset, as long as a walnut, on the other side, a diamond 
as large, in the middle an emerald like a heart much bigger. 


His staff was wound about with a chain of great pearls, rubies 
and diamonds drilled. About his neck, he wore a chain of 
three strings of most excellent pearls, the largest I ever saw. 
About his elbows armlets st with diamonds and on his wrist 
three rows of several sorts, his hands bare, but almost on every 
finger a ring. His gloves, which were English, stuck under his 
girdle. His coat of cloth of gold without sleeves upon a fine 
raiment as thin as lawn. On his feet a pair of buskins em- 
broidered with pearls, the toes sharp and turning up." 22 
Jahangir reserved for himself a particular dress consisting of 
nadir if* tus shawl, batuginban^ qaba of Gujarat! satin, chera 
and waist-belt woven with silk and interwoven with gold and 
silk threads. None was allowed to imitate or put on this dress 
unless it was specially bestowed upon him by the Emperor. 

The Ain-i-Akbari describes eleven types of coats. Takau- 
chiyah was a coat with round skirt tied on the right side ; 
peshwaj, open in front and tied in front ; shah-ajidah (or the 
royal stitch-coat) with sixty ornamental stitches ; gadar, wider 
and longer than the qaba, was used in place of the fur coat, 
and fargi was worn over the jama. Chakman and fargul 
were rain-coats, the former was made of broad cloth, woollen 
stuff or wax-cloth. 25 Shahjahan's dress was practically the 
same as that of his father with the only difference that it was 
more gorgeous and gaudy. 20 Aurangzeb made an attempt at 
simplicity. 27 

Dress of the upper class 

The well-to-do classes spent lavishly on their dresses, and 
wealthy Muhammadans wore both shalwars** and breeches 29 
or tight trousers. Shalwars were of three kinds, single, double 
and wadded, 30 and breeches, though loose round the waist, 
were invariably tight from the mid-leg to the ankles and were 
long enough to be plaited. 31 In private they put on lungis or 
loin-cloth. 32 

The shirt was worn by the upper and middle class people 
and, according to the custom in the East, it hung over the 
trousers and like the coat was open from top to bottom. 33 
The Bengali shirts were usually long, 34 but Pyrard seemed to 
exaggerate, when he said that these came down to the heels. 3 
The people of Goa wore shirts which were also very long. 3 * 


Some wore narrow waistcoats with sleeves up to the elbows, 
As a protection against cold in winter they wore over the 
shirts an areahck (bandhi) stuffed with cotton. The out 
cloth was either checked or flowered on silk or cotton. 38 
vest called qaba was sometimes put on as an upper garmer 
The rich had it woven with golden threads and other rich sti 
and lined with sables.? 9 

The qaba or coat, made of a variety of stuffs, was usual 
long and it came down to the ankles. 40 It was fastened by string 
The Hindus tied the strings on the left side, while the Muhan 
madans tied them on their right side. 41 The rich also carrie 
over their shoulders shawls of very fine woollen fabric < 
several handsome colours, and some wrapped them like 
scarf. 42 It was the fashion to tie one's waist with a scarf whic 
was sometimes made of beautiful and costly tnulti-coloure 
stuff. 43 Men carried arms and fashionable people adorned then 
selves with a katari or dagger fitted with a golden handle set wit 
precious stones. 44 Hindus used to carry a piece of coloured c 
white cloth over their shoulders and wore pendants in the 
ears. 45 Golden bracelets were worn by the rich around the 
wrists. 46 The children generally up to the age of four or fi\ 
years went naked, 47 but they tied round their waist a silver c 
gold chain and on their legs wore little bells of precious metal.- 

Dress of common people 

Workmen, artisans, tillers of the soil and other laboures 
contented themselves with a cotton langota** tied round th 
waist and reaching down to their knees. 50 Babar writes in h 
memoirs : "The Hindustanis tie on a thing, called langoia, 
decent clout which hangs two spans below the navel." 51 Abi 
Fazl remarks : "Men and women (of Bengal) for most part g 
naked, wearing only cloth about the loins." 52 Nizamuddi 
Ahmad saw men and women in the Deccan and Golkiuid 
walking about with a "cloth bound about their middle withoi 
any more apparel." 53 European travellers from Caemoes t 
Manucci confirm this view. 54 What the travellers failed to notic 
was that during winter the common people, except paupers, pi 
on small quilted coats which lasted for years. 55 According t 
Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri, these were never washed till worn 01 
and torn. 56 In northern India even the poor put on turbar 


to protect their heads from the heat and the cold. Varthema 
calls it a red cloth head- wear. 57 in the cold weather quilted caps 
were common in some parts of northern India, especially in 
Kashmir, the Punjab and the modern Uttar Pradesh. 58 


Bare-headed persons were little respected in medieval India, 
and people invariably put on a cap or a turban while stirring 
out of their houses. 59 This was common with the Muslims as well 
as the Hindus. The head-dress was not removed in the presence 
of one's superiors and the traveller De Laet noted that when 
paying respects to elders "they never take this covering off." 60 
Turbans worn by Muslims were usually white and round-shaped, 
while those of the Hindus were coloured, straight, high and 
pointed. 61 There were many styles of tying turbans and these 
differed from caste to caste and province to province. 62 The 
rich used the finest possible linen for their turbans 25 to 30 
yards in length hardly weighing more than 4 ounces. 63 Some 
got their turbans wrought with silk or gold threads, 64 while 
others had only one end of the turban interwoven and this they 
displayed in the front or the top of their forehead. 65 Kulahs 
and Kashmiri caps have also been mentioned in the Ain-i- 
Akbari.^ These must have been put on by Muslims of upper 
India. Sometimes caps had as many as ten sides, like those 
worn in Gujarat. 67 


Stockings were not used by any section of the people. 68 
Bernier writes : "Heat is so great in Hindustan that no one, not 
even the king, wears stockings." 69 However, there is a reference 
to the use of mozas. The general style , of the shoes was Tur- 
kish, 71 i.e. pointed in front and open above 72 with low heels to 
be easily undone when necessary. 73 Stavorinus writes : "They 
have a kind of shoes which are put on slipshod and are turned 
up before just like the Turkish babooches (babouches)." 74 It 
was found to be very suitable in the hot climate of the country 
and could be conveniently taken off when one entered a house. 
The floors of sitting-rooms were carpeted either with costly 
rugs or cheaper coverings in medieval times, 75 and it was neces- 
sary to take off one's shoes before entering. Muhammadans, 


according to Thevenot" and Mandelslo," kept the heels of 
then shoes myanably low and even folded, so that they could 
be conveniently put on and off. But men of business kept the 
heels of thor shoes high to enable them to walk swiftly * 

Pyrard, however, saw Brahmans of Calicut put on brown 
shppers mu ch pointed in front, the point raised high 

the instep with straps of leather" 8 

used red leather-shoes* worked over 

he nch got them embroidered with gold, s O flow - 

Such ^e s were used mostly on wed- 

Women's dress 

cover the head 
enhance beauty" 
their clothes 

in the 

their head 

drawn to 
left over ^e shoulder to 

hered C lour best and 
d ^ ed in that colour.^ 

liked the b ^ 
Fazl ' s observations 
m the S Uth did not "^ally 

wim a cloth bound about 


their middle without any more apparel.'* 100 Some of the 
poorest Oriya women could not even afford to provide a piece 
of clotit and used the leaves of trees instead. 101 

The angiya or jacket, covering down to the waist, was 
used by the rich and the poor alike. 102 Stavorinus 103 and 
Grose 104 have described it as a pair of hollow cups or cases. 
Stavorinus writes : "They support their breasts and press them 
upwards by a piece of linen which passes under the arms 
and is made fast on the back." 105 A smock down to the waist 
and a piece of cloth wrapped like a petticoat formed the indoor 

Some of the ladies put on half smocks reaching to the 
waist and made of the finest cotton or silk through which their 
skin was quite visible. 106 While going out they would put on 
a silk or cotton waistcoat over the smocks and "tie a sari over 
the petticoat." The ghagra, 107 too, was popular, especially 
among Muhammadan women. Manucci writes : "Ordinarily 
they wear two or three garments, each weighing not more than 
one ounce and worth from rupees forty to rupees fifty each." 108 

Breeches (trousers) and shirts were common among 
Muhammadan ladies whose breeches did not differ much from 
those of men, 109 and were tied at the navel by means of a silver 
or silken string running through them. Some ladies would 
allow one end of the string to hang down to their knees. 110 
The Muhammadan ladies were distinguished by their shalwars 
and shirts with half-length sleeves, the rest of the arm was 
adorned with precious ornaments. 111 The breeches or shalwars 
were made of cotton, silk or brocade according to the wearer's 
position in life 112 and were striped in several colours. The 
rich women put on qahas of fine Kashmir wool 113 which were 
in some cases gathered or plaited a pretty above to make their 
waist seem short. 114 Some of them also used Kashmir shawls 
of the finest quality that could be passed through a small finger- 
ring. 115 Some of the royal ladies, besides having artistic taste, 
possessed inventive genius. For example, Nurjahan devised 
many kinds of dresses, fashions and ornaments. Several 
varieties of brocades, laces and gowns owe their origin to her 
and are known as Nur mahali, her dudami, panchatolia, 
badlah, kainari and farsh-i-chandni. 116 Ladies, both Hindu 
and Muhammadan, covered their heads with a dopatta 111 of 


fine cotton or silk wrought with silver or gold threads," 8 accord- 
to their means, and both its ends "hung down on both 
tides as low as the knees." 119 Muhammadan ladies, whenever 
they moved out, put on white shrouds or burqas. Hindu 
ladies adorned their hair with flowers and jewels. 1 ** Lachaq 
as a superior head-dress reserved only for princesses and 
daughters of nobles. It was a square mantle doubled into a 
triangle and fastened at the chin. 122 Some of the princesses 
put on turbans with the king's permission. 1 ** 

Nobody wore stockings, but precious ornaments were 
out on the legs over the breeches. 124 Poor women moved about 
h e-footed. 12 ~ 5 But high class ladies put on shoes of various 
patterns 12C and artistic slippers covered with silver and golden 
flowers. 127 Usually they were of red colour and without 
backs. 128 

Soap and Dyes 

In modern times articles of toilet have multiplied due to 
Western inventions, but the common Indian is content with, 
rither prefers, his old and in many cases more effective make- 
U p products. Thus he has not his soap but soap-berry, 
b-irk "ish and pulse- flour powder; and for improving complexion, 
turmeric-powder, rice-powder, a paste of kusama flower, oil- 
cakes, sandal-wood paste, and various other such-like products 
arc at his disposal. 

India hud made sufficient progress so far as this aspect of 
civilixaticm was concerned. Hair-dyes, recipes for the cure of 
rnkiness and the removal of hair from the body were known 
uid used even in ancient times. ls Wuxma and khisab for 
inir-dvcing were prepared from indigo and other ingredients, 
s'vins powders and creams had their substitutes in ghasul* 
mvrob'alans, obatnah and pounded sandal-wood. 13 - Soap 
was known and used in India from ancient times. According 
to Watt, "The art of soap-making has been known and 
nrictiscd (in India) from a remote antiquity, the impure article 
produced being used by washermen and dyers." 183 There are 
frequent references in the medieval Persian literature to the 
usc o! laban or soap for washing the body and cleaning the 
clothes fven the word saban or sabuiii was known in about 


Babar's time, as a line of Guru Nanak in "Japji Sahib" clearly 
states : 134 

Perfumes and Oil 

Soap is mentioned in the Ain-i-Akbarim the following 
words (about Bisar) : "Lenar 135 is a part of Mekhur 136 division. . . . 
These mountains produce all the requisites for making glass 
and soap." 137 Bocarr.o in his report on Portuguese forts and 
settlements in India in 1644 also refers to "sabas." 138 Precious 
scents of diverse kinds were in use. Kautilya's Arthashastra 
gives a long list of fragrant substances for toilet preparations. 
The Ain-e-Akbarf s account of scents is no less detailed. Their 
prices ranged from half a rupee per tola for zabad to 55 rupees 
per tola for sandal-wood. 139 Araq-i-sewti, araq-i-chameli, 
mosseri, 1 * and amber-i-ashab 141 were considered best among the 
different varieties of perfumes. Akbar had created a special 
perfumery department called Khushbu Khana. Shaikh Mansur 
was put in charge of it. 142 According to Pelsaert : "They 
studied night and day how to make exciting perfumes and 
efficacious preserves, such as mosseri or falroj containing amber, 
pearls, gold, amboa, opium and other stimulants." 143 Nurjahan's 
mother prepared a new itar from roses and named it Itar-i. 
Jahangiri. lu Jahangir writes : "It is of such a strength in per- 
fume that if a drop of it is rubbed on the palm of the hand it 
scents the whole assembly. There is no scent of equal excel- 
lence." 145 Lahore, 146 Balsar, 147 Cambaya and Banaras 148 were 
well known for rare perfumes. 

Men's toilet 

Sweet-scented oils of various kinds were exported from 
Bengal and applied to the hair and also rubbed on the body. 149 
How very essential oil was for a bath is clear from the words 
of Mukundram, a poet of the 16th century. On reaching 
Gokra, he writes : "My bath was without oil, water only was 
my drink and food and my infant child cried for hunger." 150 
The poor people used cocoanut 151 oil, and the nobles would 
anoint their bodies with sandal 152 and other oils extracted from 
various flowers. 153 In Gujarat, according to Barbosa, they 
anointed themselves with white sandal-wood paste mixed with 



saffron and other scents. 154 In hot weather, the rich would add 
rose-water to keep their skin cool. 155 Santak 1 ^ and argajah were 
also used for the same purpose. They used a sweat-powder like 
that of sandal-wood to get the sweat out of their bodies 157 and 
head, and "daubed it (head) with oil." Collyrium was used for 
the eyes. 158 Sur Das laments in one of his verses: "The collyrium 
does not stay on my eyes, my hands and my cheeks have 
become dark." 159 Hair-dyes were also freely employed to make 
one look younger. Muhammadans, who usually kept hair on 
their upper lips, would not let it grow grey even when old 
by "combing it continually with lead black combs." 160 Betel 
was made use of both by men and women to dye their lips fed 
and make them look attractive. 161 It rendered the breath agree- 
able and also strengthened the gums. 162 Tooth-pastes and tooth- 
picks were also employed for cleaning teeth. 163 Mirrors 
were in common use. 164 Combs made of wood, metal or horns 
of animals were indispensable items of toilet. Hair was kept 
in proper trim by a piece of cloth called rumali. 165 

People in those days were as anxious to look young, 
bright and beautiful as in our times. Grose rightly observes : 
"In short, one must do the Orientalists in general the 
justice to allow that none are more studious of the 
cleanliness and suppleness of the body than they are 
which they not absurdly conceive conduces even to the 
pleasure of mind." 166 

It is interesting to mention that the Tamilians had 
developed the art of the cosmetics from very early times. 5 
There are frequent references to it in the Tamil works such as ^ 
Manimekali, Jivakacintamani,, Silappadikaram, etc. Samhita 
and Nikqyas, m followed by the Ain in the Mughal times, 
give a long list of the rules of conduct to be observed after 
leaving the bed early in the morning. It includes both brush- 
ing, use of eye and mouth washes, bathing and washing, 
rubbing, kneading and shampooing, anointing the body with 
perfume, using collyrium for the eye, using mirror, face- 
powders, hair-dressing, and betel-chewing. Early in the morn- 
ing people used then, as now, a datan for cleaning and brushing 
teeth. 170 Besides making them clean and beautiful, it streng- 
thened the gums and the teeth. Mandelso writes : "It is 
ordinary (usual) to see among them men of hundred years yet 


have not a , tooth missing." 171 Other practices were wearing 
bracelets, carrying walking-sticks, swords or gun-like weapons, 
umbrella, wearing a turban, a diadem, carrying a fan or chauri, 
and wearing embroidered and fashionable garments. The Ain 
adds for men trimming of the beard, wearing the jama fastened 
on the left side, tying the mukat, which is a golden tiara work, 
on the turban, and painting on the forehead the sectarian 
marks of one's particular caste. 172 Akbar used to spend three 
gharis (a little over one hour) on his body, dress, clothing, 
toilet, etc. 17 

Bathing was a preliminary requirement both for men and 
women before starting their daily business. It was a religious 
duty for Hindus to bathe early in the morning preferably in a 
river or a tank. Bathing-houses did a flourising business in 
all the great cities of the Mughal empire. Some eight hundred 
were to be found in Agra alone. 174 

Bathing arrangements at such places were very elaborate. 
After a good bath, the customer was rubbed all over with a 
hair-cloth, and the soles of his feet with a piece of porous sand- 
stone. Then another man would rub the customer's back 175 
from the backbone down to the sides in order to stimulate the 
blood to flow freely in the veins. 176 In these hamams, oils, 
perfumes, 177 essences of sandal, cloves and oranges were freely 
applied to the customer. 178 The people kept their feet as clean 
and soft as their hands. Some of them anointed them with 
scented oils. 179 These healthy practices are fast dying out in 
our days. 

Barbers kept no shops. They were to be found roaming 
in streets with a towel on their shoulders and a mirror in 
their hands. 180 These looking-glasses, according to Delia 
Valle, were made of steel 181 and were round or square in 
shape. 182 Besides a mirror, barbers were equipped with a 
razor, a pair of scissors, and a nail-cutter with one end of 
which they used to clear ears of the wax and with the other 
end to cut the nails. 183 For all this labour they would not demand 
more than a pice or two. 184 

Hindus and Muhammadans could be distinguished by the 
difference in their manner of shaving. The former were usually 
clean-shaven. 185 Only a small number of them wore small 
beards with hair turned upward. The orthodox Muslims, 


however, kept long beards which usually reached their chests 
and were trimmed. 186 Moustaches were worn both by Hindus 
and Muhammadans 187 Hindus wore them long, and Muham- 
madans trimmed them in the centre and in the corners. It 
was a common custom among Hindus to apply tilak to their 
foreheads a yellow mark 188 of about a finger's breadth. Caste 
Hindus put on a sacred thread. 189 The rich among them 
adorned themselves with pendants and necklaces of gold, set 
with jewels and pearls. 190 

Women's toilet 

Naturally, toilet was regarded as a thing more important 
for women 191 than for men. Early Tamil works refer to the 
various cosmetics used by women such as applying of collyrium 
to the eyelids, oil-bath once in four days, daubing the sandal- 
cum-saffron paste upon the breasts and shoulders of the young 
maiden, etc. This paste was prepared by compounding together 
the sandal-wood powder with medicated camphor and sweet- 
smelling constituents. The courtesans performed their "ablutions 
with three varieties of cosmetics such as astringents, aromatics 
and omalikai after which they dried up their dishevelled hair 
with fragrant smoking and dressed their hair with pomatum." 
In the Padmavat of Malik Muhammad Jayasi there is a 
detailed description of women's toilet "They go in for bathing, 
application of sandal, and vermilion on the parting of hair, a 
spangle on the forehead, collyrium, ear-rings, nose-studs, betel 
to redden the lips, necklets, armlets, a girdle and anklets. Then 
there are sixteen graces, four long, four short, four stout, and 
four thin." 192 Abul Fazl in the Ain-i-Akbari describes 16 
items 193 for a woman's toilet which include bathing, 194 anoint- 
ing, braiding the hair, decking the crown of her head with 
jewels, sectarian marks of caste after decking with pearls, 
jewels and gold, tinting with lamp-black like collyrium, 
staining the hands, eating pan and decorating herself with 
various ornaments, as nose-rings, necklaces, rings, wearing a 
belt hung with small bells, garlands of flowers, etc. 195 

Girls up to the age of 12 kept only a small tail of hair and 
made it into a roll on one side of the head. Young girls made 
their hair into tresses and bound them with ribbons. "Their 
.hair is always dressed, plaited and perfumed with scented oil,V 


according to Manucci. 196 Hindu ladies usually tied their hair 
behind their heads. 197 Sometimes they twisted up the hair upon 
the top of the head like a pyramid, sticking gold bodkin in the 
centre. 198 The use of "false" hair also has been referred to. 199 
Long hair was considered a mark of beauty. 200 Hindu ladies con- 
sidered it auspicious to put a vermilion mark and to anoint 
the painting of their hair. 201 In the South young maidens 
would daub the sandal-cum-saffron paste upon their breasts 
and shoulders. 202 They decked their heads with jewels 
and flowers. Collyrium was used for the eyes. It was usual 
for high-class ladies to use missfa 2 3 for blackening between the 
teeth, and antimony for darkening their eyelashes. Zeb-un-nisa, 
who did not use these toilet accessories, was considered a surpris- 
ing exception. 204 They made strings or collars of sweet flowers 
and wore them about their necks. Indian women frequently used 
mehndi to give red colour to their hands and feet. 205 It served as 
a nail polish to redden their finger-nails. They reddened their 
lips with the betel leaf which served them as a lip-stick. 206 There 
is also a reference to the use of gulguna and ghaza (red colour) 
for painting their faces. 

Spectacles called upalocanagolaka or upanetra in Sans- 
krit were used not only among the upper classes but also by the 
middle classes. Perhaps the first reference to the. spectacles is to 
be found in a Gujarati poem "Casimasabda-Satarthi-Svadh- 
yaya" composed by Somavimalasuri, a Jain poet of Ahemdabad 
in about 1576 A.D. The word used here is chasima or chasma 
which is derived from Persian chashm meaning an eye. It 
would, therefore, seem that it was introduced in India by Persian 
and Arab travellers who brought European merchandise to 
India. 207 

Various ornaments, such as nose-rings, ear-rings, etc., 
adorned their lovely faces. Beautiful and well-adapted robes 
made them attractive. Orme, with many others, corroborates : 
"Nature seems to have showered beauty on the fairer sex 
throughout ladostan with a more lavish hand than in most 
other countries." 208 

Women's ornaments 

The love of ornaments prompted by vanity is inherent in 
the human race. A primitive instinct is to make one's person 


more beautiful and imposing by ornamentation. Jewellery is 
not worn only for the purpose of attracting attention, but it 
satisfies the desire not less deep-rooted in humanity of establish- 
ing a distinctive mark of sex, rank and dignity. In India, the 
use of ornaments has a religious significance both among 
Hindus and Muslims. It is, for instance, a common belief of 
the Hindus that at least a speck of gold must be worn upon 
one's person to ensure ceremonial purity, but for the Muslims 
these stones and settings have a magico-religious significance. 209 
They (Muhammadans) would inscribe on their amulets in 
Arabic characters the names of the Most High as Hindus 
draw and venerate the Swastika. 

The Indian woman has always been anxious to adorn 
even load herself with a large variety of bulky ornaments. 210 
There was no departure from the traditional custom during the 
Mughal period. 211 All the travellers agree, and this is confirmed 
by our experience, that ornaments were "the very joy of their 
hearts." 212 They would deny themselves other necessities but 
would not forgo ornaments. It would, however, be a surprise 
to an Indian of the medieval age to note that in the 20th 
century our women have practically given up wearing ornaments, 
but they are still fond of -possessing them. Ornaments had to 
be totally abandoned when a woman unfortunately became a 
widow. 213 

Ladies were accustomed to the use of ornaments from 
their very childhood. * The ears of both sexes and the noses of 
girls only were pierced through at a very tender age. Orna- 
ments of gold, silver or brass, according to the means of the 
parents, were thrust through the pierced holes which grew 
wider and wider with age. 214 Every child was adorned with 
a silver or gold chain with bells tied round the waist and 
anklets round the legs. 215 

Ladies bedecked every limb of their bodies from head to 
foot with different types of ornaments. Abul Fazl enumerates 
37 in his list in the Ain. Of the 5 ornaments allotted to the 
head, chauk, called sisphul by Abul Fazl, was a raised bell- 
shaped piece of gold or silver, hollow, and embellished from 
inside with attachments fastened to the hair over the crown 
of the head. 216 

Mang was worn on the parting of the hair to add to its 


beauty. Some adorned their heads with bodkins studded with 
diamonds. Kothiladar was perhaps the modern chandraman 
worn on the forehead consisting of fine bands and a long centre- 
drop. According to Manucci, "there hangs down from the 
middle of their head in the centre of their forehead a bunch of 
pearls or precious ornaments of the shape of star, 217 sun or 
moon or flower 218 beset with glittering jewels." 219 On the right 
side of the star they wore a little round ornament set with a 
ruby with two pearls on either side. Sekra, or shikhara, 
mainly used in the marriage ceremony and on other special 
occasions, consisted of seven or more strings of pearls linked to 
studs and hung from the forehead in such a manner as to 
conceal the face. 220 Binduli was another ornament meant for 
the forehead. Pendants were often worn in the ears. Usually 
made of gold, silver or copper, they hung down from the ears 
almost touching the shoulders. 221 Karnphul (shaped like the 
flower magrela), pipal patti (crescent-shaped), mor bhanwar 
(shaped like a peacock), ball or vali (a circlet) were the different 
forms of ear-rings. Usually one big and several smaller rings 
were worn on each ear. 222 Champakali usually adorned the 
shell of the ear. 

Nose-ornaments were unknown in India up to the early 
medieval period. 223 It seems quite certain that this fashion was 
brought into India by the Muhammadan invaders from the 
north-west. Even after its introduction, nose-ornaments were 
neither in general use in the country nor in the Imperial harems, 
as is clear from the Persian miniature paintings. 224 

However, it soon became the fashion to put on gold rings 
ornamented with gems, called nath^ and besar. The former, 
worn in the nostril, had a ruby between two jewels ; besar was 
a broad piece of gold with a jewel attached to its upper end 
and at the other end was a gold wire clasped on to the pearl 
and suspended from the nose. The more fashionable ones used a 
gold or silver nose-pin, 226 of the shape of laimg or a flower-bud 
a small stud of a single diamond or ruby fixed at the corner 
of the left nostril, 227 which enhanced the beauty of the face. 

Around the neck were worn necklaces of gold, pearls 
and other precious stones which contained five to seven strings 
of gold beads. 228 Another form of necklace called haar was a 
string of pearls interconnected by golden roses which came 


down almost to the stomach. Its centre contained a pendant 
made of diamonds or other precious stones. 229 Guluband con- 
sisted of five or seven rose-shaped buttons of gold strung on 
to silk and worn round the neck. 230 

Arms without ornaments were considered a bad omen. 
The upper part of the arm above the elbow was ornamented 
by an armlet, called bazuband, usually two inches wide, inlaid 
with jewels, diamonds, etc. with a bunch of pearls hung down. 231 
Tad was a hollow circle worn on the arm just below the bazu- 
band. Gajrah, a bracelet made of gold or pearls, adorned their 
wrists. Kangan was a variety of the bracelet, surmounted with 
small knobs. 232 Jawe, consisting of five barley corns of gold 
strung on silk, was fastened on each wrist, They decorated 
their wrist up to the elbow with bracelets called churis, usually 
10 or 12 in number on each arm. 233 Baku was like the churl, 
but was smaller. They covered their fingers with ri ngs, usually 
one for each ; the rich studded them with diamonds and sap- 
phires. 234 One of these put on the right thumb was fitted with 
a looking-glass, called arsi^ 

Chhudr khantika was an ornamental waist-band fitted with 
gold bells. Kati mekhala was another form of gold belt which 
was highly decorative. 236 Rings (usually of silver) were worn 
on toes and fingers, 237 Three gold rings called jehar served 
as ankle ornaments. Payal, the ornament of the legs, called 
khal khal in Arabic, was commonly used. It produced an 
agreeable jingling sound when its wearer moved about. 238 
Ghungru, consisting of small gold bells, usually six on each 
ankle and strung upon silk, were worn between the jehar and 
khal khal , 239 Bhank and bichhwah were the ornaments used 
for the instep. Anwat was the ornament to decorate the big 
toe. The large number of ornaments worn on their feet did 
not permit wearing a shoe and consequently it was dispensed 
with. 240 

Men's ornaments 

Men were not accustomed to so much ornamentation as 
women. Muslims were usually against it except that some of 
them put on amulets. Hindus, on the other hand, adorned 
themselves with ear and finger rings. 241 Rajputs 242 considered 
it a mark of dignity and nobility to put on ear-rings and 


bracelets at their elbows. Even common people among the 
Hindus wore ornaments if they could afford. All the Mughal 
kings except Aurangzeb adorned themselves with all possible 
jewellery on important occasions. Sir Thomas Roe relates that 
Jahangir on his birthday appeared highly attired and laden with 
ornaments of all sorts : 

"His turban was plumed with heron's feathers ; on one 
side was a ruby as big as walnut ; on the other side was 
a large diamond ; in the centre was a large emerald, 
shaped like a heart. His sash was wreathed with a chain 
of pearls, rubies and diamonds. His neck-chain con- 
sisted of three double strings of pearls. He wore armlets 
set with diamonds on his elbows ; he had three rows of 
diamonds on his wrists ; he had rings on nearly every 
finger.' ' 2 *> 

Ornaments were usually made of gold or silver but those 
who could not afford them contented themselves with less costly 
metals or substances. 244 Samuel Purchas also mentions the use 
of copper, glass, and tortoise-shell to manufacture these orna- 
ments. 245 According to Abul Fazl, ornaments were also made 
of a special kind of stone found near Rajgarh in Bihar. 246 
Thevenot 247 and Linschoten 248 found that elephants' tusks or 
ivory was much used in India, especially in Rajasthan and 
Cambay where women wore "maniUas or arm-bracelets made 
of it." 249 Churls (bracelets) and rings made of gainda were 
highly esteemed. 250 The women of Bengal prized the use of 
mother-of-pearl in the preparation of bracelets. 251 The rural 
people satisfied themselves with necklaces made of cloves 252 
and of baser metals. 

Goldsmiths were always at work designing beautiful pat- 
terns. Abul Fazl says that the fee of a skilful artificer was 64 
darns for each tola. 253 Gujarati Hindus were famous for their 
workmanship in gold and silver, and according to Manucci, 
the dealers who "give the orders for this class of work go them- 
selves or send agents to the diamond mines, to the kingdom of 
Pegu, to the Pescaria Coast or other places to buy the precious 
stones they required." 254 The artificers of Cambodia were re- 
puted for their skill in making bracelets of elephants' tusks. 255 



1. Orme's Fragments, p. 410. 

2. Rankings' Historical Researches, p. 226. 

3. Pyrard. II, p. 137. 

4. Pyrard, I, p. 376. 

5. Delia Valle, p. 23. 

6. For dresses of nobles refer to various paintings of the 
period. "Portrait of Raja Birbal," No. 642, 1.A.E., lent by 
Bharat Kala Bhawan, depicts the Raja putting on a jama 
having five sides. A painting, No. 61 0, I.A.E. lent by 
Indian Museum, Calcutta, of Jahangir's period, depicts a 
courtier putting on a turban, jama, kamarband, breeches 
of yellow colour and flowery chappals having no back flaps. 
Paintings numbered 603, 635, and 643, I.A.E., depict 
various nobles in their attires. All these nobles put on 
ornaments as pendants, necklaces, bazubands, etc. They 
also carry swords and daggers. 

7. Delia Valle, p. 456. 

8. Mandelslo, p. 64. Some of the Mughal nobles, as Mirza 
Abu Syed, grandson of Itmad-ud-Daulah, were very fasti- 
dious about their dress. Abu Syed would spend so much 
time in arranging his turban that by the time he was 
ready, the darbar would be over. Maasir-ul Umra (trans.), 
Vol. I, p. 141. 

9. Ovington, p. 320. 

10. Mandelslo, p. 63. 

11. M.A., Trans. Talab (Urdu), p. 111. 

12. Badaoni, II, p. 306. ; Tr. 5 II, p. 316. 

13. Ibid. Haji Ibrahim of Sirhind was called a wretch by Mir 
Ali, because the former had issued a fatwa legalising the 
use of garments of red and yellow colour. Badaoni, II, 
p. 210;Tr.,II, p. 214. 

14. For a contemporary painting of ascetics see "Assembly of 
Darveshas" Mughal, second quarter of 17th century, lent 
by Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay, No. 616, I.A.E. 

14 + . Karim, A., Social History of the Muslims in Bengal, 
Dacca, 1959, p. 193. 

15. According to Guru Nanak, a yogi weareth ear-rings, a 
patched coat, carrieth a wallet, a staff and deer's horn. 
Macauliffe, I, p. 162. 



16. Bernier, (1891), p. 341. 

17. Qanoon-i-Humayun, p. 50. 

18. .4&i, I, (1873), p. 88. 

19. Badaoni, II, pp. 260-61 ; Tr. 5 II, p. 268. 

20. Monserrate, p. 198 ; Delia Valle (pp. 456-57) saw the king 
adorned with many precious jewels. 

21. First Christian Mission to the Great Mogul, p. 62. 

22. Roe's Embassy, (1926), pp. 283-84. Also see Manrique, 
II, p. 198. 

23. A long coat without sleeves worn over qaba and coming 
down to the thighs. 

24. Coat with a folded collar and embroidered sleeves. 

25. Ain 9 I, (1873), pp. 88-90. 

26. Painting No. 620 of 1650 A.D. in I.A.E., lent by Prince 
of Wales Museum, Bombay, shows clearly the dress usually 
worn by Shahjahan. 

27. "Alamgir at the Siege of Golkunda" lent by the Rampur 
State Library, painted by Nadir-uz-Zamani, in early 18th 
century, shows Aurangzeb dressed in military fashion. 

28. Am, I, (1873), pp. 88-90. 

29. Mandelslo, p. 64. 

30. Ain,I 9 (1873), p. 90. 

31. Hamilton, I (New Edition), p. 163 ; Pyrard, I, p. 372 ; II, 
p. 137 ; Delia Valle, pp. 410-11 ; Thevenot, Chap. XX, 
pp. 36-37 ; Ovington, p. 315. Painting No. 550 of 1500 
A.D., I.A.E., lent by Sri Ajit Ghose of Calcutta, further 
illustrates the style of breeches adopted in Mughal days. 

32. Sadshanama, I, Pt. II, p. 273. 

33. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 36. 

34. In recent times the long shirt has been discarded in Bengal 
and a short one known as the panjabi has been universally 

35. Pyrard, I, p. 332. 

36. Varthema, p. 46. 

37. Mandelslo, p. 51. 

38. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 36. Dagla has also been referred 
to as an overcoat used during winter. J.P.A.S.B., 1935, 1, 
p. 275. 

39. Thevenot, p. 37. 

40. Bella Valle, p. 410. His description, though detailed, is 



confusing. Pyrard (I, p. 332) and Thevenot compare it to 
a frock and a gown respectively. Travels in India in the 
17th Century (Trubner, London, 1873); Mandelslo, p. 51 ; 
Hamilton, (New Edition), I, p. 164 ; Ovington, p. 315; 
Storia, III, p. 39 ; Stavorinus, I, pp. 414-15. 

41. Hamilton, (New Edition) I, p. l64;Storia, II, p. 122; 
Ovington, p. 314. According to Linschoten (I, p. 247), it 
was considered dignified to tie only the first and the last of 
the ribbons of the qaba while the others were left hanging. 
Stavorinus, I, pp. 414-15. 

42. Thevenot, Chapter XX, p. 37. Also see Saletore, Social 
and Political Life in Vijayanagar Empire, op. cit., Vol. II, 
p. 301, for dress of nobles in Vijayanagar. 

43. Pyrard, I, p. 372. Delia Valle (pp. 410-12) rightly calls it 
kamarband. Manrique, II, pp. 223-24. Hindus preferred 
kamarband of white muslin (Storia, III, p. 39). 

44. Mandelslo, p. 63 ; Stavorinus, I, p. 457. 

45. Pyrard, I, p. 372. 

46. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 21 6. 

47. Mandelslo, p. 51 ; Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

48. Storia, HI, p. 39. 

49. Abul Fazl describes langota as a waist-cloth which covers 
only two parts of the body (Ain, III, p. 274). For the 
dress of a yogi refer to Macauliffe, I, p. 1 62. 

50. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 216. 

51. B.N. (Bev), p. 519. See painting of a poor kisan clad in 
langota "Harvest Scene" early 17th century, I.A.E., paint- 
ing No. 602, lent by Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay. 

52. Am, II, p. 102. Muslims call it a lungi. Badshahnama I, 
Pt. II, p. 273. 

53. T.A.,U 9 p. 100, 

54. Caemoes in Canto VII, Est. XXXVII, quoted in India in 
Protuguese Literature, p. 52, says : "They go unclothed, 
but a wrap they throw for decent purposes round their 
loin and waist." Early Travels in India, p. 17 ; Tavernier, 
II, p. 125 ; Stavorinus, I, p. 414. 

55. Ain, II, p. 351 ; J.U.P. Hist. Soc. 9 July 1942, pp. 68-69. 

56. Iqbainama-i-Jahangiri, (Urdu), p. 106. 

57. Varthema, p. 45. 

. 58. J.U.P. Hist. Soc, July 1942, pp. 68-69. 


59. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 91; Petermundy, II, pp. 
110-11; J.U.P.ffist. Soc. 9 July 1942, pp. 68-69. Man- 
delslo, p. 53, describes turban as a "coissure". De Laet, 
pp. 80-81, wrongly calls it a shash. It is interesting to note 
in this connection that among the conditions imposed 
by the Muhammadan conquerors over the Malayali Sudras 
(living between Varkala and Vilavankod) was covering of 
heads by males (V. Nigam Aiya : The Travancore State 
Manual pp. 312-13). 

60. De Laet, pp. 80-81. 

61. Pyrard, II, p. 137. Several modes of binding turbans in 
vogue at that time can be seen in a big painting (about 2J 
yards in length and one yard in breadth) of the 17th 
century "Abdullah Qutab Shah in Procession," I.A.E. The 
finest muslin known as malmal-i-shahi came from Bengal. 
Extract from Mohit, The Ocean, a Turkish work by Sidi 
AH Capudan (1554 A.D.) ; Foreign Notices of South 
India by N.A.K. Sastri, Appendix IV, p. 317. 

62. Mandelslo, p. 53 ; Travels in India in the 17th Century, 
p. 317. 

63. Muslins manufactured in Bengal were so fine that a piece 
of 20 yards in length and even longer could be enclosed in 
a common pocket tobacco-box (usually eight inches long 
and four inches broad and an inch deep), Stavorinus, I, 
pp. 413-14. Also see Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

64. Mandelslo, p. 64 ; Travels in India in the 17th Century, 
p. 450 ; Delia Valle, pp. 410-12 ; Bernier, p. 240. 

65. Varthema, p. 45. 

66. Ain, I, pp. 88-89 ; Studies in Indo-Muslim History by S.H. 
Hodivala, p. 504 ; Mandelslo, p. 63 ; Thevenot, III, p. 36 ; 
Ovington, p. 314. Muslim ascetics wore a tall darvesh cap 
as is the custom even now. 

67. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 91. It remained the usual 
head-dress of Muhammadans round about Murshidabad 
down to the recent times. 

68. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

69. Bernier, p. 240. 

70. M.^., Trans. Talab (Urdu), p. III. Ovington is of the 
opinion that "the length of their breeches which descend 



to their heels serve them instead of stockings." Ovington, 
p. 315. 

71. Pyrard, II, p. 137. 

72. Ibid. 

73. Travels in India of Roe and Samuel Pur chas, p. 96. 

74. Stavorinus, I, pp. 414-15. 

75. DeLaet, pp. 80-81. 

76. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

77. Mandelslo, p. 51. 

78. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37, refers to banias in particular. 

79. Pyrard, I, p.376. 

80. Mandelslo, p. 51. Wooden shoes (kharawari) are parti- 
cularly used by the sannyasis and orthodox members of the 
priestly classes who have an aversion to animal-leather. 
In villages these are most commonly used. 

81. Pyrard, I, p. 376. 

82. Mandelslo, p. 74. Linschoten (Hak. Soc. I. p. 257) also 
refers to "alparcas" sandal which was quite popular 
according to the traveller in the Deccan. 

83. Ovington, pp. 314-15. 

84. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

85. Ovington, p. 38. 

86. Mandelslo, p. 51. 

87. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

88. Storiajll, p. 39. 

89. Mandelslo, p. 51. 

90. Varthema, p. 48. 

91. For the dress of Rajput ladies refer- to Tod (Crookes) II, 
pp. 58-59. 

92. Tavernier, II, p. 125. 

93. Am, III, pp. 311-12. 

94. B.N., p. 519. Also see Ghurye, Indian Costumes, p. 16. 

95. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. See a painting of the ,17th 
century depicting a woman wearing a sari. 

96. Grose, I, p. 143. 

97. Storia, II, p. 341. 

98. K.A.N, Sastri, A History of South India, p. 314. 

99. Am (Sarkar), III, pp. 322-23. 

100. Ferishta, II, p. 100. Fitch saw women in Tanda, Sonar- 
gabn, etc., all naked except a cloth round the waist. Fitch 


in Early Travels in India, pp. 22, 29. For observations of 
an early Arab traveller, Abu Zaid, refer to K.A.N. Sa'stri, 
Foreign Notices of South India, p. 128. For dress of 
ladies of Vijayanagar refer to Saletore, Social and Political 
Life in Vijayanagar, Vol. II, pp. 178-79. 

101. Ain,ll,p. 126. 

102. Ain,TH 9 pp. 311-12. 

103. Stavorinus, I, p. 415. 

104. Grose, I, pp. 142-43. 

105. Stavorinus, I, p. 415. 

106. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 384. 

107. For a beautiful shirt worn by rich ladies, see Art. No. 704, 
I.A.E. It is embroidered with peacock and floral sprays 
in yellow field and floral meanders on edges, effective 
colour scheme. Kutch, end of the 18th century. Painting 
No. 670, I.A.E. shows a woman in ghagra. 

108. Storia, II, p. 341. 

109. Delia Valle, p. 411. 

110. Mandelslo, p. 50, remarks that it came down to the feet. 
It seems exaggerated. 

111. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

112. Ain, I, (1873), p. 90. 

113. Storia, II, p. 341. 

114. Hamilton, I, p. 164. 

115. Storia, II, p. 341. 

116. History of Jahangir, p. 183; K.K., I, p. 269; Ain,I 9 
(1873), p. 510. 

117. Ain, I, (1873), p. 90. 

1 1 8. Mandelslo, p. 64. 

119. Delia Valle (p. 401) says they were made of white calicoes. 

120. Hamilton, I, p. 164; De Laet, pp. 80-81 ; Mandelslo, 
p. 50 ; Tavernier, III, p. 181. 

121. Grose, I, p. 143. 

122. Humayunnama, Gul, p. 138. 

123. Storia, II, p. 341. Painting No. 650, I.A.E., 18th century, 
shows Rupmati wearing a turban. See another painting 
of "Chand Bibi and Her Maidens" Deccani, early 17th 
century, No. 659, I.A.E. in which are seen some of these 
maidens with turbans on. 

124. Storia, II, p. 40. 



125. Ibid. 

126. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

127. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 384. 

128. See I.A.E., Painting No. 519 of 1720 A.D. 

129. See Atha Kesaranjanam Slokas 3055-3072, Ed. Peterson, 
Vol. I, Bombay, 1888. In the Tamil Kavyas Manimekalai, 
Silapvadikaram, and Perunkadai cosmetics have been 
treated as a standardised art. Journal of Sri Venkatesvara 
Oriental Institute, Vol. VII, 1946, pp. 22-23. Also see an 
article on "Toilet" in Indian Culture, 1934-35 for various 
hair-dyes and prescriptions for cure of baldness, etc. Also 
see Amir Khusrau's ridicule of the dyeing of hair. Matla- 
ul- Anwar of Amir Khusrau, Lucknow, 1884. 

130. A liquid soap. Ain 9 I, (1873), p. 75. 

131. It is rubbed over face and other parts of the body to clean 
and make them look brighter and lovely. Usually its 
composition is scented-oil mixed with butter, flour and 
some colour. 

132. A Collection of Voyages undertaken by the East India 
Co., p. 218 ; Ain, I, (1873), pp. 75-76. 

133. The Commercial Production of India, 1908, p. 819. 
Dalgado records the names for soap in Asiatic languages 
including Indian vernaculars and other languages as sabun 
(Persian), sabon (Arabic), sabun (Turkish), etc. Influence 
of Portuguese Vocables in Asiatic Languages (G.O. Series, 
Baroda, 1936), pp. 314-15. 

134. Madhyayugina Chart tra Kosa by Chitray, p. 483 
Nanak ; Kohli, S. S., A Critical Study of Adi Granth 
New Delhi, 1961, p. 131. Visva-Bharati Annals, Vol. I, 
1945, p. 122. Also see Rashid, A., Society and Culture 
in Medieval India, p. 55, 

Indian Companion by G. H. Khendekar, Poona. 1824. 
Loner is in the Buldana district of Berar. 
Ibid, p. 169. Mekhar is 14 miles from Buldana. 

137. Ain, Gladwin, I, p. 348. 

138. MS. in India Office, No. 197, of B.M. Solan, MS. Bocarro 
XIII, p. 588. Marathi poet Muktesvara (1599-1649 
A.D.) refers to the word saban. Art. in Poona Orienta- 
list, July to October 1946, Vol. XI, Nos. 3 to 4 

139. Ain, I, (1837), pp. 75-77. 




140. A falroj containing amber, pearls, gold, opium and other 
stimulants. Pelsaert's India, p. 65. 

141. A product of zabad, musk and agar. 

142. T.A., II, p. 494. 

143. Pelsaert's India; p. 65. Barbosa refers to the liberal use 
of white sandal-wood, aloes, camphor, musk and saffron, 
all ground fine and treated with rose-water, by the people 
of the South. Barbosa, I, pp. 205-7, quoted in Saletore, 
Social and Political Life in Vijayanagar Empire, Vol. II, 
p. 303. 

144. Tuzuk, Rogers, I, p. 271. Waqyat-i-Jahangiri mentions 
that Nurjahan's mother conceived the idea of collecting 
the oil by heating rose-water and the experiment was 
successful. According to Manucci, Nurjahan got all the 
reservoirs in the garden filled with rose-water. Next day 
she found a film of oil had come over its top and had a 
very sweet smell. Storia I, pp. 163-64. 

145. R. &B.,I, p. 271. 

146. Monserrate, p. 160. 

147. Ain, II, p. 243. 

148. Purchas, II, p. 66 ; and for Cambaya, Thevenot, p. 12. 
149 Pyrard, I, p. 243. 

150. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 63. 

151. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 447 ; Storia, II, 
p. 430. 

152. Ain, II, p. 126. 

153. Ain, I, p. 75. Gandhasara of Gangadhara and Gandha- 
vada with Marathi commentary describe in detail the 
method of preparing Champaka oil and Champaka flower 
was used in the manufacture of oils, powders, etc. 
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Vol. VI, 1945, p. 155. 

154. Barbosa, I, pp. 113, 141. 

155. Pelsaert's India, p. 65. 

156. Product of civet, chuwah, chambeli's essence and rose- 

157. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 447 ; Ain, I, 
(1873), p. 81. 

158. Ain, I, (1873), p. 75. In Tamil medical treatises, applica- 
tion of collyrium to the eyes once in every three days and 
oil- bath once in four days was prescribed for the main- 


tenance of healthy life. J. Venkatesvara Oriental Insti- 
tute, Vol. VII, 1946, p. 25. 

159. History of Hindi Literature by Keay, p. 75. 

160. Delia Valle, p. 376. He adds : "But they let the hair of 
their chins grow long and large which make many grey- 
bearded amongst them." 

161. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 180 ; Careri, 
pp. 205-6. 

162. Ain, I, (1873), p. 72. 

163. Badaoni, III, p. 315 ; Tr., Ill, p. 436. 

164. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 447. Padmavat 
translation by Grierson, p. 42. Here the reference 
is to a mirror in the hand of Nagamati. The price of a 
looking-glass has been mentioned as 5 by Hamilton. 
Hamilton I, p. 119. Tabqat,II,p. 685 also refers to a 
mirror made by Mir Fathullah Shirazi. 

165. Storia, III, p. 38. 

166. Grose, I, pp. 113-14, 

167. Cikitsasthana, Chap. XXIV, Eng. translation by K.L. 
Visagratna. Article in Indian Culture, "Toilet", pp. 
651-66, by G.P. Majumdar. 

168. Khuddaka Patha with commentary Smith P.T.S., 1951, 
pp. 1-37. 

169. Ain 9 m, pp. 311-12. 

170. Careri, p. 168; Badaoni, III, p. 300; Tr, III, p. 414. 
Tavernier's remarks are worth quoting : "It is the custom 
of Indians to cleanse and scrape their tongues every morn- 
ing with a crooked piece of a root (datan) which causes 
them to void a great quantity of flegm and rhume, and 
provokes vomiting." Tavernier, Chap, VI, p. 44. 

171. Mandelslo, p. 85. 

172. Ain,IU, pp. 311-12. 

173. A.N., III, p. 257 ; Tr., Ill, p. 373. 

174. Mandelslo, p. 36. A New History of East Indies, I, p. 298. 
For a public-bath scene (Bihizad 1495) see plate XVII in 
"Influence of Islam on Indian Culture." Warm baths were 
resorted to by upper classes in northern India. Nicolo 
Conti in Travels in India in the 15th Century 9 p. 29. 

175. "Both Moors and Gentoos are, however, extremely fond 
of this practice and it is so common that it would be hard 



to find a barber-native who is not skilled in it as one of the 
essentials of that profession." Grose I, pp. 113-14. For 
a detailed description see Ibid. 

176. Mandelslo, p. 45. 

177. Mukundram mentions ghani or the oil-pressing machine. 
Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 158. 

178. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 450. 

179. Delia Valle, pp 376-77. 

180. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p 450. 

181. Delia Valle, pp. 376-77. In fact these were made of brass 
or gem. India began to import foreign European glasses 
from 1550 A.D. onwards. Journal Bharatiya Vidya, VII, 
p. 159. 

182. Grose I, pp. 113-14. 

183. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 450. 

184. Ovington, p.321. 

185. Barbosa, I, p. 113. "Hindus shave the whole head except 
a tuft around the crown." De Laet, p. 80. 

186. Mandelslo, p. 63; Pyrard, I, p. 280. For the style of 
qalams see painting No. 606, Jahangir period, 1625, 
Treasury wala collection, Vol. I, No. 1, p. 56, lent by 
C.A.A. Museum. See painting No. 401 of Maharaja 
Gaj Singh (1700 A.D.). The orthodox Aurangzeb, accord- 
ing to Manucci, posted barbers and tailors at the gate of 
the royal palace to cut off the extra length of beard and 
pyjamas not approved of by the Shariat. Stona, II, 
pp. 7-8. 

187. Mandelslo, p. 50. For the observation of an Arab traveller, 
Abu Zaid, a few centuries before our period, refer to K.A. 
Nilkanta Sastri, Foreign Notices of South India, Uni- 
versity of Madras, 1939, pp. 126-27. 

188. It is made with water and sandal-wood to which they add 
4 or 5 grams of rice. Mandelslo, p. 51. Early Travels 
in India, p. 96. Travels in India in the 17th Century ; 
p. 447. 

189. B.N., p. 561, f.n. 

190. Mandelslo, p. 51. 

191. For photo of a woman at her toilet see Civilization of 
India Series, p. 384. For contemporary paintings of 
ladies at toilet see "A lady at the toilet with attendant," 



painting No. 514, T.A.E., early 18th century. Another 
numbered 505, 1.A.E. is of late 17th century. 

192. Canto XXIII of Padmavat from J.A.S.B., 1893, Part I, 
p. 179, Article by G. A. Grierson on Padmavat. 

193. Tamil Kavyas, Salamadikahan and Parunkadai, make 
mention of 64 arts in which the courtesans of those days 
were well versed. 

194. After oil-bath, the women in the South cleaned the body 
with a paste prepared out of the dried-flower petals of 
vellilottiram compounded with sandal-wood pulp. There 
are frequent references to the use of turmeric by the 
women of all classes of Tamilian society. Journal of 
Venkatesvara Oriental Institute, Vol. VII, 1946, pp. 29-32. 
For Tamilian cosmetics refer to Ibid. 

195. For women bathing, 17th century- Bodelian MS., Plate 
LXXIII. The Arts and Crafts of India and Pakistan by 
Shanti Swamp, Taraporevala, Bombay, 1957. 

196. Storia, III, p. 40. In most of the paintings of the period 
the well-to-do women are shown to dress their hair as to 
let some curled hair hang loose before the ear. Painting 
No. 633, 1.A.E., late 17th century, lent by Rampur State 

197. Travels in India in the 17th Century p. 182. 

198. Travels of Nicoloa Coate in India in the 15th Century, 
p. 23. 

199. Saletore, Social and Political Life in the Vijayanagar 
Empire, Vol. II, p. 302. 

200. Mandelslo, p. 50. He praises the Gujarat! ladies for their 
long hair. 

201. Early Travels in India by Foster, p. 22 ; Padmavat, trans- 
lation by Grierson, p. 52, f.n. 

202. Journal of Venkatesvara Oriental Institute, Vol. VII, 1946, 
pp. 25-26. 

203. Padmavat, translation by Grierson, p. 569. 

204. Dastur-ul-Amal, p. 14, in Diwan of Zeb-un-Nisa by 
Magan Lai, Introduction, p. 8. 

205. Leaves of a plant pounded and formed into a paste by 
mixing with water. Storia, II, p. 340. In the South, the 
women used alattakam to add reddish charm to their feet. 


Journal of Venkatesvara Oriental Institute, Vol. VII, 1946, 
p. 28. 

206. The ingredients of the betel in the South were, tailed 
pepper, cardamam, clove, nutmeg, medicated camphor 
which yield a reddish tinge to the lips. Tamilian Cos- 
metics., Journal of Venkatesvara Oriental Institute, Vol. 
VII, 1946, p. 33. Majith is the dark red madder-dye. 
Panmavat, p. 107, f.n. Amir Khusrau rebukes the middle- 
aged women who tried hard to retain their diminishing 
beauty by painting their eyebrows, powdering their faces 
and putting antimony in their eyes. Mat la-ul- Anwar of 
Amir Khusrau, 1884, pp. 186, 194. 

207. For details refer to Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental 
Research Institute, Vol. XXXI, 1950. pp. 285-86. 

208. Orme's Fragments, p. 438 ; Pyrard, I, pp. 380, 332. 

209. "The primary intention in wearing ornaments is to secure 
protection against evil eye." Herklots 5 Islam in India, 
p. 313. 

210. For ornaments of women and their photos see Rothfeed's 
Women of India, pp. 189-94. Also see Indian Jewellery., 
by Col. Hendley. A painting of the late 17th century and 
numbered 633, I.A.E., lent by Rarnpur State Library 
shows "A lady seated on a terrace." She is adorned with 
all possible jewellery. For another painting see a painting 
numbered 510 1.A.E. "Nayika Subject", 1720 A.D. Another 
painting numbered 514 I.A.E. may also be mentioned. 

211. Ovington, p. 320. 

212. Ovington, p. 320; First Englishmen in India, p. 76; 
Storia, III, p. 40. 

213. Storia,lll, p. 40. 

214. Terry in Early Travels, p. 323 ; Storia, III, p. 40. 

215. Samuel Purchas' India, p. 76. 

216. Ain, III, (J. N. Sarkar), p. 343. 

217. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 384. 

218. Storia, II, pp. 339-40. 

219. Ovington, p. 320. 

220. Ain, III, pp. 313-14. For a list of 37 ornaments as 
narrated by Abul Fazl see Ain, II, pp. 314-16. 

221. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 384 ; Ovington, 
p. 320. 


222. Hamilton, I, p. 163 ; Thevenot, III, Chap. XX, p. 37. 

223. There is no reference to nath or nose-ornaments in the 
pre-Muslim literature. All paintings and sculptures of 
the Hindu period totally ignore this ornament. J.P.A.S.B. 
(N.S.), XXIII, 1927, pp. 295-96. 

224. The paintings in the Razm Namah in Jaipur State 
Library show no nose-ornaments. J.P.A.S.B. (N.S.), 
XXIII, article of N.B. Divatia on nose-ornaments. 

225. Thevenot, Chap. XX, p. 37 ; De Laet, p. 81 ; Mandelslo, 
p. 50. In some contemporary paintings ladies are depicted 
without nose-ornaments as shown in number 409 I.A.E., 
while in others (numbered 519 and 514 I.A.E.), the ladies 
are shown without naths in their noses. 

226. Petermundy, II, p. 192. 

227. Ain, III, pp. 312-14 ; Indian Jewellery by Col. Hendley, 
p. 84, Plate 63. 

228. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 184. 

229. Ain, III, p. 313 ; Storia, II, pp. 339-40. 

230. Pyrard, I, p. 380. 

231. Storia, II, p. 340. 

232. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 184. 

233. First Englishmen in India, p. 76 ; Pyrard, I, p. 377. 
234 Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 184. 

235. Storia, II, p. 340 ; Thevenot, XX, pp. 37-38. 

236. Am, III, p. 313. 

237. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 184. The prohibition 
against wearing gold upon the feet was in vogue among 
the Hindus in all parts of the country. Women in India, 
p. 191. 

238. Hamilton, I, p. 163. They put on their legs valuable 
metal rings. Storia, II, p. 340. Thomas Herbert's Travels, 
p. 38. 

239. Ain,lll,p. 313. 

240. Fitch in Early Travels, p. 223 ; Ovington, p. 320 describes 
a lady fully loaded with ornaments. 

241. Ain, II. p. 126; Pyrard, I, p. 372 ; Hamilton, I, p. 163. 
On special occasions Hindus liked to put on necklaces. 

242. Rajput paintings and their traditions corroborate it. There 
is an unfinished drawing of a darb'ar of Shahjahan in 
British Museum by Anuj Chaton. Here we see a young 



Rajput wearing pearls in his ears. Proceedings of the 
Indian History Congress, Second Session, Allahabad, 
1938, p. 346. 

243. Quoted in Indian Jewellery, pp. 10-11. For the orna- 
ments worn by Akbar and Aurangzeb refer Ibid. 

244. Bernier, p. 224. 

245. Purchas' India, p. 10. 

246. Am, II, p. 152. The stone resembles marble, 

247. Thevenot, p. 12. 

248. Linschoten, II, p. 3. 

249. Hamilton, I, p. 129. 

250. Petermundy, IL pp. 171-72. 

251. Linschoten, II, p. 136. 

252. Pelsaert's India, p. 25. 

253. Am, III, p. 314. According to Stavorinus (Vol. I, 
pp. 412-13), these goldsmiths were taken from the market 
to the customer's house where they worked sometimes on 
daily wages, but usually charged according to labour and 

254. Storia, II, pp. 339-40. 

255. Purchas, His Pilgrimes, X, p. 93. These bracelets were also 
called mawn. 


Diet, Tastes and Intoxicants 

Restrictions on meat diet 

dish with the latter, was abhorred by 
central and southern provinces on sr, . 
Pelsaert's remark that "they (HindJknou "S ^ S 
meat" and "never take any th ng ^ hi Wood- T f 

seems to 

as sacred.' Humayun gave un t fl ^ ? " y regarded 

months from the date oThis "tart "^ ^ 80nM 

re-conquest of In dia untfl hi 

have been of the comMm 

food for devoui ^ person 1 

" only occasionally to "conform to T ***** "* t0 k 
Later on, according to Bal oni ^ T f *" ^'" 
meat altogether and would imt t,T Em Peror gave up 

Though very fond of fllh L, ? ^ garh ' C and anions ' 9 
his father to a certato /,t T^,^ Up the traditions f 
animals on Sunda 8 ' ^ the sla ^er of 


Sweet, Fruits and Drinks 

^ Muslim, cooked and 



the markets of big cities like Delhi, Lahore and Agra. 12 
Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of several kinds 
were always kept ready for customers. 13 Manrique and 
Bernier have described these bakers* shops, and the things 
available there. An entire street in Agra was occupied by 
skilful sweetmeat-sellers "who proved their skill by offering, 
wonderful sweet-scented dainties of all kinds which would 
stimulate the most jaded appetite to gluttony." 14 

Muslim nobles were accustomed to sumptuous meals*. 
Normally, if we are to believe Sir Thomas Roe, twenty dishes at 
a time were served at the tables of the nobles, 15 but sometimes 
the number went even beyond fifty. 16 It is said that "exclusive 
of water and fuel, Abul Faz! consumed 22 seers of food 
daily." 17 Asaf Khan was also said to have been able to digest 
one maund Shahjahani of solid food. Akbar took keen interest 
in bakery and had the best material brought for his kitchen. 18 
Sukhdas rice from Bharaij; dewzirah rice from Gwalior, jin-jn 
rice from Rajori and nimlah ghee from Hissar, ducks, water- 
fowls, etc. from various places, and certain vegetables from 
Kashmir used to be brought for the royal kitchen. 19 Ex- 
perienced cooks were recruited from various countries to pre- 
pare all kinds of grains, greens, meats, and also oily, sweet and 
spicy dishes. Sweetmeats 20 and fresh and dried fruits were- 
freely enjoyed by both the communities. Moreland's view that 
"travellers say nothing to indicate that sweetmeats were, as. 
now, a staple food," 21 is based on an erroneous assumption.. 
Tavernier clearly states : "Workmen return from business and 
according to the custom they make no supper; they eat some 
sweetmeats and drink a glass of water." 22 Le Blanc, a traveller 
to the Indies in the 17th century, writes : "The Bengallian live 
much on preserves, sweetmeats and spices." According to 
Delia Valle, Hindus lived on butter, cheese, milk, bread and 
sweetmeats of which they prepared great varieties "by reason of 
their great abundance of sugar." 23 Manrique saw a bazar in. 
Agra which contained no other shop but of sweetmeat-sellers. 24 
Bernier also saw many confectioners' shops in Delhi. 25 The 
seasonal fruits, such as mangoes, blackberries, oranges, cucum- 
bers, guavas, dates, figs, grapes, etc., were in abundance 
and were enjoyed by the rich and the poor alike. Fruits were- 
imported in large quantities even from foreign countries, but 


being dear they were used only by the rich. According to 
Bernier, "Nothing is considered so great a treat, it (fruit) forms 
the chief expense of the Omrahs" and he goes on to cite the 
instance of his Agah who would not mind spending twenty 
crowns for his breakfast alone. 26 

Varieties 27 of fruits from Persia and Kashmir, melons from 
Karez, Badakashan and Kabul, grapes, pears and apples from 
Samarkand, sweet pomegranates from Yazd, 28 pineapples from 
Europe, 29 cherries from Kabul adorned their diniag-tables. 
Jahangir also corroborates thus : "In the reign of my father 
many fruits of other countries could .be had. In the bazars of 
Lahore every kind and variety that may be desired can be had 
in the grape season." Bernier was amazed to see the great 
consumption at Delhi of fresh fruits imported from foreign 
countries, such as Samarkand, Balkh and Persia. 30 They were 
available throughout winter. 31 Dry fruits included cocoanuts, 
dates, makhana, kaulgattah, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc. 32 
. Fresh water seems to have been the only drink at meals. 83 
Mughal kings and some of their nobles were accustomed to 
. the use of the Ganges water. 34 It was considered very pure 
..and wholesome. The well-to-do would use ice in summer. 35 
.Saltpetre was also used for cooliag water. 36 Rose-water, sharbat 
and lemon juice mixed with ice were also used by the rich. 37 

Diet of the common people 

The common people, both Hindus and Muslims, could ill 
-afford to spend on rich and dainty dishes and contented them- 
selves with simple food. 38 Khichari, the most popular dish of 
this class, has been referred to by almost all travellers. 39 Pelsaert 
describes it as composed of green pulse mixed with rice and 
cooked with water over a little fire. Usually a little butter and 
salt were added to it. 40 Rice formed the chief, if not the only, 
food of the people of the South. The Gujaratis lived mainly 
on rice and curd. 41 There was some variety in the meals taken 
by the Kashmiris which instead consisted of boiled rice and 
boiled salted vegetables, 42 chiefly a leafy plant called karar*. 
They added achars (pickles), if available. 43 Rahim in his 
Social and Cultural History of Bengal wrongly asserts that 
Hindus were not aware of the preparation and use of achars. 
Mango-pickle was quite popular in North India before the 


advent of the Muslims. 43 * It was usual with Indians of all 
classes and communities to take betel after their meals. The 
:rich would mix with it costly spices. 

Wheat, however, was the primary food of the people of 
the North who ate chappatis of wheat or barley flour dipped 
'in a little butter. 44 As Abul Fazl writes, the staple food of the 
generality of the people ia the morning was limited to jawar 
or baira* 5 flour kneaded with brown sugar and water. 46 We 
cannot accept De Laet's view that there was only one regular 
meal in a day, 47 ia the face of what Abul Fazl and other con- 
temporary writers say. The people managed to have light refresh- 
ments in the afternoon in the form of some parched pulse or 
other grains. 48 The middle class, comprising shopkeepers, 
traders, merchants, brokers and bankers, was well off. They 
took their meals thrice daily at 8 or 9 in the morning, 4 
or 5 in the afternoon and 8 or 9 at night. 49 

.Diet of upper and middle classes 

The middle and upper classes 50 invariably used wheat 
flour, boiled rice and cooked vegetables of various sorts. 51 
.Puris and luchis** were also taken on special occasions. Hindus, 
in general being vegetarians, confined themselves to pulses, 
curd, butter, oil, milk 53 and its several preparations as fcA/r 54 
.and khovva. 55 Ghee and cheese were also freely used by them. 58 
Curd ordahi was usually taken at noon. 57 The favourite dish 
of the Muhammadans was meat , in its several preparations. 
They freely took beef, fish, flesh of goats, sheep and 
'Other beasts and birds of prey. 58 With this were mixed achars 
spices, cloves, cinnamon, 60 pepper and many other condiments 
to increase the flavour and whet the appetite. 61 They had a 
special taste for achars of mangoes and cloves. 62 The chappatis 
of the rich made of fine white flour kneaded with 15% ghee 63 
were called roghuni** When mixed with sugar it tasted like 
palm-cake, according to Manrique. 05 Unlike the Hindus, 61 
Muhammadans rarely ate purls or luchls. On special occasions 
white loaves kneaded with milk aijtd butter and seasoned, with 
fennel and poppy seeds were prepared. 67 Sometimes their 
bread was made of khushka. 

The vegetarian dishes generally meant for Hindus were of 
.a special quality containing a large quantity of butter, several 


species of pulses, herbs, vegetables and rice, particularly birinj 
On his abstinence days, Jahangir would take lazizah, a khicha 
prepared in the Gujarati style. 70 Mukundram's gorgeous de 
cription of feasts and of vegetable dishes leaves us in litt 
doubt as to their popularity among the upper classes. 71 T3 
poets Terakanambi Birnmarasa (1485 A.D.) and Mangara. 
(1508 A.D.) in their works Kavicharita II and Supasast 
respectively give an elaborate description of the contempora; 
South Indian dishes. The curious reader will find a detail* 
list of various vegetable, 72 meat and sweet dishes in tl 
Ain-i-Akbari, Volume I (1873), p. 59. Similarly, Muhan 
madans prepared richfand aromatic birinjes as qabuli, duzdbi 
yan, qimah-pulao and pudding of rice mixed with almonds an 
raisins and strewn with butter and pepper. Sweet dish< 
consisted of halwa, sweetmeats and comfits prepared froi 
refined sugar and faluda. Various conserves of maskan, wate 
melons, grapes, lemons, oranges, 75 etc., and also rishta- 
khatai 1 * 6 perfumed with rose-water, musk and grey ambergr: 
were also kept ready. The flesh of domesticated and wil 
animals and birds, roasted, fried and made into soup, wa 
their daily food. Partridges, ducks and hares, when availabl< 
too, formed part of their dishes, 77 An idea of the variety c 
dishes served at a highly placed Muhammadan's dinner can b 
had from the description of Asaf Khan's banquet to Sir Thoma 
Roe 78 and that of a governor of Ahmedabad to Mandelslo, 79 

Kitchen utensils and crockery 

Indians baked their loaves, called chappatts, on iroi 
plates, 80 a frying pan 81 or on an oven over a fire of cow-duni 
instead of fuel. 82 The utensils used in Hindu kitchens, a: 
plates, cups, water-jugs, candlesticks, etc., were all made of bras 
or bronze, 83 as these had to be scrubbed clean every time the] 
were used. Linschoten saw people at Goa drink out of t 
copper kan ; but they used earthenware 84 for cooking purposes 
De Laet also speaks of earthenware being used probably b} 
Muslims in kitchens in the 17th century. The utensils used ir 
Muslim kitchens were either earthenware 85 or made from 
copper. The Mughal kings generally used gold or silver 
utensils 86 and were fond of precious China and glassware, 
Aurangzeb contented himself with earthen or copper vessels. 


The copper utensils used in the royal kitchens were treated 
with tin every fortnight^whereas those for the princes were only 
done once a month. 87 

Environment of the Hindu kitchen 

Cleanliness was most important, as it is even now, in the 
preparation and service of food in Hindu kitchens. 88 Hindus 
took care to confine themselves to home-made dishes and 
abstained as far as possible from using any edible cooked in the 
market. 89 A special place, called chauka, invariably rubbed 
over with cow-dung, was reserved for cooking meals and hone 
was allowed to enter with shoes on. 90 Cooking was never 
entrusted to anybody except a high-caste Brahman or to a 
member of their own caste. 91 They would prefer to go without 
meals to accepting a dish defiled by the touch of a low-caste 92 
person or that of a non-Hindu. Such food was thrown away. 
Hindus usually took two meals a day. 93 

Bathing was a prerequisite before meals. 94 The travellers 
did not fail to note that after their morning wash the Hindus 
would sit on a piece of mat or fine cloth (in the case of the rich) 
spread over the ground rubbed over with cow-dung 95 and mutter 
their prayer. Hindus would at the outset set apart a small 
portion of their food as a humble homage to the gods. 96 Akbar 
also used to put apart the share of dervishes before he com- 
menced his meal. 97 

In the case of ordinary people, pattals, i.e. the leaves of 
trees stitched together with rushes, were placed before them to 
serve as plates. 98 The diner rubbed thspattal with a little salt 
.and butter, over which were poured rice, boiled without salt, 
with some vegetables and curd; 99 As soon as diners had finished 
their meals, the leaves were removed and the ground rubbed 
afresh. 100 In the case of rajas and other rich men the food was 
brought from the kitchen in bowls or vessels of silver or gold. 101 
To begin with, they took, out rice (cooked without salt or other . 
condiments) according to choice and placed it in a large dish 
"adding some stew to it." Next they partook of vegetables and 
other dishes according to taste and, mixing a part of them with, ate them in small morsels. 102 Akbar used to commence 
his meals with milk or curd. Table manners required not to 
use the left hand or to lick the fingers. 103 Wives did not 


make it a custom to join their husbands at table. They took 
meals separately. 104 

While drinking water, the Hindus would not allow the cup^ 
to touch their lips, 105 but would pour water from it straight into 
the throat from a distance. The tumblers were made of 
copper, 106 gold or silver according to the owner's position. 
After dinner they would clean their mouths, hands and. 
feet. 107 , 

Table manners of the Muhammadans 

The Muhammadans did not attach importance to these 
formalities. Their kitchens and table manners were quite simple,, 
though not always as clean as those of the Hindus. They were 
free to cook and eat wherever and whatever they liked, except the 
flesh of a swine. A dastarkhwan was spread on the floor and dishes 
arranged thereon. 108 The whole family sat around and partook 
of the dishes jointly. The butler placed before each guest a 
round dish and a portion of food 109 and covered it with fig or 
other leaves. 110 No napkins were used and even the procedure 
of washing was not always adhered to. 111 The more well-to-do- 
among them used a superior embroidered silken dastarkhwan 
with artificial flowers of gold and silver. They sometimes made 
use of spoons, 112 though this was not the usua] custom. 113 

The manner of cooking in the royal kitchen, the process of 
sending in of plates, the measures adopted to check poisoning, 
and their complete success speak well for those who devised 
them. The curious reader can read the details about these* 
measures in the pages of Abul Fazl's Ain-i-Akbari. 11 * 


Prohibition of wine 

Wine, called araq by Babar, 115 was a drink forbidden to 
Muslims by their religion. Custom forbade it for the generality 
of Hindus also. So it was not surprising that the masses were 
opposed to intemperance which was looked upon as a vice and 
even a sin. Terry rightly observes about the temperance of the 
common people, Hindus and Muslims, that they would "rather 
die than eat or drink anything their law forbids." 116 They looked 
upon drinking as a second madness and, therefore, there is the 


same word in their language for a drunkard and a madman. 117 
Wine was considered unwholesome and ruinous for health. 118 

The strict prohibition enforced by almost all Mughal kings ' 
was no less a factor in discouraging the use of wine among the 
people. Severe punishment was inflicted for excessive drinking 
and disorderly conduct. 119 Akbar, more catholic in his approach, 
relaxed his rules in the case of Europeans because, as he said, 
"they are born in the element of wine, as fish are produced in 
that of water... and to prohibit them the use of it is to deprive 
them of life." Though himself addicted to drinking, Jahangir 
discouraged its use among his subjects. He himself abstained 
from wine on Thursday nights and Friday evenings. He found 
it bad for the temperament, and strictly forbade all kinds of 
intoxicants which "must neither be made nor sold. 120 Of course, 
Aurangzeb, who "drank nothing but water," could not tolerate 
wine. 121 In 1668 he issued orders strictly prohibiting the use of 
all intoxicating liquors. 122 European travellers confirm the 
strictness of the measures adopted to enforce prohibition. 123 
During his three months' sojourn in Masulipatam, Norris did 
not hear of a single case of drunkenness. 124 While acknowledging 
the occasional excesses of certain individuals here and there, we 
may accept the verdict of Terry as to the general sobriety of all 
ranks of the population except \he nobles attached to the court 
who formed a class by themselves. In spite of the strict orders 
of the Mughal kings, nobles indulged in drinking and many of 
them fell victims to alcohol. 125 This over indulgence and dis- 
regard of the prohibitory orders were primarily due to the weak 
policy followed by the Emperors who, in order to keep com- 
pany, would invite many of their grandees to attend the royal 
drinking-parties which were held quite frequently, and thus 
encouraged its use. 126 Akbar is said to have lost control on 
himself in one of these parties and was "saved in the nick of 
time by Raja Man Singh when, under the influence of liquor, the 
Emperor tried to demonstrate his bravery in Rajput fashion." 
Even Aurangzeb, who was very abstemious, failed to "keep the 
Mughal aristocracy back from drink." Sir Jadunath Sarkar 
notices in the news-letters of the court "many reports of wine- 
selling, wine-drinking in the camp bazars and houses of his 
nobles and among the garrisons of the forts." 127 



Mughals' addiction to drink 

several times "fay ^B^j'T? Auraii S zeb > took wine 
Drunkards. The former used t ^ ^ reputed 

to say 


he latter 

' of which he drank Zl^ .uT f doub] y disti ^ d 
aight- Humayun was ^ fe^' ^ thereStat 
ae.* Akbar and Shahjahan M Pmm a " d Seldom took 
decency. The former usually " S ob * P3SS the limits of 

rarely drink to excess Shahjahan rl ^ m hlS C " PS " would onl y 
the arduous Deccan campaigns th abargave u P wi ne during 
thrown into the Chambal and t ^^ stoclc of wine was 
*'lver were broken and distribute^ I**"*"* ^ f g ld and 
needy.-iw Aurangzeb total I h f T g the Pr and the 
assertion that he saw Auranieh H , fr m ^ Tave ier' s 
wholly fabulous."* We cammt K , " three occasions is 
authentic contemporary records! ^ in the face of the 


trees ' 135 Heasant 

taste and flavour it was 

Cocoa juice was 

a J iquor which 

Particularly the oanese . 

water.^B It was very strL j , m " ch and 

tion.^o Nim wa r a 'T h ? r g V Sp f Cially after the 

tree and was sweet like milk ? "tf ^'^ dfaWn fr m 
fruit" yielded an in toxicTnf, ^ W3S an her tree 

were famous for tWs Da V i" " Kherra144 a ^ Bhadwar- 
ol esome unless b'oi * ^ ^-h was considered 
refined Sugar by a chem - e f Wiae was prepared from 
a wme called iasrrr * \ Process."^ According to Ovington 

were also ^Xc t u3S raCted / r0m bkck SU ^' 148 

was 2? T" 1 "^ ^ ^ ; - 1S In 
prepared f rom the acua{ . 



.kajang and from the tung seeds. 150 * Some superior kinds of 
wines were imported from foreign countries like Portugal 151 
and Persia. 152 Persian wine manufactured from grapes was 
smuggled into the Mughal dominions in spite of strict 


Opium 153 called afion was in use among a large number of 
people, especially Muhammadans 154 and Rajputs. 155 According 
to Mandelslo, "They take every day a small pill of it about the 
bigness of a pea." 156 It stimulated the old, the weary and the 
fatigued and maintained the spirits of workers so that they 
would not feel the rigour of the work. 157 The messengers and 
harkaras who had to traverse long distances took it in order to 
"hearten themselves." 158 Rajputs were specially addicted to it 
and took large quantities of a drug, called madhava-ra-peala. 
Opium-eating came to be regarded as a sign of aristocracy. 
Its excessive use by Rai Ganga (1515-1531) of Jodhpur led to 
his death. 159 Rajput kings were mostly devotees of Hara or 
Lord Shiva. As Tod says, "Hara is the patron of all who love 
war and drink and is especially the object of Rajput warriors* 
devotion." 160 The Rajputs would even double the dose on the 
eve of a battle. 161 Bernier writes : "It is an interesting sight 
to see them (Rajputs) on the eve of a battle with the fumes of 
opium in their heads." Its stimulating effect animated them 
with extraordinary courage and bravery to fight more valiantly 
.and heroically. 162 Opium was also used as a sedative for old 
men and children. 163 Some of the Mughal emperors also, 
particularly Humayun and Jahangir, 164 were very fond of this 
intoxicant. The former used to say : "I am an opium eater ; 
if there is any delay in my comings and goings, do not be 
angry with me." 165 The latter being a habitual opium eater 
would repeat the dose at least twice a day. 106 The only 
reference to opium in the Babarnama is in connection with 
Qasim-i-Ali who is described as the "opium eater." 167 
According to Father Ridolfo, "Akbar used to take post, a 
preparation of opium, diluted and modified by various admix- 
tures of spices." 168 Monserrate also confirms it. 169 

Other drugs 

Bhang was another intoxicant commonly used by the 


poor, 170 who sometimes mixed it with nutmegs and mace, 171 
whereas the rich added cloves, camphor, ambar, musk and 
opium to it. 172 It kept one in a pleasant mood. Sometimes 
green areca was put into it to increase its effect. It was taken* 
to increase appetite. Under its intoxicating effect one could, 
undertake hard labour without feeling exhaustion. But an- 
excessive dose of it would make one unconscious. RajaBhagwan 
Das of Amber begged mercy from the Emperor Akbar for his 
brother Rupsi who had defied the Imperial authority under the 
influence of bhang. Jahangir prohibited the use of 
bhang and buza altogether, declaring that they were injurious to 
health. 174 


Tobacco 174 * gained rapid popularity among common peo- 
ple soon after its introduction into India in 1605 by the- 
Portuguese. 175 In spite of the advice of his physicians, Akbar 
enjoyed it sometimes. Asad Beg gives us a beautiful description 
of the pipe and the presentation ceremony. 176 Smoking became 
so habitual with one and all in the short interval of a decade or 
so that Jahangir had to order its prohibition by a special enact- 
ment in 1617 on account of the disturbance that "it brings- 
about in most temperaments and constitutions." 177 But the- 
decree remained a dead letter and was more honoured in its- 
breach than observance. 178 Thevenot refers to its frequent use 
by the nobles. 179 Its wide popularity among the lower strata of 
society may be estimated from Manrique's account. While- 
a prisoner at Multan, he had to accede to the request of Ms 
guards for some money to enable them to satisfy their craving: 
for tobacco. 180 

Muhammadans were specially accustomed to it and con- 
sumed a major quantity of the intoxicant by frequent smok- 
ing. 181 It was their chief and customary entertainment after 
meals. 182 A long brass pipe adapted to a large crystal hubble- 
bubble fixed in a brass frame was used for smoking. 183 It was^ 
usual to see people sitting cross-legged at their doors with hukka. 
pipes m their mouths. Sometimes women, too, indulged in 
smoking. 18 * The consumption of the drug increased so much 
that Manucci mentions Rs. 5,000 as tabacco duty for a day in 
Delhi alone. The abolition of the Act, according to him, came 


as a great relief for the poor class. 185 


Betel leaf called pan was in most common use throughout 
India among all classes of people. 186 The pan consisted of the 
beta! leaf, an areca-nut or sitpari 1 * 1 cut into small pieces, lime- 
water and kattha. 188 The rich added camphor and musk to it 
and tied both its leaves with a silk thread. There were several 
species of betel of which the choicest were JBilhari, Kakar, 
Jaiswas, Kapurl, Kapur Kant, and Bangalah^ Makhi l9Q leaves 
of Bihar and Keroah 191 of Orissa were much sought after by 
betel lovers. The former held the reputation of being delicate 
in fragrance, strong in taste and good in colour. 192 Betel was- 
necessarily chewed after meals, but most of the people went on 
taking it throughout the day. 193 

Tea auct coffee 

Tea and coffee were taken by quite a good number of 
people, especially those of the Coromandel coast. 194 Brahmans 
and Banias were particularly fond of it. Thevenot asserts that 
Banias and Brahmans drank nothing but water, "wherein they 
put coffee and tea." 195 Ovington makes us believe that tea was 
taken by Banias without sugar or mixed with a small quantity 
of conserved lemons. 196 He further writes: 'Tea, with some 
hot spices intermixed and boiled in the water, has the repute 
of prevailing against the headache, gravel and griping in 
the guts." According to Delia Valle, many people in 
India used a liquor called coffee which was made "from a 
black seed boiled in water which turned it almost into the same 
colour." Tea and coffee were not taken as beverages but as 
intoxicants. 197 Certain special vessels made of tin covered with 
cases and cloth wrappings were used to keep the tea hot. 198 
The rich and the nobles took delight in partaking of coffee with 
their friends. Hamilton was invited by the Nawab of Tatfah to 
"take a dish of coffee" with him. 199 There seem to have been 
coffee shops, if not coffee houses, in some of our principal 
cities like Delhi and Ahmedabad. 200 



1. Oviagtotfs remarks (p. 303) that "neither delicacy of taste 
nor dread of sickness or even death could possibly tempt a 
Hindu" to take meat, are based on misconception and may 
be true in the case of the orthodox ones. 

2. Varthema, p. 45! 

3. Camoes in Canto VII, Est. XL writes about Brahmans : 

"To crown their meal no meaner life expires ; 

Pulses, fruit and herbs alone their board requires/' 

(India in Portuguese Literature, p. 54) 

Badaoni (II, p. 103 ; Tr., II, p. 313) rightly observed 
that most of them would not take even garlic and onions 
because their view of life was to eat to live and not to live 
to eat. (Delia Valle, p. 406). Britto in his letter of 
1683 A.D. praised the nobility of Tamilham for abstaining 
from meat and fish. "It is however something to be able 
to raise oneself above this gross sensuality which puts us 
near the heart." R. Sathianathailer, Tamilham in the 
17th Century, p. 176. 

4. Pelsaert's India, p. 76 ; Mandelslo, p. 58 ; Orme's Frag- 
ments, p. 469. Some of the Rajputs took swine's flesh (Delia 
Valle, p. 435). According to Mukundram, a poet of the 
16th century, some of the Kshattriyas adopted the sale of 
game as a regular profession and had little difficulty in 
finding customers. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 181. 
The king and nobles of Vijayanagar took all kind of flesh 
excepting beef. Barbosa, I, p. 203 ; Saletore, op. cit., 
Vol. II, p. 311. 

5. Akbar abstained from meat on Fridays, and subsequently 
on Sundays, first day of every solar month, whole month 
of Farwardin and the month of Aban in which he was 
born. The killing of animals was stopped on Sundays by 
Akbar's orders. Ain 9 I, pp. 61-62* Jahangir later on 
added Thursday, the day of the birth of his father. Tuzuk, 
Lowe, p. 184. 

6 A.N, I, p. 351 ; Tr., I, p. ^634. When a beef broth and 
curry was brought before Humayun, his words were : 
"Oh unfortunate Kamran, was this the mode of your 
existence ? Did you feed the asylum of chastity jOn the 


flesh of cows ? What ! Could you not afford to keep a 
few goats for her subsistence?" Tazkirat-ul-Waqyat 9 . 
Stewart, p. 83. 

7. Tazkirat-ul-Waqyat, Trans. Stewart, pp. 83-84. 

8. Am, I, p. 64. 

9. Badaoni, II, p. 103 ; Tr., II, p. 313. This is an exaggera- 
tion. Akbar did not give up meat altogether. The Ain r 
I, (Persian), p. 59, mentions the days on which he abstained 
and the total number of these sufiyanah days comes to 
about nine months in a year. Thus for three months, he 
took meat. Also see Tuzitk, I, p. 45 ; Badaoni, II, p. 531. 

30. Jahangir gave up fish-eating altogether. Tuzuk, Lowe, 
p. 188. 

1 1 . Jahangir had also stopped the killing of animals from the 
8th of Rabi I every year for the number of days corres- 
ponding with his age. R. & B., I, pp. 185, 310. His 
orders were so strictly observed that once the Id-uJ-Zuha 
fell on a Thursday and the customary animal sacrifice 
could not be performed by Muslims. R. & B., I, pp. 185,. 

32. Manrique, II, pp. 186-87 ; Bernier, p. 250. 

33. Manrique, II, p. 387. 
14. Ibid, II, pp. 156-57. 

35. Roe's Embassy, p. 92. 

36. Ain, (I, p. 57) says a hundred dishes can be prepared in art: 
hour. On page XXVIII of the Preface of the A in, it is 
written that in Abul Fazl's camp in the Deccan, one thou- 
sand dishes were served daily, but it seems to be an exag- 
geration. According to Maasir-ul-Umra, (Vol. I, Trans., 
p. 385) 200 sheep were daily used for Baqir K. Najmsanfs 
table. On marches 40 strings of camels carried his 
kitchen, and 33 silver cauldrons (degs) were in cooking; 
when on march to Transoxiana. 

17. Ain I, Preface, p. XXVIII. The seer of that time was one 
half of its modern successor. 

18. Abul Fazl (Ain, I, p. 57) lays great stress on proper care 
being shown for appropriate food. Also see Ain, l y 
(1873), pp. 56-59. 

19. Ain, I, p. 57. According to Manucci (Storia, II, p. 332) y 
one thousand rupees were spent every day as expenses of 


the king's kitchen in Aurangzeb r s reign. Storia, II, p. 332. 

20. Rankings' Historical Researches, p. 266. 

21. MoreJatuTs India at the Death of Akbar, p. 272. 

22! Tavernier, p. 133. Also see Kavicharita, II, pp. 336-37 
for corrboration by Annaji, a poet of early 17th century ; 
Saletore, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 316. 

23. Delia Valle, p. 135. According to Grose, ''Hindus were 
very" fond of sweetmeats and many of their varieties were 
unknown." Grose's , Voyages, Vol. I, p. 233. 

24. Manrique, II, pp. 156-57. 

25. Bernier, p. 250. 
.26. Ibid, p. 249. 

27. Manrique, II, p. 127 ; Pyrard, I, p. 328 ; Roe s Embassy, 
pp. 241-42; Delia Valle, p. 408. 

28. R. &B.,I, pp. 100-101. 

29. Waqyat-i-Jahangiri, E. & D., VI, p. 349 ; Ain, I, p. 65 ; 
also see Storia, VI, p. 151. 

30. Bernier, pp. 203-4. 

31. Ain 9 I, pp. 65-66. 
.32. Ain, I, pp. 65-66. 

33. First Englishmen In India, p. 100; Ovington, p. 310; 
Pyrard, I, p. 259 ; Bernier, p. 356 ; Ain 9 I, p. 58. 

34. Ain, I, p/55. Tavernier (I, p. 95) writes : "The principal 
reason why the Ganges water is so much esteemed ^is that 
it never becomes bad and engenders no vermin." Even- 
Aurangzcb drank it. (Bernier, pp. 221, 364). Orme's 
Fragments, p. 469. For the use of Ganges water by 
Muslim rulers see Annals of Sri Venkateswara Oriental 
Institute, Vol. I, Pt. Ill, pp. 1-15. 

35. Ain, I, (1873), p. 56. A seer of ice cost 5 dams and only 
15| jitals if brought by carriage. 

36. ThVprice of saltpetre varies from 3/4 to 4 maunds per 
rupee. Ain, I, (1873), p. 56. 

37. A.N.,1, p. 207; Tr., I, p. 42 1. 

38. Bernier, p. 249. 

39 Mandelslo, p. 64 ; Travels in India in the 17th Century, 
p 263 ; Delia Valle, p. 409 ; Tavernier, p. 124 ; Thevenot 
Chap XXIX ; Hamilton, T, p. 162 ; Ovington, pp. 310-11. 
Kliichari seems to have been more common in eastern and 
southern India. 



40. Hamilton (I, p. 162) found in it a 'pleasing nourishment.' 
De Laet's (p. 89) contention that this dish was taken in 
the evening is doubtful. A special type of preparation 
called Gujarati khichari was reserved for special occasions. 
J.U.P. Hist. Sec., XV, Pt. I, p. 67. 

41. Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 76. 

42. Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri, (Urdu Trans.), p. 105. 

43. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 384 ; Mango- 
pickle was very much liked. Linschoten, p. 209. Some- 
times the inhabitants of Kashmir and Orissa would steep 
the cooked rice in cold water to eat it the next day. A in, 
II, pp. 128, 349. 

43*.Subah-ul-Din : Hindustan Ke Musaltnano Ke Tamadni 
Jalwe, Azamgarh, 1963, p. 367. 

44. Mandelslo, p. 64 ; Delia Valle, p. 409 ; Tavernier, II, 
p. 70. 

45. Am, II, p. 240 ; Delia Valle, p. 409 ; Stavorinus, II, 
p. 386. 

46. Tavernier, p. 124. 

47. Moreland's India at the Death of Akbar, p. 271. 

48. Tavernier states that khichari was their evening meal, 
p. 124 ; Pelsaert's India, p. 61. 

49. Ovington, p. 313 ; Tavernier, I, p. 324 ; also see De Laet, 
p. 86. 

50. Reference may be made in this connection to an interesting 
work Bhojana-Kutuhala by Raghunatha compiled in about 
1700 A.D. The MS. exists in Baroda Oriental Research 
Institute. Also see Annals (B.O.R. Institute), Vol. XX1 7 
pp. 254-63. For dishes in Rajasthan as sev, suhali, laddu, 
manda, fried pappads, khaja, salan, pad!, lapsika of the 
panchadhari variety, kansar, dhan and others refer to 
Kanhadadeprabandhu, J.I.H., April, 1960, p. 106. 

51. For vegetables see Ain, I, pp. 58-60. For incredibly low 
price of the menu at the dinners given to Chaitanya at 
Pun in about 1520 A.D. -refer to his biography by Krishna 
Das Kaviraj. The History of Bengal, Vol. II, University of 
Dacca, p. 218. 

52. Padmavat, (Hindi), pp. 90-92. 

.53. For reference to milk, their favourite food, see Ovington, 




p. 303 ; Monserrate's commentary, p. 8 ; Mandelslo,. 
p. 68. 

54. According to Ovington (pp. 310-12) it is a delicious dish 
prepared by boiling rice to which is added proportionate 
sugar, dry nuts and almonds. 

55. Mandelsio, p. 13. Another well-known preparation of 

56. Delia Valle, p. 435. 

57. Bernier, (1891), p. 354. 

58. Mandelsio, p. 68 ; Travels in India in the 17th Century*. 
p. 380 ; Bernier, p. 250 ; Storia, III, p. 43. 

59. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 384. 

60. Ovington, p. 335, 

61. Linschoten, II, p. 75 ; Manrique, II, p. 109. 

62. Linschoten, II, pp. 75-77. 

63. Am, I, (1873), p. 61. 

64. Roghuni is a bread with a great deal of ghee. Manrique r 
II, p. 188. 

65. Manrique II, p. 188. 

66. Padmavat, (Hindi), pp. 90-92. 

67. A.N. 9 I, p. 207; Tr., I, p. 421. 

68. Am, I, p. 61 . Khushka was also the name of a dish which 
had rice, salt, etc. as its ingredients. (Ain, I, p. 62). 

69. Birinj means rice cooked with certain vegetables, etc. 

70. R. & B., I, p. 419. Aurangzeb liked khichari-i-biryani for 
which a special cook was employed in the royal kitchen.. 
Ruqqat-i-Alamgiri, (ed. Muhammad Abdur Rahman), 
p. 4; Bernier, (1916), p. 381. Also see Capt. Cope, A 
New History of the East Indies, London, MDCCLIV. - 

71. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 181. 

72. Zard birinj, shir birinj\ khichari and bandinjan were the 
special preparations of rice. For their details see Ain, I,. 
p. 59. Also see Padmavat, ed. by Ram Chandra Slmkla, 
(Hindi), PL II, pp. 90-92, for various dishes prepared on. 
the marriage of Ratna Sen. 

73. For their composition see Ain, I, (1873), pp. 59-60. Also 
see Hobson Jobson Pilau, Roe and Fryer, p. 279. 

74. A.N., I, p. 208 ; Tr., I, p. 423. Herklots App. 5. "A 
jelly strained from boiled wheat, and eaten with the- 
expressed juice of fruits and ice to which cream is also 


sometimes added." Also see Badaoni, Tr., Ill, p. 215 ; 
R. & B., I, p. 387. 

75. Pyrard, I, p. 328. 

76. Waqyat-i-Jahangiri ; E. & D., VI,. p. 343. 

77. Bernier, p. 252. 

78. Purchas, IV, p. 421. Delia Vaile (pp. 407-8) says he was. 
present at Asaf Khan's banquet to Sir Thomas Roe, which 
is nothing but falsehood. 

79. Mandelslo, p. 69. 

80. ,4/XI, (1873), p. 61. 

81. Mandelslo, p. 68 ; Delia Valle, p. 409. 

82. Ornie's Fragments, p. 472. 

83. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 181. About the poorer sort 
Mandelslo writes : 'Their dishes, drinking-cups and nap* 
kins are made of fig leaves of which they also make 
pitchers and oil-pots." Mandelsio, p. 85. 

84. Bernier (p. 356) says that the water was stored in earthen 

85. Linschoten, I, p. 188. 

86. Ain, I, (1873), p. 593. 

87. Ibid. 

88. Ovington, p. 312. 

89. Pyrard, p. 377. 

90. Macauliffe, I, p. 239. Also see Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 24 ; 
and Storia, III, p. 87. 

91. Pyrard, I, p. 377. 

92. Ovington, p. 312. 

93. Pyrard, I, p. 377. "To eat twice in the day or night is not 
approved." Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 325. 

94. Pyrard, I, p. 377 ; Jahangir's India, p. 76 ; Travels of 
Nikitin In India in the 17th Century, p. 11 ; Delia Valle, 
p. 440. 

95. J.R.A.S., Bengal letters, Vol. IV, 1938 ; Description of 
Indostan and Guzamt (1611 A.D.) Trans, by Rev. H. 
Hosten, S. J. ; Pyrard, I, p. 377 ; Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 324 ;. 
Jahangifs India, p. 76 ; Storia, III, pp. 41-42. 

96. Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 325 ; Storia III, p. 3. 

97. Ain, I, (1873), p. 58. 

98. Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 325 ; Delia Valle, II, p. 327 ; Taver- 
nier, I, p. 60 ; Bartolomeo, p. 159. 













Storia, III, p. 42. 

Pyrard,!, p. 391. 

Storia, III, p. 41. 

Storia, III, p. 42. 

DeLaet,pp. 91-92. 

Storia, III, p. 42. 

Linschoten, I, pp. 261-62 ; Dela Valle, pp. 81-82. 

Pyrard, I, p. 378 ; Delia Valle refers to it as "drinking in 

the air" Delia Valle, p. 43. 

Storia, III, p. 43. Muhammadans would use pea-flour to 

remove grease from their hands. Storia, II, p. 41. 

Mandelslo, p. 28. Tazkirat-ul-Waqyat, Stewart, pp. 82-83. 

De Laet, pp. 91-92. 

Early Travels in India, p. 96. 

No traveller has referred to their washing of hands, etc. 

before meals. Mandelslo, p. 68. 

Spoons made of Hindi nuts. The Arabs call it narjij, 

Hindustanis nalir. B.N., p. 509. Tazkirat-ul-Waqyat, 

Stewart, pp. 82-83 ; Linschoten, I, p. 207. 

"They eat with fingers/' writes De Laet, pp. 91-92. 

Ain,I, (1873), pp. 58-59. It will be interesting to recall 

that during Aurangzeb's time when expenses of the royal 

kitchen had been considerably reduced due to the austere 

habits of the king, the monthly expenses came to Rs. 1,000 

daily. Storia, II, p. 332. 

B.N., pp. 385-86. 

Terry in Early Travels, p. 317. 

Ibid ; Storia, IV, p. 208 ; R. Sathianathailer, Tamilham in 

the 17th Century, p, 176. 

R. & B., I, p. 306. - 

Badaoni, II, pp. 301-2 ; Tr. II, p. 311. 

Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 7. For Akbar see Badaoni, II, pp. 301-2; 

Tr., II,p. 311. 

Tavernier, II p. 124. 

Muntakhab-ul-Lubab in Elliot and Dowson, VI, p. 283. 

Petermundy, II, p. 134 ; Storia, II, p. 6 ; Bernier, p. 253 ; 

Ovington, p. 296. The Governor of Masulipatam announ- 
ced a fine of Rs. 10 on any Hindu who disobeyed this 

order. Norris, Embassy to Aurangzib, p. 149. 

Morris, Embassy to Aurangzib, p. 119. 


125. Early Travels, p. 783 ; R. & B., I, pp. 35, 134, 141, etc. ; 
Am, I, pp. 340-91. Shaikh Abdur Rahim of Kakhnar 
drank so heavily that he frequently got insane. Ain, I, 
pp. 524-43. 

126. B.N. 9 p . 406 ; Am, I, p. 207 ; Storm, II, p. 6. 

127. History of Aurangzib, Vol. V, p. 461 ; Storia, II, pp. 157, 
313. According to Manucci, "the pots and pans in which 
the beverage was prepared were broken daily by 
muhtasibs." Storia, II, pp. 57. A.N., III, p. 43. 

128. B.N., pp. 385-86, 414-15. 

129. R. & B., II, p. 35. 

130. "The new year, the spring, the wine, and the beloved are 

pleasing ; 

Enjoy them Babar, for the world is not to be had a second 

131. "At first it was 6 cups every evening, each cup being 1\ 
tolas ; altogether 45 tolas. The wine was usually mixed 
with water. Now I drank 6 cups each of which 6 tolas 
and 3 mashas ; altogether 37i tolas." R. & B., II, p. 35. 

132. "Humayum enjoying a wine party." Painting No. 630, 

133. Qazvini, pp. 90-91 quoted in Saksena's Shahjahan, p. 27. 

134. Ta vernier, p. 124. 

135. B.N.,p.5Q9. Nicholas Downton (1614-15) thought the 
Indian wines to be not very strong. William Foster, The 
Voyage of Nicholas Downton to East Indies, p. 146. 

136. Thevenot, Pt. Ill, Chap. VIII, p. 17 ; Pedro Teixeria, 
p. 198 ; Ovington, p. 239. 

137. Mandelslo, p. 27. 

138. First Englishmen in India, p. 77. 

139. Linschoten, II, p. 47. 

140. Ibid. 

141. Ovington, p. 239. 

142. Called Gilaundah. Ain, I, (1873), p. 70. 

143. DeLaet, pp. 28-29. Manuel Godino de Eredia (1611) 
mentions a wine which the Indians made from a certain 
fruit called mauh mixed with the bark of babuli tree and 
tasted very well. J.R.A.S.B., Vol. IV, (1938), p. 541. 

144. Petermundy, IT, p. 98. 

145. De Laet, pp. 28-29. 


146 . Ibid. 

147. Bernier, p. 253. 

148. Ovington, p. 238. 

149. Pedro Teixeria, p. 197. 

150. Ovington,' p. 238 ; De Laet, pp. 28-29. 

150* Karim, A., Social History of Bengal, Dacca, 1959, p. 191.. 

151. First Englishmen in India, p. 77. 

152. Pedro Teixeria, p. 197. Shiraz wine was much liked (E.F.,. 
1934-36, p. 166). Babar speaks of Bukhara wine as the 
strongest of all. B.N., pp. 83-85. 

153. Opium was planted in Bihar and Malwa from ancient 
times. Moreland's India at the Death of Akbar, p. 158. 
Date of its introduction in India is unknown. (Tod, I r 
p. 507). 

154. Pyrard, I, p. 200. According to Manual Godino (1611) 
it was much used in Muhammadan medicines. J.R.A.S.B. y 
IV, p. 551, 

155. Tod, I, (1877), p. 508. 

156. Mandelslo, p. 67. 

157. Linschoten, II, p. 114 ; Grose, I, pp. 122-23. 

158. Mandelslo, p. 67. 

159. Marwar Ka Itihas, Rev. V. I., p. 115. 

160. Tod, op. cit., V. I., p. 87. 

161. Bernier, p. 40. 

162. Ibid. 

163. Ain, II, p. 196. Also see Ain, I, p. 417 f.n. 2. 

164. R. &B., I. p. 310. 

165. H.N. G. (Bev.), p. 131. A.N., I, p. 363 ; Tr., I, p. 654. 

166. Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 310. See painting No. 637 Mughal, 
17th century, lent by Rampur State Library, "Bust of 
Jahangir." He holds an opium bowl in his hands. Tuzuk, 
Lowe, Tr., pp. 44-49 ; Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri (Urdu), 
p. 204. 

167. B.N., p. 385. There is a manuscript, Risala-i-Afion in 
Hamdard Dawakhana Library, Delhi, which was compiled 
by one Umad-ud-Din during Akbar's time. 

168. Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul, p. 336. 

169. Monserrate, p. 199. 

170. Linschoten, II, pp. 115-16. 



172. Ibid. Babar was fond of this intoxicant. Macauiiffe, I, 
p. 120. 

173. R. & B., I, p. 157 ; Petermundy, II, p. 247. 

174. A.N., III, (Bev.), p. 70. 

174* According to Moreland, tobacco plant was first established 
in the province of Gujarat where the leaf was obtainable 
in 1613. 

175. Manrique, II, p. 250 ; Moreland's India at the Death of 
Akbar, p. 158. 

176. "Stem three cubits in length was the finest to be procured 
at Achin beautifully dried and coloured both ends being 
adorned with jewels and enamel, the oval-shaped mouth- 
piece of Yaman cornelian betel leaf of very superior work- 
manship and a golden burner all elegantly arranged in a 
silver tray and presented to the emperor." See Painting 
No. 525, 1.A.E., middle of 18th century, lent by C.A.A. 
Museum, for a good hukka of those days. See E. & D., 
VI, pp. 165-67. 

177. R. & B., I, p. 374. 

178. R. & B., I, p. 370 ; A.N., III, p. 103 ; Badaoni, II, p. 357. 

179. Thevenot, Chapter VI, p. 103. 

180. Manrique, II, p. 250 ; Storm, II, p. 175. 

181. See Hobson Jobson. 

182. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 280 ; Storia, I, 
p. 63. For painting of a "Nawab smoking a hukka" see 
painting No. 681, I.A.E., 18th century. 

183. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 189. In the 
Central Asian Antiquities Museum, New Delhi, there is a 
hukka of Mughal days probably used by the emperors. 

184. Painting No. 524, middle of the 18th century, I.A.E., lent 
by C.A.A. Museum. 

185. Storia,!!, p. 175. 

186. Mandelsio, p. 33. 

187. Linschoten says that Malabaris and Portuguese called it 
"arecea", the Gujaratis and Deccanis supari, and the 
Arabians tauffel; Linschoten, II, p. 64. 

188. Betel leaves are mixed with a sort of "lime made by 
oyster and areca." A collection of voyages undertaken 
by Dutch East India Company, p. 1; Linschoten, II, p. 64. 



For a special type of pan called birah see Ain 9 I, (1873) r 
pp. 72-73. 

189. Ibid. 

190. Ain, I p. 151. 

191. #wf, p. 126. 

192. Petermundy, II, p. 96. 

193. Storia, I, p. 63. For a painting see "Lady holding plate* 
of betel nuts." Painting No. 670, I A.E., Deccani, 1700 
A.D. ; Pyrard, I, p. 200. Also see Tod, I, (Crookes), pp. 
346, 481, 552, 570 ; II, pp. 969, 1040 ; Linschoten, II,. 
p. 64. For Sipandan of 17th century refer to Ananda K. 
Coomaraswamy, The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon y 
p. 229. Pan was offered to a courtier by the king as a 
mark of royal favour. Petermundy, II, pp. 96-97 ;. 
Storia, I, pp. 62-63 ; Roe's Embassy, p. 453 ; M.A. 
(Persian), p. 262. 

194. Pyrard, I, p. 202. 

195. Thevenot, III, Chap. XLVII, p. 81. 

196. Ovington, p. 306. 

197. Delia Valle, p. 365. 

198. Pyrard, I, p. 202. 

199. Hamilton, I, (New Edition), p. 119. 

200. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 460. Also see Mughal Literature 
by M.A. Ghani, Pt. Ill, p. 196. 


Games, Sports and Other 

Leaving aside twentieth-century amusements like cinema- 
going, flying, etc. that have come to us through contact with 
the West, the pastimes in vogue during Mughal times were 
similar to those commonly found today. The difference, if 
any, lies in details only. Chess, chaitpar and playing cards were 
the chief among indoor games and were accessible to the rich 
and the poor alike. The various types of tiger-play, the games of 
gutis and the games of sheep and goats were favourites with the 
rural population. Of the outdoor diversions, hunting, animal- 
fights and chaugan were the privilege of the few, while ishq-bazi* 
wrestling, etc. were enjoyed by one and all. Strangely enough, 
no reference to kabaddi is traceable in early records. But. 
the game must have been played in villages, as it is even 
today. Jugglers and magicians formed a class by themselves. 
Boys amused themselves, as narrated by Mukundram in his 
poem Chandi, with the flying of kites, 1 mock fights, blind man's 
buff, climbing of trees, bag chal and such other common pas- 
times. 2 Manned sums up the amusements of the princesses and 
other high-class ladies thus : 

"They have the permission to enjoy the pleasure of the 
comedy and the dance, to listen to tales and stories of 
love, to recline upon beds of flowers, to walk about in 
gardens, to listen to the murmuring of the running waters, 
to hear singing or other similar pastimes." 3 

Playing cards 

This is an old game and was in vogue in India long before 
the advent of the Mughals. M. AshraPs view that "it appears 


to have been first introduced into Hindustan by the Mughal 
emperor Babar" 4 is not conclusive. The external as well as 
internal evidence is against it. The names of all the 12 suits 
were in the Sanskrit dialect instead of Persian till the time of 
Akbar, 5 who introduced a change by renaming the last seven 
suits and reconstituting dhanpati, the fifth, out of a total of 
12. 6 Moreover, Abul Fazl's remark that "the ancient sages 
took the number 12 as basis and made the suit to consist of 
12 cards" shows that the game was practised in pre-Mughal 
days. 7 From the few stray references available about this 
game in contemporary Mughal records, it appears that the game 
was favoured by the rich and the poor alike. 8 

The pack consisted of 12 suits of 12 cards each making a 
total of 144 with different kinds of kings and followers. 9 
Ashraf s contention that the "old Mughal pack of cards was 
made up of eight suits of 12 cards each" (instead of 12 suits) 
is not borne out by documentary evidence. As is clearly 
mentioned in the Ain-i-Akbari, the ancient game of 1 2 suits, 
each of which had 12 cards, was not altered. What Akbar 
did was to make "some suitable alterations in the cards," 10 
and to reconstitute the last eight of the suits of the original 
pack. The first four, namely ashwapati (lord of horses), 
gajpati (king of elephants), narpati (king of infantry) and 
gadhpati, (king on throne over a fort), remained intact. 11 
Ashraf, under some misconception about this, appears to have 
omitted to count the first four and miscalculated the number 
as reduced from 12 to eight. This view is further confirmed 
by the fact that none of the new names have been given the 
assignments of the first four. 

As distinguished from our present-day cards, they were 
all in pictures, the highest represented the king, the second 
highest a wzir and the rest were followers from one to ten. 
In the topmost suit of ashwapati, for example, the king was 
shown on horseback with the umbrella (chhatra), the standard 
and other imperial ensigns. The second highest card of the 
same suit represented a vazir on horseback and the rest were 
with pictures of horses from one to ten. 12 The superiority of 
suits seems to have been observed in the order given in the 
Ain4-Akbari by Abul Fazl the first six of these suits were 
called bishbar (powerful) and the six last were kambar or 



weak. 13 

The game continued to be a favourite with the successive 
emperors, Aurangzeb being the only exception. Hurnayun 
played this game with his stepmother and sisters at Kabul. 14 
During one of his visits, 15 Thomas Roe found Jahangir im- 
mersed in it. The game was equally popular with the common 
people., 16 who displayed several tricks at cards. 


Chess has all along been one of the most common diver- 
sions of the Indian people. Alberuni, who visited India during 
Sultan Mahmud's time, refers to this game. He writes : "They 
(Indians) play chess four persons at a time with a pair of 
dice." 17 Hasan Nizami, author of Taj~ul-Maasir, Amir 
Khusrau and Malik Muhammad Jayasi, author of Padmavat, 
frequently refer to this game. During the Mughal period the 
king, nobles and commoners all took great delight in playing 
this game. 18 Akbar is said to have played the game of living 
chess with slave girls as pieces moving on the chequered pave- 
ment of the Pachisi Court at Fatehpur Sikri. 19 The Mughal 
aristocrats were specially interested in it, and Manucci, who was 
a frequent visitor to their palaces, writes that by playing chess 
"they learn to govern, place and displace, give and take with 
discretion to the glory and gain of their projects." 20 

The chess-table preserved in the Archaeological Museum 
in Delhi Fort shows that the chessboard was divided into 64 
squares, eight on each of the four sides. 21 Each player had at 
his command a little army of 16 men, from the king down to 
a foot-soldier. The game could be played both 22 two-handed 
and four-handed. Akbar was an expert in both. Sometimes 
international matches were held and bets offered. Jahangir's 
courtier, Khan-i-Khanan, was deputed to combat Shah Shaft of 
Persia. The game lasted for three days, but the poor ambassa- 
dor lost it and had to carry out the bet that the "loser should 
bray like an ass." 23 


The antiquity of chaupar is undisputed. It continued to be 
In vogue in India throughout the Mughal period. 24 In the 
17th century, chaupar became the favourite game of the court. 


Zeb-im-Nisa, the eldest daughter of Aurangzab, spent most of 
her spare time in playing chaupar with her girl friends. 25 
Sometimes as many as 200 Mughal nobles used to take part in 
the play. 26 A match, it appears, used to be of 16 games. The 
game, at times, lasted for three months. 

Betting was usual. Any player might depute a subsitute,. 
who was entitled to 2% of all winnings and had to share 1%. 
it he lost a bet. 27 It appears, however, that the Mughals were 
not familiar 28 with the game as it existed in India till the time 
of Akbar, who framed special rules and regulations and made 
it popular. 29 

The description of the game in the Ain-i-Akbari leaves us 
*n little doubt that no ready-made tables for the game were , 
available in those days. 30 The people themselves used to draw 
on the floor or on some paper two parallel lines of equal 
length, with two others bisecting them at right angles, forming a 
little square at the centre and four rectangles, each divided into 
four equal spaces of three rows on its (four) adjoining sides. 
The game was usually played by four players, two contending 
against the other two. But it could also be played by two 
persons only. Each player had at his command four pieces of 
the same shape, but different in colour from those of his 
companions. Three dice were used with dots marked from one 
to six. To begin with, each player was required to place two 
of his pieces in the sixth and seventh places of the same middle 
row, while the seventh and eighth spaces of the right row were 
occupied by the other two pieces. The left row was left empty. 
Each moved his pieces according to his throw till he arrived at 
the row to the left of the place of his start. He would then move 
to the empty space in the middle when he threw the exact 
number required to carry each of his pieces to the empty 
square. He was now rasida or arrived. If any of the four 
players had brought his four pieces into the empty square, even 
then he continued to throw for his companion in his turn "to 
get him out too." 31 

Chandal Mandal 

Chandal mandal was a modified chaupar so designed as to 
increase the number' of players to 16 with 64 pieces divided 
equally among them. The pieces were moved as in chaupar. 


The game could be played in 12 different ways. 

It consisted of 16 parrallelograms, each divided into 24 
equal fields, each having three rows and three spaces. These 
parallelograms were arranged in a circular form around a 
centre. Betting was allowed. The first player who was out 
received the "stipulated amount from the other 15, the second 
from the other 14 and so on.'* 32 

There is. a reference to another game called Bisat-i-Nishat 
(the carpet of enjoyment) during the reign of Humayun. The 
circles on the board were named after planets and "different sec- 
tions of men, Sayyids, Ulemas and Indian officers, were asked to 
sit in accordance with one of the seven planets which were 
appropriate to it in the circle which corresponded therewith." 
The dice carried human figures in different postures. The 
player had to sit in the position shown on the dice after he had 
thrown it. 33 


Nard or backgamnon has been mentioned as a game 
introduced into Hindustan by the Muslims. It was played with 
30 pieces in two sets of 15, each set having its distinct colour 
on a square wooden board divided into 24 squares of equal 
sizes. 34 


Pachisi was another ancient Hindu game enjoyed frequent- 
ly by Akbar. The boards of this game were marked out on a 
marble square in a quadrangle, in the Agra Fort and Fatehpur 
Sikri. Akbar is said to have used slave girls as pieces to play 
this game with. 35 

The games of gutls^ were popular with the rural as well 
as the urban population. Do gut I, tre gut I, nau gutl and bar a 
guti were the names assigned to its different types. Two pieces 
were used in do guti and placed alternately on any one of the 
cjross-points until the movements of the adversary were check- 
mated. !><?&#/ was played with three pieces and nine pieces were 
employed in nau guti. The Madhya Pradesh game of gutisr 
resembles closely the bara guti* 1 of the Punjab. Of the 23 cross- 
points 22 are filled with ballets of two different kinds, each 
player having eleven, leaving the central point vacant. The 


usual rule of jumping over, if there be a vacant place in the 
next, hold good in all these games. 

Some light has been thrown on the sedentary games of 
India by H. C. Dasgupta 38 and Sunder Lai Hora. 39 The investi- 
gations of Jotinder Mohan Datta 40 and others confirm the view 
that these games were prevalent in India from very early times 
with slight variations in names and details in various parts of 
the country. In tant-fant**- , called tin-guti pait pait by 
Dasgupta, the game is played between two persons each having 
his three distinctive pieces on the three cross-points of his side 
of the square, moving one to the centre to begin with. The 
game is won when all the three pieces belonging to a player lie 
in a straight line horizontally, vertically, or obliquely anywhere 
excepting the starting line. In lau kata kati**, 18 pieces are 
used, each player has nine distinctive pieces on the nine cross- 
points of the triangle, and shifts a piece to the centre and then 
follows the usual rules of draughts with the exception that only 
one piece he captured at a time. He who captures all the 
pieces of his opponent wins the game. 

In mughal pathan^ either player has 16 distinctive pieces 
.arranged in his half of the board leaving the centra] line vacant. 
The usual rules of capture by jumping over a piece to an empty 
point opposite in a straight line apply and two or more captures 
are permitted at a time. In some places a horizontal line is 
drawn in each triangle necessitating 19 pieces for each player. 

Lam turki** is played with nine pieces on a board of ten 
cross-points. The game consists of two stages : in the first, the 
player has to get all his nine pieces on the board, then in the 
second by the usual method of jumping over the piece to a 
vacant place in a straight line, he has to capture all his oppo- 
nent's pieces except one. The pieces can be placed on the 
board in any way except that when a certain piece is placed on 
a cross-point, it has not to be moved from its place. Sat go! 
which resembles the khasia game known as mawkarkatya and 
another gamefawaos have also been described by Dasgupta. 45 

Bhag chal*\ bhag chakar, chakrachal, bagh band!, bagh 
batti or chhabis guti bhag chal is a kind of tiger-play. The 
game was very popular among boys in Mughal days. The 
contest is between two players, one of whom usually plays with 
four tigers and the other xises twenty goats. The four tigers 



are placed at the four points of the square and one by one the 
goats are brought on the board. As soon as the first goat 
appears on the board, one of the tigers rushes to capture it 
which is only possible when the goat is between the tiger and a 
vacant point in a straight line. No goat, according to the rules, 
is to be moved from its place on the board till all the twenty 
goats have been placed on the board one by one. Then the 
pieces move forward and backward on adjacent vacant places. 
The effort of the player in possession of the goats is to check- 
mate the movements of the tigers. The play is finished when 
either all the goats are annihilated or tigers checkmated. 47 

Golekwsh* 8 , another game, consists of seven concentric 
circles divided by three diameters thus having 42 points in 
which the diameters meet the circles. Two players play the 
game ; one has a large number of goats and the other plays 
with only one tiger. The rest of the rules are similar. 

Bheri-bakri (sheep and the goat) which is an interesting, 
game deserves mention. The game was played between two 
players, each having eight pieces (black for sheep and white for 
goats) arranged in his eight compartments. The four pieces of 
cowries regulate the movements of the pieces. A player can 
move his pieces from his original home only if he gets a poet to 
his credit and then advances it according to the numbers 
gained by the throw of the cowries. If, according to the num- 
bers shown by the cowries, one player's piece is to be moved to 
a place in possession of his adversary, the latter' s piece is cap- 
tured. Some of the rules are : one player can play with one 
piece only at a time unless it is captured. For all points of one 
poa, it is usual for the player to move the pieces from the ori- 
ginal compartments. The pieces are moved from right to left 
in the neutral row and left to right in that of his adversary. 
The player who captures all the pieces is the winner. 49 


Chaugan, called polo today, was an all-absorbing recreation 
for the Mughal kings 50 and nobles. Ladies of the royal house- 
hold also sometimes took part in the game. 51 Commoners, 
could be spectators only and not participants. 52 It appears that 
certain internal and external troubles during the reigns of Babar 
and Humayun brought about its temporary suspension. Akbar 


later on revived it. 53 Of all the games he liked it most, and 
Abui Fazl writes : "The occupation of chaugan acquired a pre- 
dominance over other forms of pleasure and the Emperor spent 
most of his time in it." 54 He invented fiery balls (illuminated 
balls) a device which made the playing of the game on dark 
nights possible. 55 All the Mughal emperors showed keen 
interest in the game and chaugan playing-fields were marked out 
and reserved at several places. The most famous of them all 
were at Fatehpur Sikri and Agra. 56 Two players of outstanding 
distinction, Mir Sharif and Mir Ghiasuddin, made a name for 
themselves during Akbar's reign. 57 

It was the usual practice that not more than ten pla}'ers, 
five on each side, should take part in the game at a time. But 
many more were kept on the waiting list, two of whom replaced 
another two in the field after every twenty minutes. The game 
was played on horseback, each player holding in his hand a 
chaugan stick with a crooked end. The ball was taken hold of by 
that end and was either slowly taken to the circle by the players 
or was forcibly hit, the horseman galloping after it to pass it 
"between the posts which was "equivalent to goal." 58 The other 
party would oppose the man hitting the ball and then the two 
parties "struggled together and there was wrestling between 
them. It was indeed a wonderful spectacle. 59 


In Bengali literature there is a reference to the playing of 
dhophari. This was in fact a hockey game played with a 
crooked stick and a ball in the rural areas. 60 

A game known as gem was very popular among children 
in Bengal. It was played by two parties of boys with a ball. 
One party threw the ball and if the other party was able to 
catch it, they scored a point. It may have some resemblance 
with the present game of volleyball. 01 

The late Sir Denison Ross had a painting of the reign of 
Jahangir which shows a game of hockey in progress with pole- 
sticks, while the Emperor is watching it. 62 


Wrestling or kushti was considered to be not merely a pas- 
time in Mughal times, but a real necessity for the daily exercise 


of the limbs and the body. It was pursued by the king, nobles 
and commoners alike. In Vijayanagar even women took part 
in wrestling contests. 63 

There was a certain set of rules to be observed by the 
participants at a wrestling contest and those who broke them 
were not only debarred from future matches but also, some- 
times, given exemplary punishment. Many wrestling matches 
took place under the royal patronage and the Mughal kings 
and princes took delight in seeing them and heartening the 
contestants by their presence. The winners were profusely 
rewarded. 64 


Boxing, too, was a favourite pastime during the Mughal 
age. According the De Laet, "they enjoy looking at boxing 
matches and at conjuring. 65 Akbar was specially fond of this 
sport. 66 He kept a large number of Persian and Turani boxers 
at the court. Manucci also refers to this game. 07 Stone- 
throwers were also encouraged and kept on regular monthly 
.remuneration. 68 

Races { 

Horse-racing 69 was a source of entertainment prevalent 

among the high-class Mughal nobles who took part in the game 

and "rode their fiery steeds." 

Dog-racing 70 was also not unknown. Akbar took great 

delight in it. 71 

Martial sports 

Martial sports had a special fascination for the people. 
Archery 72 and swordsmanship 73 were the order of the clay. Every 
young man with ambition was expected to be good at the bow 
and the sword. Matches and contests were held, and rewards 
offered. Annual - v ham fights on On am festival were held in 
Kerala and some other parts of South India. 74 


Hunting 75 was one of the best means of amusement and 
recreation during the Mughal times- and was indulged in by 
the king, nobles and commoners. 76 Costly and dangerous 


expeditions were the privilege of the chosen few and the quarry 
consisted of elephants, lions, tigers, buffaloes and wild goats.. 
Being Muhammadans, the Mughal monarchs refrained from 
hunting boars. 77 Jahangir had made it a custom to hunt mate 
tigers only. 78 Lion-hunting was exclusively reserved for the 
king. 79 Elephant-hunting, too, could not be indulged in without 
the special permission of the king. Permission was granted 
sparingly and usually to professional hunters only. 80 All sorts 
of beasts, such as dogs, deer, elephants, etc. were especially 
trained for hunting purposes. According to Hawkins, the king 
used to keep 3,000 deer, 400 ounces, and 4,000 hawks for 
hunting. 81 If we are to believe Manucci, Daud Khan, a noble, 
spent two hundred and fifty thousand rupees every year for 
the maintenance of his animals. 82 Dogs were in great demand 
and Jahangir imported dogs of excellent breed from England 83 - 
and Kabul. 

Akbar invented a special kind of hunting called qamar- 
gha M hunt which became very popular with the Mughal kings. 85 
Every successive emperor took a lively interest in it and asso- 
ciated nobles as well as the people in this sport. 86 A special site, 
where wild animals of various kinds could be found in abun- 
dance, was selected for this great hunt. Sometimes the hunt 
was arranged exclusively for only one kind of game, like 
Jahangir's red-deer hunt in Kabul. 87 The animals were driven 
ordinarily from an area of 40 kos in every direction, 88 by a large- 
number of beaters, sometimes as many as 50,000, 89 and the ring 
was contracted gradually till it became so narrow as to enable- 
the king to go alone mounted on a horse 90 and accompanied 
by one or two attendants "to kill them with various weapons." 
Subsequently the nobles and after them the people 91 were 
permitted to take part in this chase. Ultimately the whole party 
would "give the jreins to their horses." This sport used to last 
for a week or more. 92 

Elephant-catching, an ancient game, was enjoyed by the 
people from a very early time. 93 It was, like tiger -hunting 94 , an 
exclusive royal game during Mughal times. But special per- 
mission was granted to professional hunters. 95 

Four methods of elephant- catching 96 and of tiger-hunting 97 
have been described in the Ain, which may be read by the 
curious reader in the English translation of that book. The 


methods of hunting of various other animals like leopards, 
asses, 98 antelopes," cheetas water-fowls. 101 khargoshes 
buffaloes, 103 deer, 104 roe bucks and does 105 are described in. 
detail in various records of the period. An interesting method 
of catching sparrows has been described by Baizid Biyat in his 
work MukhtGsar. 106 

Shooting of birds 107 was a common hobby and a source 
of entertainment both for the rich and the poor. The former 
sometimes used guns, but bows and arrows were most commonly 
employed. According to Terry, their bows were actually made 
of buffalo horns, glued together, and the arrows were of light 
reeds 108 (little canes) "excellently headed and feathered." 109 They 
were skilled archers and would even kill flying birds. 110 * 
Hawking, too, was common and trained hawks would "strike 
the wild fowl in mid air" and bring the p'rey down. 111 Baz^ 
shahin, shungar, burkat, and falcons v/ere trained and made- 
use of in the hunting of birds, such as doves, pigeons, etc. 112 


Fishing was much in vogue in India during the Mughal 
period both as a recreation and as a profession. The use of 
nets for catching fish was not totally unknown, 113 but profes- 
sional fishermen did not have recourse to it. A special type of 
net called safra (or bhanwar jal in Hindi) was used. 114 

Of all the Mughal emperors, 115 Jahangir enjoyed this 
sport most. On one occasion he caught 766 fish. 116 He was 
specially enamoured of rahu, "which is the best of all the- 
fishes found in India." But the real amusement of ail the 
Mughal emperors consisted in "stocking the canals with tame 


Boats were, no doubt, used mostly as a means of trans- 
port for crossing rivers, but sometimes nobles did refresh 
themselves by boating on rivers and lakes. 117 Pleasure boats 
called more pankhs or bajras were constructed for this purpose 
for the nobles. 118 They were extraordinarily low, slender and 
long with 20 to 30 beautifully painted oars on either side. 119 The 
noble took his seat either in front or in the middle on an 
elaborately constructed platform with a covering overhead as a 


protection asainst sun and rain. When rich men 320 moved out 
with their families they used great lighters (boats) with houses 
for the womenfolk in the middle. 


Horse-riding 121 was a common sight -a means of transport 
and a recreation for the rich who sometimes also enjoyed elephant- 
riding, a common and favourite pastime of the Mughal kings. 122 
Princesses also used to enjoy horse-riding. Akbar would some- 
times ride a camel. 123 


Getting animals to fight was one of the popular amuse- 
ments and recreations of the age. The people had to content 
themselves with the less expensive fighting of goats, rams, 
cocks, quads, stags, 124 antelopes, dogs and bulls 125 to entertain 
their friends with. 126 Young boys favoured fights among hul~ 
buls and sometimes quails which "make some sport." 127 The 
king and nobles amused themselves with costly ard dangerous 
combats between elephants, 128 tigers, deer, cheetas, boars, 12 * 
leopards, bulls and other wild beasts. 130 The hazardous fight 
between a tiger and a bull has also been referred to in the 
Tuzuk-i-Jahangin. 1 * 1 Camel-fights 332 were an extraordinary 
sport for which camels were imported from Ajmer, Jodhpur, 
Bikaner, and Gujarat. 133 

The Mughal kings also took delight in seeing men with- 
out arms engaged with beasts at their own free will. 134 The 
volunteers, if successful, had a chance to make their life's 
fortunes. Those brave men who firmly stood their ground were 
enlisted among the mansabdar\. lz * Convicts condemned ,to 
death were sometimes given the option to light a hungry lion or 
an elephant, specially kept for the purpose. They were supplied 
with a dagger and, if victorious, their lives were usually 
spared. 136 

Betting on animal-fights was allowed and the people often 
indulged in it. The stakes on royal deer-combats were fixed for 
.mansabdars from two rupees to eight muhurs, according to the 
status of the opponents, the deer-keeper, and the classes of the 
deer engaged. 137 

The harmless and cheap fights between goats, rams, cocks, 



etc. v.ere enjoyed by the common people in an open compound 

in front of their nouses. Cock-fighting was very common among 
the higher middle class. Varthema witnessed a five-hour con- 
tinuous fight at Tenasserim "so that at the end both remained 
dead." 138 Spacious grounds were reserved in important cities 
like Agra, Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, etc. for the amusement of the 
urban population. 139 

A special amphitheatre 140 for animal-lighting was pre- 
pared under the command of Akbar. It was quite visible 
from the balcony of the royal palace over the Darshani Gate in 
Agra Fort. The king used to witness and enjoy the animal- 
fights through the "golden windows" of the gallery of his fort 
palace. 141 

Akbar took personal interest in elephant-fights and many 
a time "did apply himself to this sport and even engaged his 
royal elephants Fauha and Lauga in a tough encounter." 142 The 
fighting elephants would meet each other face to face on oppo- 
site sides of a wall, about four feet wide and six feet in height. 
The wall would give way after some spirited attacks and then 
there followed a fierce fight between the beasts under the direc- 
tion of their mahavats^ 

Ishq-bazl or pigeon-flying was primarily a sport of the 
common people. Mukundram's reference to it corroborates the 
view. 144 Nobles, too, enjoyed it and brought excellent pigeons 
from foreign countries, like Turan and Iran, to be trained for 
the game. 145 Akbar was very fond of it. 146 He studied the 
details of pigeon-flying and used to "scatter grain to allure the 
birds. 147 

Charkah and bazl were the names given to the two delight- 
ful performances staged by the royal pigeons. 

Magic shows and acrobatics 

Jugglers, mountebanks, dancers, conjurers and magicians 
were all a source of recreation for the people. They were 
spread over the length and breadth of the country and formed 
the chief source of enjoyment for the rural population. 

The "clever jugglers and funny tumblers" thronged the 
open places and streets of Agra 148 to exhibit their dexterity 
and agility. 349 Dr. Fryer saw everywhere a crowd of jugglers 
accompanying a group of yogis. 150 All such merry-makers y 


according to Bernier, gathered in large numbers near the great 
royal square in Delhi 151 and showed their wonderful tricks. 
Tlievenot, 152 Terry 153 and John Marshall 154 have described some- 
remarkable feats of ihese-bazigars. Babar was full of praise for 
Indian jugglers. Some of them would swallow the sword and 
thrust a knife into their nostrils. 

The rope dancers called nats entertained the audience 
with their "wonderful acrobatic feats." 155 Some of them would 
train a monkey or two who showed some pleasing performan- 
ces at the instance of their master. 156 Babar also refers to- 
these ape-tricks. A juggler from Bengal brought an ape which 
performed wonderful tricks in front of Jahangir. The emperor 
took a ring from his finger and gave it to one of the boys to 
conceal. The ape at once spotted the boy "that had it." 157 

There is also a reference to the class of tiger-tamers in 
Bengal. They went about villages and towns with a tiger held 
by an iroo, chain and entertained the people by its perfor- 
mances. 157 * 

Dancing snakes, 158 usually deprived of their teeth and 
kept in baskets three or four in each, were taken around the 
streets by their masters to amuse the' ladies and the children 
who gathered ; to see the snakes dance at the sound of the- 
flute. ..,:;.<: 

Dancing * ! 

Dancing served as a pastime for the rich. It was usual to 
send for dancing girls on festive occasions. 159 They would play,, 
sing and dance and entertain the guests. 160 Female dancers 
and public' women were available in big cities at reasonable 
rates, 361 The paten*** and rope-dancing 163 were very popular. 
Akhara was a special type of dance enjoyed by nobles. 164 
Aurangzeb did away with this luxury. He ordered public 
women and dancing girls either to marry or to "clear out of his 
realm." 165 


Music, called the "talisman of knowledge" by Abull 
FazI, 166 formed one of the most favourite pastimes. 167 Rural 
as well as urban people enjoyed it. 168 A few sweet stanzas- 
from a holy book would .lessen the hard task of the labourer 


at work. 169 While laying bricks, repairing old shoes or making 
new ones, or engaged in other manual work, a group of 
labourers would repeat the "sacred ballads sometimes alter- 
nately, sometimes by the single persons, the rest answering in 

A delightful and sweet-sounding rhythmical melody sung 
in chorus by the seamen busy with their oars would "keep up 
their spirits." 170 Young women of the countryside with 
pitchers on their heads would go to a well in the village early in 
the morning to fetch water. All the way to the well and back, 
they would sing in chorus, sometimes in batches of 20 or 30. 171 
The rich and the nobles were good at music, both instrumental 
and vocal. 172 Among the different varieties of music, dhrupat, 
chind, chruva, bangula, qawl, chutkalahi, taranah, lahchari, 
chhand, sadara and desakha were the most prominent. 173 
.Kanchani was the most favoured class at the court. All the 
Mughal kings, with the solitary exception of Aurangzeb, 174 
were great patrons of music. Babar himself excelled in music, 
and composed songs. Bairam Khan, the well-known grandee 
-of Humayun's court, was an expert musician. Akbar's reign 
produced Tan Sen 175 of immortal fame, besides Ram Das and 
many other front-rank musicians. 176 The reigns of Jahangir 177 
and Shahjahan 178 were remarkable for the progress of vocal 
and instrumental music. The most famous musicians of Shah- 
jahan's court were Lai Khan and Sawad Khan of Fatehpur. 
Rauza Qawal and Kabir surpassed in qawalis. 1<79 

Theatrical performances 

People had various other means of amusements also, such 
as theatrical performances. They were no doubt crude in 
character. 180 Smooth-faced boys were dressed up as women to 
take part in the drama. 181 In ancient and early medieval India, 
.sometimes women also played the role of male actors but this 
practice was perhaps given up. It was usual to give dramatic 
representation to -some scenes from the Mahabharata depicting 
the sterling qualities of Lord Krishna. 182 Ram Lila or 
the theatrical representation of scenes from the holy Ramayana 
were common during the annual Hindu festival of Dasehra. 183 
Often Muslims also witnessed with their Hindu neighbours the 
musical play of the Rdmayana. 18 * There are also references to 


the performances from the story of Parshwanath Charitra and 
Harish Charitra in Rajasthan. Love of the theatre was pro- 
found among the Mughals. The theatre, dance, ^ and 
music had their prescribed hours. Some actors from Gujarat 
performed a piece before Shahjahan showing the maladministra- 
tion in that kingdom. 185 A reference to buffoons is also found 
in the Babarnama. 1 ** 

Jashans 1 were celebrated with great pomp and show, be- 
fitting such an occasion. After the dance and music came 
wine, which was served by beautiful maidens as the climax of 
the entertainment. 


Mitshairas or poetical symposiums were frequently 
arranged. Renowned poets and guests were invited. 188 It 
served both as an education and a recreation for the guests and 
the spectators. 


Educated men and women and there were ni any would 
sometimes relax themselves by reading light literature, short 
stones, novels, poetry, etc. Gulistan, Bostan and diwans of 
various Persian poets were great favourites with those \\eli-versed 
in Persian, 189 while stories from the Ramayana and the Maha-- 
bharata were studied by others both as recreation and 
religious instruction. It was usual to listen to stories of adven- 
tures, heroes and lovers before going to bed at night. Short 
stones were related to children by their mothers to allure them 
to early sleep. 

It was common practice, especially among the rural folk,. 
to pass their idle hours in solving riddles put to them by their 
friends. Mirza Haider was a famous riddle-writer in Akbar's 
reign. 190 

Witty persons 191 amused others with their humour. The 
kings also used to keep a jester at the court. The title of 
Amir-ul-Zutfa was granted to Maulana Shihab-ud-Din Ahmad 
by Humayun. 192 Jalal Khan was a "complete master of mirth 
and wit" 193 during Akbar's reign. Birbal was another out- 
standing figure remembered even new for his witty remarks. 



Gardening was a hobby with kings and nobles. 194 Babar ] 

laid out symmetrical gardens and fitted them with fountains. 19 * it 

Akbar's beautiful gardens around Fatehabad are still remem- jj 

bered. 196 Jahangir and Shahjahan, too, planted many gardens | 

and used to refresh themselves by occasional visits. 197 The J 

people, particularly Kashmiris, took pleasure in skiffs upon the |j, 

lakes. 198 ' | 

Fairs ,!; 

"The visits to periodical fairs and seats of pilgrimage ii 1 

were," writes Sir Jadunath Sarkar, "the sole joy of the Indian | 

village population and men and women were passionately eager | 

to undertake them/' 1 " Mathura, Allahabad, Banaras, Nasik, | 

and Madura were the main religious centres of the Hindus, while !, 
Ajmer, Galbarga, Nizamuddia Auliya and Burhanpore were 
the seats of Muslim pilgrimage. 


Smoking the Iwkka and chewing betels were innocent 
amusements of the rural folk, particularly of the Muhamma- 
dans. Grose rightly observes : "Moors are much addicted to 
smoking" and frequently indulged in. this luxury. 200 After their 
hard morning duties in the fields, Hindus, too, would sit cross- 
legged on their cots under some shady tree or in their homes 
and enjoy the hubble-bubble.- 01 


1. Painting No. 537, I.A.E., 'Girls flying kites,* lent by 
C.A.A. Museum (Treasurywala collection). Kites are of 
fine flowery paper and triangular-shaped. Also see Life 
in Rajasthan in the 14th and 15th Centuries as depicted in 
the Kaiiliailade-prabanclhu, J.I.H., April 1960, p. 16. 

2. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 186. 

3. Storia, II, pp. 352-53. 

4. Ashraf, Life and Condition of the People of Hindustan, 
p. 296. 

5. Viz., ashwapati, gajpati, narpatl, gadhpati, dhanpati, dalpati 


nawapati, tipati, surpati, asurpati, banpati and ahipati. 
(Ain, I, 1939, pp. 318-319). 

6. The last seven were renamed and reconstituted during 
Akbar's reign from dhanpati as king of assignments* 
padshah-i-qimash, padshah-i-chang, padshah-i-zar-i-safid, 
padshah-i-shamsher, padshah-i-taj and padshah-i-ghulaman. 
Am, I, p. 319. 

7. The earliest reference to it, as Erskine notes, in oriental 
literature is in Babarnama when Babar sent a set of play- 
ing cards (ganjafd) to Shah Hasan in Tattah at the 
latter's repeated requests. B.N. (Bev.), p. 584, f.n. 

8. B.N., p. 584 ; Ain, I, pp. 318-20 ; Roe's Embassy, (1926), 
p. 293. 

9. Ain, I, p. 319. 

10. Ibid. 

11. Ibid, p. 318. 

12. Ibid. For later 18th-century Mughal cards, see "Ten 
Ivory Playing Cards" by Ajit Ghose, Calcutta, Painting 
No. 653, 1.A.E. 

13. Ain, I, pp. 318-19. 

14. Gulbadan, Humayunnama (Persian), p. 77. 

15. Roe's Embassy, (1926), p. 293. 

16. John Marshall in India, p. 273 ; Delia Valle, p. 405 ; 
Mandelslo, p. 66 ; De Laet, p. 405 ; Ovington, pp. 267- 

17. Alberuni's India, Trans., Edward C. Sachu, Vol. I 
p. 183. 

18. Mandelslo, p. 66. 

19. History of India, Lane Poole, Vol. IV, p. 37. 

20. Storia, II, p. 460. For reference see Badaoni, II, pp. 25 
and 314 Tr., II, pp. 18 and 324. Also Badaoni, III, pp. 
298 and 339 ; Tr., Ill, pp. 408 and 467 ; Maasit, I, pp. 

21. For picture see "Indian Information", Oct. 1946. 

22. Ain, I, p. 320. 

23. Storia, II, pp. 460 : 61. 

24. J.P.AS.B. (1893), Pt. 1 ; Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 328. Early 
Travels in India, pp. 312-13 ; Macauliffe, I, p. 162. 

25. Sarkar, Studies in Mughal India, p. 82. 

26. Ain, I, p. 316. 


27. Ibid. 

28. No reference to the game in contemporary Persian records 
of Babar and Humayun is available. 

29. A.N., II, p. 368 ; Tr., II, p. 534. 

30. See description, Am 9 I, p. 315, which confirms the fact. 

31. Ain, I, p. 316. For a reference to another game called 
SWtfA, see 4/, III, (Sarkar), p. 328. 

32. Ain, I, pp. 316-18. 

33. A.N., I, p. 361 ; Tr,, I, p. 649 ; Qanoon-i-Humayw 9 
pp. 80-81. 

34. Khwandamir, pp. 155-56. Persians call it Takht-i- Nadir 
Shah. For the game see Burton Sindh, p. 292. Accord- 
ing to Ferishta (I, p. 150) it was invented by Buzruj Mihr, 
minister of Nausherwan, a Persian king. Herklots' Islam in 
India, p. 333. 

35. The game is also represented in a painting in the caves of 
Ajanta, Agra : Historical and Descriptive by Syed 
Muhammad Latif, pp. 86, 142. 

.36. These games in stone exist even now in the palaces at 
Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, and Chittor. They have been 
described here on the basis of the above, and tally with 
the account given by Mr. Dasgupta in his articles "A 
few types of Indian Sedentary Games" in Journal and 
Proceedings of Asiatic Society of Bengal and Calcutta 
Review. A reference has therefore been made to it. 

37. Calcutta Review, 1923, (Jan.-March), pp. 510-13. 

38. Dasgupta, Journ Proc. Asiatic Sac., Bengal (N.S.), XX, 
(1924), pp. 165, 167, ; XXII, (1926), pp. 212-13. 

39. Journ. Proc. Asiatic Soc., Bengal, XXIX, (1933), p. 5. 

40. Ibid. Article No. 17 ; and J.P.A.S.B., IV, 1938, Article 

No. 10. Also see Dr. Bhandarkar's article in Journ, 
Bombay Branch R.A.S., Vol. 17, Pt. 2, pp. 7-8. 

41. Mr. B. Dasgupta has described this type of game from 
Vikrampore (Quart. Journ., Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, 
XIV pp. 242-43), under the local name of tin-guti pait 

42. Humphries (Journ. Proc. Asiatic Soc., Bengal, II, p. 123, 
1906), refers to an identical game played at Bargarh in 
Uttar Pradesh. A similar game is played in Madhya 
Pradesh described by H.C. Dasgupta, Journ. Proc. Asiatic 


Soc, Bengal, XXII, (1926), p. 212, though board is different 
and 22 ballets are needed. 

43. In the vernacular reference is made to the well-known 
wars between the Mughals and the Pathans in Bengal. The- 
game described by Mr. B. Dasgupta (Quart. Journ. 9 . 
Banglya Sahitya Parishad, XIV, pp. 239-40.) under 
the title of sola gun niangal pata in which reference 
is made to 16 pieces. Similar game is atharah gut I of 
Uttar Pradesh described by Humphries (J.P.A.S.B., II, 
1906, p. 121), atharajutiala teora of Madhya Pradesh. 
The game is called 1am pur si or sipahi kat in Teesta valley 
where each player has 18 distinctive men. (J.P.A.S.B.* 
N.S., XXIX, p. 103.). 

44. Humphries describes a similar game under the name kowwa 
dand in Uttar Pradesh, kaooa is another game described by 
Mr. Dasgupta (J.P.A.S.B., N.S., XX, 1924-25, p. 167) as 
prevalent in Madhya Pradesh, uses the same figure but 
played differently. J.P.A.S.B., N.S., II (1908), p. 126. 

45. J.P.A.S.B., II (1924), pp. 168-69. 

46. J.P.A.S.B., II (1906), pp. 123-24, 145 ; XIII (1927), p. 297. 

47. in chakrachal the movements of the pieces in all direc- 
tions, backward, forward and sideways, but always in a 
straight line, are indicated, 

48. Dasgupta, J.P.A.S.B., N.S., XX, 1924-25, P p. 166-67. 

49. J.P.A.S.B., N.S., XIX, 1924, pp. 71-74. 

50. Badaoni, II, p. 70 ; Tr, II, p. 69. The game is said to have 
been played differently in Gujarat where they had "two 
sets of goals" and the ball was "made of Paribhadra tree". 
B.P. Mazumdar, Socio-Economic History of Northern India 
p. 255. J 

51. Quoted in Humayim Badshah by S.K Banerii 

52. ^,ni,p.l73;Tr.,IH,p.242. 

53. A.N I, p. 219 ; Tr., I, pp. 443-44, "The game of chaugan 
and wolf-running for which Tabriz was famous, stopped 
due to riots, was revived again." A.N., I, p. 219 ; Tr., I r 

54. T.A.JI, p. 315. 

55. Ibid. 

56. Ain 9 lI 9 p. 180. 

57. Abul Fazl (A.N., II, p. 151 ; Tr., II, p. 233) mentions the 


playground just outside the fort of Agra ; Badaoni (II, 
p. 70 ; Tr., II, p, 69) refers to Kirawali near Agra \\here 
. Akbar used to play polo. For Fatehpur see Am, II, p. 180. 
Beglar Khan was another well-known player. M.U. f 
Trans., Vol. I, p. 399. 

58. Ain,l, pp. 309-10 ; T.A., II, p. 315. 

59. T.A. 9 II,p. 315. 

60. "A Few Aspects of Social History of Bengal," Journal of 
Department of Letters, 1922, p. 215. Also see Mazumdar, 
B.P., Socio-Economic History of Northern India, p. 255. 

61. Ibid., p. 216. 

62. A.K. Majumdar, The Chaulakyas of Gujarat, p. 359 ; also 
see B.P. Mazumdar, Socio-Economic History cf Northern 
India, p. 254 ; Abhayatilaka Gani, the commentator of 
Hem Chandra's Divyasraya tells us that the game \vasquite 
popular in the Mathura region, and Shri Krishna played 
It in his early life. Ibid, p. 255. 

63. K.A.N. Sastri, A History of South India, p. 313. For wrestl- 
ing grounds in Vijayanagar and gymnasium at Tanjore, 
refer to Saletore, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 420. 

64. B.N., pr , 656, 660, 683 ; A.N., I, pp. 226 and 248 ; Tr., I r 
pp. 456 and 487 ; A.N., 111, p. 329 ; Tr., Ill, p. 4S2. Also 
see A in, I, p. 263. For Jahangir's interest in wrestling, see 
R. & B., I, p. 335 ; for Shahjahan, Storia, I, p. 191. Also 
see Journal of Jnclia Art, April 1916, Vol. 17, plate 12. 

65. De Laet, p. 82. 

66. JVfonserrate, p. 198. 

67. Storia, I, p. 191. 

68. Am, I, p. 263. 

69. Badaoni, II, p. 70 ; Tr. II, p. 69. Deccanis (Marathas) 
were famous for their horsemanship. (Tuzuk, Lowe, 
p. 92 ; Nicholas Downton in Purchas, IV, p. 225). Rajputs 
and Gujaratis have also been praised for their skill in 
horse-riding. (Padmavat, Hindi, p. 285 and Barbosa, ! 
p. 109). Also see K.A.N. Sastri, op. cit., p. 313. 

70. Badaoni, II, p. 70 ; Tr. II, p. 69. 
71 . Ibid, p. 84 ; Tr., II, p. 84. 

72. "It was ordered on Monday that a party of young nobles 
and the army should practise archery." Intkhab-i Jahangiri, 
E. & D., VI, pp. 449-50. His Majesty shot at qabag, "the 



arrow struck the ligature of the golden ball which expe- 
rienced marksmen had failed to hit." A.N., I, p. 335 ; 
Tr., I, p. 613. Humayun practised archery vide Tazkirat- 
ul-Waqyat, Stewart, p. 69. Humayunnama, Khwandamir, 
p. 149 ; and for Akbar's interest in archery, Am, I, p. 262. 

73. See Ato, I, pp. 262-63 ; Bernier, p. 263 (1891). 

74. Forbes in his Oriental Memoirs. Also see P.K.S. Raja, 
Medieval Kerala, Annamalai University, pp. 266-67. For 
hunting at Vijayanagar refer to Saletcre, op. cit., Vol. II, 
pp. 421-23. 

75. For rules and regulations for hunting expeditions see.ffJV., 
' Gul, p. 197 ;Ain, I, (1873), pp. 64-65, 116;A.N. a II, 

p. 164 ; Tr., II, p. 253 ; A.N., III, p. 220 ; Tr., III ; p. 3Q9 ; 
R. & B., I, pp. 184 and 384 ; E. & D. VI, p. 435 ; Hawkins 
in Early Travels, pp. 106, 108; Purchas, IV, p. 47; 
Tavernier, p. 125. For hunting grounds see Pelsaert's 
India, pp. 33-34 and R. & B. ? I, p. 137. 

76. For a beautiful painting of Shikar by Night see plate 
XXIII (Persian 1569) -in Influence of Islam on Indian 
Culture. Another painting of Royal hunting may be seen 
at Indian Art Exhibition. Painting not numbered but is 
of Bikaner Palace collection. 

77. Tavernier, p. 125 ; Storia, IV, p. 255. 

78. R. & B., I, p. 286. 

79. Bernier, p. 218. Painting No. 609, I.A.E., Mughal Period : 
"The Emperor Jahangir hunting lion on an elephant." 

80. See T.A., II, p. 349 for tiger-hunting. 

81. Hawkins in Early Travels in India, p. 104. 

82. Storia, IV, p. 255. 

83. Roe's Embassy, p. 182. 

84. Qamargha is a Turkish word denoting a great battle in 
which a large number of wild animals are driven .into an 
enclosure and killed. Phillott describes it in Ain-i-Akbari 
as a "chase for which drivers are employed/' The game 
is apparently enclosed in a living ring. Ain, I, (1873), 
p. 282. 

85. Being a Turkish game, qamargha must have been in 
vogue during the reigns of Babar and Humayun, but no 
documentary evidence is traceable. 

86. Badaoni, II, p. 94 ; Tr., II, pp. 93-94. 


87. R. &B., I, p. 120.. For qamdrgha hunting expeditions- 
see Badaoni, II, p. 93 ; Tr., II, pp. 93-94 ; Tuzuk, Lowe, 
pp. 69-70 ; M.A. (Urdu), p. 26. 

88. T.A., II, p. 315. Jaliangir's courtier Ilavardhi Khan 
invented a special net called bawar (rope) for this hunt.. 
For details refer to Maasir, I, p. 668. 

89. Tarikh-i-Alfi, p. 627 quoted in Tabqat-i-Akbari, Trans.,. 
B. De, II, p. 328 f.n. 

90. T.A., II, p. 328. 

91. Ibid. 

92. Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri (Urdu), p. 41. 

93. Ain, I, p. 295. 

94. Pelsaert's India, p. 52 ; Petermundy, II, pp. 126-28 ; T.A.,,. 
II, p. 349 ; Ahkam-i-Alamgiri, Sarkar, Persian, p. 23 ; 
Tr., p. 60. 

95. A New History of East Indies, I, pp. 60-61. 

96. Ain, I, pp. 284-85, 296 ; Storia, III, pp. 76-77 : Thevenot,. 
Chap. XXIV, pp. 45-46. 

.97. Ain, I. p. 293. Also see Storia, I, pp. 192-94. 

98. T.A., II, p. 363 ; A.N., II, pp. 359-60 ; Tr., II, p. 522. 

99. Thevenot, Chap. XXI, p. 38 ; Petermundy, II, p. 112; 
Bernier, p. 218 ; Ovington, p. 271 ; R. & B., I, p. 129. 

100. A.N., II, p. 121 ; Tr., II, p. 186 ; Ibid, II, p. 156 ; Tr., II,. 
p. 242. 

101. Ain, I, pp. 307-8. For Jahangir's skill in shooting birds 
see Tuzuk, Lowe, pp. 36-37. 

102. Storm, III, p. 90. 

103. Ain, I, p. 304. 

104. B.N., pp. 491-92 ; Storia, III, p. 85. 

105. A New History of East Indies, I, p. 86. 

106. J.I.H., Vol. IV, 1925, p. 49. 

107. Ain, I, p. 304 ; Thevenot, III, p. 38. 

108. De Laet, p. 82. 

109. Early Travels in India, p." 312. 

110. Ibid ; De Laet, p. 82 ; Godino in J.P.A.S.B., IV, 1938,,. 
p. 541. 

111. Ain, II, p. 351. 

132. Early Travels, p. 104 ; Tuzuk, pp. 36-37. 
113. There is a reference to the use of nets in fishing by Jahangir 
in Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri : "I went for fishing in boats. Two 










hundred and eight large fish came into one net, half of 
them species of rahu" R. & B., I, p. 342. 
Waqyat-i-Jahfwgiri, E. and D., VI, p. 311. 
For reference to fishing see B.N.. p. 406 ; Tazkirat~ul- 
Waqyzt, Stewart, p. 109. Am in silent about this amuse- 
ment, but Akbar did enjoy it. See A.N., II, p. 76 ; Tr., 
If, p. Ill ; Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 188. For a description of 
the niethod of catching fish in those days see Iqbalnama-i- 
Jahangiri (Urdu), pp. 1 15-16 and Manrique, II, p. 232. 
Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 188. 

A.N.,IL p. 76;Tr. II, p. 117: Ain, II, p. 112 ; John 
Marshall 'in India, p. 170 : Godino In J.P.A.S.B., IV, 
Letters, p. 55 1 . 

Petermundy, II, p. 158. Painting No. 513, I.A.E., early 
18th century shows a prince boating with his beloved and 
hunting black buck. Note the tine wooden boat and the 

Petermundy, II, p. 158. For contemporary boats and 
shikaras see a beautiful painting "Jahangir crossing a lake." 
Plate XIV of "The Court Painters of the Grand Moghuls" 
by Lawrence Binyon. 

For boating excursions of kings see 5JV., pp. 387, 406 ; 
Khwandamir, pp. 135-37; R. & B., II, p. 151. 
For horse-riding see Early Travels, p. 312. Delia Valle., 
p. 405 ; Ain, II, p., 122. For a painting see photo facing 
p. 15 of the Lady of the Lotus, Rupmati, Queen of Mandu, 
by Ahmad-ul-Umri, trans., L.M. Crump. 
For elephant-riding see A.N., II, p. 151 ; Tr., II, p. 234 ; 
A.N., III, p. 92 ; Tr., Ill, p. 129 ; Storia, I, p. 133 ; Sir 
William Foster, The Voyage of Nicholas Downton to the 
East Indies (1614-15), Series II, Vol. LXXXII, London, 
1939, p. 144. 

-4 M, II, pp. 71-72. ;Tr., II, p. 111. 
Thevenot, Chap. XXI, p. 38. 
Badaoni, II, p. 392 ; Tr., If, p. 406 
B.N., p. 259. 
Petermundy, II, p. 128. 

Even in Babarnama camel, and elephant fights have been 
mentioned at Agra. B.N., p. 631. For elephant-fights 
refer to Ain (Block), p. 131 ; Early Travels in India (ed. 


Foster), p. 108 ; Pelerminidy, II, pp. 126-28 ; .Bernier, 
pp. 177-78. Elephant- fights were a royal prerogative 
and Muhammad Muazzam who once enjoyed it at Sirhind 
was severely rebuked by Aurangzeb. J.N. Sarkar, Anec- 
dotes of Aurangzib, p. 57. 

129. Badaoni, II, p. 392 ; Tr. II, p. 406. 

130. Mandelslo, p. 43. 

131. R. & A, I, p. 157. A beautiful painting No. 640, I.A.E., 
17th century shows "Jahangir witnessing a deadly fight 
between a snake and a spider/' This incident actually 
occurred on the emperor's journey from Kashmir, A.D. 

132. For a painting of a camel -fight see painting No. 605, 

133. Ain 9 I, (1873), p. 143. 

134. Mandelslo, p. 43. 

135. Intikhab-i-Jahangir Shahi, E. & D., VI, pp. 449-50. 

136. Waqyat-i-Jahangiri, E. & D., VI, p. 347 ; Delia Valle, 
pp. 450-51. 

137. Ain, I, (1873 j, pp. 218-20. j 

138. Varthema, p. 75. In this connection see Islamic Culture, 
Vol. XXXV, No. 1, Jan. 1961 : '"'Amusements and Games 
of the Great Mughals." p. 23. 

139. Petermundy, II, p. 50. 

140. Ranking's Historical Researches, p. 284. 

141. De Laet, pp. 39-40 ; Hawkins in Early Travels, p. 184; for 
Delhi and Burhanpur, Thevenot, III, Chap. XXII, p. 42 
and Petermundy, II, p. 50 respectively. 

142. A.N., II, p. 60 ; Tr. II, p. 91 ; Nizamuddin (T.A., H, 
p. , 223, f.n. 2 and p. 224) mentions fight between the 
royal elephants which he names Fatuha and Baksha. 
Refer to Maasir, I, p. 183 for a fight between Jahangir's 
elephant Giranbar and Khusrau's elephant Aprup. For a 
favourite elephant of Jahangir see painting No. 623, 
I. A.E., Mughal, 17th century. For the days usually 
reserved for animal-fights refer to Early Travels, pp. 108, 
184; Roe's Embassy, p. 107 ; Petermundy, II, p, 127 ; 
Manrique, II, p. 162 ; Mandelslo, p. 43. f 

143. Bernier, p. 277 ; Early Trails, p. 301 : Petermundy, II, 
p. 127. For a picture see Storia, I, p. 208 ; and Bernier, 


p. 276. Also see Ranking's Historical Researches, p. 284. 

144. Bengal in the 16th Century, pp. 185-86. 

145. An, I, p. -310. 

146. Ghani, III, p. 7. In fact, it is said, he was engaged in 
pigeon-flying when the news of the death of Abu! Fazl was 
conveyed to him. A.N. (Persian), Vol. Ill, p. 7J3. 

147. A.N.,I,p. 318;Tr., I, p. 589. Afcbar was said to have 
kept 20,000 pigeons, out of which 500 were declared Mas. 
Am (Block), pp. 299-302. The number increased to 10,000 
in the reign of Jahangir. Also see Early Travels in India,. 
pp. 103-4. 

148. Pelsaert's India, p, 72. 

149. Ain,L (1873), p. 157. 

150. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 443. 

151. Bernier, p. 243. 

152. Thevenot, III, Chap. XLV, pp. 77-78. 

153. Early Travels, pp. 312-13 ; Terry, p. 190. 

154. John Marshall in India, p. 254 ; Norris, Embassy to Aurang- 
zib, pp. 166-67. For feats of these jugglers see Peter- 
mundy, II, p. 254 ; Ovington, pp. 258-59 ; B.N., pp. 633- 
34;Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 132, also f.n. 3 ; Badaoni, II, 
pp. 367-68; Tr. II, pp. 378-79 ; R. & B., I, p. 143. 

155. Ain 9 III, p. 258. Norris, Embassy to Aurangzib, pp. 166- 

156. Early Travels, pp. 312-13 ; De Laet, p. 82 ; B.N., p. 492. 

157. Delia Valle, p. 460. 

157*. Visva Bharati Annals, 1945, Vol. I, pp. 118-19. 

158. Ovington, p, 261 ; Early Travels, pp. 312-13 ; Delia Valle* 
p. 405 ; De Laet, p. 82 ; Pedro Teixeria, pp. 224-25. 

159. For a nautch in celebration of Akbar's birthday see photo- 
facing p. 160 of Humayunnama. 

160. Petermundy, II, p. 216. Trade in India by Charles. 
Lockter, p. 234. For a photo of dancers see Petermundy,. 

II, p. 217. 

161. Storia, II, p. 9. For good dancers of Multan see Thevenot, 

III, Chap. XXXII, p. 55 ; of Masulipatam, see Travels in 
India in the 17th Century, p. 182 ; of Vijayanagar, refer 
to Saletore, op. cit. 9 Vol. II, pp. 169-71. A dancing-hall 
for the ladies of the royal household has also been referred 
to. Ibid, p.m. 


162. Ain, III, p. 258. 

163. BadaonI, II, p. 95 : Tr., II, p. 97. 

164. See for details Ain 9 III, p. 258. 

165. Storia, II, p. 9 ; Norris, Embassy to Aurangzeb, p. 149. 

166. Ain, I, (1873), p. 611. 

167. Mandelslo, p. 310. "They delight much in music." 

168. De Laet, p. 82. 

169. Ovington, pp. 291-92. 

170. Ibid. 

171. Purchas* //idi'fl, p. 12. 

172. For Baz Bahadur see A.N., II, p. 136 ; Tr., II, p. 211. For 
Ghani Beg of Sind, see A.N., III, p. 260 ; Tr., Ill, p. 378 ; 
Maasir, I, p. 806. 

173. Ain, III, p. 252 ; Manrique II, p. 196 ; Early Travels, 
p. 144. For a list of musical instruments like naqqarah, 
dhol, daf, vina kinar, rabab, sarbin, shahna, etc. refer Ibid, 
pp. 255-56. 

174. Mirat-i-Alam, E. & D., VII, p. 158 ; M.A. (Urdu), p. 384. 

175. Tarikh-i-Rashidi, p. 174. 

176. Ain, I, (1873), pp. 611-12. 

177. R. & B., I, pp. 331, 292, 303 ; II, p. 148 ; Iqbalnama-i- 
Jahangiri, p. 308. 

178. Mandelslo, p. 23 ; Qazwini, Badshaknama, p. 160a. For 
Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagar's patronage of music 
refer to Epigraphia Indica, I, p. 401. 

179. Islamic Culture, 1945, pp. 356-59. S. Mazumdar, B.P., 
Socio -Economic History of Northern India, p. 252. 

180. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 187. For dramatic perfor- 
mances a little before our period refer to B.P. Mazumdar, 
Socio-Economic History of Northern India, Calcutta, I960, 
pp. 251-54. For theatres at Vijayanagar refer to Saletore, 
op. tit., II, p. 416. 

181. Ain, III, p. 257. 

182. MacaulifFe, I, p. 57. Chaitanya once played the role of 
Rukmini in a play "Krishna Yatra". Kennedy, The 
Chaitanya Movement, p. 18. 

183. About ten days before this great festival, which marks the 
victory of Sri Rama over Ravana, the whole story of Sri 
Rama's adventures is shown, 


184. Quoted from Chaitanya Bhagavata, in Indian Culture, 
' Vol. X, 1943, p. 121. 

185. B.N., p. 400. 

186. Storia, I, pp. 198-99. 

187. B.N., p. 330b. ; G., p. 28-29 ; A.N., II, p. 309, quoted in 
Ashraf's Life and Condition of the People of Hindustan. 

188. H.N., G., pp. 113-124. Also see Qanun-i-Humayun, p. 28 ; 
' Am, \ p. 276 ; R. & B., I, p. 121. 

189. Storia, II, p. 331. 

190. H.N., (Bev.) Introduction, p. 7. 

191. The inhabitants of Bilgram were reputed for their quick 
wit and humour ; Ain 9 II, p. 173. 

192. Qanun-i-Hitmayun, p. 42. 

193. Badaoni, II, p. 186 ; Tr., II, p. 189. 

194. Early Travels in India, p. 303. 

195. Am, I, (1873), p. 87 ; Badaoni, II, p. 385 ; Tr., II, p. 339. 

196. A.N., II, p. 365 ; Tr., II, p. 531. 

197. Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 89. For a beautiful garden at Sirhind, 
refer to Early Travels in India, p. 158 ; Manrique, II, 
p. 182 ; R. & B., I, p. 113 ; Nurbagh at Agra, R. & B., II, 
p. 76 ; Bagh-i-Izzabad or Shalimar at Delhi, Thevenot, 
p. 49 and Chahar Chatnan, pp. 70a, 67. 

198. Thevenot, III, Chap. XXII, p. 42 ; Ain 9 II, p. 351, Mon- 
serrate, p. 31, says, "King descends to the lake (in Fateh- 

,pur Palace) on holidays and refreshes himself with its 
many beauties." 

For Bagh-i-Farahbaksh at Srinagar refer to Qaz- 
wini, Badshahnama ; Bernier, pp. 399-400 ; Lahori, 
Badshahnama, (1866), pp. 179, 315. Also see Stuart, 
Gardens of the Great Mughals, and Islamic Culture, Jan. 
1959, pp. 50-72. 

199. History of Aurangzib, V, pp. 471-73 ; also Macauliffe, I, 
p. 144. 

200. Grose, I, p. 146. 

201. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 181. 


Festivals and Fairs 

Festivals 9 

In medieval times a considerable portion of the year was 
set apart for public festivals. Hindu festivals exceed those of 
the Muslims in number and gorgeous celebrations. Shastras 
suggest only a few, Puranas add a large number, and tradition 
supplies the largest group. Most of the Hindu festivals are 
based on mythological, historical and astronomical considera- 
tions, while others, like Vasant Panchami, Holf, Ganesh and 
Gaur, etc. are observed owing to the change of seasons. 
Ramnavami and Janmashtami commemorate the birthday anni- 
versaries of two of the greatest Hindu avatars. There was general 
uniformity in their observance throughout the country. But 
they enjoyed various degrees of popularity in different places 
and were celebrated with certain local modifications. 

Muslim festivals, on the other hand, are few in number, 
but are celebrated with equal enthusiasm. As a matter of 
fact, they are the anniversaries of some of the most important 
events in the early history of Islam. The Mughals could not 
escape the reaction of Hindu culture. Under its dominating 
influence, coupled with a keen desire to bring the two commu- 
nities nearer, they adopted some of the Hindu festivals and 
gave them a place in their court calendar. Decorations, illumi- 
nations, fireworks, splendid processions, abundant display of 
gold, silver, pearls, diamonds and jewels by Mohammadans in 
India, unheard of in their native lands, were the natural conse- 
quences of their contact with Hindu culture. 

With the advent of the Mughals, a new era dawned over 
the social and political horizon of India. They took keen 
interest in the feasts and festivals of the people. Humayun 
adopted the tula-dan., i.e, the weighing ceremony of the Hindus, 


Akbar went further and associated Eoli, Dasehra and Vasant 
with court celebrations. Jahangir and, to a certain extent, Shah- 
jahan continued the noble tradition. 

Aurangzeb followed a reverse course. He banned most 
of the Hindu and Persian festivals in the court, making them 
Islamic, as far as he could, in Hindu surroundings. Some of the 
important festivals, national as well as religious, have been 
dealt with in the following pages. 


Nauroz, 1 or the New Year's day, the greatest national 
festival during the Mughal times, was borrowed from the 
Persians. 2 It falls on the 1st Farwardin, the first month of the 
Persian year (20th or 21st of March) when the sun enters the sign 
Aries. 3 It marks the advent of the spring in India. 4 The 
Mughals extended the period of its celebrations to 19 days 5 
(from the 1st Farwardin to 19th Farwardiri) as against twelve in 
Iran. The first and the last days were considered most auspicious 
when "much money and numerous things are given away as 
presents." 6 

Grand preparations for the festival were made months 
ahead 7 at the imperial cities. 8 Bazars, porticoes, the public and 
private audience halls, were profusely decorated with costly 
stuffs such as satin, velvet, clothes of gold, 9 etc. Lofty pavilions 
were erected and incomparable paintings drawn. The common 
people whitewashed their entrances and decorated the doors of 
their houses with green branches. 10 A large number of people 
in their best clothes 11 flocked from their neighbouring cities and 
villages to the capital to "amuse themselves by the sight of this 
great festival" and indulged in merry-making for full eighteen 
days, 12 visiting gardens, playing various games and attending 
parties. 13 Restrictions on gambling were relaxed for the 
duration of the festival 14 and the public was allowed free 
access to the presence of the king once a week during this 
period. 15 

The king and his court celebrated the greatest national 
festival 16 in a right royal manner. Special .kinds of coins 
called nisars were struck by Mughal emperors from Jahangir 
onwards for distribution among the people or for offering 
tribute to the king on the occasion of certain festivities such as 


New Year's day, or the anniversary of their coronations. 17 It 
is interesting to note that some of the coins issued during the 
period bear the images of Hindu deities. During these 19 days 
"wine flowed in rivulets, verse and ode flew in hundreds, gaiety 
and merriment ruled everything." Singers and musicians 
flocked to the court from all quarters, particularly from Persia. 18 
Nautch-girls with their wonderful and attractive performances 
thrilled the hearts of all those present. 19 

Several European travellers 20 have given a picturesque des- 
cription of the lavish display of wealth and magnificence on 
this occasion. Manrique, perhaps copying from somewhere or 
depending on hearsay, gives a detailed account of the ornamen- 
tation of the Imperial palace at Agra. The first courtyard, 
according to him, was "rendered gay by a large body of ff 

glittering cavalry numbering 4,000 horses, all dressed in 
coloured embroidered silk, while the horsemen wore brilliant \jj 

silken robes, followed by 600 royal elephants with golden 
towers." Another hundred elephants dressed in "gay silver 
mounted coverings" and decorated with silken flowers and 
carrying silken and golden howdahs formed the second guard. 
The first hall was all covered with pictures and paintings of 
battles, riding parties, , hunting-scenes, etc. The bases of the 
four columns of the gallery in the next hall were decorated with 
hollow silver pedestals in which "different sweet perfumes were 
burnt." 21 The nobles would adorn their places with 
jewels, pearls, diamonds, their richest treasures, and the greatest 
rarities so that, to quote Nizam-ud-Din, "the spectators on see- 
ing them were filled with wonder and admiration." 22 Arrange- 
ments were also made where the ladies of the royal household 
could sit and see the celebrations in purdah. 

The main function usually took place in the Diwan-i-Am 
which was "richly decorated with Gujarat and Persian gold 
cloth, brocaded velvet, brocades from Constantinople and 
China, and European curtains and screens." The king's tent, 
about 50 paces long and 43 paces broad, 23 was fixed there in the 
middle, having an area of about two acres around it. 24 This 
"curiously wrought" 25 tent "the like of which cannot be found 
in the world" was covered all over with shamiyanas of most 
delicately embroidered velvet, silk and cloth of gold. Pearls, 
jewels, diamonds, hollow fruits of gold, such as pears and 



apples, pictures set in silver frames, and paintings were hung 
over fringes. The floor was spread over with most magnificent 
carpets of the richest silk. Bernier saw the pillars of such a 
tent overlaid with silver, "which were as thick and as high as 
the mast of a barque." The outside of such a tent was usually 
red and the inside was lined with "elegant flowery Masulipatam 
chintzes." A jewelled and golden throne 26 (and from the 
time of Shahjahan the famous peacock throne 27 ) adorned this 
royal tent. 

The rest of this vast area around the royal tent was covered 
all over with the tents of nobles who rivalled each other in dis- 
playing their wealth, pomp and splendour. 28 Sometimes the 
galleries around the court, walls or pillars of the halls of the 
public and private places, were allotted to the amirs for deco- 
ration at their own expense. 29 Hawkins writes: "The wealth 
and riches are wonderful that are to be seen in decking and 
setting forth of everyman's room or place." 30 The emperor 
was invited by each of these nobles, who after placing before 
him sumptuous dinner, presented him with gifts of jewels, pearls, 
diamonds, and other rarities. 31 Jahangir once visited the house 
of Asaf Khan at a distance of about one kos from the palace 
for a dinner. "For half the distance he had laid down under 
foot velvet woven with gold." His presents included jewels, 
gold, ornaments, cloths of delicate stuff worth about 
Rs. 114,000, and four horses and one camel. 32 

Itimad-ud-Daulah, after entertaining the king on another 
occasion, presented him with a throne of gold and silver worth 
Rs. 450,000, jewels, ornaments and cloths of the value of 
Rs. 100,000. Jahangir writes: "Without exaggeration from 
the beginning of the reign of the late king until now not one of 
the amirs has presented such offering." 33 

On the first and the last day of this festival the king took 
his seat on the throne in the midst of great rejoicing. The 
nobles and other great men stood in rows in order of their 
rank 34 and offered presents. 35 The king would then bestow 
jagirs, robes of honour, stipends, titles 36 and promotions in 
ranks. Money was distributed 37 and a fancy bazar held. 38 

Birthday celebrations 

The birthday 39 of the ruling monarch was celebrated 


throughout the empire with great pomp and show. Akbar 
introduced the custom of observing both his lunar and solar 
birthdays. 40 There were great rejoicings in the capital for five 
days. Presents were offered and gifts exchanged. Special dances 
were arranged at the court. 41 Feasts were given and bonfires 
lighted. Poets thrilled the hearts of the assembly with poems 
specially composed for the occasion. 42 All ranks of society 
indulged in gambling throughout this week. The royal palace 
and the courts were decorated as on the occasion of the Nauroz 
festival. The elephants and horses bedecked with rich trappings 
and glittering robes were brought before His Majesty for 
review. 43 A good part of the day was spent in these ceremonies 
after which the king paid a visit to his revered mother to |<f 

"receive her felicitations" on this auspicious day. 44 He was |> 

accompanied by all the high nobles, everyone of whom presented ^' 

her with rich gifts. 45 ';jj 

In imitation of the Hindu fashion the king was weighed ,1 

against certain precious metals and commodities on this \M 

occasion. 46 The ceremony was performed most solemnly with m 

prayers, and was intended to afford an opportunity of dispens- } jf 

ing charity to the poor 47 to ward off the evil effects of the 'jjj; 

stars. 48 Humayun had the distinction of being the first Mughal \> 

emperor to adopt this custom. 49 Akbar observed it twice a f{ 

year on his solar as well as lunar (birthday) anniversaries. 50 j'/v 

This practice was continued by Jahangir and, with slight altera- 
tions, by Shahjahan. Aurangzeb, however, reverted to the 
old custom of having himself weighed only once a year and 
even this was dispensed with in his 51st year. 51 But he allowed 
it in the case of his sons on their recovery from illness on the 
specific condition that the money and articles would be distri- 
buted among the poor. 52 On his solar birthdays, the king was 
weighed 12 times against different commodities such as gold, 
quick silver, silk, perfumes, copper, rubi, drugs, ghee, 
iron, rice, milk, and some kinds of grains. On lunar birthdays 
the king was weighed against silver, tin, cloth, lead, fruits, 
mustard oil, and vegetables. 53 The first weighing was usually 
against gold followed by silver and other less costly articles. 54 
The weight was carefully noted and there was much acclamation, 
if the king had gained in weight. 55 The princes and their sons 
were also weighed on their solar anniversaries. 56 The weighing 


commenced at the age of two years against one commodity, an 
additional one being added each year, till the number reached 
generally seven or eight, but in no case it was to exceed 12. 57 

The articles against which the king and the princes were 
weighed were distributed among the Brahmans, fakirs, and other 
deserving persons. 58 Cows, sheep, horses and goats, too, formed 
a part of the charity. 59 A large number of small animals were 
also set free on this occasion. 60 The doubts of European 
travellers whether such large quantities of gold and silver were 
actually given away to the poor 61 are wholly unjustified and 
need no consideration against authentic contemporary records. 62 
After the ceremony the king ascended the throne in the later 
part of the day and received presents (from his nobles) which, 
according to Thevenot, were valued at millions of rupees. 63 
The king then distributed among his courtiers newly coined 
rupees, and fruits such as almonds, nuts and spices made of gold 
and silver. 64 He elevated the mansabs of some .and bestowed 
gifts and jagirs. A sumptuous dinner or a wine-party would 
mark the close of the function. 66 The wives of the nobles as 
well as chief ladies of the court also attended the palace on this 
day and offered gifts to the queens and princesses, who in turn 
bestowed upon them costly saropas and jewels. 67 

Humayun introduced another festival to be held on the 
anniversary of the coronation of the emperor. 68 It was observed 
with great public jubilation for a week. 69 Soldiers and officers 
also took part in the celebrations. 70 The bazars and chief 
public places were decorated. Fireworks were displayed and 
gaudy shows held throughout the length and breadth of the 
empire. 71 Tournaments in archery were arranged and rewards 
given to the winners. 72 The nobles offered presents and received 
grants in the form ofjagirs, horses, etc. Large sums of money 
were distributed among the poor. Aurangzeb abolished the 
customary rejoicings on this occasion in the 21st year of\his 
reign 73 (November 1677), but otherwise continued to observe 
the festival. 

Mina or fancy bazars 

Humayun was the first among the Mughal emperors to 
introduce what later came to be known as Mina Bazar. The 
first of this kind was held on boats near the king's palace after 


the customary mystic feast. 74 Akbar, who continued the 
practice in a modified form, exalted such days as khushroz or 
joyful days. 75 Shahjahan's popular amusement was "a species 
of fair which was held for eight successive days in the gallery 
of the harem." 76 

No fixed interval seems to have been observed for holding 
such a bazar. According to Abul FazI, it was held once a 
month. 77 Shahjahan -used to hold such a bazar on the 
occasion of every festival. 78 It invariably followed the Nauroz 
celebrations. 79 

The stalls in the specially constructed bazar were distribu- 
ted among nobles to be arranged by their wives or daughters who 
acted as traders. 80 These ladies usually were "the handsomest 
and most engaging wives of the umm" 81 Rajput ladies also 
attended the show. 82 The shops were usually of goldsmiths, 
grocers, cloth merchants, etc. 83 The articles exhibited were costly 
ornaments, silk and other fabrics. 84 The king with princesses 
and the ladies of the royal seraglio would pay visits to the 
bazar, and make his bargain, frequently disputing to the value 
of a dam. According to travellers, jocular expressions were 
exchanged the lady at the counter would call the king a miser, 
or a trader quite ignorant of the price of the merchandise. 85 
Immensely pleased, the king would not hesitate to pay double 
the price asked for. After the women's bazar, a bazar for men 
was held and merchants brought their merchandise from all |lj 

parts of the world. 86 ' ) ! 


Ab-t-Pasfaan !/ 

A festival very similar to Holi, called Ab-i-Pashan* 1 by ^ 

Jahangir and Id-i-Gulabi (rose-water festival) by Lahori, was "', 

celebrated at the Mughal court with great elegance on the '"| 

commencement of the rainy season. Princes and prominent |-j' 

nobles would take part in the festival and they greatly t 

delighted in sprinkling rose-water over each other. It was I 
customary to present the king with jewelled golden flasks 

containing rose-water, jujube-tree flower juice and the aroma ,!| 

of orange flowers on this festival. 88 (' 

Vasant Panchami 

Vasant Panchami, which falls on the fifth lunar day in the 


bright fortnight of Magh^ (January-February) and marks the 
advent of spring, 90 was observed at the Mughal court. Hindus 
all over the country celebrated it even more enthusiastically than 
they do now and worshipped Sarasvati, the goddess of learning 
and art. 91 


Holi, one of the ancient festivals of the Hindus, 92 was the 
most popular day of rejoicing, music and feast, as it is today. 
Colour-throwing was a lively part of the celebrations. The Euro- 
pean travellers 93 who visited our country during the Mughal age 
describe the celebrations of this festival at great length. Their 
description shows that it was observed in much the same 
manner as it is in the 20th century. 


Rakshdbandhan^ the greatest festival of the Brahmans, is 
observed on the full moon day of Shravana (July- August). 95 
Rakhi 9 called Nighadasht by Jahangir, 96 made of twisted linen 
rags, 97 or silk cord (in the case of the rich) was tied round the right 
wrist by one's sister. It was supposed to ward off the evil eye. 98 
The brother who received the rakhi was bound to protect the 
life and honour of his sister. Purohits, or the royal priests, 
fastened the rakhi on tho right wrists of their patrons. 99 The 
custom became an important institution with a moral appeal, 
the value of which cannot be exaggerated. When a lady sent a 
rakhi to someone, however different in caste and religion from 
her, he became her 'brother' with a moral obligation to stand by 
her in times of need. 

Akbar made it a national festival and had a rakhi tied on 
his wrist. 100 It became a custom for the courtiers and others 
to adorn the emperor's wrist with beautiful strings of silk, 
bejewelled with rubies, pearls and gems of great value. 101 
Jahangir during his regime revived it and ordered that the 
"Hindu amirs and the head of the caste should fasten rakhis 
on my arm.'* 102 


Vijaya Dashami^* popularly known as Dasehra, considered 
to be of the greatest significance for the Kshatriyas, 104 is 


observed on the 10th lunar day of Asoj (September-Octbber) in 
commemoration of Lord Rama's victory over Ravana. 105 It was 
observed then, as now, all over the country, and theatrical shows 
were held to commemorate the war between Rama and Ravana. 
It was considered an auspicious day for undertaking a military 
expedition. 106 

Dasehra was also celebrated at the Mughal court. Early in 
the morning, all the royal elephants and horses were washed, 
groomed and caprisoned to be arrayed for inspection by the 
emperor. 107 Jahangir describes the festival held on the 24th of 
Mehr (1619) thus : 

"After the custom of India, they decorated the horses and 

produced them before me. After I had seen the horses, 

they brought some of the elephants." 108 

It was the usual custom to offer presents on this festival 
and the king would bestow the royal favour on the deserving. 


DiwaJi or'Dipawali, meaning a row of lamps, is observed 
on the 15th day of the first half of the Hindu month of Kartika 
(October-November). 109 It is preceded by annual whitewashing 
and cleaning of the houses, so essential on sanitary grounds. 110 
On the Diwali day, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and pros- 
perity, is worshipped after which illuminations take place. Some- 
times fireworks were discharged and sweets and other presents 
were exchanged. 111 Dipawali in Vijayanagar, it seems, was 
observed to commemorate the victory which Vishnu scored 
against the Asuras and Narakasuras and since, as they say, it 
was won in the evening, there is universal illumination of houses 
and temples in the land. 112 

Gambling was considered auspicious on this occasion. 113 
People kept awake the whole night trying their luck at dice. 114 
Akbar was interested in the festive aspect of the cele- 
brations, while Jahangir preferred gambling and sometimes 
ordered his attendants to play the games 115 in his presence for 
two or three nights. 116 Goverdhan puja followed Diwali. It was 
observed as cows' day when cattle were washed, ornamented, 
fed, and worshipped. Akbar also took part in the celebra- 
tions and several adorned cows were brought before him. 117 

Both the solar and lunar 118 eclipses 119 were observed with 



all sanctity by the Hindus. They kept a strict fast 24 hours 
before the actual eclipse and passed the day in prayers. 120 A 
bath in the Ganges on this occasion was regarded as having 
special merit and large numbers resorted to Hardwar, Kashi and 
Prayag. Charity was bestowed on the poor and the needy. 121 


Shivaratri, or the festival of Lord Shiva, falls on the 14th day 
of the waning moon at the end of Magh (January-February) or 
beginning of Phalguna (February-March). It is observed for the 
atonement of one's sins and fulfilment of one's desires "during 
life and union with Shiva or final emancipation after death. " 
Fasting, holding a vigil, or worshipping the Linga during the 
night are special requisites on this occasion. 

It was observed with all solemnity during the Mughal 
times. Akbar participated in the celebration, and Jahangir also 
took interest in it. Abul Fazl writes : "Once a year also during 
the night called Sivrat a great meeting was held of all the yogis 
of the empire when the emperor ate and drank with the princi- 
pal yogis who promised him that he should live three or four 
times as long as an ordinary man." Jahangir also refers to this 
festival in the Tuzuk. 12 * 

Other Hindu festivals 

Other important Hindu festivals were, as they are now, 
Ramnavami and Janmashtami. The former is the anniversary of 
the day of birth of Lord Rama, which falls on the 9th lunar day 
in the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra (March- April). 123 
The latter is the anniversary of the birthday of Lord Krishna. 
It is celebrated on the 8th of the dark fortnight of the 
month of Bhadaun (August-September). 124 Reference may be 
made also to the celebrations at Puri when Lord Jagannatha was 
brought out in his car. Huge crowds from all parts of the 
country attended the festival. 5124 * 


The Muslim month of mourning called Muharram 1 ' 25 is the 
anniversary of Imam Husain 126 whose death at Karbala is one 
of the most tragic events in the history of Islam. The first ten 
days of this month are observed as the days of lamentation by 


Muslims in general and Shias in particular. 127 The Mughal 
emperors, though Sunni in belief, put no restrictions on Its 
observance. 128 Monserrate gives an account of its celebration 
during the time of Akbar. He writes that Muslims kept fast 
during the first nine days of the month eating only pulse, and 
recited the story of Hasan and Husain from a raised platform. 
The audience was stirred with emotion and wept. On the tenth 
day they would erect funeral pyres which were burnt one after 
another and the glowing ashes scatterred with their feet. 
Mandelslo gives a description of Muharram processions during 
Shahjahan's time. He writes : "These are carried about the 
city (Agra), coffins covered with bows and arrows, turbans, 
scimitars and garments of silk, which the people accompany 
with sobbings and lamentations. Some among them dance at 
the ceremony, others strike their swords one against another ; 
there are those who cut and slash themselves, so as that the 
blood comes out in several places, wherewith they rub their 
clothes and by that means represent a very strange procession. 
Towards night they set up several figures of men, made of straw, 
to personate thejmurderers of those saints (Hasan and Husain) ; 
and having shot a great many arrows at them, they set them on 
fire and reduce them to ashes." 128 * Aurangzeb, however, stopped 
the practice of Muharram processions throughoutpiis dominions. 
But though the tazia processions were never given up and 
Muharram assemblies, mourning, and distribution of charity 
continued to be practised all over the country, sometimes 
Muharram celebrations were marred by riots between the Sunnis 
and the Shias in which considerable lives were lost. 129 


Id-i-Milad or the feast of the Prophet's nativity, was 
celebrated on llth of Rabi-ul-Awwal with great solemnity at the 
court. Special lectures were delivered narrating the chief 
incidents in the Prophet's life. A meeting of the Sayyids, 
scholars and saints was arranged in the palace at Agra. 131 That 
day Shahjahan, leaving the throne, took his seat on the carpet. 
Reciters read ' the holy Quran. Rose-water was profusely sprinkled 
and sweets and halwa were distributed among the people. On 
one occasion a sum of twelve thousand rupees was given in 
charity by Shahjahan, 



In Gujarat and Bengal this festival was observed with 
great enthusiasm. The capital cities of Ahmedabad and 
Murshidabad were illuminated. Ulemas, Shaikhs and saints 
were invited to discuss Hadis and were presented with gold and 
clothes. 131 * 


The night 132 of the Prophet's ascent to heaven is celebrated 
on the 14th of Shabban, the 8th Arabic month. The genera] 
belief is that on this night, the lives and fortunes of the mortals 
for the coming year are registered in heaven. 133 Muslims pre- 
pared 'stew, curds, sweetmeats, etc. in the name of theii 
deceased relations on 13th Shabban either during the day or ir 
the evening and offered fatihe over some portion of these 
dishes. 134 Sweets and presents were exchanged. 135 The actual 
festival is celebrated on the evening of the 14th. 136 

The Muslims, during the Mughal days, illuminated then 
houses and shops and displayed fireworks. 137 Jahangir 138 anc 
Shahjahan 139 were very particular about this festival and observec 
it regularly with great pomp and show. Shahjahan was ai 
Lahore in 1639 when Shab-i-Bamt was celebrated during th< 
night of llth Shabban A.H. 1049. The spacious courtyard o 
the public audience hall was illuminated in the Persian styl 
under Ali Mardan Khan who was in charge of the arrange 
ments. 140 The palaces, Government buildings, gardens, reservoirs 
etc. were all illuminated. Temporary wooden structures, sue] 
as walls and domes, were raised and set with beautiful lamps. 14 
Royal as well as private barges on the Ravi were beautifull; 
decorated and outlined with coloured lights. 142 There was grea 
display of fireworks in the court of Diwan-i~Am and the plan 
under thzjharokha-i-darshan. 1 ** The emperor sat on the thron 
and distributed Rs. 10,000 among the poor as gifts out of th 
gold of weighing (<zz zar-i-wazri). 


Id~ul-Fitr M or the festival of breaking the fast, also knowi 
as Id~ul-Saghir, or the minor feast, begins on the first day o 
Shawal and continues foQdays. 145 This day of rejoicin, 

comes after the long-drawn-out fast of Ramzan^ and i 
therefore particularly welcome, 


During the Mughal age the sight of the new moon, which 
preceded the Id-ul-Fitr, was proclaimed by firing of guns and 
blowing of trumpets. 147 On the morning of the Id, Muslims per- 
formed careful ablutions 148 after which they dressed themselves 
in their best clothes. 149 Friends and relatives exchanged dainty 
dishes and visits and wished each other good luck. 150 Then 
followed enjoyments, including display of fireworks. It was 
customary to call on elders and superiors to offer greetings. 151 
Princes, nobles, courtiers and other high state officials 152 
gathered in the audience hall to offer their greetings to the 
emperor. 153 In the afternoon they assembled in the Idgah to 
offer prayers. 154 During the first year of his reign Jahangir went 
to the Idgah to offer his thanks and prayers. 155 He set apart a 
large sum of money to be distributed among the poor and the 
needy. Shahjahan followed the practice of his father and on 
one such occasion (in 1628) gave Rs. 30,000 in charity, besides 
grants in land and daily allowances to the deserving. 156 An idea 
of the royal procession to the Idgah can be formed from the 
picturesque description given by Rai Chandrabhan Brahman. 157 
Even parsimonious Aurangzeb used to celebrate this festival with 
great enthusiasm. In the provincial capitals the governors 
presided over the Id celebrations. 158 


Id-ul-Zuha or Bakr Id 159 is the feast of sacrifice held on the 
day or the evening of the 10th Zu-i-Hijja, the 12th month of 
the Muslim year. 160 The sacrifice of a quadruped, such as a 
goat, a sheep or even a cow perfect in all parts, made on this 
occasion is in commemoration of the ram which "redeemed 
Ismail when his father Abrahim was ready to make him a 
sacrifice" as an offering to God. 161 Jahangir once sacrificed 
three goats with his own hand 162 at this festival. 

The festival was observed with ceremonious display during 
the Mughal times. The king used to participate. Preparations 
were made both in the capital and in the provinces well in 
advance. The people assembled in large numbers in the Idgah 
at the appointed hour. The emperor would ride in procession 
and sometimes even take up his quarters at the Idgah , 163 The 
sacrifice of a camel would be performed in his presence with 
due ceremonials. 164 


In the provincial capitals the governor acted in place of 
the king, visited the Idgah with no less pomp, and sacrificed a 
ram or a goat with the usual rites and ceremonies. 165 The people 
who could afford it performed the same ceremony at their 
homes by solemnly killing a ram or a goat in memory of the 
ram offered for Ismail. 166 They also cooked stew, sweetmeats, 
and griddle-cakes and offered fatihe in the name of their 
deceased relatives. 167 

Otfter Muslim festivals 

Another equally important Muslim festival, namely Bora 
Wafat 1 was observed on the 12th of the month of Rabi-ul- 
Awwal in commemoration of the Prophet's birth and death. 

Bengali Muslims celebrated another festival known as 
Bern festival. It was in honour of Prophet liyas or Prophet 
Khwaja Khizr, who is supposed to be the patron of all waters. 
Houses were illuminated and fireworks were displayed. The 
peculiar feature of this festival was the construction of mosques 
of paper which were set up on illuminated housetops. 168 * 

A few other festivals such as Akhiri Chahar Shamba, 
Chahellum, etc. were observed, but they were not so important 
or popular as the two Ids, Shab-i-Barat and Bara Wafat. 


Periodical fairs were held at numerous seats of Hindu pil- 
grimages to which Hindu men, women and children used to 
throng. In medieval times, religious fairs served a double 
purpose religious and social. To the devout, a visit 
to holy places and a dip in the holy waters were the means of 
attaining religious merit, but to the common man they had a 
social and economic significance also. In those days of slow 
and primitive means of communications, the fairs afforded a 
meeting-ground to the Hindus of all castes and provinces. They 
served as a means of obliterating minor local and provincial 
differences. They also reminded the Hindus of the essential 
unity of their faith and culture. 

There were too many local fairs in every province, hallowed 
by the memory of some great personality and associated with 
some events in the lives of Hindu avatars. The most important 169 
of these fairs were held at Hardwar, Prayag, 170 Mathura, 




' I ' 

Ayodhya, Gaya, Garhmukteswar, Ujjain, Dwarka, Puri, Nagar- , < 

kot, and Rameshwaram. The Kumbh fairs at Prayag, ' ! '; 

Hard war and Kurukshetra were considered particularly impor- i \ | 

tant and attracted lakhs of people, as they do even today. \ ' f 

Muslim fairs were held at Ajmer, Panipat, Nizamuddin ,!! 

Auliya, Sirhind, Ajodhan, etc. They, too, attracted a large ;; . 

number of pilgrims from every part of the country. I ' ] 


1. Badaoni (II, pp. 172, 175n, 268, 343) terms it as Nauroz- 
i-Jalal'i-Jahangir. Tuzuk, Lowe (pp. 39-40) calls it Roz-i- 
Sharaf. For earlier references see Alberuni, Sachau, p. 2 ; 
B. N., p. 236 ; Qanun-i-Humayun, p. 69 ; Khwandamir, 
p. 95 ; see an article in Oriental College Magazine, Lahore, 
August 1940. 

2. Its history and antiquity dates back to the days of Jamshid 
of "the seven-ringed cup" who is said to have fixed the 
Persian calendar. Hindu-Mukammadan Feasts, p. 110. 
Alb eruni's Chronology of the Ancients., p. 199 n. 

3. Badaoni, II, pp. 261-62 ; Tr., II, p. 269 ; T.A., II, p. 556 ; 
Ain, I, pp. 276-77. 

4. Hindu- Muhammadan Feasts, p. 110. 

5. Ain, I, (1873). pp. 276-77. 

6. Ain, I, (1873), p. 183. 

7. For travellers' accounts of the celebration of this festival 
during Mughal days see Early Travels, p. 119 ; Monserrate, 
pp. 175-76 ; Roe's Embassy, pp. 142-144; Petermundy, II, 
pp. 237-38; Manrique, II, pp. 195-200 ; Mandelslo, p. 41 ; 
Storia, I, p. 195 ; Bernier, pp. 272-73 ; Thevenot, III, 
pp. 49-50. Also see Ain, I, (1873), pp. 276-77 ; A. N., Ill, 
pp. 32, 200-1, 385-86, 436 ; R. & B., I, pp. 48-49. For 
painting see Ratan Tata's collection, Prince of Wales 
Museum, Bombay. 

8. Badaoni, II, p. 301 ; Tr., II, p. 310. 

9. R. &B. I, pp. 78, 130, 199, 230, 254, 294 ; T. A., II, 
p. 556. 

10. Manrique, II, 193. 

11, Monserrate, pp. 175-76 ; T.A., H, p. 556, 


12. Tuzuk, Lowe, pp. 39-40. According to Monserrate, it 
lasted for nine days. 

13. Monserrate, pp. 175-76. 

14. Badaoni, IT, p. 338; Tr., II, pp. 348-49. Accordingto Theve- 
not, "They are so eager at it in Delhi and Banaras that 
there is a vast deal of money lost then and many people 
ruined." Thevenot, Chap. XXVX, p. 48. 

15. T.A., II, p. 556. 

16. Even in Dabistan this festival is mentioned by an angel 
who says : "Mah Payah (a lunar sphere) is also one of the 
spheres of the Paradise in which are those who perfor- 
med every kind of meritorious deeds except observing the 
Nauroz." Dabistan (1843), Trans. James Ewing, 
p. 289. 

17. These coins weigh 43 to 44 grains. Perhaps these coins 
were struck on economic grounds as they were intended 
for distribution. Compare J. P. A. S. B., 1883 (History of 
Mughal Emperors of Hindustan illustrated by their 

18. East India Factory Records ( 1646-50), p. 299. For other 
references to Nauroz see E. F. (1624-29), p. 127 and E.F. 
(165 1-54), pp, 244-45. 

19. T. A.. II, p. 559. 

20. Manrique, II, pp. 195-200 ; Early Travels, p. 119 ; Roe's 
Embassy, p. 144 ; Bernier, p. 270. 

21. Manrique, II, pp. 195-200 

22. T. A., II, p. 556 ; Bernier, p. 270. 

23. Roe's Embassy, p. 144. Also see Lahori, I, pp. 186-87, 

24. Early Travels, p. 119. 

25. Ibid. 

26. T. A., II, p. 556. 

27. Bernier, pp. 268-69 ; Manrique, II, pp. 200-4 ; Storia, II, 
pp. 348-49. 

28. T.A., II, p. 556 

29. Bernier, p. 270. 

30. Early Travels, p. 119. 

31. T.A., II, p. 570. 

32. R. & B., I, pp. 319-20. 

33. Ibid, II, p. 80, 


34. T.A., II, p. 556. 

35. Thevenot, III, Chap. XXVII, p. 50. 

36. For award of titles, etc. on Nauroz see T.A., II, pp. 
637-38 ; R. & B., I, p. 320. 

37. Badaoni, II, p. 172 ; Tr., II, p. 175. A sum of one lakh of 
rupees was distributed. 

38. Bernier, p. 272 (Constable Edition, 1891). 

39. Ain, I, pp. 266-67. 

40. Ibid. 

41. Thevenot, Chap. XXVI, p. 47. 

42. Badaoni, II, p. 84 ; Tr. II, p. 85. 

43. Thevenot, Chap. XXVI, p. 47. 

44. Manrique II pp. 200-4. See also R. & B., I, p. 78. jj,,, 

45. De Laet pp. 101-2. Hawkins says that each noble pre- 
sented a jewel. Early Travels, p. 119 ; Mandelslo, p. 42. H ! ; 

46. For details see Early Travels, p. 119 ; Roe's Embassy, pp. ijjjj 
378-80(1926); Delia Valle, p, 459; Manrique, II, pp. $ 
200-4 ; De Laet. pp. 101-2. Mandelslo, p. 42 ; Tavernier, j|| 
p. 122 ; Storia II, p. 348 ; Bernier, p. 272 ; Thevenot, jj \ 
XXVI, p. 47 and Qanuni-i-Humayun, p. 76 ; Ain, I, (1873) I 
pp. 266-67 ; R. & B., I, pp. 78, 115, 160 ; Badshafmama, ! j! 
I, p. 243 ; M. A. (Urdu), p. 51. ' ||' 

47. Roe's Embassy, (1926), p. 379 ; Ain, I, (1873), pp. 266-67 If? 
43. R. &B., I, pp. 115-116. ;J 

49. Qanun-i-Humayun, p. 76. iJ! ( 

50. Ain, I, (1873), pp. 266-67. /'j 

51. In March 1670, Aurangzeb forbade the festivities which \\\ 
used to be held on his birthday. /il 

52. Sarkar (History of Aurangzib], III, pp. 85-86 ; Aurangzeb \ > 
is said to have advised his grandson Muhammad Azim to ( ! ; 
get himself weighed against different metals twice a year ! jj 
to safeguard against spiritual ills. Bibliography of Mughal j 1 < 
India by S. R. Sharma, p. 19. \\ 

53. Ain, I, (1873), p. 266. Lahori retains gold also. (Lahori, ; 
I, pp. 243-44) ;' 

54. Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 64 ; Roe's Embassy, p. 379. ;, 

55. Ovington, p. 179; Tavernier, p. 122 ; Bernier, p.270. j; 

56. Ain, I, 267 f. n. Jahangir once weighed Khurram on his ; ; 
lunar birthday against the established custom because of ^ 



the latter' s indisposition. Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 96 ; R. & B,, 
p. 115. Also see Sharma's Bibliography, p. 19. 

57. Ain, I, p- 267 f.n. Occasionally the courtiers were weighs 
for important personal services. Jahangir had his con 
doctor Ruhulla weighed once against silver and the sui 
was given to him besides three villages. R. & B., I, p. 28; 
Talib Kamil was once weighed against gold by Shahjahan 
orders. Lahori, I, pp. 243-44. 

58. Ain, I, (1873), pp. 266-67. Sometimes even courtiers gottt 
share. Badaoni, II, p.84; Tr., II, p. 85; R. &B., I, pp. 71 
112 ; Lahori, I, pp. 243-44 ; De Laet, pp. 101-2. 

59. Ain, I, (1873), p. 267. "According to the number of yeai 
His Majesty has lived, there is given away an eqw 
number of sheep, goats, fowls to people that breed them. 
R. &B,I, p. 183. 

60. Ain I, (1873), p. 267. 

61. Roe, like other travellers such as Hawkins (p. 440), Man 
delslo (p. 42), and Tavernier (I, p. 379), disbelieves tha 
such large sums were given away in charity as it was sel 
dom done publicly. Manrique rightly understands th 
nature of the Indians who believe that "charity which i 
done from the love of God should be made in secret." 

-62. Badaoni, II, p. 84; Tr,, II, p.85; Ain,I 9 (1873), pp. 266-67 
Lahori- 1, p. 243-44 ; M.A. (Urdu), pp. 21, 51, 54; Storia 
II, p. 348. 

63. Early Travels, p. 119; Thevenot, XXVI, p. 47; Storia 
II, p. 348. 

64. Thevenot, XXVI, p. 47 ; Roe's Embassy (1926), p. 379 
Delia Valle, p. 459 ; De Laet, pp. 101-2 ; Mandelslo 
p. 42. 

65. R. & B., I, p. 73. Qutb-ud-Din Koka was promoted tc 
a rank of 5,000 personnel and horse. 

,66. WaqyaM-Jahangiri, E. & D., VI, p. 356. 

67. Storia, II, p. 345. 

68. Qanun-i-Humayun, pp. 19-20. It fell into disuse after 
Humayun, but was not stopped. R. & B., I, pp. 1,3, 10. 
History of Jahangir by Beni Prasad, p. 136. Also see 
History of Shahjahan by Saksena, p. 246. Maasir (I, p. 
42) refers to the practice of colour-sprinkling. For 


coronation celebrations at Vijayanagar, refer to Saletore, 
op. cit. 9 II, pp. 219-20. 

69. Ovington, pp. 178-79. Painting No. 629, I.A.E., 2nd 
half of the 17th century shows Emperor Shahjahan at the 
time of his accession. 

70. Travels in India in the 17th Century, pp. 305-6. 

71. Ovington, pp. 178-79. 

72. Qanun-i-Humayun, pp. 19-20. 

73. History of Auragzib, III, p. 87. 

74. H.N. (Bev.), p. 126. According to the author of the 
DarbaH-Akbar (Urdu) this custom was borrowed from 
Turkistan where such bazars were held once or twice in a 
week in every village and town. But there women, as 
well as men, attended it to buy and sell merchandise. 

75. Ain 9 I, (1873), p. 277. For conflicting views regarding the 
motives of holding these bazars see Ain, I, (1873), p. 277; 
Petermundy, I, p. 238; Bernier, p. 273. 

76. Storia, I, p. 195. 

77. AinI, (1873), p. 277. 

78. Bernier, p. 273. 

79. Ibid, p. 272. 

80. Petermundy, II, p. 238. 

81. Bernier, p. 273. 

82. Tod, I, pp. 401-2 ; Petermundy, II, p. 238. 

83. Bernier, pp. 272-73. 

84. Petermundy, II, p. 238. If we are to believe Badaoni, 
stalls in the fancy bazar were sometimes conducted by 
nobles themselves. He mentions one Shah Fatehullah who 
in his stall "exhibited all sorts of skill such as the dragging 
about of weights and other storage contrivances." 
Badaoni, II. p. 322; Tr., II, p. 331. 

85. Thevenot, III, Chap. XXVIII, p. 50. 

86. Am, I, (1873), p. 277. 

87. Persian festival in memory of the rain which fell on the 
13th of the Persian month of Tir and put an end to the 
famine. (Bahar-i-Ajam). R. & B., I, pp. 265, 295. A 
very illustrative painting No. 636, I. A. E., Mughal, early 
17th century shows "The Emperor Jahangir celebrating 
the festival of Aab-Pashi or the sprinkling of rose-water," 
painted by Govardhan on the 5th Amardad Day.' Flasks 



full of rose-water, white, yellow and blue are before 
Jahanngir while around him stand courtiers and some 

88. Lahori, I, p. 204; Amal-i-Salih, p. 374; R. & B., I, pp. 265 

89. Am, III, pp. 317-21. 

90. Hindu Holidays, p. 238. 

91. On this day pens, ink and books are revered and in Bengal 
Sarasvati puja is observed. Flowers and prayers are offered 
for the boon of knowledge, temporal and spirititual. See 
Malik Muhammad Jayasi's Granthavali (Hindi) by Ram- 
chandra Shukla, pp. 90-92. See a painting Raga Vasanta 
Rajasthani, 1700 A.D., numbered 400, I.A.E. Also see 
Hindu-Muhammadan Feasts, p. 77. 

92. Am, III, p. 321 ; Am, II, p. 173 ; R. & B., I , pp. 245-46 ; 
Faiths, Fairs and Festivals, pp. 85-86 ; Hindu Holidays, 
p. 88 ; Hindu-Muhammadan Feasts, p. 38 ; Crooke's Popular 
Religion, II, pp. 313-22; Punjab Notes and Queries, III, 
No. 553. 

93. Monserrate, p. 22 ; Petermundy, II, p. 292 ; English 
Factories (1624-29), p. 246 ; (1634-36), p. 136 ; (1637-44), 
p. 13; Mandeslo, 58; Storia, II, p. 154 ; Thevenot, Chap. 
XXXI, pp. 57-58 ; Hamilton, I, pp. 128-29 ; Delia Valle, 
I, pp. 122-23. For a Holi scene see Painting No. 482, 
Kangra, 18th century. Also see History of Aurangzib, III, 
p. 91. In the time of the later Mughals, some Muslim 
grandees like Khanjahan Bahadur Kotaltash took lively 
interest in its celebrations and Bhim Sen, the author of 
Nuskha-i-Dilkusha, refers to the two sons of the Khan, 
Mir Ahsan and Mir Mushin,.who "were more forward 
than Rajputs themselves." Nuskha-i-Dilkhusa by Bhim 
Sen, p. 64. 

94. Raksha literally protection, and Bandhan tying. 

95. Ain, III, pp. 317-21 ; Hindu Holidays, p. 178. 

96. R. & B., I, p. 224. 

97. Badaoni, II, p. 361 ; Tr., II, p. 269. 

98. Hindu Holidays, p. 178. Also see Hindu-Muhammadan 
Feasts, p. 65. 

99. Ain 9 III, pp. 317-2i; R. & B., I, p. 244. 
100. Badaoni, II, pp. 261-62 ; Tr., II, p. 269. 


101. Am, III, p. 319 ; R. & B., I, p. 246. 

102. R. & B., I, p. 246. 

103. Victory 10th day. For Mahanavami festival and Vijaya 
Dashami celebrations at Vijayanagar refer to E. & D., IV, 
pp. 117-18 ; Saletore, op. eft., II, pp. 372-80. 

104. Am, III, p. 319. 

105. For Durgapuja in temple see R. & B., I, pp. 224-25. 

106. R. & B., I, p. 245 ; II, pp. 100-1 ; For the Rajput celebra- 
tion of the festival see Ain, III, pp. 317-21. 

107. R. & B., II, p. 176. This custom still prevails in some 
states. See Hindu Holidays, pp. 185-88. 

108. R. &B., II, pp. 100-1; R. & B., I, p. 245. See also 
Alamgirnama, p. 914. 

109. For general description see Hindu- Muhammadan Feasts, 
p. 18 ; South Indian Festivities, p. 152 ; Hindu Holidays, 
p. 42. For contemporary evidence see Bengal in the 16th 
Century, pp. 186-86 ; Travels in India in the 17th Century, 
p. 309 ; Petermundy, II, p. 146 ; Ain, I, (1873), p. 216 ; 
III, pp. 305-7 ; R. & B., I, p. 246. For earlier reference 
see Alberuni's India, II, p. 182. 

110. Faiths, Fairs and Festivals, p. f06. 

11 1. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 309. Hindus 
would open fresh accounts on this day. R. & B., I, 
p. 246. 

112. Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 
Vol. XXVI, 1945. For some more details of the festival, 
see Major, India, p. 28. 

113. Ain, I, p. 321 ; for earlier reference see Alberuni's India, 
II, p. 182. 

114. R. & B., I, p. 246. 

115. Ibid, p. 268. 

116. Ibid, Bengal in the 16th Century, pp. 185-86. Shahjahan 
did not take any interest in these festivities. K.R. 
Qanungo, Historical Essays, p. 67. 

117. Ain, I, (1873), p. 216. During the time of the later 
Mughals (1738 A.D.), it appears, the permission of the 
Governor was necessary to hold the Diwali fair, for which 
a poll-tax was asked sometimes. (Macauliffe, Introduction, 
pp. Ixxi-lxxvi). 

118. Bernier (1891), pp. 301-3 describes in detail the ceremonies 


performed by the Hindus on the occasion of an eclipse at 
Delhi in 1666 A.D. 

119. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 308 ; Hindu- 
Muhammadan Feasts, pp. 28-30. 

120. Ibid. 

121. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 308 ; Badaoni, II, 
p. 95 ; Tr., II, pp. 94-95, Jahangir used to get himself 
weighed on solar and lunar eclipses and distributed money 
among the poor. R. & B., I, pp. 160, 1 83, 281. 

122. R. & B., I, p. 361 ; also see Ain 9 I, p. 210 ; Saletore, op. 
eft., II, pp. 404-5. 

123. Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 350 ; Hindu Holidays, p. 194 ; Hindu- 
Muhammadan Feasts, p. 67. 

124. Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 352 ; Hindu Holidays, pp. 95-96 ; 
Hindu- Muhammadan Feasts, p. 41. 

124*. For the festival of Jagannath refer to Kennedy, The 
Chaitanya Movement, p. 43 ; Saletore, op. cit., II, pp. 
383-89 ; Ashraf, K.M., Life and Conditions of the People 
of Hindustan, p. 204 ; Orissa Historical Society Research 
Journal, July 1951. 

125. For general account see Islami Teohar aur Utsav, p. 40 ; 
Crooke's Islam, pp. 159-61 ; Hindu- Muhammadan Feasts, 
pp. 106-9 ; Outlines of Islamic 'Culture, p. 717. For 
contemporary description see Monserrate, p. 22 ; Travels 
in India in the 17th Century, p. 307 ; Pelsaert' s India, 
p. 75 ; Petermundy, II, p. 219 ; Mandelslo, p. 42 ; Van 
Twist's "Description of India," J.I.H., April 1937, pp. 70- 
71. Also see Badaoni, I, p. 481 ; Tr., I, p. 623 ; K. K., 
II, p. 214 and History of Aurangzib, III, p. 91 ; Norris, 
Embassy to Aurangzeb,pp. 165-66. 

126. The son of Ali and grandson of the Holy Prophet. He died 
fighting at Karbala against Yazid, the son of the usurper 
Moaviah to the khali faship of Islam. Outlines of Islamic 
Culture, p. 717. 

127. Hindu-Muhammadan Feasts, p. 106. 

128. Humayun had Shia tendencies, but remained a Sunni. 
Rulers of the Deccan, as Bahamanis, Adil Shahis, Nizam 
Shahis, Qutab Shahis, etc. belonged to Shia sect. Nur- 
jahan's relatives were Shias. Naturally they influenced 


the Mughal rulers and, consequently, no bar was imposed 
on the celebrations of Muharram. Islaini Teohar, p. 40. 
128*. Mandelslo, p. 42. 

129. A similar riot occurred at Burhanpur in 1669 in which 50 
persons were killed and 100 injured. Khali Khan, II, 
p. 214 ; History of Aurangzib, III, p. 91. 

130. Lahori, I, A, pp. 230-31 ; Amal-i-Salih (I, p. 617) men- 
tions 20,000 to have been given in charity. 

131. Akbar held every year a Majlis-i-Urs on this occasion and 
people were entertained. T.A., Trans., II, p. 520. 

131*. Rahim, A., Social and Cultural History of Bengal, op. cit. 
pp. 276-77. 

132. Lahori calls it Lailat~ul-Barat. For general account 
see Hindu-Muhamrnadan Feasts, pp. 111-12 ; Faiths., Fairs 
and Festivals, pp. 199-200 ; Island Teohar, pp. 68-72 ; 
Crooke's Islam, pp. 203-4. For contemporary accounts 
see Mandelslo, p. 46; Thevenot, III, p. 31. Also see 
R. & B., II, pp. 22, 94, and Lahori, II, pp. 167468. 

133. Islami Teohar, pp. 68-72, 

134. Crooke's Islam, pp. 203-4. Islami Teohar, pp. 68-72. 

135. Thevenot, Ilf, p. 31, wrongly calls this festival the feast 
of Choubert. 

136. Crooke's Islam, pp. 203-4. 

137. Thevenot, III, p. 31. Mandelslo, p. 46. 

138. R. & B., II, pp. 22, 94. 

139. Lahori, II, pp. 167-68. 

140. Lahori, II, pp. 167-68. 

141. Ibid. 

142. Ibid. Amal-i-Salih, pp. 285-86. 

143. Lahori, II, pp. 167-68. 

144. For general account see Faiths, Fair sand Festivals of India, 
p. 201 ; Hindu-Muhammadan Feasts, p. 102 ; Islami 
Teohar, pp. 72-78 ; Herklots' Islam, pp. 211-13. Outlines 
of Islamic Culture, p. 704. For contemporary evidence 
see Roe's Embassy, p. 72 ; Travels in India in the 17th 
Century, p. 306 ; Pelsaert's India, p. 73 ; Delia Valle, 
p. 428 ; Bernier (1914), p. 280 ; Ovington, p. 243 and 
Letters received by East India Company, Vol. IV, p. 10. 
Also see B.N., pp. 235-36, 311, 410, 584, 683 and 689 f 


T.A., II, p. 605 ; Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 37 ; Lahori, I, p. 259 
and M.A. (Urdu), p. 28. 

Islami Teohar, pp. 72-78. Crooke's Islam, pp. 211-14. 
Outlines of Islamic Culture, p. 704. 

146. Ovington, p. 243 ; Storia, I, pp. 158-59. See also Letters 
received by East India Company, Vol. IV, p. 10. In the 
Akhbarat of the reign of Aurangzeb, there are stray 
references to the fact that Hindu officers sometimes 
invited Muslim friends to break their fast at their resi- 

147. Roe's Embassy, p. 72. Travels in India in the 17th Century, 
pp. 305-6. According to Delia Valle, "They set lamps on 
the tops of their houses and on all other most conspi- 
cuous places near their great tanks that are surrounded 
with buildings where those lights are doubled by 
reflection upon the water." Delia Valle, p. 428 ; Norris, 
p. 145. 

148. B.N., pp. 235-36. On another place Babar says: "Ramzan 
was spent this year with ablution and tarawih in the gar- 
den of eight paradises." T.A., II, p. 605. 

149. Pelsaert's India, p. 73. 

150. Ibid. 

151. Norris, Embassy to Aurangzeb (1699-1702), p. 144. Also 
see William Foster, The Voyage of Nicholas Downton to 
East Indies, London, 1939, p. 144. 

152. M.A. (Urdu), p. 28. 

153. Lahori, I, p. 259 ; Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 37. 

154. Here in the Idgah some selected parts of the Holy Quran 
are "publicly read unto them" (Delia Valle, p. 429) by the 
Imam. (Hindu- Muhammadan Feasts, p. 102.) 

155. Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 37. 

156. This is the amount distributed during Ramzan and the Id. 
Lahori, I, p. 259. 

157. See Chahar Chaman for details. 

158. For Aurangzeb see M.A. (Urdu), p. 28. For celebration 
in the provinces and cities see Roe's Embassy, p. 72 ; 
Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 306. 

159. For general account see Islami Teohar, pp. 78-88 ; 
Crooke's Islam, p. 214 ; Faiths, Fairs and Festivals, p. 201 ; 
Observations on the Mussulmans of India, I, p. 259 ; Hindu- 



Muhammadan Feasts, pp. 102-3. For contemporary 
evidence refer to Early Travels in India, p. 318 ; Travels in 
India in the 17th Century, p. 306 ; Petermundy, II, p. 196 ; 
Storia, II, pp. 349-350. Also see A.N., II, p. 31 ; Tr.. II, 
p. 51 ;R. &B., I, p. 189. 

160. Crooke's Islam, p. 214. Faiths 9 Fairs and Festivals, p. 201 ; 
Observations on the Mussulmans of India, I, p. 259 ; 
Hindu-Muhammadan Feasts, pp. 102-3. 

161. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 306. 

162. R. & B., I, 189 ; Petermundy, II, p. 196. 

163. A.N., II. p. 31 ; Tr., II, p. 51. 

164. Storia, II, pp. 349-50 ; Badshahnama, I, pp. 226, 430 ; II, 
pp. 95, 191, 283, 332, etc. 

165. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 306. 

166. Terrry in Early Travels in India, p. 318. 

167. Crooke's Islam, pp. 214. 

168. Barah means twelve and wafat means death. (Hindu- 
Muhammdan Feasts, p. 98). In private houses and mosques 
meetings are held at which the story of the birth, miracles 
and death of the Prophet is recited. Ibid, p. 98. 

168*. Sen, K.P., Bangular Itihas, p. 71. 

169. Ain, III, (Sarkar), pp. 332-36. 

170. Manrique, II, p. 146. 


Position of Women in Society 

The purdah system 

Woman held an honoured position in the Vedic age , an 
was quite competent to take part in every aspect of the so cia 
intellectual and spiritual life of the race. 1 During the perio 
that folio wed the Vedic age there was gradual deterioration c 
her position, but she still retained a large measure of freecioi 
in the disposal of her own person and fortune. 2 As a girl, sh 
was under the guardianship of her father, as wife under he 
husband, and as a widow under the care of her son. 

Nowhere in all these periods is there a definite suggest io 
of the existence of any seclusion of women or of child marriage. 
With the advent of Islam new social forces appeared oil th 
Indian horizon. It is true that polygamy was not unknown t 
the ruling classes of the Hindu population before the advent c 
Muslims, but this received great encouragement owing to th 
impact of Muslim ideas. Strict veiling of women was th 
common practice among the Muhammadans. The adoption c 
the latter custom by the Hindu women under the stress c 
circumstances brought about their social, political and intellec 
tual stagnation. Their position as girls, wives and widows wa 
reduced to that of dependents and subordinates. 

The purdah system in all probability was unknown i 
ancient India. 4 Mazumdar 5 and Rashid 6 in their recently put 
lished works have not been able to cite even isolated instil nee 
of its prevalence in ancient India. Its general adoption, aceord 
ing to Dr. Altekar, is subsequent to the advent of Muslim rul 
in India. 7 Purdah was strictly observed in their native la.rids. 
Naturally in a foreign country like India greater stress was lai 
upon it. Even a liberal king like Akbar had to issue orders thai 


"If a young woman was found running about the streets 
and bazars of the town and while so doing did not veil 
herself or allowed herself to become unveiled... she was to 
go to the quarters of the prostitutes and take up the 
professsion." 9 

Hindus adopted purdah as a protective measure 10 to save 
the honour of their womenfolk and to maintain the purity of 
their social order. 11 The tendency to imitate the ruling class 
was another factor which operated in favour of introducing 
purdah among Hindu families. 

Purdah was strictly observed among high-class families of 
both the communities during the Mughal period. 12 It was 
prevalent in Bengal and U.P. among rich Hindu families, as 
has been noted by Jayasi, 13 Chaitanya and Vidyapati. Seclusion 
ame to be regarded as a sign of respect and nobility. Wives 
of nobles lived in spacious houses surrounded by high walls 
with tanks, gardens and other luxuries inside. 14 Eunuchs were 
frequently employed as the medium of communication between 
the male and female members of a royal or noble family. 15 
Ovington writes : "All the women of fashion in India are closely 
preserved by their husbands who forbid them the very sight of 
strangers." 16 Even male doctors were not allowed to face the 
ailing ladies of noble and princely families. A curious method 
was adopted for diagnosing the disease without seeing the 
patient's face or feeling her pulse. A handkerchief was rubbed 
all over the body of the patient and then put into a jar of 
water. By its smell the doctor judged the cause of illness and 
prescribed the medicine. 17 1 1 

Ladies of high families thought it improper to move out ' ? ( 

without aristocratic veils. 18 Delia Valle writes : "For these ' 

(Muslim ladies) unless they be dishonest or poor never come ! 

abroad. 9 ' 19 They thought it derogatory to stir out except on ! ! 

special occasions and even then in closely covered palanquins I , 

surrounded on all sides by servants and eunuchs. 20 Princesses f 

would go out rarely and that, too, only with the previous per- '' 

mission of the king. They went out usually in the morning in t 

palanquins accompanied by slaves. At the entrance of the ' < 

residence, palanquin-carriers would be replaced by females to I \ 

carry them further inside. 21 When a princess desired to ride an ''' 

elephant, the animal was made to enter a Jent near the palace- 



gate and the mahout covered his face with a cloth so that he 
might not see the princess when she entered the covered hawdah^ 
None dared to pass on the road when the royal ladies went out 
in a procession. Bernier rightly observes : "It is indeed a pro- 
verbial observation in these armies that three things are to be 
carefully avoided, the first getting among the choice and led 
horses where kicking abounds, the second on the hunting- 
ground, the third a too near approach to the ladies of the 
seraglio." 23 If for any reason a Muslim lady of rank discarded 
purdah even for a temporary period, the consequences for her 
were disastrous. Amir Khan, the governor of Kabul, felt no 
scruple in renouncing his wife when her purdah was broken in 
an attempt to save her life by leaping from the back of the 
elephant who had run amuck. 24 

Nurjahan was a noble exception. Beni Prasad writes : 
"She broke the purdah convention and did not mind to come 
out in public." Purdah was gradually spreading in Rajputana, 
but it was less vigorously observed in Rajput families, where 
the ladies, trained in all the arts of warfare, would frequently 
take part in hunting parties and other expeditions. Barring 
notable Muslim families there, South Indians did not adopt 
purdah. In Malabar, wives welcomed guests and talked fami- 
liarly with them. 25 

Purdah was no less strictly observed among middle-class 
Muslim ladies who dared not move out of doors without a veil, 26 
which consisted of&burqa or a chadar and hid her from top to 
toe. She was thus able to see others through the thin layer of a 
net, but could not be seen by them. 27 Hamilton writes : "The 
Muhammadan women always go veiled when they appear 
abroad." 28 Muslims, according to Ovington 29 and Dr. Fryer, 30 
were very jealous of their wives. Even the meanest among them 
would not allow his wife to stir out uncovered. Those among 
them who could afford it, went out in palanquins and coaches 
covered on all sides. 31 If we are to believe Delia Valle, the 
Muslims would not allow their wives to talk even to their 
relatives, except in their presence. 32 

No purdah for common women 

No such coercive purdah system seems to have been 
observed among the Hindu middle class and certainly not 



among the Hindu masses. Hindu ladies could move out of ^ 
doors with little or no restriction. 33 Delia Valle writes : 

"Hindus take one wife and of her they are not so fearful jj 

and jealous as the Muhammadans are of their several ;i 

wives and women, for they suffer their wives to go abroad |u 

whither they please." 34 |j j 

Both the sexes had sufficient liberty to go out and enjoy the y 

open air. 35 It was the usual custom for husbands or some *;'F 

other male relations to accompany, women when going out of {' 

doors. 36 Unlike Muslim women they did not cover themselves 7 

from head to foot. 37 It was enough to have a sheet or dopatta \] 

to cover their heads. ''; 

Women of the lower stratum, of our society, such as ! f 

peasant and working classes, were entirely free from the bond- < ? 

age of purdah. They were expected to help their husbands in j j!,i 

all "external pursuits and internal economy." 39 They used to \\y 

take their bath publicly at river-sides 40 and would visit shrines 

travelling on foot without any restriction whatsoever. It was 

everywhere a common sight to see women water-carriers walking 

along the streets without any purdah* 1 

Unwelcome daughters 

The birth of a daughter was considered inauspicious. The 
very silence with which a female child was received was indica- 
tive of disappointment. 42 She was not as welcome as a boy. 
Even in the royal family the difference was clear and well- 
marked. Only women rejoiced and feasted on the birth of a 
daughter, while the whole court took part in the celebrations 
if a prince was born. 43 We can well understand the anxiety of 
Akbar who had "resolved within himself that if Almighty God 
should bestow a son on him, he would go on foot from Agra to 
Shaikh Muin-ud-Din Chishti's mausoleum, a distance of about 
140 Aroy." 44 

A wife who unfortunately happened to give birth to girls 
in succession was despised and even sometimes divorced. 46 The 
deplorable custom of infanticide was luckily confined only to a 
very minor section of the less cultured Rajput families. 48 The 
scarcity of suitable matches due to the prohibition of inter- 
marriage between families of the same clan and continuous 
wars and feuds with the remote tribes, together with the 



sentiment that an unworthy match lowers the prestige of a 
bride's father, led them to resort to this practice. 47 

Polygamy among rich Muslims 

The Quran, no doubt, permits a Muslim to marry four 
wives 48 at a time, but monogamy seems to have been the 
rule among the lower stratum of society in both the communi- 
ties during the Mughal period. 49 In spite of the decision of the 
ulema in the Ibadat Khana that a man might marry any number 
of wives by mutah but only four by nikah Akbar had issued 
definite orders that a man of ordinary means should not possess 
more than one wife unless the first proved to be barren. 51 He 
considered it highly injurious to a man's health to keep more 
than one wife. 52 Polygamy was the privilege of the rich Muslims, 
each of whom kept three or four wives at a time. Mirza Aziz 
Koka's well-known proverb deserves mention. He used to say 
that "a man should marry four wives a Persian to have some- 
body to talk to, a Khurasani for his housework, a Hindu 
woman for nursing his children, and a woman of Mavarunnahr 
to have someone to whip as a warning for the other three." 58 
The co-wives rivalled each other and used all devices to excel 
one another and thereby win the love of their husband. 54 Each 
of them received fixed monthly allowances in addition to clothes, 
jewellery, and other household necessities. Polygamy naturally 
brought many evils in its train. 55 A single husband could 
hardly be expected to satisfy his several wives who wore the 
most expensive clothes, ate the daintiest food and enjoyed all 
worldly pleasures. 56 Domestic unhappiness and immorality, 
in some cases at least, was the natural consequence. 

Hindus monogamous 

Hindus, with the exception of a small number of princes 57 
and very wealthy persons, strictly restricted themselves to mono- 
gamy as enjoined by their social custom. Delia Valle writes : 
"Hindus take but one wife and never divorce her till death, 
except for the cause of adultery." 5 * Mandelslo, 59 Hamilton, 80 
Orme 6 * and Stavorinus 62 corroborate it. In the extreme case if 
a wife proved to be barren, they had the liberty to marry an- 
other with the consent of the Brahmans, 63 


Child marriage 

As a general rule, a girl of either community was brought 
up under close parental supervision. 64 Higher education was 
denied to middle-class and ordinary ladies, and learning was 
restricted to primary subjects. Their training was confined to 
home and domestic affairs, such as needlework, embroidery, 
dressing the victuals, cooking, 65 etc. Life-long celibacy for girls 
was discouraged and every girl had to be given away in marri- 
age. On account of this and political and socio-religious 
circumstances of the time, parents tried to marry off their '] 

daughters as early as possible. The custom in those days did ]] 

not allow girls to remain in their parents' home for more >!; 

than six to eight years after their birth. They were married /" 

even before the age of puberty usually when six or seven years !;<! 

old. 66 One of the Brahman generals of the Peshwa was ! j 

filled with great anxiety because his daughter's marriage 
could not be arranged at the age of nine. "If the marriage 
is postponed to the next year," he wrote from the battlefield, 
"the bride will be as old as ten. It will be a veritable 
calamity and scandal." 67 A father, according to Mukundram, 
"who could get his daughter married in her ninth year 
was considerd lucky and worthy of the favours of God," 68 

The rigidity of the custom, coupled with the celebration of 
the marriage at a very tender age, left no room whatsoever for 
either the bride or the bridegroom to have time to think of a 
mate of her or his own choice. The custom left it solely to the 
discretion of parents, or of the nearest relatives and friends 
to arrange the match. 69 Seldom was there a wish expressed 
by any female relation of the bridegroom to see the bride before 
the marriage. 70 As for Muslims, it was contrary to their 
acknowledged custom. 71 The marriage had to be settled on 
hearsay reports with an advantage to the bride's parents who 
had an opportunity to see the boy and satisfy themselves about 
him, if they so desired. Dowry was demanded, and sometimes 
parents disregarded the suitability of the match 72 and cared 
primarily for a rich dowry. It seems that the "evils of the 
dowry system prevailed with greater vigour in Bengal. There 
was also a curious custom of giving away a younger sister of the 
bride to the bridgroom as a part of the dowry." 72 * In some 
castes and localities the bridegroom had to pay money to the 


bride's guardians. 73 

Money played an important part when a marriage was 
arranged between persons of unequal ages 74 or social status. 
Sometimes for the sake of wealth a young man would marry a 
woman older than himself. The evil grew so much that Akbar 
issued orders that if a woman "happened to be older by twelve 
years than her husband, the marriage should be considered as 
illegal and annulled." 75 In some cases betrothals were fixed, as 
we see even today, among the rural folk before the actual birth 
of their children, if "death or sex disapproves not." 76 Akbar 
tried in vain to bring home to his people that the consent of the 
bride and the bridegroom as well as permission of the parents 
was essential before the confirmation of the engagement. 77 

There seems to have been greater liberty for girls belong- 
ing to high-class Rajput families to choose their husbands. 
The princess of Rupnagar, charmed with the gallantry of Rana 
Raj Singh of Mewar, invited him "to bear her from the im- 
pending union with the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb." Some- 
times a romantic lady would fix the price of her hand. Tarabai, 
the daughter of Rao Surthan, promised to marry the youth who 
would recover her 78 father's domain Todah from the Pathans. 
Jaimal, the brother of Prithvi Raj, won her. 79 Karamdevi, the 
beautiful daughter of the Mohil chieftain, took the risk of re- 
nouncing her betrothal with the heir of the Rao of Mandor and 
chose to be the bride of Sadhu, heir of Pugal, whose admira- 
tion she had won. Tod writes : "The passion of the daughter 
of the Mohil was fostered at the risk of the destruction not 
only of her father's house but also that of her lover." The 
returning bridal party was attacked by the slighted heir of 
Mandor and the brave Sadhu was slain, and Karamdevi, "at 
once a virgin, a wife and a widow" followed her lover and be- 
came sati. SQ 

As a wife 

As already narrated, the ordinary Indian girl had no choice 
in the selection of her husband. When married, the mother- 
in-law would exercise control over her and her commands must 
be carried out. If she failed to come up to her standard, she 
might be divorced in a Muslim family, and her life would be- 
come miserable ia a Hindu home. Her position was no better 


than that of an ordinary maid. She had to please each and 
every member of her husband's family by rendering every possi- 
ble domestic service. She would perform all the household 
duties dusting, sweeping, and washing the floor and cleaning 
cooking-pots and utensils She had to look after cows 
and other domestic animals, besides supervising the other work 
entrusted to her. But when grown up and away from the 
dominating influence of her mother-in-law, a middle-class lady 
had large powers in the management of the household. She 
would control its expenditure and supervise the general arrange- 
ment of the kitchen and furniture and perform periodical reli- 
gious and secular functions. 81 She had to prove herself a 
devoted wife who would not take meals until her husband 
had dined. 82 When in childbed she had enforced rest, and 
retired to a separate room during her periods. 

Bartolomeo notices with appreciation the great respect 
paid to a pregnant woman ; not only her husband and relations, 
but all the inhabitants of the place belonging to her caste 
prayed for her health and safety. 83 But for a certain number of 
days after delivery she was not considered fit to be touched by 
anyone except the midwife who attended to her needs. Her 
food, according to Manucci, would be left at a distance and rj 

none would approach her lest he or she should be defiled. 84 

The position of a woman with regard to her husband was 
that of a dependent, 85 in honourable subordination, at least as 
long as mutual relations remained cordial. Jahangir writes in 
the Tuzuk : 

"It is a maxim of Hindus that no good deed can be 
performed by men in the social state without the partner- 
ship or presence of the wife whom they have styled the 
half of man." 86 

Both would give way to accommodate each other to prevent 
their domestic happiness from being marred. Her counsels 
carried weight, especially when she had become a mother. But 
still the last word was that of her husband. Even "the daughter 
of a hundred kings" who had contemptuously refused to fetch 
a glass of water for her lord and thus become a "cup-bearer to 
the chieftain of Sadri" had to be reminded by her father, the 
Rana of Mewar, of her position as a wife with respect to her 
husband, the Chief of Sadri. The heir-apparent of 


stood at the edge of the carpet spread in the darbar hall "per- 
forming the menial office of holding the slippers of the chief," 87 
who had been invited to the court by his s6vereign. Tod 
writes : "Shocked at such a mark of respect, he stammered forth 
some words of homage, his unworthiness, etc." To this the 
Rana replied : "As my son-in-law no distinction too great 
can be conferred. Take home your wife ; she will never again 
refuse you a cup of water." 88 

Some of the husbands, however, it is to be regretted, 
treated their wives very harshly. Such men, however, suffered 
from some mental defect, such was Khwaja Muazzam, the 
maternal uncle of Akbar. 89 

But with all this, the ladies belonging to high and respect- 
able old families, especially Rajputanis, were reluctant to com- 
promise when their self-respect was at stake. Raja Jai Singh of 
Amber once cut a joke with his wife, the princess of Haraoti, 
about the simplicity of her dress. He began playfully to "con- 
trast the sweeping jupe of Kotah with the more scanty robe of 
the belles of his own capital, and taking up a pair of scissors 
said he would reduce it to an equality with the latter." Greatly 
annoyed, she spoke in words which clearly bring forth the true 
sex relations prevalent among high Rajput families. "Mutual 
respect is the guardian not only of happiness but of virtue," 
and if again she was insulted, he would find that "the daughter 
of Kotah could use a sword more effectively than the prince of 
Amber the scissors." 90 Bernier rightly remarks that many girls 
would have led a happy married life if their parents had con- 
nected them with a family less noble than their own. 91 Hamida 
Banu's attitude in this respect is admirable. She declined to 
enter into a matrimonial alliance with a monarch, exclaiming : 
"I would rather marry a man whose lapel I can hold than one 
whose pedestal I cannot reach. 9 ' 92 Rajputanis had the courage 
even to admonish their husbands, when they went astray from 
the path of duty. When Jaswant Singh, the king of Marwar, 
retreated after fighting the deadly battle of Dharmat with 
Aurangzeb, his wife, according to Ferishta, "disdained to 
receive him and shut the gates of the castle." She cried out 
that he could not be her husband, "the son-in-law of the Rana 
cannot possess a soul so abject. I am deceived, my husband is 
certainly killed. It cannot be otherwise," 93 


Whatever might have been the respective positions of wife 
and husband, it is a fact beyond dispute that most of the 
Hindus managed to lead a happy domestic life. The woman 
adored her husband with passionate reverence and in return her 
husband rendered her all tenderness and protection. As a 
natural consequence, the true love and affection of the husband 
for his wife was unfailing. He would stick to monogamy and 
seldom fall a victim to adultery. 94 Tavernier rightly observes : 
"Banias (Hindus) when married are seldom untrue to their 
wives." 95 He would address her as "O thou mother of our son, 
I desire not paradise itself, if thou art not satisfied with me." 
Vulgar equality had no meaning. It was a love reciprocated. 
The result was a happy conjugal life in most cases. 96 

As a widow 

Divorce 97 and remarriages, common among Muslims, 
were prohibited to Hindu women. The Hindu husband could 
remarry 98 in certain circumstances, as on the death of his wife 
or if she proved to be barren. 99 But a Hindu woman had no 
such privilege. Dr. Altekar rightly observes : "No divorce was 
allowed, even if the husband was a moral wreck or he grievous- 
ly ill-treated his wife." 100 Even when the husband died, the 
woman had no choice even if she desired to remarry. "Nor 
could she find any of her own race who would take her, because 
she would be accounted as bad, as infamous in desiring a 
second marriage." 101 

Widow remarriage except for the lower-caste people had 
disappeared almost completely in Hindu society during the 
medieval age. 102 This custom suffered little change during the 
Mughal days and was even more rigorously enforced. Hindu 
ladies, according to Ovington, disliked and abhorred the very 
idea of remarrying and preferred to maintain their fidelity even 
after the death of their husbands. 103 Seldom did a woman 
desire to outlive her husband unless she was big with a child. 
Sati was a prevalent practice, in spite of the efforts of the 
Mughals to check it. 104 Linked as they used to be from their 
infancy, separation was intolerable. 105 In sati they saw hidden 
the symbolic meaning, the deep passionate joy of the sacrifice 
and the expression of love stronger than death. Even the 
betrothed girls had to commit sati on the funeral pyre of their 



would-be husbands. 106 

Far from being well disposed towards them, society treat- 
ed Very unfairly those widows who would not burn themselves 
with their dead husbands. Society looked down upon them. 107 
They were not allowed to wear their hair long or to put on 
ornaments. 108 Widowhood was considered a punishment for 
the sins of one's previous life. 109 These unfortunate creatures 
had to put up with their parents, who treated them no better 
than ordinary maids, doing all the menial jobs in the house, 
hated and despised even by their "family and caste as being 
afraid of death." 110 The very few who desired to remarry dis- 
regarding the custom were turned out of their caste and com- 
munity and finding it impossible to find a husband in their own 
community had "recourse to Christians and Muhammadans." 111 
Widow remarriage was allowed by Muhammadan law and was 
practised by the rich and the poor alike. However, it seems 
that many widows, particularly those belonging to respectable 
families, preferred not to marry again due to the impact of 
Hindu ideas. 111 * 

As a mother 

Whatever might have been the position of a woman as a 
girl/bride and widow, she certainly occupied a most respectable 
position in society as a mother. Manu emphatically asserts 
that a mother "is more to be revered than a thousand fathers." 112 
Apastamba writes : "Women as mothers are the best and the 
foremost preceptors of children." 113 The Muslim religion, too, 
enjoins upon its followers to revere their mothers for "Paradise 
lies at the feet of the mother." 114 From the king down to the 
peasant, all had the greatest respect for their mothers and for 
elderly women whose commands were invariably obeyed. We 
have numerous instances recorded in the contemporary records 
of the period of Mughal kings who would travel some stages to 
receive their mothers. They would perform kornish, sijdah and 
taslim, when entering their presence. 115 Jahangir writes : 

"I went to meet my mother at Dhar (near Lahore) and 

performed kornish, sijdah and taslim with all obedience 

and then took leave of her." 116 % * 

On his birthday the Mughal emperor, accompanied by 
princes and nobles, would necessarily pay a visit to his 


mother to receive her felicitations, and present her with rare 
gifts. 117 Sometimes the weighing ceremony took place in her 
palace. 118 It is interesting to recall in this connection that, 
according to Indian etiquette, the first lady of the realm was not 
the Empress Consort (except in the case of Nurjahan and 
Mumtaz Mahal) but the royal mother or royal sister. 119 , 

Perhaps no people showed greater regard for their mothers^ 
than the Rajputs. The Rajput mother occupied an honoured i] 
and exalted position in society. She claimed a full share in the 
glory of her sons who "imbibed at the maternal fount their 
first rudiments of chivalry, the importance of paternal instruc- 
tions." 120 We can find no better illustration than to quote the 
ever recurring simile ; "Make thy mother's milk resplendent." 
Rana Sangram Singh II of Mewar had made it a principle to 
pay his respects to his mother every morning before taking his 
meals. He would not go against the wishes of his mother, how- 
ever unreasonable they might have been. 121 The call of the mother 
to her sons was irresistible. Sixteen-year-old newly married Fatta 
who commanded the Chittor fort during the famous assault by 
Akbar put on the "saffron robe" at the command of his mother 
and he and his bride died fighting against heavy odds. 122 

There are several recorded instances when ladies acted as 
mediators and successfully settled disputes. Khan Mirza was 
let off on the recommendation of Khanum. 123 Mubhib Ali was 
generously received at the court through the intervention of his 
wife, Nahib Begum. 124 Badaoni employed the services of the 
mother of Muqarrab Khan to settle his differences with the 
Khan. 125 Jahangir, who had been for years in rebellion, was 
forgiven by Akbar on the intercession of Salima Begum. 126 It 
was due to the pleadings of Jahanara that Aurangzeb was par- 
doned in 1653 and restored to the dignities and emoluments of 
which he had been deprived by Emperor Shahjahan. 127 

Her economic position 

So far as property rights were concerned, Muslim ladies 
were much better off than their Hindu sisters. A Muslim 
lady was entitled to a definite share in the inheritance 128 with 
an absolute right to dispose it of. Unlike her Hindu sister 
she retained this right even after marriage. Another method 
adopted to safeguard the interests of Muslim ladies after 


marriage was Mahr or antenuptial settlement, 129 whereas a Hindu 
lady had no right to the property of her husband's parents. A 
Hindu lady was entitled to maintenance and residence expenses 130 
besides movable property like ornaments, jewellery, costly 
apparel, etc. 131 About the immovable property, Orme writes : 

"No property in land admits of disputes concerning them. 
The slavery to which the rights of parents and husband 
subject the female abolishes at once all fruits of dowries, 
divorce, jointures and settlements." 132 

It appears that constant seclusion brought about the social, 
political and intellectual stultification of women who could not 
exert themselves for their legitimate rights. From the legal stand- 
point they were reduced to a position of dependence in every 
sphere of life. 

Indian women mostly confined themselves to house- 
hold work. Those belonging to the agricultural and labour- 
ing classes helped their menfolk in agriculture, breed- 
ing of animals, spinning, weaving, 133 tailoring, etc. Some 
of them engaged themselves in independent professions like 
medicine, midwifery, and the like. The women at Surat earned 
money by unknitting woollen and silken fabrics after their colour 
had faded off, 134 Some of them even kept shops. 135 Many took 
up dancing and singing as a profession. 136 Stavorinus writes : 
Ci Moors and Bengalese take great delight in having women 
dance before them who are kept for that purpose and are 
educated from their infancy in the pursuit of this function." 137 
They were extremely supple and were adepts in the art of 
dancing. 138 Muslim women usually liked to take up this pro- 
fession, and some Hindu women were employed as musicians. 139 

Prostitution was regarded as a disgrace though some of 
the meaner sort adopted it and lived in separate quarters, 
usually outside the city. 140 There were many who took to 
medicine and were freely employed as niidwives. In fact there 
was a separate caste that followed this profession. They could 
be recognised by the "tufts of silk on their shoes or slippers, 
all others wearing plain." 141 The more educated among them 
adopted teaching as a regular profession. Manucci writes: 
"Among them (royal household) there are matrons who teach 
reading and writing to princesses." 142 


HerTole in literature, art and administration 

In spite of the purdah which obstructed high-class ladies 
from participating in the social life of the nation, quite a large 
number of talented women made a mark in different spheres 
during the two centuries of Mughal rule in India. The women 
of the richer classes were well-educated and many of them were 
not only patrons of the learned but themselves were poetesses 
of distinction and authoresses of scholarly works. 143 Gulbadan 
Begum, the author of the Humayunnama, and Jahanara, the 
biographer of Shibyah and Munisul Arwah, hold an enviable 
position among the literary figures of that age. Jan Begum, 
the daughter of Khan-i-Khanan, is said to have written a com- 
mentary on the Quran* Mira Bai, Salima Sultana, a niece of 
Emperor Humayun, Nur Jahan, 145 Siti-un-Nisa, the tutoress of 
Jahanara and renowned as '"the princess of poets" and Zeb- 
un-Nisa, the eldest daughter of Aurangzeb, were poetesses of 
distinction. The authorship of Diwan-i-Makhfi is ascribed to 
her. Ramabhadramba, the author of Raghunathabhyudayam, 
Madhuravani, translator in verse of the Andhra-Ramayana, 
Tirumalamba, author of Varadambikaparinayam, and Mohanangi, 
author of the love poem Marchiparinayam, are well-known 
Sanskrit poetesses of the period. 146 In Maharashtra Aka Bai 
and Kena Bai, disciples of Ramdas Swami, were considered 
important literary figures in the 17th century. 

In the administrative sphere, too, they did not lag behind. 
Some of the greatest women administrators of all ages belong 
to this period. Maham Anaga, the chief nurse of Akbar, 
controlled the affairs of the state for full four years (1560-64) 147 
by sheer audacity and cleverness. Rani Durgavati, the Chandel 
irincess of Gondwana, "famous for her beauty and accomplish- 
ments," 148 governed her country with great courage and 
capacity. 149 Her country was better administered and more 
prosperous than that of Akbar the Great. 150 Rani Karmavati, 
wife of Rana Sanga, almost ruled Mewar after the death of 
her husband. It was her tact and administrative ability which 
saved Mewar during the regime of her incompetent son, 
Vikramaditya. 150 * Chanel Bibi's 151 name shines brilliantly in the 
annals of Ahmednagar, and Makhduma-o- Jahan ruled the 
Deccan very ably as a regent on behalf of Nizam Shah of the 
Bahmani family. 152 Sahibji, the daughter of Ali Mardan, was a 



wonderfully clever and able lady. She was the actual governor 
of Kabul during her husband's viceroy alty. She displayed her 
great administrative qualities after the death of her husband by 
ruling over the turbulent Afghans without allowing any serious 
opposition. 153 Nur Jahan, "the light of the world," was the real 
power behind the Jahangiri throne. So supreme was her sway 
over the emperor, who had for all practical purposes sold the 
empire for "a bottle of wine and a piece of meat/' that even the 
proudest peers of the realm paid their homage to her, knowing 
full well that a word from her would make or mar their career. 
"When in power she ruled everything, when out of power she 
abstained religiously from all active life." Such was her nature. 
The Maratha king Raja Ram's widow, Tarabai Mohite, as 
regent for her son Shivaji II, a boy under 10 years, became 
the supreme guiding force in Maharashtra. 154 She displayed 
such marvellous capacity and administrative ability in en- 
countering the Mughal onslaught that threatened to engulf the 
Maratha state that all the efforts of Emperor Aurangzeb 
failed miserably. As Sir Jadunath Sarkar has observed, "Her 
administrative genius and strength of character saved the 
nation in that awful crisis/' 

Indian women belonging to royal and noble families, 
particularly the Rajputanis, were trained as soldiers and often 
displayed great bravery, courage and heroism. We have already 
referred to the part played by Fatta's mother in the defence of 
Chittor. 155 The valiant Durgavati was India's Joan of Arc. 
She fought and won many a battle against Baz Bahadur and 
the Minas. 156 Her end was no less noble. Seated on a fiery 
elephant, clothed in armour and a steel helmet on her head, 
she calmly yet resolutely directed her army against Akbar's 
hordes with utmost zeal and ability. When despaired of victory 
she said : "It is true we are overcome in war but shall we be 
ever vanquished in honour" 157 and stabbed herself to death. 158 
Chand Bibi, a famous Muslim heroine, personally defended 
the fort of Ahmednagar against the mighty forces of Akbar. 159 
Nurjahan gave ample proof of her martial capabilities in leading 
an attack against Mahabat Khan. 160 Such examples can be 
multiplied. But these are enough to show that medieval Indian 
ladies could defend themselves and their country. 161 



HSgti character of Hindu women 

The chastity of Hindu women was proverbial. Several 
travellers on different occasions have made a special mention 
of the high character of Hindu ladies. Thevenot presents it as 
an example to all the women of the East. 162 Akbar held 
a high opinion of the chastity of the Hindu women, who, in 
spite of being sometimes neglected, "are flaming torches of love 
and fellowship." 163 Jahangir, too, admired the chastity of 
Hindu ladies who would not allow "the hand of any unlawful 
person touch the skirt of their chastity and would perish in 
flames/' 164 Jayasi in his famous work, Padmavat, admires the 
high character of Hindu women and their love and adoration 
for their husbands. He says : "Sati burns herself for the 
devotion to her lord ; if there is truth in her heart then the 
fire is cooled." Adultery and other immoral practices were 
rare among both sexes. 165 Tavernier writes : " Adultery is very 
rare among them and as for sodomy I never heard it mention- 
ed." 166 Death was the usual punishment for those who indulged 
in such vices. 167 Sometimes the guilty were deprived of their 
noses. 168 Ovington rebukes husbands for keeping a strict 
watch over their wives in spite of the latter's unfailing 
modesty. 169 If anyone looked at them deliberately in the 
bazar or even while they stood at their doors, they resented it 
as an affront and uttered "Dekh na mar" (Look here and don't 
you die), so writes Grose. 170 

Death had no terror for these heroic ladies when their 
honour was at stake. It was certainly less dreadful than dis- 
honour and captivity. With patriotic pride and songs of their 
country's glory on their lips, they would desperately resort to 
Jauhar when despaired of victory. "Jauhar, according to Hindu 
custom," so writes Jahangir, "is the fire of fame and chastity, 
so that the hand of no unlawful person should touch the skirt of 
their chastity." 171 Such was the ideal of India's womanhood 
during the Mughal age. 


1. Hymns of the Rigveda, I, pp. 96, 106, 172, 182, 463; 
Hindu Law by H.S. Gour, p. 1174 ; The Position of Women 
in Hindu Law by D.N. Mitter, pp. 600-1. 


wonderfully clever and able lady. She was the actual governor 
of Kabul during her husband's viceroy alty. She displayed her 
great administrative qualities after the death of her husband by 
ruling over the turbulent Afghans without allowing any serious 
opposition. 153 Nur Jahan, "the light of the world," was the real 
power behind the Jahangiri throne. So supreme was her sway 
over the emperor, who had for all practical purposes sold the 
empire for "a bottle of wine and a piece of meat," that even the 
proudest peers of the realm paid their homage to her, knowing 
full well that a word from her would make or mar their career. 
"When in power she ruled everything, when out of power she 
abstained religiously from all active life." Such was her nature. 
The Maratha king Raja Ram's widow, Tarabai Mohite, as 
regent for her son Shivaji II, a boy under 10 years, became 
the supreme guiding force in Maharashtra. 154 She displayed 
such marvellous capacity and administrative ability in en- 
countering the Mughal onslaught that threatened to engulf the 
Maratha state that all the efforts of Emperor Aurangzeb 
failed miserably. As Sir Jadunath Sarkar has observed, "Her 
administrative genius and strength of character saved the 
nation in that awful crisis." 

Indian women belonging to royal and noble families, 
particularly the Rajputanis, were trained as soldiers and often 
displayed great bravery, courage and heroism. We have already 
referred to the part played by Fatta's mother in the defence of 
Chittor. 155 The valiant Durgavati was India's Joan of Arc. 
She fought and won many a battle against Baz Bahadur and 
the Minas. 156 Her end was no less noble. Seated on a fiery 
elephant, clothed in armour and a steel helmet on her head, 
she calmly yet resolutely directed her army against Akbar's 
hordes with utmost zeal and ability. When despaired of victory 
she said : "It is true we are overcome in war but shall we be 
ever vanquished in honour" 157 and stabbed herself to death. 158 
Chand Bibi, a famous Muslim heroine, personally defended 
the fort of Ahmednagar against the mighty forces of Akbar. 169 
Nurjahan gave ample proof of her martial capabilities in leading 
an attack against Mahabat Khan. 160 Such examples can be 
multiplied. But these are enough to show that medieval Indian 
ladies could defend themselves and their country. 161 


High character of Hindu women 

The chastity of Hindu women was proverbial. Several 
travellers on different occasions have made a special mention 
of the high character of Hindu ladies. Thevenot presents it as 
an example to all the women of the East. 162 Akbar held 
a high opinion of the chastity of the Hindu women, who, in 
spite of being sometimes neglected, "are flaming torches of love 
and fellowship." 163 Jahangir, too, admired the chastity of 
Hindu ladies who would not allow "the hand of any unlawful 
person touch the skirt of their chastity and would perish in 
flames." 164 Jayasi in his famous work, Padmavat, admires the 
high character of Hindu women and their love and adoration 
for their husbands. He says : "Sati burns herself for the 
devotion to her lord ; if there is truth in her heart then the 
fire is cooled." Adultery and other immoral practices were 
rare among both sexes. 165 Tavernier writes : "Adultery is very 
rare among them and as for sodomy I never heard it mention- 
ed." 166 Death was the usual punishment for those who indulged 
in such vices. 167 Sometimes the guilty were deprived of their 
noses. 168 Ovington rebukes husbands for keeping a strict 
watch over their wives in spite of the latter's unfailing 
modesty. 169 If anyone looked at them deliberately in the 
bazar or even 'while they stood at their doors, they resented it 
as an affront and uttered "Dekh na mar" (Look here and don't 
you die), so writes Grose. 170 

Death had no terror for these heroic ladies when their 
honour was at stake. It was certainly less dreadful than dis- 
honour and captivity. With patriotic pride and songs of their 
country's glory on their lips, they would desperately resort to 
Jauhar when despaired of victory. "Jauhar, according to Hindu 
custom," so writes Jahangir, "is the fire of fame and chastity, 
so that the hand of no unlawful person should touch the skirt of 
their chastity." 171 Such was the ideal of India's womanhood 
during the Mughal age. 


1. Hymns of the Rigveda, I, pp. 96, 106, 172, 182, 463; 
Hindu Law by H.S* Gour, p. 1174 ; The Position of Women 
in Hindu Law by D.N. Mitter, pp. 600-1. 


2. The Spirit of Indian Civilization, p. 157 ; Majumdar, The 
Vedic Age., pp. 512-13 ; The Position of Women in Hindu 
Law, pp. 63, 79, 97, 100 ; Women in the Sacred Scriptures: 
of the Hindus, p. 71. 

3. Rigveda, X, 85, 27 ; The Position of Women in Hindu 
' Law, pp. 170, 196-98. 

4. The Position of Women in Hindu Civilization by A.S. 
Altekar,p. 206. 

5. Mazumdar, B.P., Socio-Economic History of Northern 
India, I960, p. 141. 

6. Rashid, A., Society and Culture in Medieval India, 1969, 
pp. 141-42. 

7. Ibid, p. 206 ; The Position of Women in Hindu Law, p. 170. 

8. Arabia and Turkistan. Persian Women and their Ways, 
pp. 60-64. 

9. Badaoni, II, pp. 391-92 ; Tr., II, pp. 404-6. 

10. The Spirit of Indian Civilization, pp. 163-64. 

11. Cooper, Elizabeth, Harem and the Purdah, p. 65. 

12. Mandelslo, p. 51 ; Delia Valle, p. 461 ; Bernier, p. 413. 

13. Padavali Bangiya of Vidyapati Thakur (Tr. Coomara- 
swami and Arunsen, London, 1915). 

14. Pelsaert's India, p. 64. 

15. Ovington, p. 211. 

16. Ibid. 

17. John Marshall in India, p. 328. 

18. Mandelslo, p. 51. 

19. Delia Valle, p. 411. 

20. Mandelslo, p. 51 ; Bernier, p. 413. 

21. Tavernier, p. 125. 

22. Storia, II, pp. 333-34. 

23. Bernier, p. 374. 

24. Studies in Mughal India, p. 116. 

25. Ovington, p. 213. 

26. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 384 ; Hamilton, I, 
p. 163. 

27. Persian Women and Their Ways, p. 61. 

28. Hamilton, I, p. 163 (New Edition) MX CCXXVII). 

29. Ovington, p. 211. 

30. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 181. 

31. Mandelslo, p. 66 ; Delia Valle, p. 24 ; DeLaet, p. 81. 


* I] 


32. Delia Valle, p. 430. | 

23. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 182. j| 

34. Delia Valle, p. 434. Wheeler's History of India, IV, Ft. II, ! | 
(London, 1881). |f i 

35. DeLaet, p. 81. _ ,:,| 

36. Grose, I, p. 193. 'j i'j 

37. Mandelslo, p. 51. , | 

38. D. Laet, p. 81. <| 

39. Tod, II, pp. 710-11. | 

40. Grose, I, pp. 114-15. ^ 

41. Ovington, p. 320. | 

42. A Rajput is often heard to say : " Accursed to the day /j 
when a woman child is bora to me." Tod, II, pp. 739-40. ,/ 
A verse of the Atharv-Veda rightly echoes the general j } ; 
desire of the birth of a son and not a daughter. "The birth <;! 
of a girl grant it elsewhere, here grant a boy." Atharv- 
Veda, VI, 2-3. 

43. Storia, II, p. 343. 

44. R. & B., I, pp. 1-2. 

45. A.N., III, pp. 58 and 260 ; Tr., Ill, pp. 83 and 378. Also 
see Storia, II, p. 343. 

46. Altekar, p. 9. 

47. Tod, II, pp. 739-40. 

48. "Marry whatever woman you like, three and three, four 
and four," the Quran instructs. 

49. Badaoni, II, p. 356 ; Tr., II, p. 367. 

50. Badaoni, II, pp. 208-9 ; Tr., II, p. 212. 

51. Badaoni, II, p. 356 ; Tr., II, p. 367. 

52. Ain, I, (1873), p. 277. 

53. Saying of Khan-i-Azam Mirza Aziz Koka vide LN., p. 230; 
Ain, I, (1873), p. 327. 

54. Mandelslo, p. 64 ; Thevenot, Ch. I, p. 88. 

55. Ibid. Pelsaert's India, p. 66. 

56. Pelsaert's India, p. 66. 

57. According to Mukundram, polygamy prevailed in Hindu 
society at that time, though it was not highly favoured. 
Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 178. 

58. Delia Valle, (Ed. Edward Grey), I, pp. 82-83. 

59. Mandelslo, p. 52. 

60 f Hamilton, I, p. 157 (New Edition). 


61. Orme's Fragments, p. 408. 

62. Stavorinus, I, p. 440, 

63. Ibid ; Mandelslo, p. 52. 

64. Orme's Fragments, p. 438. 

65. Storia, III, p. 55 ; Tod, II, p. 712. 

66. Hindus, as a protection against Muslim raiders who would 
not usually carry off married women, resorted to early 
marriage of their daughters. It also acted as a safeguard 
against vices and helped the bride to knew her husband 
before physical consummation. Tavernier, XXIV, p. 181. 
Persian Women and Their Ways, p. 109. Akbar abhorred 
marriages before the age of puberty. Am, I, (1873), p. 277. 
European travellers write about the early marriages of 
young girls. Manned (III, pp. 59-60) writes : "They 
married off their girls even before they were able to 
speak." "Married before the age of ten years," (Early 
Travels, p. 17) ; "Several years before the age of puberty," 
Am, I, (1873), p. 277 ; according to Thevenot, at the age 
of four, five or six years ; while Tavernier puts the 
marriage age at seven or eight. 

67. Altekar, p. 73. 

68. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 178. Akbar's orders prohibi- 
ting marriage of girls before 12 years and boys before 16 
did not stop this practice ; Badaoni, II, p. 338 ; Tr. II, 
p. 349. 

69. Pelsaert's India, p. 82. 

70. Storia, III, p. 55. 
71^ Ibid, pp. 152, 155. 

72. Altekar, p. 49. For dowry refer to Purchas' India, p. 191 ; 
Saletore, op. tit., II, pp. 190-91. 

72.* Dasgupta, T.C., Aspects of Bengali Society, p. 3 as quoted 
in Misra, Rekha, Women in Mughal India, p. 131. 

73. Storia, III, p. 55. 

74. Ibid. 

75. Badaoni, II, p. 391 ; Tr., II, p. 405. 

76. Purchas' India, p. 90 ; Early Travels, p 221 

77. Ain, I, (1873), p. 277. 

78. Tod, I, p. 441. 

79. Tod, II, p. 783. 

80. Tod, II, pp. 731-32, 


81. Altekar, p. 396 ; while going to enrol his son in the school, 
we find Kalu, the father Guru Nanak, asking his wife for 
some money ; Macauliffe's Sikh Religion, I, pp. 2-3. 

82. Storia, III, p. 155. 

83. According to the traveller, they considered pregnancy to 
be a very clear proof of the blessing of Goddess Lakshmi. 
Bartolomeo, pp. 253-54. 

84. Storia, III, p. 155 ; Macauliffe, I, p. 242. 

85. Stavorinus writes : "The women live in the strictest sub- 
jection to their husbands." Stavorinus, I, pp. 440-41 ; 
Matla-ul-AIwar of Amir Khusrau, pp. 192, 117. See 
Padmavat edited by Grierson and Dvivedi, p. 256. 

86. R. & B., I, p. 359. 

87. Tod, II, p. 713. 

88. Tod, II, p. 713. 

89. A.N., II, p. 217 ; Tr., II, p. 336. Also see Tod, II, pp. 784- 
85 for another instance. 

90. Tod, II, pp. 728-30. 

91. Bernier, p. 259. 

92. H.N., G., (Bev.), p. 151. 

93. Bernier, p. 41. 

94. Tavernier, III, p. 181. 

95. Ibid. 

96. Ovington, p. 331. According to the traveller, sometimes 
husbands would burn themselves with their wives out of 
sheer love, p. 343. 

97. High dowries, no doubt, prevented rash divorces, but 
Akbar disapproved high dowries. Am, I, (1873), p. 277. 
For high dowries prevalent in those days, T.A., II, trans., 
p. 616. 

98. Delia Valle, (Ed. Edward Grey), I, pp. 82-83. 

99. Stavorinus, I, p. 440 ; Mandelslo, p. 52. 

100. Altekar, p. 102. 

101. Delia Valle, (Ed. Edward Grey), I, pp. 82-83. 

102. This prohibition was complete in the higher section of the 
society, while those belonging to the lower stratum conti- 
nued to remarry ; Altekar, p. 183. 

103. Ovington, pp. 323-24. 

104. "Force is not applied as they say and it may be true at 
least in the countries where Mohammadan commands, for 


there no woman is suffered to be burnt without leave of 
the Governor of the place to whom it belongs if not to 
examine whether the woman be willing and because there 
is also paid a good deal of money." Delia Valle (Ed. 
Edward Grey), I, p. 85 ; Storia, III, p. 156 ; Waqyat-i- 
Jahangiri, E. & D., VI, p. 376. 

105. Ovington, p. 323. 

106. Tod, II, p. 865. 

107. Mandelslo, p. 86 ; Bernier, p. 314 ; Thevenot, III, Chap. 
XLIV, p. 84 ; Stavorinus, I, pp. 440-41. 

108. Nicholas Withington (1612-16) in Early Travels, p. 219; 

storia, m, p. 91. 

109. Delia Valle, p. 435 ; Bernier, p. 314. 

110. Storia, III, p. 60 ; Thevenot, III, Chap. XLIX, p. 84. 

111. Thevenot, III, Chap. XLIX, p. 84. According to Oving- 
ton (p. 332) sometimes Brahmans left large amounts of 
money for the maintenance of their widows. 

111.* Haft Tamasha (Urdu), pp. 138-39, quoted in Burhan, Oct. 
1969, pp. 282-83. 

112. The Spirit of Indian Civilization, p. 158. 

113. Apastamba, II, 541-7. 

114. Muhammad is reported to have said. Women under Islam, 
p. 13. 

115. Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 62. Also see Macauliffe, I, p. 96. 

116. Ibid. For another instance see R. & B., I, p. 78 ; for 
Babar's respect for his step-grandmother see A.N. 9 I, 
p. 90; Tr., I, p. 231. 

117. Ain 9 I, pp. 256, etc. 

118. See Chapter on Festivals. 

119. Aurangzib, Sarkar, Vol. Ill, p. 57. 

120. Tod, I, p. 642, quoted in Hindu Superiority, 1917, p. 99. 

121. Tod, I, p. 479. 

122. Tod, I, p. 326. 

123. A.N., I, pp. 90-91 ; Tr., I, pp. 232-33. 

124. JBadaoni, II, p, 136 ; Tr., II, p. 138. 

125. Ibid. 9 p. 87 ; Tr., II, p. 88. 

126. Takmil-i-Akbarnama (E. & D.), VI, pp. 108-9 ; K.K., I, 
pp. 223-25. 

127. Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal ; Introducing India, Part I, 
1949, p. 101. 


128. "A daughter was absolutely assured of one-half a son's 
share of an inheritance. Under all conditions women 
received a half share." Harem and the Purdah, p. 67. 

129. Women under Islam, p. 27. "Of a deceased husband's 
property, the wife received 1/8 if there were children, 1/4 
if there were none and with right to dispose of as she 
pleased.'' Harem and the Pardah, p. 88. AH Sher, ruler 
of Srinagar (ascended 1342 A.D.), abolished the custom 
under which a childless widow, though unchaste, obtained 
a share of her husband's property from her father-in-law. 
Delhi Sultanate, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, p. 376. 

130. The Position of Women by Menon, p. 25. 

131. Altekar, p. 259. This is called Stri Dhan. 

132. Orme's Fragments, p. 438. 

133. "They would make veils called frinis." Tavernier, II, 
p. 127. Maasir refers to a woman who used to make 
bracelets ; Maasir, I, p. 532. 

134. Ibid, p. 132. 

135. Badaoni, II, pp. 301-2 ; Tr., II, p. 311. 

136. Ain, III, p. 257 / Malwa in Transition by Raghubir Singh, 
p. 335. 

137. Stavorinus, I, p. 437. 

138. Bernier, p. 274 ; Delia Valle, I, (Ed. Edward Grey), p. 71. 

139. Storia,ll,p. 337. 

140. For details refer to P.N. Chopra, "Experiments in Social 
Reforms in Medieval India," Ramakrishna Cultural Heri- 
tage of India, Vol. II. Also see Saletore, op. cit., Vol. II, 
pp. 165-66 ; Stavorinus, I, p. 409. 

141. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 281. 

142. Storia, II, pp. 330-31. 

143. See Chapter on Education. 

144. Akbar rewarded her 50,000 dinars for her work. 

145. For specimen see K.K., I, pp. 270-71. 

146. History of Sanskrit Literature by Das-Gupta and S.K. De, 
pp. 417-18. The unfinished version of the Ramayana by 
Chandravati, a Bengali poetess of the 16th century, is still 
widely known in parts of East Bengal (Tara Ali Beg, 
Women of India, p. 183). Also see Saletore, op. cit., II, 
p. 163. 

147. A.N., II, p. 100 ; Tr,, II, p. 151, 


148. Badaoni, II, p. 66 ; Tr., II, p. 65 ; E. & D., V, pp. 169, 
288. The Spirit of Indian Civilization by D.N. Roy, p. 161. 

149. According to Abul Fazl, she distinguished herself by her 
courage, counsel and magnificence. A.N., II, pp. 209 
and 214 ; Tr., II, pp. 224 and 230. 

150. Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul, pp. 69-70. 

150.* Sharma, G.N., Mewar and the Mughal Emperors, p. 50. 

151. Queen Dowager of Bijapur, sister of Burhan-ul-Mulk of 
Ahmednagar. Ferishta, III, p. 312. 

152. Outlines of Islamic Culture by A.M. A, Shushtery, Vol. II, 
Appendix A, p. 771. 

153. Studies in Mughal India, pp. 114-117. 

154. K.K., II, pp. 469, 516 ; Sarkar, Aurangzib, pp. 199-201 ; 
History of the Mahrattas by James Grant Duff, Vol. I, 
pp. 323-24. 

155. Tod, Vol. I, p. 381. 

156. A.N., II, p. 325 ; Smith's Akbar, pp. 69-70. For the 
bravery of Kashmiri ladies, a little before our period, 
refer to Dr. D.C. Sircar, Great Women of India, p. 290 ; 
Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (ed. Crooke), 
Vol. I, p. 242. 

157. Ferishta, II, p. 218. 

158. Tarikh-i-AIfi, E. & D., V, p. 169. 

159. Ferishta, III, p. 312. 

160. Iqbalnama, pp. 262-63 (E. & D.), VI, pp. 425-26. 

161. R. & B., II, p. 268. 

162. Thevenot, III, Chap. XXIV, p. 47. 

163. A.N., III, p. 256 ; Tr., Ill, p. 372. 

164. R. &B., II, p. 268. 

165. Stavorinus, II, p. 487. 

166. Tavernier, III, p. 181. 

167. Stavorinus, II, p. 497. 

168. Mandelslo, p. 95. 

169. Ovington, p. 211. 

170. Grose, I, p. 240. 

171. Tod, I, p. 363. 



In the words of a modem Indologist, "Education is no 
exotic in India. There is no country where the love of learning 
had so early an origin or has exercised so lasting and powerful 
an influence. From the simple poets of the Vedic age to the 
Bengali philosopher (Rabindranath Tagore) of the present 
day, there has been an uninterrupted succession of teachers and 
scholars." 1 

Primary education 

Primary schools, in the modern sense of the word, prob- 
ably did not exist in ancient India. But the teaching system, 
whatever it might have been, received a great impetus after the 
establishment of Buddhist monasteries. Pathshalas or schools 
attached to temples, Hindu or Buddhist, and maintained by 
grants or endowments made for that specific purpose came 
into prominence. 2 These continued to exist even up to the 19th 
century in Bengal, Bihar and the Punjab, 3 and most probably 
in other parts of the country also. Mandelslo writes: "Brahmins 
have also the oversight of schools where they teach children to 
read and write." 

These were mostly private schools. Students and scholars 
resorted to these teachers who established schools at their own 
expense, but solicited contributions not only to raise the 
building but also to feed their pupils. Usually made of clay, 
these schools consisted of three rooms and sometimes eight or 
ten in two rows with a reading-room open on all sides at the 
farther end. 

Hindus would introduce their children to regular educa- 
tion by a formal ceremony called upanayana, the normal age 
for which differed for various castes and for different ideals aji<i . 


aims. 4 The capacity and aptitude of the boy were also taken 
into consideration. However, generally speaking, a Hindu 
child had his first lessons at about the age of five either from his 
father at home or from a teacher at school. 5 The Mughals, 
too, would send their children to school before they were five 
years of age. The maktab ceremony was usually performed 
when a child was four years, four months, and four days old, 6 
usually after circumcision. Both Hindus and Muslims put their 
children to school at an auspicious hour after consulting the 
astrologer. 7 

It was essential for the service-class people to edu- 
cate their sons in the court language. Brokers, bankers, and 
merchants sent their children to school to enable them to 
grasp the fundamentals of elementary arithmetic which were of 
importance to them in their daily transactions. Muslims, on 
the other hand, were less enthusiastic about the education of 
their sons. The views of a 17th-century traveller 8 that Muslims, 
who held high government posts or who were big businessmen, 
were "proud, scorn to be taught, jealous of the baseness of 
mankind durst not trust their children under tuition" and that 
"they were by nature slothful and would seldom take pains" 
seem to be an exaggeration, whereas Mandelslo's contention that 
Muslims took special interest to educate their sons as soon as 
they reached the school-going age appears to be true only in 
the case of the highly placed class of Muslim nobles, 9 who 
could also afford to keep a good many Hindu accountants to 
look 'after their business and estates. 10 These nobles would not 
necessarily send their children to schools, but usually employed 
tutors to teach them at home. 11 But so far as the common 
Muhammadan was concerned, the fact remains that he was 
reluctant to attend to his studies and preferred to be trained in 
the art of warfare and to be enlisted in the imperial army 12 
where he could hope for a bright future. 

Pathshalas and maktabs were the primary institutions 
which a beginner attended. The beginner received his first lesson 
there in the alphabet from a pandit or a maulavi. Maktabs were 
a very common sight during the Mughal period. Cities and 
towns and certain villages swarmed with them. Delia Valle 
probably refers to them when he writes that in Jahangir's time 
there were private schools in every town and village. 13 There is 


also a reference to a public school run by a Hindu teacher in 
Madura in 1660 A.D. 14 

There was no printed primer, but the children were 
made to write the alphabet and figures on wooden 
boards or on the dust of the ground with their fingers. 15 Usually 
the pupils assembled under the shade of a tree where they 
arranged themselves in rows on the ground, and their master 
attended them standing or sitting on a mat or deer-skin." 16 
Combined letters were practised later and difficult words selected 
from a standard book, usually the Holy Quran, were dictated. 
Thus they perfected their spelling and were also made to under- 
stand the meanings of the words they wrote. Great importance 
was given to calligraphy and students were instructed to imitate 
and practise the style of the best calligraphists of the day. 17 

As soon as the boys could read and write, 18 grammar 
followed by the text of the Holy Quran, was invariably intro- 
duced in every maktab. Every child had to learn it (the 
Quran) by rote. 20 Most of the boys could read even if they 
did not understand the text. 21 No evidence is available about 
the nature of religious instruction given to Hindu children in 
pathshalas?* Growse, however, thinks that the Ramayana form- 
ed the chief text in primary schools. 23 But as the Ramayana 
was put in Hindi garb by Tulsi Das at the end of Akbar's reign, 
that could not obviously have been a textbook till the end of 
the 16th century. According to Bernier, the Puranas were taken 
up after learning the alphabet. 24 Malik Muhammad Jayasi 
corroborates it in his Padmavat^ The teaching of elementary 
mathematics also went side by side with literacy. The Hindus 
were particularly proficient in it. There was and still is in 
vogue among them an interesting and useful way of committing 
to memory the multiplication tables called Pahare which were 
practised in a class or by a group of class-fellows. A boy 
sang his lesson : Ek Duna Duna, Do Dune Char that is, one 
time two makes two and two times two make four. The others 
repeated it jointly and wrote after him in the like manner. 28 
After learning the Quran, Muslim students took lessons in the 
Gulistan, Bostan and poems of Firdausi. 27 Sanskrit scholars, 
on the other hand, studied the Puranas, Upanishads and Shastras 
and sometimes the Vedas. 28 

There were three kinds of schools : in the first, grammar, 



poetry and the Puranas and the Smritis were studied ; in the 
second, the law and the Puranas, and in the third, Nyaya 
Darshan or logic was taught. At Banaras there were in exis- 
tence different colleges for specialization in different subjects 
such as the Vedas, grammar, poetry, logic, law and astro- 
nomy. 29 

It appears that classes were held twice a day, in the 
morning and evening. Some interval was allowed in between 
for meals. AbduH-Haqq informs us that his house was two 
miles from the school and he used "to go twice a day to college, 
morning and evening, during the heat of one season and the 
cold of another, returning for a short time for a meal to his own 
house." 30 

The average number of pupils with each teacher was 
usually four or five but it seldom exceeded the maximum of 
fifteen. A teacher was usually helped by his senior pupils who 
acted as assistant masters. 31 

No fee was paid, as to give and receive instruction is 
enjoined by the sacred books of the Brahmans. The Saura 
Purana condemns a teacher who teaches for money. Manu also 
declares him to be guilty of a sin. 32 The tradition continued 
during the Mughal age. "Hindus," writes Marshal, "never 
teach their children for money ; those they teach they give 
(them) victuals, too, besides their learning which is esteemed as 
a gift." 33 The teacher, naturally, had to look to the rich, the 
nobles and merchants for his subsistence, which was gladly 
made available. 

The teacher was received with the utmost respect by his 
pupils who would humbly touch his feet and speak respectfully 
and only with his permission. If someone misbehaved, he was 
sure to be expelled from the school. "By these means/ 9 writes 
Bartolomeo, "the preceptor always receives that respect which 
is due to him, the pupils are obedient and seldom offend against 
rules which are so carefully inculcated." 34 Students were 
punished for their faults. Hindu law and custom did not 
allow severe punishment or torture. Negligence in doing the 
day's work, wilful mischief and bad manners were punished by 
detention after school hours or by ordering the delinquent 
student to write a lesson ten or fifteen times or by mild physical 
punishment like a slap on the face, boxing the ears, or making 


him sit on the tips of his toes and hold his ears with his hands 
from under his thighs. 35 

The relations between the class-fellows and even school- 
fellows were very friendly. They would hold their class-mates 
in high esteem even when old and thought it a privilege to be of 
some service to them. 36 The teachers who could lecture without 
the help of notes or books were highly respected and remem- 
bered for generations. Badaoni is full of praise for Mian 
Shaikh Abdullah of Badaon whom "I never saw in the course 
of his teaching to be under the necessity of referring to a book 
for the purpose of solving those questions and obscure subtle- 
ties, for whatever he had once seen he had on the tip of his 
tongue." 37 / The promptness in solving knotty problems as well 
as ready wit in answering complicated questions was considered 
another qualification. 38 

Higher seats of Hindu learning 

A university came into existence where a number of 
colleges were established (usually in a town of special sanctity). 
Banaras and Nadia are the examples. Bernier writes : 

"Banaras is a kind of university, but it has no college or 
regular classes as in our universities, but it resembles 
rather the school of ancients, the masters being spread over 
different parts of the town in private houses. 39 
Other university towns were of the same type. 

The chief centres of learning or universities, if we may call 
them so, were at places where the renowned scholars had made 
their homes. Muslims invariably liked capitals, provincial or 
imperial, whereas Hindus preferred shrines and sacred places 
where pilgrim traffic supplied a subsidiary source of income to 
the famous teachers residing there. Thus free from the worries 
of making a livelihood, they pursued their studies undisturbed. 
Banaras (Varanasi), Nadia or Navadvipa in Bengal, Mithila, 
Prayag, Ayodhya, Srinagar, Tirhut, Thatta, Madura, Multan, 
Sirhind, etc. were the famous seats of Hindu learning. 


Banaras as a pre-eminent centre of learning in the East 
suffered considerably for three centuries (A.D. 12001500) 
when the crescent banner was first planted on this land. Fearing 

136 EDUC 

religious persecution, many of the learned families sought s' 
in safer places. However, a new era dawned with the adv< 
the Mughals. We find once again "the lamp of Sanskrit bu 
luminously at Banaras from the 16th century." It began 
more to draw scholars from the remotest corners of In 
Several learned families shifted again to this place. 41 Dl 
adhikari, Sesa, Bhatta and Mouni were the families i 
figured prominently for more than three centuries (1500-1 
Nana Pandit (1570 1630), author of Dattaka-Mimamsa 
Khanderaya, author of Parasurama-Prakasa, both belong 
Dharmadhikari family. Sankarbhatta, author of Davitan 
Vratamaynkha and many other works, Gangabhatta, authi 
a dozen works on Mimamsa-Sisavishnu, and Chintamani, a 
of Rasamanjari-Parimala, belonged to Sesa family. Kabii 
Tulsi Das carried on their literary activities at Banaras 
Guru Nanak and Chaitanya paid visits to this holiest of I 
shrines. Raja Jai Singh founded there a college for the e 
tion of the princes. 42 There were other, seminaries 43 i 
renowned pandits interpreted and expounded the fundam< 
of Hindu religion and philosophy. 44 


Nadia in Bengal was, after Banaras, the greatest < 

of Hindu learning in the country during the Mughal 

Students from all parts of the country gathered at Nadia. 

grand old university, which rose to importance after the de 

tion of the Buddhist universities of Naianda and Vikran 

gave Brahmanical learning an opportunity to renew its wo 

new foundations during Muslim rule (1198-1757). It r 

boasted of its three branches at Navadvipa, Santipura 

Gopalpara. In Navadvipa alone there were 1 00 student 

not less than 150 teachers. The number rose to 4,000 ] 

and six hundred teachers in 1680. 45 Vasudeva Sarvabh 

(1450-1525), the great scholar of the 16th century, w; 

founder of the famous Nadia school of Nyaya which 

outrivalled Mithila when its first student, Raghunatha, dej 

in argument /the head of the Logic Department at M: 

Raghunatha Siromani was also the founder of a schc 

logic which produced many scholars of repute. Among 

Mathuranatha (AJD. 1570), the author of many works on 


known by the general name Mathuri, Ramabhadra, himself the 
founder of a school, and Gadadhara Bhattacharya (A.D. 1650), 
"the prince of Indian logicians" and the author of a special 
literature "Gadadhari," all deserve mention. Raghunandana 
created a Chair of Smriti in the 16th century along with the 
Chair of Logic at Nadia. The Chair of Astronomy was added in 
1718 by Ramarudra Vidyanidhi. 46 Godavari, too, has been 
mentioned as a centre of Hindu learning. 47 


Mithila' s reputation as a centre of learning dates back to 

the times of Upanishads. It retained its importance throughout 

and made notable contributions in the realm of difficult and 

scientific subjects. Even during the Mughal days, it used to draw 

students from all parts of the country for specialized study in 

logic. Raghunandandasa Rai, a pupil of this college, performed 

intellectual digvijaya at the instance of Akbar. The Emperor 

|- was so much pleased with him that he gave him the whole town 

f of Mithila as a gift. The obedient pupil in turn offered it to 

\. his teacher, Mahesa Thakkura. 48 


{ Madura 

[ Madura was the chief centre for studies in Indian 

I. philosophy. There were several colleges of Brahmans where 

I over 10,000 students specialized in its different branches. 

I Bisnagar and the great Nayaka had made splendid foun- 

;' dations whose revenues were allotted for the remuneration 

; of the teachers and subsistence of the students. 49 

l. : Other centres of learning 

i Tirhut 50 was a famous centre of Hindu learning, and Go- 

i karanhad was a great university of the Brahmans. 51 Thatta was 

| no less important and, according to Hamilton, there were about 

I 400 colleges there. Theology, philology and politics were some 

|. of the special courses of study there. 52 Another big centre was 

[ Multan where Hindus had established several schools. 53 Students 

f crowded Multan from all parts of India to study and specialize 

|: in difficult sciences like astronomy, astrology, mathematics, 

1 medicine, etc., of which the Brahmans had complete mastery. 54 

, Sirhind had the distinction of having a very famous school of 


medicine, most probably Ayurvedlc. It was the main centre 
which supplied doctors to the whole empire. 55 

In the South there were a number of centres of Hindu 
learning. Madura was the most important among them. 
Kanchipuram in Chingleput, Adayapalam, Vetur, Virnicipuram 
and Vepu in North Arcot were some of the other centres of 
Hindu learning in the South. Rajas of Kerala were great 
patrons of learning. 

In Assam the most important centre of Hindu learning 
was at Kamarupa. The renowned scholars from this place 
visited Nalanda and other centres and held debates with them. 
The rulers of Kachari, Kamata and Koch were great patrons 
and helped in the advancement of learning. 

Higher seats of Muslim learning 

Madrasas were secondary schools or colleges for higher 
learning. Sometimes they were attached to a chief mosque of 
the city. 36 No exact information can be had of the actual 
number of madrasas at these places. Few and scatterred refer- 
ences are to be found here and there in the biographies of the 
learned employed in teaching. Jahangir is said to have repaired 
even those madrasas that had been in ruins for thirty years, 57 
He issued a regulation that all property "not legitimately claimed 
on the death of a rich man would escheat to the Crown to be 
used for building and repairing madrasas" 


Muslim divines and scholars, unlike Hindu pandits, chose 
for their permanent dwellings big cities where they could easily 
find suitable jobs, admirers, followers, and pupils. Agra, Delhi, 
Lahore, Jaunpur, Gujarat, Sialkot, Ahmedabad, etc. attracted 
their attention and became the main centres of Muslim learning. 

Agra enjoyed a pre-eminent position as an educational 
centre throughout the Mughal period. Many colleges of Islamic 
learning were established there by the Mughal emperors, 58 
nobles and learned scholars, such as Maulana Ala-ud-Din Lari, 69 
Qazi Jalal-ud-Din of Multan, 60 Shaikh Abul Path of Thaneswar, 
Sayyid Rafi-ud-Din Safawi, 61 Mir Kalan Hariwi, 62 and others. 
A large number of advanced scholars used to gather to take 


lessons from Sayyid Shah Mir of Samana who had his dwelling 
on the other side of the river Jamuna. His hospice assumed the 
appearance of a big college. 63 Mirza Muflis, the Uzbeg, taught 
for four years in the Jami Masjid of Khwaja Muin-ud-Din 
Farrukhabadi in Agra. 64 Petermundy mentions that there was 
a college for Jesuits at Agra. 65 


Delhi, the imperial seat of a long line of ruling dynasties, 
was an older educational centre. It kept up its tradition during 
the Mughal regime and many new institutions were founded 
there. 66 On the bank of the Jamuna, Humayun built a school 
in honour of Zain-ud-Din Khafi. 67 Maham Anaga, too, estab- 
lished a madrasa, called Khair-ul-Manzil, 68 or Madrasa-i- 
Begam, 69 opposite the western gate of Purana Qila. 70 It was a 
residential madrasa. The students resided in the rooms of both 
the storeys, and the classes were held in the hall. Shaikh 
Abdullah of Talna's residence, a little before our period, was a 
famous resort of students. Hundreds of students gathered 
from distant places to take lessons from him. He could count 
some forty distinguished scholars among his pupils, including 
Mian Ladan andJamal Khan of Delhi, Mian Sheikh of Gwalior, 
and Mian Sayyid Jalal of Badaon. 71 There was another 
madrasa, built on the roof of Humayun' s tomb. Shaikh Abdul 
Haq, a contemporary of Jahangir, also refers to a madrasa in 
Akhbar-ul-Akhyar. Shahjahan built a magnificent royal 
madrasa known as Dar-uI-Baqa on the southern side of the 
Jama Masjid. 72 Madrasa-i-Rahimyya, known after the name 
of Abdur Rahim, father of Shah Waliullah, was built during 
Aurangzeb's time. It produced a number of well-known 
teachers, such as Abdul Aziz, Shah Ismail, and Abdul Qadir. 


Lahore 73 was not such an extensive centre of learning as 
Delhi or Agra. However, it supplied teachers to a few colleges 
in other parts of India. Among the notables there Maulana 
Jalal of Tala and Mulla Imamuddin 74 may be particularly men- 
tioned. Lahore's importance as an educational centre dates 
from the time of Aurangzeb when the reputation of its scholars 
"attracted many a pupil from far and wide." 75 


Jausper and Gujarat 

Jaunpur and Gujarat were two other centres where learned 
scholars had taken up their residence. Jaunpur, rightly called 
the Shiraz of India, came into prominence during the reign of 
Ibrahim Sharqi (1402-40) when it came to have several colleges 
and mosques. It retained its importance throughout the Mughal 
period. Scholars from far and wide came to study there. 
Mughal emperors up to the time of Muhammad Shah (1719-48) 
took keen interest in the progress of the institutions and ex- 
horted the teachers not to relax in their scholarly efforts. 
Regular reports were asked for and enquiries made before 
making grants to them. 76 According to Mukundram, maktabs 
were set up in Gujarat where young Muhammadans were given' 
instruction by pious maulavis? 1 such as Mian Wajih-ud-Din, 
Shaikh Gadai Dehlvi, the renowned scholar of Humayun's 
reign, who used to teach logic and philosophy to scholars that 
came from distant parts of India and abroad. 78 Aurangzeb 
issued instructions to Diwan of Gujarat to appoint every year 
teachers at the cost of the state and to pay stipends to 
students according to the recommendation of the Sadr of the 
province and the attestation of the teacher. 79 The Madrasa 
Faiz Safa was founded in Naharwara Pattan in Gujarat in 
1092 A.H. It was attached to a mosque. Burhan Nizam 
Shah I built a college called Langar-i-Duwazda Imam, 80 at 
Ahmedabad for imparting Shia learning. He imported deeply 
learned men from Iraq, Arabia, Persia and upper India to teach 
in this college. 81 Akram-ud-Din also built there a magnificent 
college in 1697 A.D. at an estimated cost of Rs. 124,000. 


Kashmir, with its pleasant and refreshing climate, was a 
good centre of learning. Some rich scholars resorted to that 
valley to write their works in that cool and calm atmosphere. 82 
Mulla Shah Badakhashi, a spiritual teacher of Jahanara, the 
eldest daughter of Shahjahan, took his early lessons in Kashmir. 83 
Mirza Abu Talib Kalim went to Kashmir to complete his work 
on the poetical records 84 of the reign of Shahjahan. 

Other centres of Islamic learning 

There were various other centres of learning and education. 


Akbar built colleges at Fatehpur Sikri. 85 Abul Fazl also built 
here a madrasa which is still known after his name. 86 The 
grammarian Shaikh Sadullah's hospice in Bayana became a 
famous resort of students and religious men. 87 Aurangzeb con- 
fiscated from the Dutch the building called Farhangi Mahal in 
Lucknow, allotted it to an ulema family and so the Farhangi 
Mahal Madrasa was founded. 88 Shaista Khan, a noble, and 
Muhammad Azam, son of Aurangzeb, built madrasas at 
Dacca. 89 Sher Shah's madrasa at Narnaul, established in 1520 
A.D., may also be mentioned. 90 Hamilton saw schools at 
Madras of the English, the Portuguese, the Hindus and the 
Muhammadans where "were taught their respective languages." 91 
To other centres of learning, Ajmer, Burhanpur, Sambhal, 
Gwalior, 92 Sialkot, 93 Ambala and Thaneswar may also be-added. 
Dacca in Bengal held a pre-eminent position as a centre of 
learning. Khan Muhammad Mirdha's mosque had a maktab 
and a madrasa attached to it. 

Mixed schools 

There is some evidence to show that here and there some 
Muslim students attended the schools kept by Hindu teachers 
for instruction in subjects like astronomy, astrology mathema- 
tics, medicine, etc. 94 Till the time of Akbar, it seems, Hindus 
did not like to attend madrasas. But when Persian became 
the court language in the time of that monarch Hindus had to 
attend Muslim institutions to learn Persian. 

Duration of courses, tests and certificates 

The courses of study usually varied from ten to twelve 
years for graduation. 95 Some more years were required for a 
doctorate after studying under a renowned scholar. Waman 
Pandit of Satara after getting some education from his father 
went to Banaras at the age of 1 8 to study Sanskrit and re- 
mained there for not less than twelve years and then returned 
home, 98 having completed his education in all the departments of 
knowledge. 97 Sur Das, the renowned Hindu poet of the 17th 
century, remained engaged in his studies at Banaras till he had 
attained the age of thirty. 98 Sayyid Abdullah, the author of 
Tazkirah-i-Shushtar, was a brilliant exception. He is said to 
have completed his full course of study at the age of fifteen, then 


travelled to Isfahan, Azarbaijan and other parts of Persia and 

No regular annual examinations were held in those days. 
A good mastery of certain specified courses of which the teacher 
was the sole judge was sufficient for promotion to the next 
standard. Thus it was not unnatural or surprising to see a boy 
promoted to the next class within six months of his joining. 
An unusual type of examination called Salakapariksha to judge 
the capacity of the pupil marked the termination of the gradua- 
tion course in Mithila. A candidate was expected to explain 
correctly that page of the manuscript which was pierced last by 
a needle run through it. 100 No regular degrees were awarded. 
To have studied in a reputed institution or under a renowned 
teacher was the greatest qualification one could have. I have 
come across some instances of diplomas awarded or certificates 
issued by the great scholars of theology to their pupils after 
successful termination of their courses, which conferred upon 
the latter the authority to give instruction thereon. Shaikh-ul* 
Hidya of Khairabad held a diploma from his tutor Shaikh Safi, 
the spiritual successor of Shaikh Sai'd, authorising him to give 
instruction. 101 Shaikh Yaqub received from Ibn-u-Haja a licence 
to give instruction in the traditions of Muhammad. 102 Sayyid 
Yasin, who studied the traditions in Hijaz, received the 
authority to give instruction thereon. 103 

Some sort of a certificate or diploma was also awarded in 
certain Hindu institutions. Graduates from the university of 
Mithila were allowed only to leave with their diplomas, but not 
with any manuscript. Raghunatha, a student of the Nadia 
university, was deputed to "exact from Mithila a charter to 
confer degrees." Chhurika Bandhanam resembles our present-day 
convocations. The occasion meant the tying of a dagger to the 
dress of the pupil as a token of his graduation. 104 Sometimes a 
title was conferred on a distinguished pupil. The great scholar 
Vasudeva after the completion of his course at Nadia was 
honoured by the title of Sarvabhauma in "recognition of his 
supreme merit." 105 Peeyushavarsha, Pakshadhara and Akbariya 
Kalidasa were also the titles conferred on Sanskrit scholars. 
Jayadeva, who was deeply learned in Sutras and Sastras, was 
honoured by the former titles. 106 Sri Hari, who flourished 
during the reign of Akbar, received the title of Akbariya 


Kalidasa. Rambhadra, a sound grammarian, was known among 
his friends as Pratvagra Patanjali. 107 Raghunatha, who had 
completed the studies of Vedyatan, earned the title of Sandak 

Scholarship judged by reputation of one's teacher 

After graduation the students who desired to go in for 
higher studies would spend some years undef a renowned 
scholar to specialize in certain specific branches. Muslims 
invariably studied theology. It was not an easy affair to get 
oneself admitted to post-collegiate studies, as the teachers were 
reluctant to have more than a limited number of students and a 
selection had to be made. Mulla Shah Badakhashi refused to 
take Jahanara Begum as his pupil. It was only after several 
efforts that her request was granted.. 309 Maulana Usman of 
Samana was a pupil of HaJkim-ul-Mulk, 110 while the historian 
Badaoni studied under Maulana Mirza of Samarkand. 111 Nizum- 
ud-Din, the author of the Tabqat-i-Akbari, studied under Mulla 
All Sher. 112 Shaikh Yaqub of Kashmir obtained higher know- 
ledge under Shaikh Hussain of Khwaraizm. 113 Badaoni used to 
take pride in the fact that his father had the privilege of study- 
ing under such a renowned scholar as Mir Sayyid Jalal, the 
saint, who had studied the traditional sayings of the Prophet 
under Mir Sayyid Rafi-ud-Din. m Chandra Bhan Brahman was 
a pupil of Mulla Abdul Karim. 116 / 

For still higher studies eager scholars visited the chief 
places of Muslim learning in Western and Central Asia, such 
as Mecca, Medina, Basra, Kufa, Yemen, Damascus, Cairo, 
Nishapur (Iran), Baghdad, Hijaz, Khurasan, etc. Many an 
Indian Muslim and one or two Hindus also repaired to these 
places and spent years in study and observation. 116 

Learned disputations 

Debates and disputations were held frequently on contro- 
versial topics of theology, 117 law, grammar, etc. The learned of 
the day would take part in them. This was one of the methods 
for the advancement of education as well as determining the 
scholar's place among the learned. 118 Venkatanath won the 
admiration of Yajnanarayana Diksita of the Tanjore court when 
he came out successful ia a disputation with a celebrated scholar 



who had commented upon Sulba Sutras. 11 * Later on he v 
quished his opponent in a disputation over the Kakataliya 
Whenever two are more scholars met they discussed sc 
controversial points. Arguments were advanced and quotati 
from standard works frequently mentioned in support of tl 
contentions. Raghunatha, the first student of Nadia, defea 
the teachers of Mithila in an open debate. 121 An appointin 
to the professorship in Nadia University was made after k 
debate between the selected candidates on certain speci: 
controversial topics in an assembly of scholars who actec 
judges. 122 The scholar who could hold his own against oti 
got the appointment. 

The courses of study 

Very little information about the curriculum then in vo 
is available. All contemporary records are silent on the pc 
Badaoni, while giving biographies of eminent persons, scho 
and poets in his Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh frequently refers me 
to their having studied all the books included in the ordir 
curriculum of the time, 123 but never mentions the names of 
actual texts or the courses prescribed. Whatever little infor 
tion we can collect is from stray accounts of the books stu< 
by certain princes. 

Badaoni differentiates the sciences which require the exei 
of the reasoning faculty, such as philosophy, astronomy, gee 
try, astrology, geomancy, arithmetic, the preparation of t; 
mans, incantations and mechanics from the rest, 124 which dey 
upon memory. 125 Abul Fazl, who was fully acquainted with 
more systematic classification of the Hindus, is more spec 
He distributes all the subjects in three categories. 126 Ilahi 
divine science includes everything connected with theology 
the means of acquiring knowledge of God. Riyazi, as its 
name suggests, comprises the sciences which deal with quan 
as mathematics, astronomy, music, mechanics, while the Tt 
sciences comprehend all physical sciences. 127 

The courses of study in Mxislim institutions usually c 
prised grammar, rhetoric, logic, theology, metaphysics, liters 
and jurisprudence. 128 Astronomy, mathematics and med 
were included, and here Hindu influence was perceptible, 
specialize in these difficult sciences Muslims j.often prefbrrec 


attend Hindu institutions. The Dar-i-Nizamiyyah of Mulla 
Nizamuddin of Shali, who lived during the reign of Aurangzeb, 
gives us a detailed list of the Arabic curriculum in vogue during 
the Mughal days. It includes, besides grammar, syntax, 
rhetoric, philosophy, logic, scholasticism, tafsir, fich, usulu-i-fich, 
Hadis and the science of mathematics. The detailed list of the 
Persian texts used in madrasas given in the KhuIasatu-i-Maktib 129 
written in 1688 A.D., presumably by a Hindu writer, agreeably 
coincides in a large measure with the list of the books prepared 
by the present author from various sources. The curious reader 
is referred to Appendix A for a list of these books. 

Apart from modern experimental sciences, such as surgery, 
physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, etc., subjects of study in 
Hindu institutions were almost the same as in the present-day 
universities. The courses, especially in grammar and philoso- 
phy, were more comprehensive than in similar institutions of the 
contemporary world. It was, therefore, but natural for an 
individual to specialize only in certain branches of this vast 
field of knowledge. It must, however, be admitted that there had 
been a great deterioration in the standard of Sanskrit teaching 
and examination since the days of Harsha, and the students of 
Mughal India could not boast of that high level of scholarship 
of which their ancestors were proud. The Vedic studies had 
almost disappeared and after Sayana there was no commentator 
of the Vedas. Ganga Bhatta of Banaras was one of the few first- 
rate masters of the four Vedas and the six systems of Hindu 
.philosophy 130 

Grammar was a full-fledged separate subject of post- 
graduate study like literature and philosophy. It was taken 
up at a very early age. Panini's classical sutras containing the 
rules of grammar in eight books called Ashtadhyayi were no 
longer commonly studied and their place was taken by Sid- 
dhanta Kaumudi of Bhattoji Dikshit. 131 Other popular grammars 
were Katantra and Mugdharodh of Bopadeva. 

Logic was from very ancient times a very popular subject 
of study with Hindus, who made notable contributions to this 
science. The well-known six systems of philosophy were also 
studied. 132 

The chief subjects of study during the Mughal period have 
been dealt with briefly in the following pages, 

146 EOUC, 

Mathematics ranked first among the sciences indue 
the curriculum. Akbar issued a farman making it 
compulsory subjects 133 to be taught in madrasas. 
particularly proficient in this subject and travellers liave, 
fore, called them a "counting nation." 134 European visitors 
wonder-struck 135 to see the skill and ingenuity of the Hindu: 
could solve orally difficult sums with the same accuracy 
facility as the "readiest arithmetician can with his pen." 
of the Muslims, too, distinguished themselves in this scieru 

Astronomy and astrology were subjects of faith wit 
people and the court, and their study was encouraged 
hands. 137 It formed part of regular courses in schools 
colleges. Astronomy was a compulsory subject, while asti 
was an optional one. Badaoni also remarks that some ] 
ledge of astronomy was considered essential, 138 and Akbar 
& farman commending its study. 139 Brahmans 140 were fame 
their skill in both these sciences and they never failed, evei 
minute in predicting the time for the eclipse of the STO.II or 
moon. 141 Among the famous astrologers of the period m 
mentioned Jotika Rai, 142 Kanjar Beg, 143 Nuruddin IMuha 
Tarkhan, and Imam Abul Muhammad of Ghazni. 144 
Farid Munajjim, the great astronomer who lived in Shahj 
reign, prepared an astral chart and named itZich-i-Shahja/\ 

Medicine was another important subject. 146 Akbar 
a farman that people should study medicine. 147 Accorc 
Badaoni, medicine 148 was cultivated and thought necessai 
appears that both Ayurvedic and Unani systems were tang' 
by side. 149 The most famous centre of education In me 
was at Sirhind. 150 Usuully this profession was hereditar; 
those physicians whose forefathers had practised, the c 
very well in this profession. Some of the experienced ) 
had opened private institutions for training students. 151 
of them wrote books on this subject. 152 Education in s 
was abhorred by Hindus as the dissecting of limfos was 
dered to be inhuman. But the Muslims had no siach av 
and they practised inoculation and performed operati 
Jarrahs or surgeons, though not as skilled as theii 
temporaries in Western countries, were nevertheless a 
perform some remarkable operations and could, provic 
ficial limbs. 154 Hindus of Calicut 155 were particularly ws 


in all branches of medicine and practised "the apothecary's art 
after the manner of Portuguese and Europeans.'' 156 

Veterinary science was not unknown. Though no regular 
teaching in this subject seems to have existed for the public, 
ancient books were available for guidance in the treatment of 
elephants and horses. 157 Shaikh Bina, son of Shaikh Hasan, 
was the most skilful surgeon of the time so far as the treatment 
of elephants was concerned. 158 Raibari was a class of Hindus 
well-acquainted with the treatment of camels. Tatbya 159 and 
Tajri 1G were the popular preventive measures adopted to avoid 
sickness among camels. 161 

Physics and chemistry were studied, but were regarded as 
a part of the science of mathematics. 162 People knew the uses 
of various metals and other chemical compounds. Belief in 
alchemy was universal in that age. Akbar is said to have learnt 
this so-called science from a yogi. U3 Hindus had a complete 
mastery over the science of meteorology and correctly foretold 
when the "wild clouds, winds and fighting occur." 164 

Philosophy, history, poetry, etc. were taught in schools 
and practised by the learned. Hindus, especially Brahmans, 
were interested in philosophy and mathematics, which were very 
ancient sciences in India. Abul Fazl mentions nine schools of 
Hindu philosophy. 165 History was a favourite subject of study 
with Muslims and it reached a high degree of excellence even 
when compared with contemporary Europe. Some of the 
ablest historians of all ages were born in this period. The 
names of Abul Fazl, Badaoni, Nizammuddin Ahmad, Abdul 
Hamid Lahori, Khafi Khan and a score of others illuminated 
this period. 

Very little attention was paid to geography in schools and 
colleges. In fact this subject was almost excluded from the 
dars^ Aurangzeb heaped abuses on his tutor for wasting his 
time on the subtleties of Arabic metaphysics to the neglect of 
practical subjects, such as geography and politics. According to 
Bartolomeo, they had little desire to be acquainted with foreign 
countries as they considered their country to be the most 
beautiful and the happiest in the world. 167 People were ignorant 
about the geographical position of even the neighbouring 
countries. Roe was much surprised to know that no regu- 
lar communication existed between India and China, 168 


Map-drawing was ignored altogether. A map of the globe was so 
rare a thing that Roe included it among the presents he offered 
to the governor of Surat. 169 But some of them had a good 
knowledge of the interior of the country. Humayun is said to 
have possessed a wide geographical knowledge. 170 The Ain-i- 
Akbari and Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh give us detailed and accurate 
information about the different subas and cities of the empire. 
Talib of Isfahan presented Abul Fazl with a treatise on the 
wonders of Tibet. Abul Fazl included it in his Akbarnama.^ 
A notable geographical work of the period was Dosavali- Vivriti 
by a Sanskrit scholar, Jagan Mohan. It deals with the geography 
of 56 countries, both old and new. 

Women's education 

Women's education was not ignored in Mughal days. But 
it was confined to princesses and upper-class ladies. The 
society accorded an honourable place to educated women, some 
of whom rose to the high position of the king's advisers and 
counsellors by dint of sheer merit. Durgavati, 172 Chand 
Bibi, 173 Nur Jahan, 174 Jahanara, 175 Sahibji, the wife of Amir 
Khan, 176 and Tarabai 177 played important roles in Indian 
history. Mira Bai, 178 Gulbadan Begum, 179 Salima Sultana, 180 
Rupmati, 181 Zeb-un-Nisa 182 and Zinat-un-Nisa 183 distinguished 
themselves in the literary sphere. A well-known work of the 
period entitled Mahila-mriduvani gives us a list of no less than 
35 women all of importance, "not minor Indian poets but 
prophetesses who have left their mark on the literary sphere." 184 
There were many other ladies of fame whose names can be seen 
in the Poems by Indian Women edited by Margaret Macnicol. 185 
These distinguished names suggest the existence of a high level 
of education for women. 

No regular separate schools seem to have existed for 
imparting education to girls, 186 who had their early lessons 
usually from their parents. Girls in their childhood attended 
schools along with boys, and learnt the Quran (if they were 
Muhammadans) and one or two other lessons by rote. The 
rich appointed tutors to teach their daughters at home. The 
author of Qanm-i-Islam speaks of girls being taught the Quran 
and elementary reading. 187 A Malayan work Chandrotsavan 
gives us an idea about the general reading of educated women 


in the South and this includes Sakuntalam, Malavikagnimitram 
and other Sanskrit dramas. 188 There is no doubt about the 
literacy of high born and well-to-do women. The daughters of 
Rajput chiefs and of some Bengali zamindars were usually able 
to read and write. Special care was taken for the education of 
Mughal princesses, 189 almost all of whom daily read the Quran 
and occasionally corresponded 190 with their relatives. Some of 
them composed verses and were well-versed in music. The 
average Mughal princess received but a limited education. 191 
Her regular studies came to an end with her marriage which 
usually took place at an early age. So the opportunities to 
acquire a mastery over the language were few. Later on she 
had no cultural or educational activities to keep up her interest 
in letters. Few specimens of letter-writing by Mughal princesses 
exist. The husband of Gulbadan did not even recognise his 
wife's handwriting. Her Humayunnama, according to Banerji, 
"abounds with spelling mistakes and clumsy sentences." Even 
the poems of Zeb-un-Nisa and Zinat-un-Nisa do not rise so 
high in poetic excellence as those of the contemporary male 

There is, however, little doubt about the literacy of the 
average middle-class woman who had sufficient knowledge of 
either Hindi, Persian or of the native provincial language to 
enable her to study scriptures. Mukundram, a 16th-century 
poet and author of the poem Chandi Mangal, throws light on 
the education of the average Hindu lady in those days. He 
relates how a middle-class lady found out a forged letter She 
at once recognised that the writer was not the person by whom 
it purported to have been written. 192 The knowledge of Sanskrit 
was widespread in the south, and Vico in his letter of 1626 
refers to a female neophyte who astonished him by the extent of 
her knowledge and the solidity of her judgment. She spoke 
Sanskrit with elegance and facility and cited appositely the bet 
authors on the verses of the celebrated poets. 193 Special stress 
was laid on the education of widows, some of whom even be- 
came teachers for instance, Hati Vidyalankara who migrated 
to Bihar from Bengal and became a teacher there. 194 We con- 
cur with the poet's concluding view : 

"There is evidence to show that women belonging to the 
lower ranks of society, such as housemaids, were 


illiterate, but there is nothing to discountenance female 
education." 195 


Paper was in common use in India long before the Mughal 
period. 196 Most of the manuscripts written during our period 
have flowery borders and the paper used is also of good 
quality. 197 Sialkot was famous for paper, especially Man Singhi 
and silk paper which "were good in texture, clear and durable." 
It was also used in the courts of Mughal emperors 198 for keep- 
ing records. The best quality of paper was manufactured at 
Shahzudpur and thence exported to other parts of the country. 108 
Inscriptions and grants of land, etc. were written on metal plates 
for permanent preservation. 200 

Paper was seldom used in primary schools. Children 
either used wooden boards or the ground for writing on. 201 
Sometimes the poor used palm-leaves 202 for writing letters. 
These leaves were "dressed, dried and then used as paper. 203 
The innermost part of the palm-tree, which was plaited into 
about 50 or 60 folds, 204 served as paper. The letters were then 
folded and made round like a rod or ribbon. 205 Abul Fazl, 206 
Pyrard, 207 and Thevenot 208 corroborate this. Some people of 
Kashmir, however, used, instead of paper or palm-leaves tuz, 
that is, the bark of a tree worked into sheets. 209 According to 
Abul Fazl, most of their ancient manuscripts were written on 
this type of paper. 


Printing 210 was not in vogue in India at that time ; so, 
books had to be written in manuscript by skilful calli- 
graphists. 211 The pen called persian qalam was used. It was a 
piece of reed mended like a quill. 212 They used brass inkstands 
for holding the pens and the ink. 213 The rich used golden ink- 
pots, but Aurangzeb ordered that men of literary taste should 
use china inkpots. 214 The poor employed iron pens for writing 
on palm-leaves "holding it with the clenched fist." 215 According 
to Pyrard, the people of Calicut wrote with "iron bodkins upon 
palm-leaves" when green. 216 No sooner did they get dry than 
it was impossible to "get the printed letters out of it." 217 A 
sharp iron instrument was used for writing on cocoa-leaves. 218 


The colour of the ink was usually black and sometimes white 
as these "colours best prevent any ambiguities in reading." 219 
Kashmiris prepared such a fine ink that the letters once written 
could never be washed away. 220 Lead-pencils (qalm-i-sarb) were 
also not unknown. 221 

Penmanship was considered to be a fine art and good 
writers were given high salaries. Eight calligraphical systems 
were in vogue 222 and of these Naskh and Nastaliq were the most 
important. Babar introduced a new style called Khat-i-Baburi. 
He transcribed the Quran in that very script and sent it to 
Mecca. 223 Experts in each of the above systems were available 
in India. 224 

Books, rare and costly 

Being written by hand, books were naturally rare and 
costly. Every student could not be expected to have a copy of 
his own. Most of them depended upon libraries of which there 
were quite a large number. Some of them, especially students 
attending higher courses in Persian, possessed books besides the 
one in the custody of the teacher. 225 

We have little information about the actual price of the 
books included in the curriculum except what we can gather 
from the amount paid by the kings and nobles for certain pre- 
cious manuscripts. It must be observed, however, that the 
rich decoration and binding, which were usual in the presenta- 
tion copy intended for a rich patron, greatly enhanced the price 
of the book. 226 Tuhfat-us-Salatin by Mir Ali was purchased 
perhaps by Humayun for Rs. 2,500 as an inscription on the 
title-page shows. Nur Jahan purchased a diwan of Mirza 
Kamran for three mohurs. Munim Khan paid Rs. 500 as a 
reward to Bahadur Khan who had sent him a present of the 
copy of Kulliyat (naturally richly bound and with illustrations 
and flowery borders) of Hazrat Shaikh Sadi in 976 228 A.H., and 
as is apparent the latter must have been paid by his rich 
'patron a sum large enough to have no comparison with the 
actual cost of the book. Manrique and De Laet mention 24,000 
richly bound and rare manuscripts in the Imperial Library and 
estimate their value at about Rs. 6,463,731, 229 that is, about 
Rs. 260 per book. These books were usually adorned with the 
paintings and illustrations so dear in these days. 230 Jahangir 


would not have distributed books so liberally among the elite o: 
Gujarat if they had been unprocurable. 231 It appears tha 
ordinary books were available in the market at reasonabl< 
prices. Badaoni's remarks testify to this : 

"There is no street or market (in the Imperial capital) ir 
which the. booksellers do not stand at road-sides selling 
copies of the diwans of these two poets (Urfi of Shiran 
and Hussain Sanai) and both Persians and Indians bu] 
them." 232 

We have little knowledge about the availability and the 
prices of Sanskrit books and manuscripts, but it is probable 
that a small number of copies of each work were either in indi- 
vidual hands or in possession of the institutions which quite 
naturally "rigidly guarded these treasures of knowledge, b) 
never permitting out the copies of the texts they t aught. " 
Mithila University had prohibited its students from taking 
away from its school any of the books or even notes of the 
lessons taught there. Vasudeva finding it impossible to get z 
copy of the work Tatta Chintamani and the metrical part oj 
Kusumanjali anywhere risked his own life by committing tc 
memory both the works while studying in Mithila, and ther 
fleeing thence and reducing them to writing at Nadia. 233 


Quite a large number of libraries existed during the 
Mughal times. Every madrasa usually possessed a library 
big or small, attached to it. The big library attached to the 
madrasa at Ahmedabad, called Sham-i-Burhani, existed up tc 
980 A.H. when Akbar conquered Gujarat. 234 Wali or Dai's 
madrasa started at Ahmedabad in 1654 A.D., Madrasa Fai; 
Safa (founded in 1681 A.D.), Madrasa Hidayat Baksh (comp- 
leted in 1699A.D.) and another madrasa started by Shaikt 
Ibrahim at Kutiana in Kathiawar (1689 A.D.) possessed big 
libraries. Sultan Ahmad Khatwi built a mosque, a khanqah, 2 
madrasa and a tank in Sarkahaiz in Ahmedabad, and a library 
was also housed in one of its apartments. 235 These libraries 
were meant for students and teaching staff, but there was nothing 
to prevent scholars known to the authorities from borrowing 
books. These libraries may be regarded as public libraries in 
that sense. _ The biggest of these libraries was the Imperial 


Library. Though meant exclusively for royal use, scholars 
could have access to it. 236 

All the Mughal emperors 237 from Babar to Aurangzeb 
were men of literary taste and took keen interest in the develop- 
ment of the Imperial Library. They were very eager to collect 
and preserve rare books, and they valued presents of scholarly 
books from learned authors. Their examples were followed by 
nobles and courtiers, who had their own libraries. 238 

As in every other sphere, Akbar also introduced reforms 
in the management, classification and storage of books which 
had by that time increased enormously. He brought it to the 
level of efficiency which compares favourably with the modern 
standard of classification. The library was divided into diffe- 
rent compartments according to the value of the books and the 
estimation in which the different sciences were held. They 
were further divided according to different languages in which 
they were written, such as Hindi, Persian, Greek, Kashmiri, 
Arabic, etc. Each section was subdivided into prose and 
poetry and the books were arranged accordingly. 239 The 
library was managed well and had experienced officers to super- 
vise and direct its affairs. An officer called nizam was in charge 
of the library. 240 Next to him was the muhtamim or darogha.** 1 
The nizam had several assistants under him to "enter the books 
in the register and to keep separate registers for separate 
subjects and number the books." He was also responsible for 
the selection and purchase of books for the library. The people 
who were employed for the care, upkeep and correction of 
books, such as the scribe, warraq shhaf, m book-binders 243 and 
painters, 244 were masters of their art. Skilful copyists, khush- 
navis, gilders and cutters were always employed to do various 
specialists' jobs. Jadwalsaz's duty was to make "plain, 
coloured, silvery, golden, original and artificial marginal draw- 
ings round the page." Translators were also kept on a 
permanent basis. They were usually well-versed in Arabic 
and Persian. 245 The books after being copied by scribes were 
sent to the muqabalanavis who compared the copy with the 
original and corrected mistakes. 246 The issue and restoration of 
each book was watched carefully and any defects immediately 
detected. 247 

Private libraries were common. Almost every learned 



scholar or rich patron possessed a library of his own. The 
nobles vied with each other in adding rare books to their 
libraries. These manuscripts sometimes were bought at high 
prices/ 48 Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan possessed a big per- 
sonal library. The staff employed in its upkeep, preservation 
and management totalled ninety-five. It included a librarian, 
khushnavis, painters, book-binders, scribes and warraq shhaf, all 
kept in service on a permanent basis. The famous book-binder 
of Mashhad and inventor of Abrl paper, Muhammad Amin 
Khurasani, was employed in this library on a salary of 
rupees four hundred per month. Most of the books in the 
Khan-i-Khanan' s library were illustrated by a Hindu painter. 249 
Many learned men and scholars used to come to the library for 
"study and self-improvement." 250 Shaikh Faizi had a grand 
library. It contained 4,600 books 251 which were either in "the 
handwriting of the author or had been written in the author's 
time." These books were on various subjects such as poetry, 
medicine, astronomy, music, philosophy, science, etc. Mahrnud 
Gawan, vizir of Muhammad Shah Bahamani, left a huge library 
containing 35,000 volumes. 252 

Maharaja Chhika Deva Raya of Mysore (1672-1704) was 
an author of repute. He collected in his library the rarest 
Sanskrit and historical works which were unfortunately subse- 
quently destroyed by Tipu Sultan. 253 Maharaja Sawai Jai 
Singh of Jaipur (fl. 1699-1743) possessed an unrivalled library 
containing all the astronomical treatises such as Ptolemy's 
Almagest, the astronomical tables of Ulug Beg, La Hire's 
Tabulae Astronomical, Flamsteed's Hist or ia, Coelestis Britain- 
nica, also certain Western mathematical works such as Euclid's 
Elements, a treatise on plains and spherical trigonometry, and 
the construction of logarithms. It is impossible to give a 
detailed list of the books in his library as most of the books 
were destroyed after his death. However, it has been clearly 
recorded that he procured most of the books from Europe, 
besides those available in India. 254 

Hindus possessed big libraries at their famous seats of 
learning, such as Banaras, Tirhut. Mithila, Nadia, etc. These 
libraries stocked huge piles of rare authentic ancient works on 
philosophy, medicine, religion, history and many other sciences. 
According to Dr. Fryer, several libraries of Hindus were filled 


with rare and precious Sanskrit manuscripts, "unfolding the 
mysteries of their religion/' 255 When the traveller Bernier paid 
a visit to Banaras, Kavindra received him warmly in the Uni- 
versity library. 256 Bernier saw there a large hall "entirely filled 
with such scripts." 257 Thevenot writes : "They have many 
ancient books all in verse of which they are great lovers." 258 
These libraries were later on destroyed by the Muhammadans. 259 
The Brahmans of Kashmir held a sufficient stock of books 
which they regularly studied. 260 


1. History and Prospect of British Education in India (1891), 
p. 1. 

2. Besides mathas and Buddhist viharas, Jain pallis also 
played an important part in educating people. 

3. For education in ancient times refer to R.K. Mookerji, 
Ancient Indian Education ; S.K. Das's Educational System 
of Ancient Hindus ; Dr. A.S. Altekar's Education in 
Ancient India. Also see Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 12, 
p. 167. 

4. According to Apastamba, "The age of upanayana is to be 
seven when the objective is Brahmavarchasa, eight where 
it is Ayu, nine where it is Teja or physical vigour, ten 
where it is vital force, and 12 where it is increase of live- 
stock." Manu is nearer the truth when he fixes the age 
of five for a Brahman student whose aim is Brahmavar- 

5. Guru Nanak was sent to school at the age of seven. 
Influence of Islam on Indian Culture, p. 136. Padmavat 
began her studies at the age of five. Padmavat, Trans. 
Grierson, p. 26. 

6. A.N., I, p. 518 ; III, pp. 105-6, 922, 1122 ; Badaoni, II, 
p. 173. E. & D., V, p. 370. 

7. Abul Fazl writes : "Humayun fixed an auspicious hour 
for the initiation of Akbar's instruction after consulting 
the renowned astrologers of the day." A.N., I, pp. 271- 
72;Tr.,I,p. 519. 

8. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 312. 

9. Mandelslo, p. 62. 

10. Travels in India in the 17th Centwy, p. 312. 

11. Bernier, p. 228 ; Manuel Godino in J.R.A.S.B., Vol, 
Letters 1938, Art. No. 23, p. 546 ; M.U. (trans.), Vc 
p. 546. 

12. Mandelslo, p. 62. 

13. Account of Sadiq confirmed by Delia Valle, (ed. Ed 1 
Grey), II, pp. 227-28. 

14. R.S. Sathianathailer, Tawflham in the 17th Cen 
p. 111. 

15. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 312. 

16. Bartolomeo, p. 263. 

17. Dara Shukoh by Dr. K.R. Kanungo, p. 5 ; Imp 
Gazetteer, II, pp. 408-9. 

18. Bartolomeo, p. 263. "Grammar was regarded as acha 
for opening the highest gateway of culture including 
study of human life and of the mysteries of exister 
Indian Culture through the Ages by S.V. Venkatesv 
p. 235. 

19. Badaoni, III, p. 28 ; Tr., Ill, p. 48 ; Ibid, II, Tr., p. ] 
Dara Shukoh, p. 5. 

20. Humayun Badshah, I, p. 4. 

21. Hedges' Dictionary of Islam, p. 106. 

22. According to Bartolomeo the method of teachin 
schools was as follows : (i) "The children were first tai 
the principles of writing and accompts; (ii) San 
Grammar also called Sarasvada or the art of speech 1 
elegance; (iii) The second part of this grammar w! 
contains syntax or the book Vyakarana; (iv) Brahm 
dictionary called Amarasinha followed by shalokas, 
Then comes detailed and specialized study of var: 
sciences as astrology, medicine, poetry, logic, etc." Ba 
lomeo, pp. 262-63. 

23. See his remarks about the early education in the Prole 
to the Ramayana of Tulsi Das by F.S. Growse in A.& 
I, (1876), pp. 22-23. 

24. Bernier, (1891), p. 335. 

25. Padmavat, Trans., Grierson, p. 26. 

26. Delia Valle quoted in Wheeler's History of India, Vol. 
Pt. II 9 p. 486, Babar praises the Hindu manner 


reckoning, and writes : "They have a very clear mode of 
calculation. They call a hundred thousand a lakh, a 
hundred Mrfo a crore, a hundred crore an arab . . . ." 
B.N., Caldecott, pp. 188-89. 

27. Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi, E. & D., IV, p. 311. 

28. Bernier, (1891), pp. 335-36. 

29. Leitner, History of Indigenous Education in the Punjab, 
p. 1 ; William Ward, A View of the Hindus, II, pp. 483 

30. E. &D., VI, pp. 176-77. 

31. 'Sahabia' by Jahanara Begum, article in Oriental 
College Magazine, Lahore, August 1937, Vol. XIII, No. 4, 
p. 11. 

32. Ancient Indian Education by R.K. Mookerji, p. 202. 

33. John Marshall in India, p. 386. According to Barto- 
lomeo, a traveller to the Indies in the 18th century, "A 
schoolmaster in Malabar receives every two months from 
each of his pupils for the instruction given them two 
Fanon or Panam. Some do not pay in money but give 
him a certain quantity of rice .... There are some teachers 
who instruct children without any fee and are paid by the 
overseers of the temples or by the chief of the caste." 
Bartolomeo, pp. 261-62. 

34. Bartolomeo, p. 263. 

35. See painting No. 3 in N.N. Law's Promotion of Learning 
in India. It shows Haqiqat Rai in the above-mentioned 
posture. See also Imperial Gazetteer^ II, pp. 408-9. 

36. Mirza Husain once saved the life of Ferishta respecting 
the latter's claims as a school-fellow. Storey, II, Fasc., 
Ill, pp. 443-44. Ferishta, Bombay Edition, II, p. 288. 

37. Badaoni, III, p. 56 ; Tr., Ill, p. 93. 

38. Ibid. 

39. Bernier, (1891), p. 341. Classes were held in these private 
houses particularly in the gardens which the rich merchants 
and philanthropists had endowed upon the Brahmans, the 
greatest repository of knowledge and learning among 
Hindus. Badaoni, II, p. 267 ; Tr., II, p. 264, 

40. History of Banaras by Dr. A.S. Altekar, pp. 39-41. 

41. Ain, II, pp. 158-59 ; Tavernier, p. 160. 

42. Bernier, (1891), pp. 341-42, also f.n. ; Tavernier, Vol. II, 



(1889), pp. 234-35. 

43. Hamilton, II, pp. 22-23. 

44. Ibid. 

45. Calcutta Monthly for 1791. See also History of Navy a 
Nyaya by Manmohan Chakravarti and Satis Chandra 
Vidyabhushana's History of Indian Logic. 

46. Ancient Indian Education by R.K. -Mookerji, pp. 598-601. 

47. J.U.P. Hist. Soc., Dec. 1943, Art. on "History of Raghu- 
natha Mahadeva Ghati" by P.K. Gode, p. 76, and f.n. 
p. 78. 

48. History of Mithila by Manmohan Chakravarti and also see 
History of Navy a Nyaya. 

49. Bertrand La Mission du Madura, III, quoted in Tamilham 
in the 17th Century by R. Sathianathailer, p. 177. 

50. Ain, II, pp. 152-53. 

51. In Goa probably. Travels in India in the 17th Century ; 
p. 384. 

52. Hamilton, I, p. 127. 

53. M.A. of Saqi, E. & D., VII, p. 184. 

54. Ibid. 

55. Monserrate, p. 102. For universities in ancient India with 
special reference to Ayurvedic studies, see, /. U.P. Historical 
Society, July 1942, Vol. XV, Pt. I, pp. 12-43. Aricle by 
Radha Kumud Mookerji. 

56. Al Minhaj, p. 3. 

57. Jan Jahan Khan MS. in A.S.B., quoted in N.N. Law, 
p. 175. 

58. For Akbar' s college at Agra see Keay's Ancient Indian 
Education, p. 119. Akbar is said to have invited a scholar 
from Shiraz Chalpi Beg to teach there (Abul Hasan 
Nadvi : Hindostan ki Qadimi Island Darsgafien, p. 29). 
No remains of this madrasa are found excepting that the 
locality in which it was situated is still known as Madrasa 
Mohalla. For Shahjahan's college see Asar-us-Sanadid by 
Sir Sayyid, p. 69. It appears Shahjahan only repaired the 
old college of Akbar. Jahanara also built a madrasa 
attached to Jama Masjid. 

59. His school was known as Madrasa-i-Khas. Badaoni, II, 
pp. 55-56 ; Tr., II, p. 53. 

60. He was a well-known teacher. Badaoni, III, p, 78 ; Tr,, 


III, p. 124. 

61. According to Badaoni a school was founded after his 
name. Badaoni, III, p. 129 ; Tr., Ill, p. 181. 

62. T.A., II, Trans., B. De., pp. 694-95, Sayyid Ahmad in 
. his Tarikh-i-Agra (p. 120), mentions a Madrasa-i-Shahi 

of which no trace remains except a masjid called Masjid-i- 

63. Badaoni, III, p. 119 ; Tr., Ill, pp. 174-75. 

64. Ibid, pp. 156-57 ; Tr., Ill, p. 218. 

65. Peteramndy, II, p. 208. 

66. Khwaja Muin was the founder of a madrasa where Mirza 
Muflis used to teach. T.A., II, (trans.), p. 686. For 
reference to another college see Badaoni, III, p. 130 ; 
Tr., Ill, p. 188. For Shahjahan's imperial college at 
Delhi, refer to Nadvi, Hindostan ki Qadimi Islami Dars- 
gahen, p. 23. 

67. Badaoni, I, p. 471 ; Tr., I, p. 471 ; Maulana Ismail was a 
teacher there ; Am, I, p. 607. 

68. It bears an inscription ending with 

For a photo of her madrasa see Promotion of Learning in 

India, p. 166. Also see the Archaeology and Monumental 
Remains of Delhi by Carr Stephen (1876), p. 199. Banerji 
has refuted Brown's view that the madrasa was intended 
for girls. According to him, the Muslim girls in medieval 
times did not move outside the house. The walls were 
erected to let the students continue their studies undis- 
turbed by external noise. S.K. Banerji's article entitled 
"The Historical Remains of Early Years of Akbar's 
Reign" in the J.U.P. Historical Society, December, 1942, 
Vol. XV, Pt. II. 

69. Badaoni, II, p. 60 ; Tr., II, p. 62. 

70. Hindostan ki Qadimi Islami Darsgahen by Abul Hasan 
Nadvi, p. 22. 

71. Badaoni, I, p. 324 ; Tr., I, p. 427 ; III, pp. 77, 111 ; Tr., 
Ill, pp. '124 and 165. 

72. Nadvi, op. cit., p. 23 ; Carr Stephen's Archaeological 
Remains of Delhi, p. 255 ; Sayyid Ahmad, Asar-us-Sanadid, 


(1900), Vol. HI, p. 12 ; A. A. A. Fyzee, Islamic Studi 
India, 1957, pp. 202-3 ; For Madrasa Ghazi-ud 
built during the reign of Ahmad Shah and Alamgi 
refer to Sayyid Ahmad, op. cit., Vol. Ill, p. 31. 

73. See Badaoni, III (Trans. Haig). Index page 534 
Tabqat under Lahore. 

74. T.A., Tr., II, p. 696. 

75. Storia, II, p. 424 ; Nadvi, op. cit. 9 pp. 40-42. 

76. Tazkirat-ul-Ulema, MS., in A.S.B., leaf; 310 quote 
N.N. Law, p. 103, Faruki's Aurangzeb, p. 312. 

77. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 91. 

78. Ghani II, pp. 38-39. 

79. Mirat-i-Ahmadi, Calcutta Review, Oct. 1940, p. 311. 

80. Now it is called Bar a Imam ka Kotla. 

81. Bulletin of Deccan College of Research Institute, Vo 
June 1941, p. 383 ; Mirat-i-Ahmadi, Vol. I, p. 363. 

82. History of Shahj ahan by Saksena, p. 208. Accordir 
the same author, Kalim and Qudsi took residence 
to verify Padshahnama. Mulla Fani belonged to Kas 
and Khwaja Khudavand Muhammad settled in that 

83. Oriental College Magazine, Lahore, August 1937 
No. 4. 

84. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 572. 

85. A.N., II, p. 365 ; Tr., II, p. 53 L 

86. Nadvi, op. cit. 9 p. 31. 

87. Badaoni, HI, p. 108 ; Tr., Ill, p. 160. 

88. Mulla Nizam-ud-Din, originator of Dars-i-Nizami, it 
here. For details refer to Middle East Journal, 195^ 
168-69 ; Al Minhaj, p. 67. 

89. Nadvi, op. eft., pp. 55-57. 

90. Al Minhaj, p. 52. 

91. Hamilton (New Edition), I, pp. 365-66. 

92. During Akbar's time Muhammad Gaus Gwaliori bi 
monastery there and "busied himself completely in ins 
ing his students." Badaoni (Trans.), Ill, p. 103. 

93. S&i:ka.r'$IndiaofAurangzib,p. 98. In one of its 
madrasas was employed the great Arabic scholar ] 
Abdulla Hakim. Students came even from foreign 
to study under him. Nadvi, op. cit., pp. 26-27. 



94. For a 

Cheli at Thaneswar in 

334 The period of studentship was 
a, ,2 ' 



98.. Hindi Shabd Sagar, Vol. I, 

Indian Culture, p. 176. 
99. Tazkirah-i-Shustar, p. VIII. 


101. Badaoni, III, p. 27 ; Tr., HI, p. 45. 

102. Ibid, p. 142 ; Tr. Ill, p. 200. 



XIII, No. 4, p. 8, 

110. Badaoni, III, p. 118; Tr. Ill, p. 173. 

111. Ibid,p. 148 ;Tr., Ill, P- 209. 

112. E. &D., VI, p. 116 

113. /4m, I, 

other famous 


post-collegiate studies under renowned teachers. 
; 115 . Mamie Culture, XIII, **,*,** and 200 . 

ii6.*^,w,pp.w^^->; XIII) No _ 4j 

III, p. 76 ; Tr., Ill, p. 122, 


117. Refer to Nobiali's letter of 1627 (Bertrand La Madura, II, 
p. 263) in which he refers to a Kammalan who participated 
in a religions disputation with a facility, eloquence and 
strength of reasoning that disconcerted the most learned. 
Tamilham in the 17th Century, op. cit. y p. 178. 

118. Son of Govinda Diksita, Minister to Acyutappa who trans- 
lated the Pancanada-Mahatmya in 1605. He flourished 
between 1615 and 1645. 

119. Ibid. 

120. Dig. Vijaya, VI, 17. Karnatika Hist. Review, V, Pt. II, 
July 1938, pp. 23-24. 

121. Ancient Indian Education by R.K. Mookerji, p. 600. 

122. Ibid. 

123. Badaoni, III, p. 119 ; Jr., Ill, p. 176. 

124. Ibid, p. 154 ; Tr., Ill, p. 215. 

125. Ibid, pp. 113 and 129 ; Tr. ? III, pp. 167 and 187. 

126. Ain, I, pp. 288-89. 

127. Ibid. 

128. Badaoni, III, p. 155 ; Tr., Ill, p. 216 ; and also see p. 232. 

129. MS., Khuda Baksh Library, Patna. 

130. Bartolomeo gives an exaggerated account of the courses of 
study followed in 1796. Bartolomeo, pp. 263-64. 

131. S.R. Sharma's Bibliography of Mughal India, p. 158. 

132. Indian Culture through the Ages by S.V. Venkateswara, 
p. 235. 

133. Badaoni, II, p. 363 ; Tr., II, p. 475. 

134. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 442. 

135. Pyrard, II, p. 250 ; Tavernier, II, pp. 161-62 ; Thevenot, 
Chap. XXXVIII ; Ovington, p. 280 ; India in Portuguese 
Literature, p. 121. 

136. Khwaja Amir-ud-din Mahmud of Herat (A.N. 9 I, p. 449), 
Mulla Nur-ud-din Mohammad-i-Tarkhan alias Nuri 
(Badaoni, III, pp. 197-99 Tr., Ill, pp. 273-75), Fatehullah 
of Shiraz (Badaoni, II, p. 315 ; Tr., II, p. 325) and Hafiz 
Muhammad Khiyab were famous mathematicians. 
Ataullah wrote a treatise on mensuration and algebra 

v (Reiu add 16744). 

*<: ' 137. For Humayun's interest in astronomy, see Humayun 
>i\ , Badshah 9 U 9 p. 353. 

[ I 138. Badaoni, II, p. 307 ; Tr., II, p. 316. 


139. Ain, I, (1939), pp. 288-89 ; Badaoni, II, p. 307 ; Tr., II, 
p. 316. 

140. Pyrard, II, p. 250 : Pelsaert's India, p. 77 ; Hamilton, I, 
p. 276 ; Ovington, p. 351 ; and Ain, II, pp. 351-52. 

141. Pelsaert's India, p. 77. 

142. Ain 9 1, p. 442n. 

143. Badaoni, III, pp. 224-27 ; Tr. til, pp. 310-15. 

144. A.N. 9 IL 9 p.6;TT. 9 TL 9 p. 11. 

145. Tabqat-i-Shahjahani, B.M. (Or. 1673), f. p. 320 b. 

146. Ain, I, pp. 288-89. 

147. Badaoni, II, p. 363 ; Tr., II, p. 375. 

148. Ibid. 

149. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 315. He thinks 
chemists' shops were no better than perfumery stores. 

150. Monserrate, p. 102. 

151. Badaoni, III, pp. 161-62; Tr., Ill, pp. 224-25; Ibid, 
pp. 167-68 ; Tr., Ill, pp. 234-35 ; E. & D., II, p. 2. 

152. Badaoni, III, pp. 167-68 ; Tr., Ill, pp. 234-35 ; Bernier, 
p. 335. 

153. Elphinstone, I (MXCCCXLIII), p. 280. Elphinstone 
remarks : "Their surgery is as remarkable as their medicine 
especially when we recollect their ignorance of anatomy. 
They cut for the stone, conched for the cataract and 
extracted the foetus from the womb and in their early 
work enumerate no less than 127 sorts of surgical works." 

154. TStoria, II, p. 301. 

155. Ovington, p. 351. 

156. Pyrard, I, p. 377. 

157. Gayshastra and Salhotra deal with the diseases of the 
elephants and horses respectively. Ain, III, pp. 271-79. 
It is said that there was hardly any wild bird, strange 
beast, or reptiles, a specimen of which was not kept by 
Faizullah Khan Faujdar of Moradabad in Aurangzeb's 
reign, Maasir-ul-Umra (trans.), Vol. I, p. 513. 

158. Badaoni, III, p. 170 ; Tr., Ill, pp. 237-38. 

159. Oiling of camels as anointing. 

160. Injecting oil into their nostrils. 

161. Ain, I, (1939), pp. 154-55, 

162. Ain, pp. 42-43, 



163. Badaoni, too, relates a story that certain Shaikh Nasir-ud 
din turned all the copper utensils into gold when Humayur 
was in great straits after his defeat at Chausa. The 
chemical used was given to the Shaikh by a certain yogi 
it is related. Badaoni, I, p. 109 ; Tr., I, pp. 161-62. 

164. John Marshall in India, p. 233. Pelsaert's India, p. 77. 

165. Am, III, p. 127, Thevenot, III, Chap. XXXVIII. 

166. Bartolomeo, pp. 265-66. 

167. Ibid. 

168. Roe's Embassy, p. 63. 

169. Ibid. Tavernier, however, observed that the Brahmir 
teacher of Jai Singh's sons had two globes of the world 
which the Dutch had presented to him. Tavernier, Travel* 
in India, Vol. Ill (1889), London, pp. 234-35. 

170. Ferishta, II, p. 530 ; Briggs II, p. 178 ; Manucci's (Vol. II 
p. 51) story that once Humayun enquired from Sidi Ali 
Reis whether Turkey was larger than India, seems to be 
pure imagination. 

171. Badaoni, III, p. 265 ; Tr., III, p. 369. 

172. A.N., II, pp. 324-25 ; E. & D., V, p. 169. 

173. Ferishta, III, p. 312. 

174. Beni Prasad's Jahangir, pp. 182-85. 

175. Oriental College Magazine, Lahore, Vol. XIII, No. 4, 
August 1937. 

176. Studies in" Mughal India by J.N. Sarkar, pp. 111-18. 

177. Sarkar, V, pp. 199-201 ; K.K., II, 469-516. 

178. Mira Bai, the sweet singer of Rajputana, is, according tc 
J.C. Ghosh, "the best woman poet of India before the 19rt] 
century." The Legacy of India by Garatt, p. 383. Hei 
Radha Krishna lyrics in Braj are very famous. Religiom 
Literature of India, p. 306. 

179. Author of Humayunnama. 

180. Badaoni, II, p. 377 ; Tr., II, p. 389. 

181. Romantic wife of Baz Bahadur, ruler of Malwa, during 
Akbar's time. She was a poetess and composed sweei 
verses. In this connection see an interesting book or 
Rupmati, Lady of the Lotus, by Ahmad-ul-Umar, tran. 
L.M. Crump. 

182. Daughter of Aurangzeb, pen-name 'Zeb', author of Diwan* 


Makhfi. B.O.R.S., Jan., 1927. Studies in Mughal India, 
pp. 70-90. 

183. Daughter of Aurangzeb. She was also a poetess. 

184. Bulletin of School of Oriental Studies, I (1917). 

185. Poems by Indian Women edited by Margaret Macnicol 
(Heritage of India Series), pp. 24, 26, 30, 32. 

186. In the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay, there is, how- 
ever, a painting showing "A Zenana School in the Deccan" 
(late 17th century). A History of India by J.C. Powell- 
Price, Plate 41, facing page 281. 

187. Qanun-i- Islam, ed. Crookes, p. 51. For a painting showing 
a Mughal princess taking her lesson see Promotion of 
Learning in India, p. 206, Plate I. 

188. This work was compiled in the 15th century. 

189. Qanun-i-Islam, ed. Crookes, p. 51. 

190. H.N.G. (Bev.), p. 150, 

191. R. & B., II, p. 277 ; E.& D., VII, p. 162 ; Islamic Culture, 
July 1937. 

192. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 180. 

193. Bertrand La Mission du Madura, II, p. 257, quoted in 
Tamilham in the 17th Century, op. tit., p. 178. 

194. Keay's Indian Education, p. 77. 

195. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 180. 

196. The Antiquity of Writing in India by Bishnu Swamp," 
J.B.O.R.S., Vol. VIII, Pt. I, pp. 45-57. 

197. See manuscripts in Khuda Baksh Library, Patna ; and the 
Punjab University, Lahore. 

198. India of Aurangzib, p. 95. 

199. Petermundy, II, p. 98. 
200: Storia III, p. 112. 

201. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 312. Delia Valle 
quoted in Wheeler's History of India, Vol. IV, Pt. II, 
p. 486. 

202. Thevenot, III, Chap. I, p. 90 ; Travels in India in the 
17th Century, pp. 185-86. 

203. Linschoten, II, p. 50. 

204. Ibid. 

205. Thevenot, III, Chap. I, p. 90. 

206. Am, II, p. 126. 

207. Pyrard, II, p. 408. 


208. Thevenot, III, Chap, I, p. 88. 

209. Ain, II, p. 351. Babar refers to paper made of 'tar' 
(B. AT., p. 510). 

210. The earliest Indian printing was done by the Jesuits in 
presses at Goa and Rachol, about the middle of the 16th 
century. Smith's Akbar, pp. 424-25. 

211. It was impossible to cut satisfactory types of Persian and 
Arabic alphabets many a decade after its adoption in India 
in the 16th century. The best Persian and Arabic types 
cannot stand comparison with the beautiful calligraphy 
of the Mughal Persian manuscripts. Smith's Akbar, pp. 

212. Ovington, p. 249. 

213. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 442. 

214. M.A., Trans. (Urdu), p. 111. 

215. Ain, II, p. 126. 

216. Pyrard, I, p. 408. 

217. Linschoten, II, p. 50. 

218. Travels in India in the 17th Century, pp. 185-86. 

219. Ain. I, p. 105. 

220. Ain, II, p. 351. 

221. For reference to the use of lead pencils (qalm-i-sarb) see 
Maasir, I, pp. 256-57. 

222. Ain, I, pp. 105-08. 

223. Badaoni, I, p. 343 ; Tr,, I, p. 450. 

224 Badaoni, III, p. 273 ; Tr., Ill, p. 378 ; Ain, I, p. 107 ; 
Badaoni, III, p. 181-82 ;Tr., Ill, p. 254-55 ; T.A., II, 
p. 658, Tuzuk, Lowe, p. 76. Tazkira-Khushnavisan-i-Hind, 
pp. 57 and 125. 

225. Badaoni relates that when a certain student came to Shaikh 
Bhikan (certainly with a book) to set him a task, the 
Shaikh replied: "Better read some work on divinity." 
Badaoni, III, p. 148, Tr., Ill, p. 209. No less than 101 
copies of a book like Nal wa Daman were still left in 
Faizi's library after distribution. It shows the large 
number of books transcribed. (Badaoni, III, p. 306). 
Also refer to Macauliffe, I, p. 163. 

226. The huge amount spent by Aurangzeb to decorate a set of 
the Quran to be sent to Mecca may well serve as an 
example. M.A. (Urdu), pp. 388-89. 


227. MSS. of Diwan-i-Kamran, Khuda Baksh Library, Patna. 

228. Islamic Culture, Oct. 1945, p. 343. 

229. See 'The Treasury of Akbar," J.R.A.S., April 1915, 
Mandelslo, p. 37. 

230. Jahangir purchased a copy of Yusuf-Zulaikha, evidently 
a book with paintings and illustrations, for 1000 gold 
mohrs. Copy in Bankipore Library, another copy in 
Shantiniketan. "From notes and calculations I have made, 
miniatures by Bihzad were worth hundreds of pounds each 
and certain of his manuscripts were worth ten times than 
now." Martin, Vol. I, p. 58. 

231. R. &B., I, pp. 439-40. 

232. Badaoni, III, p. 2.85 ; Tr., Ill, p. 393. 

233. Ancient Indian Education by R.K. Mookerji, pp. 597-600. 

234. Zafr-ul-Walih, V, I, p. 32. Islamic Culture, October 1945, 
p. 339. 

235. Tuhfat-ul-Majalis, MS., section 38. 

236. See Badaoni, II, p. 377 ; Tr., II, p. 389. 

237. For Babar : B.N., p. 460 ; H.N., Gul (Beveridge), p. 76. 
For Humayun ; Tazkirat-ul-Waqyat (Stewart) p. 107 ; 
H.N., Gul (Beveridge), p. 154 ; A.N., I, pp. 309-10 ; A.N. 
II, p. 442 ; Von Noer's Kaiser Akbar I, p. 136 ; Elphin- 
stone, II, (MDCCCXLIII), pp. 126-27. For a photograph 
of his library see Promotion of Learning in India opposite' 
p. 133. For Salima Sultana's Library see Archaeology and 
monumental Remains of Delhi, pp. 139-40. For Akbar: 
Ain, I, pp. 110-12 ; A.N., I. p. 94 ; Tr. p. 290 ; II, p. 202; 
Tr., II, p. 205 ; Badaoni, II, p. 319 ; Tr., II, p. 328 ; III, 
p. 305 ; Tr., Ill, p. 421 ; E. & D.,V, p. 519 ; Mandelslo, 
p. 37 ; Smith's Akbar, p. 424 ; Mellson's Akbar, p. 169 ; 
Tarikh-i-Agra, p. 75. For Jahangir : R. & B., I, pp. 439- 
40 ; Waqyat-i-Jahangiri, E. & D., VI, p. 360 ; E. & D., 
VII, p. 74. For Shahjahan : Shahjahannama, II, p. 505 ; 
Journal Islamic Culture, October 1945. For Aurangzeb : 
M.A., (Trans. Talab), pp. 387, 394 ; Fergusson's Archi- 
tecture at Bijapur, p. 75. For Zeb-un-Nisa's library see 
M.A., (Trans. Talab), p. 394 ; B.O.R.S., Jan., 1927, art. 
on Zeb-un-Nisa ; Diwan of Zeb-un-Nisa by Magan Lall 
(Wisdom of the East series), Introduction. 

238. Badaoni, III, p. 305 ; Tr. Ill, p. 421 ; E. & D., V, pp. 548- 



49 ; Maasir-i-Rahimi, III, p. l696(Maarif 9 Vol. XIV, 
Islamic Culture, October 1945. 

239. Am, I, p. HO. 

240. Shahjahannama, II, p. p. 505, in Islamic Culture, January 
1946, p. 18. 

241. Ibid. Mir Baqi was appointed daroga in Khan-i-Khanan's 
library. Maasir-i-Rahimi, III, p. 1680. 

242. Their duty was to clean the books. 

243. Maasir-i-Rahimiy III, p. 1680. 

244. Ibid 9 p. 1682. 

245. See Maarif, Vol. XIV. 

246. Maasir-i-Rahimi, III, p. 1696. 

247. Badaoni, II, p. 376 ; Tr., II, p. 389. 

248. Martin in Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India 
and Turkey, Vol. I, p. 58. 

249. See Sayyid Sulaiman's article in Islamic Culture, p. 426, 
entitled "Literary Progress of the Hindus under Muslim 

250. Maasir-i-Rahimi, MS. in A.S.B., Leaf 407. 

251. The books were on literature, medicine, astronomy, music, 
philosophy, tasauwuf, science, mathematics, commentary, 
jurisprudence, Hadis, etc. (Ibid). E. & D., V, pp. 548-49 ; 
Badaoni, HI, p. 305 ; Tr., p. 421. 

252. Nadvi, op. eft., pp. 60-61. 

253. Poems by Indian Women, edited by Marcinol Margaret, 
Heritage of India Series, p. 26. 

254. Astronomical Observatories of Jai Singh by G. Kaye. It 
is said that Jai Singh's son Jagat Singh gave this valuable 
library to a courtesan and it was thus destroyed and its 
books distributed among her 'base relations.' 

255. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 392. 

256. "Bernier and Kavindracharya at the Mughal Court," 
Oriental Institute of Research, December 1945. 

257. Bernier, p. 335. 

258. Thevenot, III, Chap. I, p. 90. 

259. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 392. 

260. Iqbalnatna, Tr. (Urdu), p. 107. 


Customs, and 



The purificatory rites of a Hindu begin before his birth. 1 
Of the sixteen principal ceremonies 2 prescribed by Hindu law- 
givers for a person, only six important ones, 3 viz., Jatakanna 
(birth ceremony), Namakarana (name-giving ceremony), Chuda- 
karana (hair-cutting ceremony), Upanayana (initiation) and 
Vivaha (marriage), and certain obituary rites 4 are observed by 
the majority of the Hindus. The observance of these rites differs 
in various parts of this country in details only, the fundamental 
principles being the same everywhere. 

Few references to these ceremonies are traceable in the 
contemporary records of the period. 5 Not unexpectedly, foreign 
travellers, who could not have an access to the inner apartments, 
are silent about these domestic rites excepting, of course, the 
marriage ceremony which was celebrated with all possible pomp 
and show. However, from the few and scattered references 
here and there in the works of the contemporary Persian 
chroniclers of the period as well as in the accounts of the 
foreign travellers, we may safely conclude that these ceremonies 
must have been observed in much the same manner in Mughal 
times as they are today. 6 

Birth ceremonies 

Abul Fuzi describes the birth ceremony 7 when honey stirred 
in ghee is put into the mouth (of the infant) by means of a gold 
ring. 8 In Bengal the womenfolk would pour down and shower 
grains of paddy and tufts of green grass on the head of the 
new-born, praying for its long life. 9 Tulsidas and Surdas refer 


to the performance of Nan dimukh Shraddha 10 just after the birth 
when offerings of gold, cows, plate and jewels were made to the 
Brahmans. 11 A cord made of durba 12 grass interwoven with 
mango-leaves was usually hung over the main door as a mark 
of festivity. It was the usual practice in the well-to-do families, 
as it is now, to celebrate the birth anniversary when a knot was 
added to the silk thread till the formal ceremony of Upanayana 
took place. 13 The horoscope of the child was invariably got 
prepared soon after its birth. 14 

Ovington describes at some length the Namakarana Sams- 
kara^ b Usually the child was named 16 after the expiry of the 
period of confinement lasting forty days. 17 Fryer corroborates 
it. 18 Surdas refers to the practice of putting a tilak on the 
child's forehead after mixing curd, milk and haldi. 1 * The custom 
of ascertaining on this occasion the natural bent of the child by 
placing several articles such as paddy, fried rice, clod of earth, 
gold, silver, etc. before it and inducing it to choose any one 
of them was also observed particularly in Bengal. 20 

Jayasi 21 as well as Surdas 22 refers to some ceremonies obser- 
ved on the sixth day after birth. But it appears that they were 
in vogue among rich families only. Surdas writes that on 
this occasion "the gardener's wife offers a garland of flowers 
while the goldsmith presents a necklace studded with diamonds 
and pearls. The barber's wife applies mahur of nine colours on 
the feet of the mother while the carpenter's wife brings a cradle 
made of sandal-wood for the newly born." 23 


Surdas describes the ceremony of Annaprasana when solid 
food was given for the first time to the infant, 24 The ceremony, 
it appears, was usually performed six months after the birth of 
the child when relatives, friends and neighbours would assemble. 
Khir, honey and ghee., according to the poet Surdas, 25 would be 
placed before the child whose father helped him to taste them 
after due ceremonies. 26 

Hair-cutting ceremony 

The hair-cutting or Mundan ceremony was celebrated with 
the customary rites not earlier than the age of three, leaving one 
lock on the top of the head. 27 The ears of the child were also 


bored usually on that day. 28 Surdas describes the Karnavedha 2 * 
ceremony of Shree Krishna who was fondled with a purl and a 
piece of gur while his ears were being pierced. 30 


The important ceremony of the "Sacred Thread" or Upa- 
nayana attracted the attention of many contemporary writers 
who present a fairly accurate account of its observance during 
Mughal days. Emperor Jahangir, while describing the four 
modes of a Brahman's life, refers to this ceremony 31 which 
has been the exclusive privilege of the three higher castes. 32 He 
fixes the age for the Upanayanam as prior to eight years 33 when 
a special function was held, and a large number of Brahmans 
were invited. 34 A cord of munja grass 35 or of cotton, 36 usually 
2J yards long, according to Jahangir, was made into three strings 
to be tied round the waist of the boy after reciting certain 
prayers over it. 37 The sacred thread, 38 consisting of three 
threads, each composed of three finer threads interwined into 
one and costing about four damn's^ was then hung on the 
left shoulder of the boy, the ends tied round the right arm. 40 
Abul Fazl wrongly puts its length to be 26 times the circum- 
ference of the fist. 41 Its length is usually ninety-six times the 
breadth of the four fingers of a man, which is equal to his 
height. 42 The three threads represent the Trinity, the Hindu 
gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, 43 and the white colour 
signifies purity. 44 The curious reader may refer to Hindu 
Samskaras by R.B. Pandey for details. 

School-going ceremony 

Being thus invested with the sacred thread, the boy began 
his studies 45 in right earnest under some teacher. Surdas 
refers to the practice of being initiated to a mantra (Gayatri) 
from the Guru before commencing studies. Brahmans were 
offered presents and the poor were given alms. 46 Phillips in 
his Account of the Religion, Manners and Learning of the People 
of Malabar gives a detailed account of the customs followed 
by the Hindus while putting their sons to school. 47 On an 
auspicious day fixed after consultation with an astrologer, the 
boy's parents would invite the N school-teacher and all his pupils 
to their home where, after some ceremonies had been gone 



through, the teacher wrote down some letters of alphabet o 
leaf perfumed with incense and sprinkled over with cucum re 
It was taken round to be touched and blessed by those pres< 
After the boy had repeated these letters after the teacl 
and made obeisance before the gods, sweetmeats were distribu 
among those assembled. The teacher and his pupils were ser 
with rice, and some presents were offered to the former. 48 
ceremony of Samavartana was performed when the stuc 
returned home after the completion of his studies. 49 

Desire for a mate child among Muslims 

The craving for a male offspring was quite intense ii 
Muhanimadan 50 who often employed various devices to achJ 
that end. 51 Even Emperor Akbar did not hesitate to take 
vow of undertaking an arduous journey to Ajmer, the sh.: 
of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti, if he was blessed with a so 
Babar was equally anxious to have male children. Just beJ 
the birth of Hindal, the Emperor inscribed two papers, 
with a boy's name and the other with that of a girl. Encloj 
them in clay he set them in water. The name first revealed, 
the Emperor's joy, was that of a boy. 53 Only the ladie 
the seraglio would celebrate the birth of a princess while 
whole court and even the Empire took part in the jubilati 
if a prince was born. 54 Manucci relates in detail the rejolc 
which followed the birth of a son in a rich family. 55 

Muslim ceremonies 

Of the numerous ceremonies and rituals which now att 
a Muhammad an's birth, only Aqiqah^ has been enjoined ~u 
by Prophet Muhammad. The other important rituals, 57 sue 
the naming ceremony, BismiUah (initiation), 58 Sunnat (circ 
cision), 59 etc. owe their origin either to the "Traditions' 
other Muhammadan works on ethics. Many more 60 1 
been added, especially in India, through the influence of 1 
customs, prejudices and superstitions. These ceremonies " 
from country to country and in India from province to provi 
but there is general agreement in the number of the 11 
observances everywhere. 

Custom of cord-cutting 

No connected account has been left of the customs 
superstitions that attended a child's birth in Mughal days. 


can, however, form an idea of these from the stray references 
found here and there. For instance, on pregnancy, it was 

. thought to be a good augury to change the residence; Salim's 
mother was sent from Agra to Shaikh's house at Fatehpur 
Sikri. 61 Manned relates the peculiar custom of cord-cutting 62 

. followed in the royal family. 63 The cord was severed by means 
of a thread and put in a small bag which was kept under the 
child's pillow with certain cabalistic writings on the bag for 
forty days. 64 

Ceremonies at birth 

It was customary to pour honey into the infant's mouth 65 
immediately after birth and to press his mother's breast so that 
"a drop of milk comes out." 66 Azan or the Muslim call to 
prayer was sounded in the ears of the infant. 67 Akbar not 
only followed the Hindu mode of preparing horoscopes 68 (on 
the birth of his sons and grandsons) but also postponed his visit 
to Fatehpur to see his new-born son, Salim, in deference to a 
belief prevalent among the Hindus that "whenever God, after 
long expectation, has bestowed an auspicious child, he be not 
produced before the honoured father till after a long delay." 69 
There is sufficient evidence to corroborate the fact that Muslims 
generally followed the Hindu practice of preparing the horo- 
scope of the newly born child. 09 * 

Naming ceremony 

The naming ceremony of a child was usually performed on 
the day of his birth 70 when the grandfather would give the 
name. 71 Akbar was named Badr-ud-din immediately after his 
birth. 72 John Marshall, who visited Bengal in 1688 A.D., writes 
in detail about the ceremonies connected with the birth of a 
child. Referring to the naming of the new-born, he says : 
"The father or the nearest relation sends for the Mulva (maulavi) 
or priest who shutting the Book, the father pricks between the 
leaves of the Book, where when opened, the Mulva takes the 
first letter in that leaf and the meaning thereof, called the 
child." 72 * This practice of consulting the Holy Book still pre- 
vails among the Muslims. It was not considered proper to 
have a name comprising more than four words. 72 ! 


Birthday anniversaries 

Birthday anniversaries were celebrated by the rich 
great rejoicings. It was the usual custom to add a knot 
year to a yellow silken or cotton string allotted to the child 
his birth. 73 The birthday of the ruling monarch was celebr 
throughout the Empire with great pomp and show. 74 f 
the time of Humayun onwards, on this occasion the Emj 
was weighed against certain precious metals and articles ^\ 
were given away in charity. 75 Aurangzeb stopped this pra 
in the 51st year of his reign. 76 The princes were also weij 
on the solar anniversaries of their birth. 77 

Chhathi or the sixth day 

Chhathl or the sixth day 78 is also an important 
Manucci mentions great celebrations on this day. 79 F 
were held, illumination was arranged and fireworks wei 
off. 80 It was customary, after bathing the child, to put < 
shirt made of any article of dress worn by some ancient wort 
Akbar's first clothes were made out of the garments of the 
Sayyid Ali Shirazi. 82 

Aqiqah rite 

The Aqiqah rite was usually performed on the se> 
day. 83 It consisted of a sacrifice of two goats for a bo} 
one for a girl. The first shaving of the child was also 
on this day. Abul Fazl alludes to a Turkish custom inc< 
rated by the Mughals. When a child began to walk, it 
usual for the father or the grandfather to strike it wit 
turban so that it might fall down. Mirza Askari perfo 
this rite when Akbar was one year and four months old. 8 
was supposed to ward off the evil eye. 85 There seem 
have been no hair-cutting ceremony among the Muslims. 
author of Darbar-i-Akbari, however, mentions that A 
was specially taken to the Dargah of Hasan Abdal for this i 

Maktab ceremony 

The Bismillah (initiation) or more properly the Me 
ceremony was performed when a boy was four years, 
months and four days old, 87 Most of the Mughal pr 



begantheireducationatthisage- It is similar to the Hindu 
ceremony of Upanayana. 

a that Sunnat or the circumcision ceremony** was 

perfoat a very young age ^ great P^** 
during Mughal days. Ashraf s view tha^ a M 
circumcised usually alt ^J^^ad and Daniyal were all 
documentary evxdence. 91 ^^' " 92 Akbar prohibited 
circumcised before they were five years old^ ^ ^ ^ 

this rite before the age of 12 and even ^ 


of ^ 

significant: "When so many axe a 

should marry. 




" 104 

Early marriages 

in vogue 

those days. 



of a Brahman general of the Peshwa who could not get his 
daughter married at the age of nine may well be imagined : "If 
the marriage is postponed to the next year," he wrote from the 
battlefield, "the bride would be as old as ten. Tt will be a 
veritable calamity and scandal." 107 

Abul Fazl also alludes to this custom when he writes : 
"It is held expedient that the bride should be under eight and 
any age over ten is thought improper." 108 The assertion of 
European travellers like Pelsaert, Mandelslo, Thevenot and 
others that the barbarians would marry off their children in 
teens may further corroborate it. 109 Gandharb Sen, the Raja of 
Sangaldip, according to Jayasi, made preparations for the 
marriage of his daughter at the age of two, 110 But Varadraja, 
a pupil of Bhattoji Dikshit, considered it an evil practice among 
the southerners to marry off a daughter before she had attained 
the age of four. 111 An enlightened king like Akbar was fully 
conscious of the dangers inherent in such early marriages and 
issued orders that the boys were not to marry before the age of 
sixteen, nor girls before fourteen. 112 It was the duty of the 
Kotwal to verify and note down the ages of the couple before 
giving his consent to the marriage. The remark of Badaoni 113 
that "in this way corruption became rife... large profit found 
their way into the pockets of the police officers" may be true 
but it was indeed a bold venture a,nd must have put some check. 
This order was neither rigorously enforced nor renewed by the 
later emperors. 114 It appears, however, from the accounts of 
the contemporary travellers that in many cases this early 
marriage, especially among the urban population, used to be 
a formal function as the actual cohabitation took place much 
later. 115 Ferishta 116 and Bartolorneo, 117 a later traveller, des- 
cribe it as a betrothal function. Ferishta writes : "Nehal, a 
farmer-girl, had been betrothed to a young man of her own 
caste in childhood agreeably to the custom of Hindustan." 
The girl would be brought up usually in her parents' home after 
the ceremony till ,the age of puberty when after great ceremony 
she would go back to her husband's home. 118 Manned, Purchas, 
Linschoten, besides many other contemporary travellers, corro- 
borate it. It is interesting to note, however, that the Mughal 
princes were married when fairly grown up. 119 


Intercaste marriages 

Intercast e marriages were cut of fashion. 120 In addition 
to the consideration of varna, the particular family to be related 
was thoroughly examined. The reason for this, as Abul Fazal 
asserts, was the desire for best progeny for which physically, 
mentally and morally fit matches were necessary, as the children 
inherit the good or bad qualities of their parents. 121 The 
curious reader may refer to the Ain for details regarding caste 
restrictions. 122 Careri 123 and Manucci 124 have also dealt with 
this topic at some length. The rules were, however, not rigidly 
edhered to as is evident from a perusal of the Duracaras by 
Varadaraja, a pupil of Bhattoji Diksita. 125 

Marriage among Muslims 

No such restrictions exist among Muslims. Barring a 
few close relations such as mother, grandmother, sister, niece, 
aunt, etc. they have complete freedom of choice. 126 But in 
spite of this, it is to be noted, marriages between Shias and 
Sunnis, Turks and Indians were very rare. 127 Mughals, too, 
maintained their distinction. Siadat Khan, a noble of Aurang- 
zeb's reign, refused to marry the daughter of a Shiah courtier, 
Ruhullah Khan. 128 

Marriages between near relations were common among 
Muhammadans. 129 Akbar, however, disliked this custom and 
thought it highly improper to get into a matrimonial alliance 
with near and dear ones. 130 Abul Fazl commends it in certain 
circumstances when it is to be regarded as a "slight evil for a 
great good." 131 Among Hindus it was thought improper for a 
younger brother or sister to marry so long as the elder was 
unmarried. 132 Some Maharashtrians, however, did indulge in 
it for practical convenience. 133 

Age of husband and wife 

Hindus followed Manu's edict that a bridegroom should be 
older than his bride. 134 There was no such restriction under 
Muhammadan law. Sometimes a young man attracted by the 
wealth of an old lady would marry her, disregarding the 
abnormal difference in age. 135 The evil spread so much that 
Akbar had to issue strict orders declaring such marriages 
illegal. He further l&id it down that if a woman happened tQ 


be older by 12 years than her husband, the marriage should be 
considered illegal and annulled. 136 It is to be noted, however, 
that neither any social custom nor any statutory law prevented 
an old man from marrying a girl of tender years. 

Widow marriages were not looked upon with favour in 
Hindu society. So the difference in age between husband and 
wife became enormous when an old widower had no other 
choice than either to marry a girl of tender years or not to 
marry at all. 137 

Number of wives 

Monogamy was the rule among the generality of the 
Hindus, 138 who "would take to a second wife only if the first 
wife is sick or proves barren or if the children die." 139 Saint 
Tukaram, whose first wife was afflicted with asthma, had to be 
married again. 140 Abul Fazl 141 and Badaoni, 142 besides several 
European travellers, 143 testify to it. Polygamy was, however, 
not unknown. Princes and the richer classes of men did indulge 
in it. For example, Bhavananda Majumdar of Bharat Chandra's 
Annandamangala had two wives. Nityananda, a disciple of 
Chaitanya, had two wives who were sisters. 143 * But, as Mukund- 
ram notes, public opinion did not look upon it with favour. 

In spite of the freedom granted by their religion to marry 
"whatever woman you like, three and three, four and four," 144 
the common Muhammadan, it appears, preferred to have one 
wife. 145 Akbar was in favour of monogamy and considered it 
highly injurious to a man's health to have more than one 
wife. 146 He issued orders that a man of ordinary means should 
not possess more than one wife unless the first proved to be 
barren. 147 The wealthy people kept several wives 148 and some- 
times even exceeded the prescribed limit of four fixed by the 
Prophet. 149 There were many discussions over this controver- 
sial issue in the Ibadat Khanna 150 and the final decision reached 
by the ulema was that a man might marry any number of wives 
by mutah but only four by nikah. 151 

Negotiations of marriages 

The selection of a match was left solely to the discretion of 
the parents. 152 The boy had a little say while the girl, with the 
exception of upper-clas Rajput virgins, had none ^t $ll 153 


Usually there were Purohitanis or female match-makers who 
knew of "all eligible parties and suitable matches" and could 
suggest many for selection. 154 Badaoni calls such persons 
qawwals. 1 -^ Chaitanya's marriage to Lakshmi Devi came 
through the mediation of the Brahman match-maker Banamali. 156 
Rarely would a mother-in-law in Hindu families express a wish 
to see the prospective bride. 157 People in general and Muslims 
in particular married on "reports, interest and respects/' 158 A 
liberal king like Akbar was of the opinion that the consent of 
the bride and the bridegroom and the permission of the parents 
should be essential before the confirmation of the marriage. 159 
He appointed two government officers, "sober and sensible men" 
called Tuibegs, to look into the circumstances of both parties. 160 
A tax ranging from one dam to ten mohrs, according to the 
status of the parties, was also charged by the government. 161 
Royal consent had to be obtained before a marraige amongst 
the children of the nobles could be arranged. As Khoja 
Barkhurdar, the eldest son of Nakshbandi, had been married 
to the daughter of Mahabat Khan without the king's know- 
ledge, the Emperor felt greatly offended, sent for the young 
man and had him thrown into prison. 162 It is interesting to 
note in this connection that the usual practice among the 
Mughal kings was not to marry off their daughters. Aurangzeb, 
however, gave it up probably under the influence of Muslim 
faqirs 1 ^ and got married two of his daughters Mihr-un-Nissa 
and Zubdat-ud-Nissa. 164 

Expensive weddings 

Marriage has always been an expensive affair in India, 165 
Hedges found Muslim weddings very magnificent and expen- 
sive. 166 Grose, a later 18th-century traveller, writes about 
the Indians' lavish expenditure on feasting, ornaments on their 
horses, processions, music, dancing girls, fireworks, etc. 167 A 
Hindu of ordinary means, according to Bocarro, a 17th-century 
traveller to Sind, would spend four or five thousand rupees on a 
marriage. 168 Grose saw some of the Bengali merchants spending 
about a lakh of rupees besides making innumerable presents. 169 
The total expenditure on Dara's marriage came to be about 
Rs. 32 lakhs out of which 1$ lakhs wa$ contributed by 



The marriage ceremony 

When both parties had agreed to enter into a matrimonial 
alliance the betrothal or tilak ceremony was celebrated. 171 An 
auspicious day was fixed for the marriage ceremony after con- 
sulting astrologers. 172 Humayun, when in exile and himself a 
great believer in astrology, took the astrolabe in his own hand, 
waited for the appointed time, summoned Mir Abul Baqa, one 
of his learned nobles and .relation of the bride Hamida Banu, 
and asked him to "bind fast the marriage bond." 173 Invitations 
were issued (by Hindus) on palm-leaves dyed with saffron to 
mark the jubilation and the solemnity of the auspicious 
occasion. 174 We shall now briefly survey the Hindu and 
Muslim rituals separately. 

Hindu marriage rituals 

(a) The Procession. It is difficult to give a comprehensive 
description of the marriage ceremonies among Hindus which 
differ from caste to caste, from tribe to tribe and from province 
to province. 175 But religious and social conservatism is so 
strong in India that the outlines of the Samskaras, as Abul Fazl 
notes, are observed in much the same manner everywhere as in 
Vedic times. Abul Fazl refers to eight forms of marriages 176 
recognised by the Smritis but the Brahmya form seems to have 
been the most in vogue. It was essential for the bride to put on 
bracelets of red colour. 178 Tulsi das refers to the ceremony of 
binding round the wrist of the bridegroom a piece of cloth 
containing minute particles of different things. It is taken off 
after the marriage on an auspicious day with due ceremonies. 179 
A " mandapa was set up in the bride's house. 180 Jayasi 181 and 
Manucci 182 give a description of the arbour which, as the latter 
says, "is essential for everybody from the king down to a 
shepherd." 183 It was decorated with wedding wreaths of flowers, 
and festoons of mango-leaves were hung before its doors. 
When the relatives and friends had gathered and necessary 
preparations for the marriage had been made, the richly clad 
bridegroom with a veil of gold net hanging down from his 
head, 184 seated on a gorgeously caprisoned and beautifully 
decorated horse and supported by a grown-up man seated be- 
hind him, started for the house of the bride. 185 His relatives 
and friends in thejr best attire either followed him on foot or 


in coaches according to their status. 186 Ladies, too, accom- 
panied the procession usually in palanquins. 187 Hindus would 
put on yellow clothes on such an auspicious occasion. 188 
Several European travellers have described the glamour of an 
Indian procession which was headed by a musical party with 
"drums and wind instruments and some mixed pastimes to 
increase the merriments." 189 Delia Valle was much attracted 
by these oddly clothed bandmen whose bodies above the 
gridle were all painted and who decorated themselves with 
bracelets and necklaces of gold, silver and flowers, the skirts or 
their multi-coloured turbans trailing behind them. 190 Torches, 
lamps and candles usually preceded a procession at night. 191 
As the procession moved on, it was usual to let off bombs and 
fireworks and "cast squibs and crackers into tha air." 192 On 
arriving at the destination, the party was heartily welcomed by 
the bride's people and accommodated in well-decorated and 
furnished rooms. 193 They were served with sumptuous meals 
according to the host's position. 194 While Malik Muhammad 
Jayasi 195 and Tulsidas 196 describe the meals served at a prince's 
wedding, Manucci 197 confines himself to those provided by a 
common man. 

(b) The Nuptials. After such preliminary ceremonies 198 
as presentation of garments for the bride, 199 etc., the principal 
marriage rituals commenced at a fixed hour in the booth where 
the pair had been brought and seated on a raised platform. 200 
A fairly comprehensive account of the marriage rituals may be 
found in the Padmavat^ Ram Charit Manas 202 and Sur Sagar.* 
The narrations of the European travellers, usually based on 
hearsay, are not reliable. 204 Of these rituals, which were long and 
tedious, the most important and widespread were the solemn 
handing over of the maiden by her father (kanyadand), the 
joining of the right hands of the bride and bridegroom (pani- 
grahand) respectively, the recitation of the Vedic formulae in- 
cluding speech by the bridegroom to the bride assenting to their 
union, the making of libations to the fire, and the threefold 
circumambulation of the fire, the seven steps taken together by 
the wedded pair and, finally the taking away of the bride to her 
new home by the bridegroom. 205 The bride and the bridegroom 
would also put garlands around each other's neck. 200 Manucci 207 
and Bartolomeo 208 refer to the Malabari custom of tying a little 


piece of gold called tali by the bridegroom around the neck 
of the bride. It was usual for all respectable persons present 
to touch the tali before it was passed on to the bridegroom. 210 
Jayasi refers to the practice of applying turmeric paste to the 
bodies of the bride and the bridegroom. It was removed after 
the conclusion of the marriage. 211 

It was a custom in Bengal and even in some other parts of 
India that the bride and the bridegroom played dice after the 
marriage had been celebrated. In Bengal, the game was usually 
played in a specially decorated apartment known as Basar 

(c) Gifts and Presents. Reference may be made here to 
another ceremony called tamol 212 in which presents were offered 
in cash, gold, clothes by bride's father to the bridegroom and 
some of his relatives at a joint meeting of the two parties. 213 
As a gesture of goodwill to his Hindu subjects Akbar is said to 
have ordained that the village officials should present two 
nariah' (coconuts), one on their own behalf and the other on 
behalf of the Mughal Emperor, to the parties. 214 The Bhat 
would stand up and exclaim : 

Akbar Shah Badshah de ghar da narial 

Raja Todar Mai Tanan de ghar da narial 

Misr Chhabildas Brahman de ghar da narial 
Kishne Mangle de ghar da narial 

Rain Ram Prithvipat Narule de ghar da 

Tulsidas refers to the interesting sport of mess of rice-milk 
indulged in during the marriage. 216 

(d) Simplified Nuptials. Sometimes the marriage was 
celebrated in a simpler way. The bride and the bridegroom, 
together with a priest, a cow and a calf, were taken to the 
waterside, the Brahman holding a white cloth 14 yards in length 

- - and a basket crossbound with diverse things in it. The bride- 

groom held the hand of the priest, the bride that of her husband 
and all held the cow by the tail. Water was poured on the 

/ ; cow's tail and they went round the cow and the calf which were 

\ handed over to the priest together with some money. 217 

1 ,5 

?', * Muslim weddings 

; 4 , Muslim weddings 218 have been described at some length 


by the European travellers Pelsaert, 219 Thevenot 220 and 
Manucci. 221 Scattered references to the marriages of the princes 
are also available in the Persian chronicles 222 of the period. The 
marriage celebrations which, according to Pelsaert, lasted from 
three to four days, began with the sending ofsachaq (four precious 
gifts usually along with the red dye) for the bride. 223 In 
Bengal, however, it is known as the halud (haldi or turmeric) 
ceremony when the turmeric is pasted on the body of the 
bride. 223 * Fruits and sweetmeats, arranged in beautiful trays, to- 
gether with some cash were also sent. 224 A sum of fifty thousand 
rupees was sent by Jahangir as sachaq on the marriage of 
Khurram to the daughter of Muzaffar Husain, 225 while a sum 
of Rs. 2 lakhs was spent on the sachaq of Dara Shukoh. 225 * 
The gifts would be carried to her house by a party of the 
bridegroom's friends, accompanied with music. 226 Ladies of the 
royal household, the mother, sisters and paternal aunts of the 
late Empress (Mumtaz Mahal) took sachaq worth about Rs. 
2 lakhs to the house of the bride on Dara's marriage. 227 The 
actual wedding celebrations came off after a few months when 
the hennabandi ceremony was performed with due rituals. 228 
The groom's hands, according to a custom, were dyed red with 
henna 22 * (Lawsoma alba) by ladies concealed behind the curtain. 
The hands of the guests were also stained with the auspicious 
henna. They returned after receiving suitable presents. 230 

The hands of the bridegroom were washed with rose-water 
after an hour when he would drink, according to Manucci, a 
glass of water in confirmation of the marriage. 231 The rest of 
the ceremonials in connection with the nikah were invariably 
performed by the Qazi~ Z2 or his deputy who would appoint 
two men of full ages as witnesses. 233 Then followed the usual 
cermonies, the formal consent of the bride to the match, the 
recitation by the bridegroom of the usual prayers, the Astagh- 
farul-lah^ the four Quls, the Kalma, the Sifat-i-Imam, and the 
Dua-i-qunut?^ etc. and the announcement of the mahr or 
marriage settlement, 236 which was of great importance. Hindal 
was not agreeable to the marriage of Hamida Banu to Humayun, 
as the latter, being in exile, was not in a position to fix a proper 
maash (subsistence allowance). Shahjahan fixed as allowance 
of the bride the same amount, i.e., Rs. 5 lakhs, which he 
had promised to Mumtaz. 238 A chapter from the Quran invoking 



God's blessings on the couple would conclude the marriage 
rituals. 289 

The huge expenditure on the occasion of the marriage 
celebrations in upper-class families has been frequently referred 
to by foreign travellers and contemporary chronicles. For 
example, on the marriage of Akram-ul-Daulah, brother of 
Siraj-ul-Daulah, the expenditure on scents, illumination and 
fireworks was 12 lakh rupees. 239 * The festivities continued for 
three months. 


Dowry system was rather rigorously observed in Mughal 
days. Several European travellers have referred to this 
custom 240 which was harsh to the poor 241 who found it difficult 
to get their daughters married on account of their inability to 
pay handsome dowries. 242 Sometimes a poor father could not 
afford to procure even a wedding outfit for his daughter. 243 
Tukaram could get his daughters married only through the 
contribution of the villagers. 244 Ballabhacharya was hesitant 
to let his daughter be engaged to Chaitanya as he was poor 
and not in a position to pay a handsome dowry 245 which might 
include, in a middle-class family, household articles of various 
kinds, utensils, clothes, gold or silver ornaments. 246 Huge 
dowries have been referred to by Jayasi, 247 Tulsidas, 248 and 
Surdas 249 in addition to several travellers. On the marriage of 
Salim, for instance, Raja Bhagwan Das, the father of the bride 
Man Bai, gave as dowry several strings of Persian, Arab, 
Turkish and Cutch horses together with one hundred elephants 
and many male and female slaves Abyssinian, Circassian and 
Indian besides all sorts of vessels of gold and other costly 
stuff. He offered to each of the amirs present Persian, Turkish 
and Arabian horses with gold saddles. 250 Sometimes whole 
villages were given as dowry. 251 Akbar was, no doubt, against 
high dowries/ 52 but the made no effort, it seems, to check this 
evil practice. It will be interesting to relate that Princess Zinat- 
un-Nisa, who loved a maiden's life, begged the amount of her 
dowry from her father and spent it in building a mosque at 
Delhi known as Kunwari 



Hindu funeral ceremonies 

Antyesti or the funeral ceremonies are of great importance 
to the Hindu to whom the value of the next world is higher 
than that of the present one. 254 Of the huge mass of 
prescriptions to be found in the published and unpublished 
texts or of the variations presented by the usage of different 
schools of worship and families we may enumerate the most 
important ones, 255 viz., Udakakarma, Asaucha, Asthi Sanchayana, 
Santikarma and Sapindikaran which are common to different 
parts of this sub-continent. 

Cremation 256 or burning of the dead body was the most 
recognised mode of the disposal of the corpse during the 
Mughal period. It was motivated, according to Terry 257 and 
Ovington, 258 by a desire to avoid the "corpse being devoured by 
worms and putrefaction." Abul Fazl enumerates certain classes 
to whom this privilege was denied. 259 In special circumstances, if 
wood and water were not available, Hindu law-givers allowed the 
corpse to be buried. 260 But in Assam 261 and Malabar 262 burial 
proper seems to have been quite common. Inhumation (burial 
proper), preferably water-burial, was, however, resorted to, 263 
as prescribed by the scriptures, 264 in the case of small children, 
usually under three, 265 and ascetics 266 who did not need purifi- 
cation. 267 

Last functions 

The rituals commenced, as related by Abul Fazl, from the 
moment a person was in articulo mortis when he would be lifted 
from the cot and carefully placed on the ground, 268 rubbed all 
over with cow-dung and strewn with green grass, 269 with the 
head pointing to the north and the feet to the south. 270 Abul 
Fazl wrongly reverses the position. 271 Holy Ganges water 272 
with a ruby, pearl or gold in it was poured into his mouth 
while sectarian marks were drawn on his forehead and a tulsi 
leaf (ocytnum sanctum) was placed on his breast. 273 The gift of 
a cowto act as his conductor over the stream marking the 
boundary of the other world 274 in addition to several sorts of 
edibles 275 is regarded as very auspicious for his further welfare. 
The omission of any reference by Abul Fazl and others to the 



burning of a diya by the side of the sick man is surprising. 276 
curious custom called Antarjali referred to by Careri, 277 Tave 
nier 278 and Delia Valle, 279 corroborating Abul Fazl, 280 was som 
times followed, particularly in Bengal. 281 A person in a dyii 
condition would be carried to a nearby river where the low 
half of his body 282 would be immersed in water at the mome 
of his death. 283 The usual Indian lamentation would folio 1 ' 
the females standing in a customary circle and beating the 
naked breasts and singing doleful songs. 284 Guru Nanak refe 
to the Indian custom of tearing the top of a letter when announ 
ing the death of a relative. 285 There would be no such lamei 
tation at the death of an aged person. Delia Valle, Petermund 
Ovington and Manucci have described in detail the great merr 
making and feasting which took place on such an occasion/ 
as he "hath so well performed his time and arrived to such 
good age." 287 

Cremation rites 

The preparations for the cremation started immediate: 
after death as, according to the Hindu belief, it was essenti 
for the salvation of the soul of the deceased that the corpi 
should be disposed of as early as possible. 288 After the usu; 
purificatory ceremonies like painting of nails, shaving of hair, 2 
etc. the body was given a cold bath (known as Abhisinchar, 
ceremony) and wrapped in a new sheet or suit, 290 the colour < 
which differed according to the age, sex, position and oth< 
circumstances. 291 The corpse of a married woman, according 1 
Abul Fazl, was dressed in her usual daily robes. 292 Sanda 
wood paste, white clay, jasmine-oil, mixed with saffron, esseru 
of roses, etc. were used for his or her last toilet, in accordarn 
with the deceased's means. 293 

The funeral procession which started for the crematio 
ground, usually situated near a river bank, 294 was headed by tl 
chief mourners ; the bier 295 (made of sandal- wood in the case < 
the rich) 296 shouldered by four persons followed it. 297 A music 
band, however, headed the funeral procession of an aged perse 
and conches were blown. 298 Relatives and friends followed t] 
corpse bareheaded and barefooted, crying "Ram Ram." 299 TJ 
carrying of the fire brand kindled from the domestic fire s 


did not escape the notice of an astute observer like Delia 
Valle. 301 

The kind of wood used, the size and the orientation of the 
pyres and the details relating to them are regulated by sacred 
texts and nothing is left to the whims of the mourners. 302 
Ordinary wood was used for the pyre of a commoner while 
sandal and lignum aloes was employed by the rich. 303 Ghee 
was put into the eyes, nostrils, ears, etc. of the deceased before 
it was set fire to by his nearest male relation the eldest son, or 
the youngest brother in the case of a female, and the husband 
in the case of a wife. 304 The mourners would now retire, 305 
leaving a few professional persons called Bettiao (Battyai) or 
burners who employed sticks, etc. to help the body to be burnt 
completely. 306 After the Udakakarma ceremony 307 which consist- 
ed in offering water to the deceased and purifactory bath, 308 
the relatives returned home chewing leaves of pichwnanda 
(Azadirechta indicd) or the neem tree before entering the door. 309 
The sons and grandsons of the deceased 310 and the widow, too, 
if she survived her husband, would get their heads shaved. 311 
The subjects would do likewise on the death of a kind ruler. 312 

Mourning observances 

Asaucha (uncleanliness) period varied from one to ten 
days 313 and even month 314 according to caste, age, sex, relation- 
ship and also circumstances and usages of different schools. 315 
John Nieuhof describes in detail the mourning observances as 
followed in Malabar on the death of a king. 316 The generality 
of the Hindus, it appears, followed the prescribed rules which 
forbid certain things during this period of defilement such as 
the cutting of the hair and beard, study of the Ve das, offerings 
to deities, etc. 317 The positive rules, which enjoin for a period 
of three days continence, sleeping on the ground, living on 
begged or purchased food, eating only in the daytime, were also 
observed. 318 All the earthen vessels in the house were broken 
and thrown away. Gaudy dresses were avoided and the 
women covered their heads with white dopattas as a sign of 
mourning. 319 Various charitable acts, such as freeing oxen 
purchased from the market, the bestowing of milch cows and 
heifers on the poor, etc., were also performed. 320 

Sanchayana or the ceremony of collection of bones and 


ashes would take place with due rites, after an interval varying 
from four to ten days according to different castes. 321 The 
bones would be washed in milk, 322 deposited in an urn or a bag 
of deer-skin, 323 and thrown into a river 324 preferably in the 
Ganges. 325 It was the practice to make daily an offering usually 
of rice cooked in milk to the deceased 326 from the cremation 
day till the 10th or 12th day when the food ceremony of 
Pitramedha^ 1 (Sapindikaran or uniting the Preta with the 
Pitaras) would be usually performed. Then the soul of the 
deceased is said to have reached its heavenly abode. Manucci 
refers to the custom of offering a petticoat to the widow by 
each of the relatives and some cash, ornaments, and clothes by 
brothers on the 13th day when the period of mourning ended. 328 
Shraddha^ which Abul Fazl describes as the charity given in 
the name of the deceased, was observed usually on the death 
anniversary. 330 Jahangir also refers to this practice which was 
according to the Emperor one of the standing rules and customs 
in Hindustan. 331 Its significance and mode of performance have 
been described at some length in the Am?** Four or five 
Brahmans would be properly fed and money and dresses and 
gifts in kind would be bestowed on them in the name of the 
deceased. 333 Tukaram would not forgo this solemn ceremony 
even though there was not a penny at home. 334 It was thought 
more efficacious 335 if the ceremony could be performed at a 

Muhammadan funeral ceremonies 

Funeral ceremonies of the Muslims vary little in different 
parts of the Muslim world and are almost similar for men and 
women. 336 Most of the rituals are based on the traditions of 
the Prophet but two customs the wailing of women and the 
recital of the praises of the dead are observed in direct defiance 
to his commands. 337 No detailed account of the rituals is 
traceable in the contemporary works of the period. It is 
certain, however, from the few and scattered references to be 
found here and there in the accounts of foreign travellers that 
these ceremonies must have been observed in much the same 
manner as they are today. The curious reader may refer to 
the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (Vol. IV, pp. 501 ff.) 
for details. 



Muslims are great believers in fal 

practice. The Quran of the ^ * mang 

consulted for the purpose. Dunn g the last U es oi 8 

Mohammad Akhlas took out the/*/ ^** The Yasin 

which ^^ MO ^ 1 5'^t^by ^e sick- 
chapter of the Quran (or ChapJJ : XXXVI) * J^ ^^ 
bed of the dying person and his lace is usu 3 
qibla (direction of Mecca).- 9 Sharbat or holy J^e rl 
LmzL well at Mecca, if available, may^ be poured dow 

throat to "facilitate exit of vital spark. 
Manner of announcing great man's death 

blue handkerchief tied around his 
announced to Akbar in this manner. 


aloud as ordinary people do Uvi g ; f decom position by 
skill of Indians in preservmg a corpse fro md ^ P Hke 
of some words and nc of the 

ptof es sional washer, *,, baffle ttem, it wa, 


through an opening in the wall. 

The bier 





by four from the near relatives, every now and then relieved 
an equal number. 352 Akbar escorted the body of Maham An; 
for some distance. 353 Hamid-ud-din Khan Bahadur, Govern 
of Ahmadnagar, carried the body of Aurangzeb on 
shoulders to the outside of the Diwan-i-Adalat*^ and tl 
followed the bier on foot, pulling out his hair in grief. 355 
nobleman's bier, covered with flowers and heavily perfumed 
was carried with befitting honour and dignity. The decease 
insignia of rank, flags, elephants, cavalry, etc. accompan: 
it. 357 Relatives and friends following the bier of a male 
deceased would go on repeating the creed or the benediction. 3 
But no such prayers were uttered in the case of fema 
who, as Manucci writes, "have no entry into heaven" accordi 
to Muhammadan belief. 360 People showed great respect to 1 
dead in deference to the wishes of the Prophet. 361 The passers- 
stood up in reverence to the right of a bier and said prayers J 
the soul of the deceased. 362 The main funeral service to 
e in the mosque where prayers were recited by an Imam a 
his attendant high, 863 the bier lying on the ground with t 
deceased's right side towards Mecca. 364 

Internment rites 

The body was gently lifted out of the bier and placed wi 
its back in the deeply dug grave, 565 its head pointing to tl 
north, and its face kept towards Mecca in the belief that 1 
might arise, as Sir John Marshall writes, on the Day of Jud 
ment "with his face towards that holy place." 366 A lit 
earth was sprinkled, chapter CXII or XX of the Qur< 
recited and the grave was closed. Then the fiqih or t] 
theologian would repeat the five correct answers 367 to 1 
given by the deceased to the examining angels on that nig 
(Lailat al wagha night of desolation) and, after saying 
fatihe for the deceased and also for all the dead in the cemete 
twice, 368 all returned home, took a bath and washed th< 
clothes. 369 

Period f mourning 

Mourning was observed for forty days according 
70 ft was Quaternary with the Mughal kings to press: 


mourning dresses to the heirs on the death of a noble. 371 
Dainty dishes and gaudy dresses were avoided during this 
period. 372 Jahangir refused to change his dress for some days 
on the death of Qutb-ud-Din Koka's mother whom the 
Emperor regarded as his own mother. 373 Shahjahan, too, gave 
up the use of coloured garments on the death of Mumtaz 
Mahal. 374 He would not listen to music and even abandoned 
the customary feasts. 375 Prince Azam Khan, although he was 
greatly fond of music and dance, gave up both the entertain- 
ments on the death of his beloved wife Jahanzeb Banu Begam. 376 
On hearing of Shahjahan's death, Aurangzeb and the princes 
royal and the ladies of the harem put on white clothes. 377 The \, K U> 
Hindu custom of getting oneself shaved after the death of a * 
dear one seems to have been followed by Muhammadans also. 378 
It was customary for a widow belonging to a high-class family to 
cover her palanquin with green cloth as a sign of mourning for 
her deceased husband. 379 The relatives would visit the grave 
on the third, 10th and 19th day after death to perform certain 
rites. 380 It was usual to read certain chapters from the Quran 
and recite the fatihe on these occasions. 381 Badaoni particularly 
refers to the ceremonies on the third day or Ziarat when sharbat, 
betel-leaves, and food were distributed. 382 The mourning ended 
on 40th day when the relatives visited the grave and distributed 
food, clothes, and money to the poor and the needy in the name 
of the deceased, 383 

Anniversaries of death 

The death anniversary was observed in a befitting 
manner. 384 Jahangir also refers to this custom which the 
Muslims borrowed from the Hindus, 385 Food was prepared 
according to the survivors' means and distributed among the 
poor after reciting the fatihe?** It is interesting to recall how 
one Naith recipient disliked the food distributed in memory of 
Nawab Shahid and remarked that had the Nawab been alive he 
would not have relished it. 387 The rich would illuminate th e 
tombs of their ancestors, 388 while the common people set lamps 
at the former or at the house of the deceased. 389 It was custo- 
mary to hold assemblies of respectable and learned men on these 
occasions. 390 The tombs of the saints built through the generosity 
of the rich 391 were places of reverence, where maulavis were 



employed by philanthropists to recite the Quran by the side oi 
the grave. 392 Devotees, especially women, visited these tombs 
frequently 393 and soon they became notorious as centres oi 
immorality. 394 Aurangzeb, like Firoze Tughlaq, 395 a little earlier, 
was opposed to the visit of women to the cemeteries. 396 The 
orthodox Emperor did not even like roofs being set up over 
structures containing tombs and the white-washing oi 
sepulchres. 397 



Garbhadhana (the ceremony of impregnation or conception) 
performed on the fourth day of the marriage and Pum- 
savana (a rite quickening a male child) celebrated in th( 
third month of gestation and before the period of quicken- 
ing deserve mention. R.B. Pandey, Hindu Samskaras 
pp. 79-104 ; P. Thomas, Hindu Religion, Customs one 
Manners, p. 87. Also see G.P. Majumdar, Some Aspect 
of Indian Civilization, p. 301. 

For details of these observances refer to R.B. Pandey, op, 
cit., pp. 79-480 ; P. Thomas, op. cit., pp. 87-96 ; G.P 
Majumdar, op. cit., pp. 295-408 ; Abbe J.A. Dubois 
Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies (Oxford, 1897) 
pp. 155-72 ; James Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religioi 
and Ethics, Vol.11, pp. 650-51 ; Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson 
The Rites of the Twice Born, Ch. I, pp. 1-26 ; W. Crookes 
The Natives of Northern India, pp. 1 94-203 ; and fo] 
"Hindu Observances in the Punjab" see H.A. Rose'j 
article in the Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute 
of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. XXXVII (1907) 
pp. 220-36. For "Some Beliefs and Customs relating tc 
Birth among Santals" by WJ. Culshaw refer to J.R A.S.B 
Letters Vol. VII, 1941, pp. 115-27. For the ceremony o: 
the sacred thread in the Punjab, see Indian Antiquary 
Vol. XXXI (1902), p. 216. 

3. The rest of the ceremonies performed after birth are Siman 
tonnayana known as Simanta (hair-splitting) in Soutl 
India performed on the woman when she bears her firs 
child, Niskramana (first outing) performed in the third o; 
fourth month of a body's birth^ and Annaprasana (solic 


food giving ceremony) performed in the sixth month are 
observed by the orthodox only. R.B. Pandey, op. cit. 9 
pp. 105-15, 146-50, and 151-57 respectively. Also see 
Birth, Childhood and Puberty Ceremonies among the 
Birhors, pp. 214-31, Bihar and Or issa Research Society 
Journal, Vol. IV, 1918. 

4. The rites relating to marriage are Vaghana (pre-nuptial), 
Vivaha (nuptial) and daily life (post-nuptial) while those 
relating to death are Antarjali (pre-obituary), Antyesti 
(Obituary) and Shraddha (post-obituary). For details the 
reader may refer to G.P. Majumdar, op. cit., pp. 367-408 
and R.B. Pandey, op, cit., pp. 407-80. 

5. Bartolomeo (pp. 253-60) describes some of the ceremonies 
observed in Malabar in the 18th century. 

6. "A Few Literary Glimpses of Social and Religious Life in 
Medieval Bengal," Indian Culture, Vol. X, No. 3, Jan- 
March, 1944. 

7. For Tulsi's description of birthday ceremonies refer to 
F.S. Growse, The Ramayana of Tulsidas (Allahabad, 1883), 
pp. 97-98 ; also see Sur Sagar, published by Kashi 
Nagari Pracharini Sabha (Prayag, 1916), Vol. I, p. 263 ; 
B.P, Tiratha, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, pp. 271-72 ; 
Padmavat (Urdu), p. 25. 

8. Am, III, p. 317. 

9. Chaitanyabhagavata, 1, 3, 17, quoted in Indian Culture, 
Vol. X, No. 3, p. 99 ; Sur Sagar, op. cit., I, p. 263. 

10. The Ramayana of Tulsidas (English translation) A.G. 
Atkins, Vol. I, p. 246. The Nandimukh Shraddha is a com- 
memorative offering to the Manes preliminary to any 
joyous occasion such as initiation, marriage, etc. in which 
nine balls of meat are offered to the deceased father, 
grandfather, great grandfather, to the maternal grand- 
father and to the mother, paternal grandmother and 
paternal great grandmother. Growse, op. cit., p. 97, f.n. 1 ; 
Pandey, op. cit., p. 123. 

11. Growse, op. cit., p. 97. 

12. Sur Sagar, op. cit., I, p. 263. 

13. Ain, III, p. 317. 

14. Guru Nanak's horoscope was prepared by Hardial. 
Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, Vol. I, p. 1. For Chaitanya 



refer to J.N. Sarkar, Chaitanya' s Life and Teaching, 
p. 20 ; Padmavat (Urdu), p. 36, Sur Sagar, op. tit., Vol. : 
.p. 290. 

15. Ovington, A Voyage to Sur at (ed. H.S. Rawlinson), 192! 
p. 197 ; Gauda-Lekhamala, I, 6, 38, quoted in "Socii 
and Religious Life in Medieval Bengal," Indian Cultur< 
Vol. X, No. 3, Jan-March, 1944 ; Sarkar, Chaitanyd 
Life and Teachings, p. 20 ; Bartolomeo (pp. 258-5$ 
describes the rites performed in Malabar inthelSt 
century. Also see B.P. Tiratha, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhi 
pp. 271-75. 

16. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 282 ; Ain, II 
p. 317 ; Growse, op. eft., p. 99. According to Ovingto 
(p. 197), this ceremony may be performed after ten days 
The naming ceremony may be performed from the tent 
up to the first day of the second year. Pandey, op. eft 
p. 142. 

17. During this period, the house was regarded as unclean 


Macauliffe, op. cit., I, p. 242. 

Fryer (old), p. 94. According to the traveller, the child i 
named without much ceremony. 

19. Sur Sagar, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 290. Also see A.G. Atkins 
The Ramayana of Tulsidas, trans., Vol. I, p. 251. 

20. For details refer to B.P. Tiratha, Sri Chaitanya Maha 

21. Padmavat (Urdu), p. 25. 

22. Sur Sagar, op. cit. 9 Vol. I, pp. 274-75. 

23. Ibid. 

24. Pandey, op. cit.,pp. 151-57, 

25. Sur Sagar, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 291. 

26. Ibid., p. 291. 

27. Alberuni refers to the hair-cutting ceremony in these 
words : "The ceremony on the occasion of the firsl 
cutting of the hair is offered in the third, the perforation 
of the ear takes place in the 7th and 8th year." Alberuni. 
II, (Sachan) p. 157. De Laet, p. 80. Also see Pandey, 
op. cit., p. 162 ; Growse, op. cit., p. 102 ; Sanyal, Shre'e 
Krishna Chaitanya, Vol. I, p. 304 ; P. Thomas, op. cit., 
p. 89 ; G.P. Majumdar, op. cit., pp. 335-37, 


28. IndianCulture, Vol. X, No. 3 9 p. 98. Compare Pandey 
op. cit., pp. 173-74. 

29. Sur Sagar, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 321. Also see Sanyal, op. eft., 
p. 304 ; Growse, op. cit., p. 102. 

30. Sur Sagar, op. eft., Vol. I, p. 321. 

31. R and B, I, p. 357. For details see Macauliffe, I, pp. 16- 

32. S.N. Sen, Travels of Thevenot and Careri, p. 385 and 
pp. 4, 15. Asiatick Researches, V, pp. 16-17. On the 
Janeo ceremony of Guru Nanak, the priest explained : 
"Before this ceremony and the investiture of the sacred 
thread, a boy of any of the three higher castes is not 
recognised as belonging to his proper caste but a Sudra." 
Macauliffe, op. cit., I, p. 17. Also see P. Thomas, op. dt. 9 
p. 90 ; Pandey, op. cit.,, p. 49. 

33. Careri (Sen, op. cit., p. 259) raises the age to nine or even 
ten years. Guru Nanak was invested with the sacred 
thread at the age of nine years. Macauliffe, op. cit., p. 16. 
Padmavati was sent to school at the age of five. Padmavat 
(Urdu), p. 25. This ceremony varies for different castes 
and for different purposes, but usually takes place between 
the age of seven and ten, but may be postponed till the age 
of 1 6 in the case of a Brahman, 22 in the case of a 
Kshatriya and 24 for a Vaisya in special circumstances. 
Pandey, op. cit., pp. 198-204 ; P. Thomas, op. cit., p. 90 ; 
Majumdar, op. cit., pp. 345-47. 

34. R and B, I, p. 357. 

35. "The girdle of a Brahman was made of munja grass, that 
of a Kshatriya of a bow-string and that of a Vaisya of 
wool." Pandey, op. cit., p. 224 ; Dubois, op. cit., Vol. I, 
p. 167. 

36. Guru Nanak refers to it. Macauliffe, op. cit., I, p. 17 ; 
Careri (Sen, op. cit.), p. 259 ; Pyrard, I, pp. 372-73. 
Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 392. Brahman 
should have a girdle of munja grass, Kshatriya of kusa 
grass and Vaisya of urna-sutra, avlsutra, hemper of murva 
fibres. Majumdar, op. cit., p. 346. 

37. R. and B., I, p. 357 ; Ain, III, p. 274 ; Pandey, op. cit., 
p. 224 ; J. A. Dubois, op. cit., Vol I, p. 167. Guru 


\ P. 29. 


Nanak refers to the ceremony of killing and cooki 
goat on such an occasion. MacaulifFe, op. cit., I, p. 1 

38. The scriptures provide that cotton cords should be \ 
by the Brahmans, woollen by the Kshatriyas and line 
the Vaisyas. Pandey, op. cit., p. 225. 

39. About one pice of Indian money. Macauliffe, op.cii 
p. 16. 

40. Delia Valle, I, pp. 88-89 and f.n. 3, p. 88 ; Jah; 
(R and B, I, p. 357) wrongly says that it was hung on 
right shoulder. For other contemporary reference! 
Ain, III, pp. 128, 272-73 ; Purchas' India, p. 112 ; C 
(Sen, op. cit.), p. 259 ; Herbert's Travels, p. 46. Wl 
person decided to take up the life of a casteless horn 
Sannyasi he would destroy his sacred thread an< 
tuft of hair on the crest of his head. Sarkar, Chaitc 

41. Ain, III, pp. 272-73. 

42. Pandey, op. cit., p. 226 ; Sinclair Stevenson, op. eft., p 
J.A. Dubois, op. cit., I, pp. 165-88 ; Indian Antiq 
Vol. XXXI (1902), p. 216. 

43. Careri (Sen, op. cit.) p. 260 : Thomas, op. cit., j 
According to one authority, the triple cord symbolize! 
body, speech and mind and a person has got control 
these when the knots are tied. Dubois, op. cit., I, p. 
Also see Majumdar, op. cit., pp. 346-47. 

44. For its symbolism and significance see Pandey, op. 
p. 226. 

45. Growse, op. cit., p. 102 ; Padmavat (Urdu), p. 25. 
details refer to P.N. Chopra, Society and Culture d 
the Mughal Age, p. 120. Also see R.C. Majun 
History of Bengal, Vol. I, pp. 599-600. 

46. Sur Sagar, op. cit., II, pp. 1317-18. 

47. Phillips, An Account of the Religion, Manners and Lea 
of the People of Malabar, pp. 67-69. 

48. Ibid. ; Pandey, op. cit., pp. 187-260. Isan Nagan 
author of the Advaitaprakasa, composed in A.D. 
describes in detail the initiation ceremony of the ( 
son of Advaita Acharya at Santipura. Indian Cu 
Vol. X, -No. 3 (Jan,-March 1944). There is a 


reference to this ceremony in Chaitanya Bhagavata 
(i, 5, 27). 

49. Pandey, op. tit., pp. 249-60 and R.C. Majumdar, History 
of Bengal, Vol. I, p. 600. 

50. Storia, III, p. 150 ; Herklots' Islam in India, p. 17. Bur- 
han's Tuzuk-i-Walajahi, English translation by Muham- 
mad Husayn Nainar. pt. I, p. 19. For Hindus see Indian 
Culture, Vol. X, No. 3, Jan.-March, 1944, pp. 92, 99. 
"The Maratha Poet-Saint Dasopant Digamber"' by Justin 
E. Abbot in Journal of American Oriental Society, Vol. 42, 
pp. 267-68. 

51. Herclots' Mam in India, pp. 17-18. 

52. A.N., II, pp. 350-51, 1 tr., II, pp. 510-11 ; T.A., II, pp. 358, 
' 361. 

53. Gulbadan, Humayunnama, p. 9. 

54. Storia, II, p. 343. A.N., II, pp. 345-48 ; Tr., II, pp. 504-8. 
There were festivities for seven days on the birth of 
Jahangir. T.A., II, (trans.), p. 358. A beautiful painting 
in "A Catalogue of the- Indian Miniatures" by Sir Thomas 
W. Arnold revised and edited by J.V.S. Wilkinson, Vol. 
II, Plate No. 21 shows "Akbar rejoicing at the birth of 
Salim." Plates Nos. 22 and 23 show "Akbar receiving 
congratulations on the birth of Murad." Also see Plates 
III- VI of "A Catalogue of Indian Collections" Part VI, 
Mughal Painting. 

55. Storia, III, p. 150. For beautiful paintings depicting the 
birth of a prince see plates III- VI of Catalogue of Indian 
Collections in Boston Museum, Part VI by K. Coomara- 

56. Aqiqah literally means "the hair of the new-born" but the 
term has been applied by Metonymy to the shaving 
sacrifice usually observed on the seventh day. Two goats 
for a boy and one goat for a girl are sacrificed on this day. 
Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 50 ; Hastings' Encyclo- 
paedia, II, p. 659 ; Herklots' Islam in India, p. 38 ; 
Mrs. Meer Hassan Ali's Mussulmauns of India, Vol. II, 
p. 9. 

57. For various observances on this day see Hughes' Dictionary 
of Mam, p. 51 ; Hastings, op. cit., II, p. 659 ; Herklots' 
Islam in India, pp. 21-23 ; also see H.A. Rose's article on 



"Muhamroadan Birth Observances in the Punjat 
pp. 237-60 mJ.R.A.L 9 Vol. XXXVII, 1907. 

58. Lit. "pronouncing the name of God/' i.e., to recite t 
inscription which occurs at the commencement of t 
Quran "Bismillah-ir-rahman-ir-rahirn" : In the nai 
of God the Merciful, the Gracious. Crookes' Islam 
India, pp. 43-44. 

59. Arabic Khitan or Khatna. Usually the operation is pe 
formed between the ages of seven or ten years, but it 
lawful to circumcise a child seven days after the birt 
Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 51. Hastings' Encycl 
paedia, op. tit., II, 660 ; III, p. 659. Herklots' Islam 
India, p. 48 ; Mrs. Meer Hassan Ali's Mussulmauns . 
India, Vol. II, p. 12. Also see G.B. Frazer, The Mag 
Art, I, p. 96. The authenticity of a tradition allowii 
circumcision has been disputed. For information on th 
topic see Punjab Notes and Queries, Vol. I, p. 86 ; E.R.I: 
II, p. 223 ; Vol. HI, pp. 667 ff ; Bray Deny's The Li. 
History of a Brahui and A Glossary of the Tribes ai 
Castes of the Punjab and N. W.F.P., Vol. I, pp. 778 ff ; II 
p. 228. Also J.R.A.I., Vol. XXXVII, p. 255. Accordir 
to Muhammad Shah-dullah, the custom of circumcisio 
prevailed among the Dravidians. He quotes passages froi 
Kamasutra and Vatsyayana in support of his theon 
J.A.S.B., New Series, Vol. XVII, 1921, pp. 237-60. 

60. For various customs borrowed from the Hindus se 
Herklots' Islam in India, Chapters IHX. Also J.R A I 
Vol. XXXVII (1907), pp. 237-60. 

61. Maasir, p. 169. 

62. For the various modes of cord-cutting followed in Indig 
see Herklots' Islam in India, pp. 22-23. 

63. Storia, II, p. 346. 

64. Ibid. Also notice Akbar's instructions to convey Prino 
Danial to Amber when he was a month old. A.N. 9 I1 
p. 345 ; Tr., II, p. 505. 

65. A.N., I, p. 43 ; Tr. 5 I f p. 129. This custom was perhap: 
borrowed from the Hindus. 

66. Jafcangir relates this custom. Tuzuk (Lowe), pp. 16,28. 

67. Mirat-i-Sikandri (trans.), p. 121. 

68. For Akbar's horoscope see A.N., I, pp. 27-28, 43 and 


232-33; and Tr., I, pp. 36, 129 and 464 ; and A.N., II, 
p. 347 ; Tr., II, p. 507 ; T.A., II, p. 505. For Jahangir's 
horoscope A.N., II, p. 347 ; Tr., II, p. 507. For a paint- 
ing showing astrologers casting the horoscope of a prince 
on his birth, see A Catalogue of Indian Collections, pt. VI, 
Mughal Painting by A.K. Coomaraswamy, Museum of 
Fine Arts, Boston, Cambridge, 1930, Plates III-VI. For 
Murad's horoscope A.N., II, p. 356 ; Tr., II, p. 515. 

69. A.N., II, p. 345 ; Tr., II, p. 505. 

69.* Rahim, M.A., Social and Cultural History of Bengal, 
pp. 280-81. 

70. Sometimes it is observed on that day. Herklots' Islam in 
India, p. 26 ; Hughes' Dictionary, p. 51 ; Hastings, 0p. cit., 
II. p. 659. 

71. Storia, II, p. 343. Immediately after her birth Jahanara 
was presented with due ceremonies to Jahangir to receive 
name. G. Yazdani, ''Jahanara," Journal of Punjab 
Historical Society, Vol. X, p. 1. 

72. Smith, Akbar, p. 18 f. Later on he was renamed Jalal- 
ud-din Akbar. Nizamuddin, however, mentions the name 
of Jalal ud-din given to Akbar just after his birth. T.A., II 
(trans.), p. 92. 

72 .* John Marshall in India, p. 405. Also see Rahim, M.A., 

Social and Cultural History of Bengal. 
72+Ain, II (Urdu Trans.), p. 290 quoted in Burhan, March 


73. Storia, II, p. 346 ; Ain 9 I, p. 267 ; E. & D., V, p. 307. 

74. Ain, I, pp. 266-67 ; Badaoni, II, p. 84 ; Tr., II, p. 83 ; 
Thevenot, Chapt. xxvi, p. 47 ; De Laet, pp. 101-2 ; 
Mandelslo, p. 42. For details see Early Travels, p. 119 ; 
Roe's Embassy, pp. 378-80 (1926 edition) ; Delia Valle, 
p. 459 ; Manrique, pp. 200-4 ; Mandelslo, p. 42 Tavernier, 
p. 122 ; Storia, II, p. 348 ; Bernier, p. 272 ; Thevenot, 
xxvi, p. 47 ; Qanun-i-Humayiin, p. 76 ; Ain, I (1873), 
pp. 266-67 ; R and B, I, pp. 78, 115, 160 ; Padshahnama, 
I, p. 243 ; M.A., p. 51. 

75. See a beautiful painting (Plate No. 33) showing "Akbar 
being weighed" in & Catalogue of the Indian Miniatures, 
by Sir Thomas W. Arnold revised and edited by J.V.S. 
Wilkinson, Vol. II. * 


76. Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, III, pp. 85-86. 

77. Ain, I, p. 267 f.n. ; R & B, I, p. 115 ; Sharma's Biblio- 
graphy, p. 19. 

78. For various rites observed on this day, see Crookes' Islam 
in India, pp. 36-37 ; J.R.A.I. (1907), Vol. XXXVI, p. 244. 

79. Storia, III, p. 150. 

80. Ibid. 

81. Herklots' Islam in India, p. 36. 

82. Ibid. 

83. Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 51 ; Hastings' E.R.E., Vol. 
A,, II, p. 659 ; Herklots' Islam in India, p. 38. In South India 

and Punjab it is observed on the sixth day or put off to 

^ some other convenient date. Herklots* Islam in India, 

V p. 38 ; J.R.A.I., op. cit., p. 244. 

"V s 84. Azad, Darbar-i-Akbari (Urdu), pp. 7-8. 

^ 85. A.N., I, p. 194 ; Tr., I, 397. 

^ ^ 86. Azad, op. cit., p. 8. 

87. Hughes, Dictionary, p. 51 ; Herklots' Islam in India, p. 44. 
Xs ^ 88. For Jahangir see A.N. (Bev.), Ill, pp. 105-6 \T.A. 9 II, 

pp. 423-24 ; E. and D., V, p. 370 ; Badaoni (Lowe), II, 

p. 173. 

89. Travels in India in the 17 th Century (p. 281) refers to the 
observance of this custom. According to Sir Saiyid all 
the Mughal Emperors up to the time of Humayun had 
been actually circumcised. Akbar, owing to the adverse 
circumstances of his father, when he was born, could not 
be circumcised. Later on, he was far advanced in age for 
that ceremony. (Refer to Latif, Agra : Historical and 
Descriptive, Calcutta, 1896, p. 205, f.n.) Both Abul Fazl 
and Nizam-ud-din, however, refute this assertion. 

90. Jahangir was circumcised at Fatehpur in 1573 A.D. There 
were great festivities and all the nobles, sayyids and shaikhs 
were Invited. T.A., II (trans.), p. 422 ; Travels in India in 
the 17th Century, p. 281. Akbar's age at that time was 
three years and some months. Gulbadan writes five years, 
M.A. andMirat-i-Jcthan-Numa and Tazkirat-us-Salatin-i- 
Chaghtai, two years and ten months ; S.K. Banerji, 
Humayun Badshah, II, p. 152, f.n. i. 

91. Ashraf, Life and Condition of the People of Hindustan, 
p. 249. 


92. A.N. (Bev.), HI, pp. 102-3 ; T.A. in E. & D, V, p. 370 ; 
Badaoni (Lowe), II, p. 173 ; Roe (ed. Foster), p. 313 ; 
Coryat and Salbancke (Letters Received by East India 
Company, VI, pp. 183-85) wrongly assert that Jahangir 
was never circumcised. According to Salbancke (Ibid.) 
and Sir Roe (ed. Foster, p. 312), the term Mughal meant 
circumcised. For circumcision ceremony of the sons of 
Nizam-ul-Mulk of Deccan refer to Hadiqatul Alam by 
Mir AbuTurab, Vol. II, Haiderabad, p. 71. 

93. Ain 9 I, (1873), p. 207. 

94. Fryer (old edition), p. 94. 

95. Storia, If, p. 221. 

96. Pandey, op. cit., p. 261 ; Dubois, I, p. 208 ; Altekar, 
Position of Women, p. 37. 

97. Even the marriage ceremonies have found expression in 
the Rig-veda and the Atharv-veda. Pandey, op. cit., pp. 261, 

98. Storia, III, p. 54 ; Herbert's Travels, p. 31. 

99. Orme's Fragments (1805), p. 408; T. V. Mahalingam, 
Social Life under Vijyanagar, University of Madras, 1940. 

100. Usually Brahman priests. Hedges' Diary, II, p. cccxiv ; 
Stavorinus, I, p. 433. 

101. M.G. Orr, A Sixteenth Century Indian Mystic Dadu and 
His Followers, p, 37. 

102. Herklots' Islam in India, p. 56. 

103. Ibid. 

104. A.N., III (Bev.), p. 677. 

105. For deterioration of Hindu society during medieval times 
refer to Altekar, Position of Women in India, pp. 68-73 ; 
Grose, I, p. 194 ; First Englishmen in India, p. 102. 

106. P.N. Chopra, Society and Culture during the Mughal Age 9 
p. 111. 

107. Quoted in Altekar's Position of Women, p. 73. 

108. Chopra, op. cit., p. 112. 

109. Ralph Fitch, First Englishmen in India, p. 102 ; Herbert's 
Travels, p. 38 ; Terry, Early Travels, p. 221 : Pelsaert, 
Jahangir } s India, p. 84 ; Thevenot, Chapt. XLVIII, p. 83 ; 
Linschoten, I, p. 249 ; Mandelslo, p. 51 ; Grose, A 
Voyage to the East Indies, I, pp. 193-94 ; Phillips' Account 
of Malabar, op. cit., p. 103 ; Tavernier, II, p. 197. Also 


see Altekar's Position of Women, p. 68 ; T.V. Mahaiingam, 
Vijayanagar Administration, p. 257 ; Majumdar, History 
of Bengal, Vol. I, p. 602. 

110. Padmavat (Urdu), p. 96. 

111. Bhartiya Vidya, Feb. 1945, Vol. VI, No. 2 (New Series), 
p. 23. 

112. The Emperor was of the opinion that off-spring of such 
early marriages was weakling. Ain, I, (1873), pp. 195, 
203 ; Azad, Darbar4~Akbari, pp. 79-80. 

113. Badaoni, II, p. 391-92 ; Tr., II, p. 404-6. 

114. Jahangir was no doubt of the view that the marriage 
should not take place before the age of 12. But he did 
not enforce it. A.N., III, pp. 381-84; Tr., Ill, pp. 561- 

115. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 185 ; Linschoten 
(I, Hak. Soc., p. 249), writes : "When the woman is seven 
years old and the man nine years, they do marry, but they 
come not together before the woman be strong enough to 
bear children." Storia, III, p. 65 ; First Englishmen in 
India, p. 101. 

116. Ferishta (Briggs), II, p. 380. 

117. Bartolomeo, p. 275. 

118. Storia, III, p. 65 ; Bartolomeo (p. 275) writes: "Bride- 
groom after the betrothal returns home and the kanya is 
left at her own house, for the consummation does not 
actually take place till the bride has had her monthly 
purifications...." Even Altekar observes that post-puberty 
marriages continued as local custom and in some of the 
areas that continued to be under the influence of the old 
pre-Aryan culture, for example in Malabar. Altekar, op. 
cit., p. 69. 

119. Khurram was 17 years old when his marriage to the 
daughter of MuzafFar Husain Mirza was celebrated in 
1610. His second marriage with Arjumand Banu came 
off at the age of 20 years 3 months. R. & B., I, p. 224, 
f.n, 2. Dara Shukoh was over 18 when he was married. 
K.R. Qammgo, Dara Shukoh, pp. 13 and 9. Aurangzeb 
was married at the age of 18 years 7 months (Sarkar, 
Studies in AurangziVs Reign, pp. 1-2), Kam Bakhsh at the 
age of 14 (Ibid.) and Prince Muhammad Azam at the age 


of 15J years (Ibid., p. 62). Amongst Aurangzeb's sons, 
Muhammad Akbar was married before he was 15 (Sarkar, 
Aurangzib, Vol. Ill, p. 52), and Muhammad Sultan at the 
age of 20 years (Ibid., p. 44). As regards others, Guru 
Nanak was 14 years old when married to Sulakhani, 
daughter of Mula (Macauliffe, Vol.1, pp. 18-19). Sayed 
Ghulani Husain Khan, author of Siyarul Mutakherin was 
married to his maternal cousin at the age of 18. Calcutta 
Review, Vol. 84, No. I, July 1942, p. 75. 

120. The marriage was thought to be unlawful "if the genealo- 
gical lines of either of the paternal and maternal ancestory 
unite within fifth degree of ascent, if in the two paternal 
genealogies they unite in any generation, if in the paternal 
genealogies of both parties consanguinity through female 
occurs in the sixth generation by mother's side." Ain 9 
III, p. 310. It was from 10th century that inter-caste 
marriages began to go out of fashion. Altekar, op. cit., 
p. 90. Gardizi wrote in 1048 A.D. : "The Indians are 
very fastidious in maintaining the rules of relationship and 
will not take a wife from anywhere or give a girl away 
unless the match suits their origin." B.S.O.S. London, 
Vol. XII, 1948, p. 627. For contemporary accounts see 
Early Travels, p. 221 ; Orme's Fragments, p. 415 ; 
Herbert's Travels, p. 45 ; Sen, Travels of Thevenot and 
Careri, p. 255. 

121. A.N. (Bev.), Ill, p. 677 ; Orme's Fragments, pp. 415, 465 ; 
Thevenot, p. 67 ; Herbert's Travels p. 45 ; Pandey, op. 
cit., pp. 306-14 ; Dubois, I, p. 214 ; Stavorinus, I, p. 410. 
When Tukaram's daughters were of marriageable age he 
selected boys of his own caste and got them married. 
J.R.A.S, (Bombay), Vol. VII, p. 21. 

122. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 339. 

123. Sen, Travels of Thevenot and Careri, p. 255. 

124. Storia, III, p. 55. 

125. Some provincial social customs and manners mentioned 
as duracaras by Varadaraja (A pupil of Bhattoji Diksita 
(A.D. 1600-60) in Bhartiya Vidya, Feb. 1945, Vol. VI, 
No. 2 (New Series), p. 28. 

126. The prohibited degrees include consanguinity mother, 
grandmother, sister, niece, aunt, etc., affinity mother-in- 


law, step daughters, grand-daughters, etc., foster-age, with 
wife's sister during lifetime of the wife unless she is 
divorced of the wife of another until the period of pro- 
bation (Tddai) has expired, three months after divorce, 
four months ten days after widowhood with polytheists 
who do not include Jews or Christians. Herldots' Islam 
in India, p. 56. 

127. The first notable marriage of this kind before Humayun 
and Hamida Banu was of Babur and Mehar Begum. 
Indian Culture, IV, No. 1 (1937). 

128. Outwardly Ruhullah Khan had adopted Sunnism to 
please the orthodox Aurangzeb and also wrote in his will 
that his two daughters be wedded to Sunnis. Aurangzeb 
ordered : "Give his elder daughter to Prince Muhammad 
Azim and the younger to Siadat Khan." The latter sub- 
mitted : "This hereditary servant is unwilling to marry 
Ruhullah Khan's daughter. How do we know that she, 
too, holds the creed of the Sunnis ? In case she presses 
in her own faith what can I do ?" J.N. Sarkar, Anecdotes 
of Aurangzib, p. 122. 

129. Marriages between first cousins (may be children of 
brothers and sisters) is considered very suitable. Herklots' 
Islam In India, p. 52. 

130. Ain, I, p. 217 ; E.R.E., VII, pp. 866-67 and Vol.V, 
p. 743. 

131. A.N., III, p. 245 ; Tr., Ill, p. 352. 

132. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 339. 

133. Varadaraja, pupil of Bhattoji Diksita (A.D. 1600-60), 
refers to it. Bhartiya Vidya, Vol. V, No. 2, p. 28. 

134. Pandey, op. cit., p. 336 ; Storia,lll, p. 55 ; Ain, II, 
p. 311. 

135. Though Humayun was 19 years older than Hamida at the 
time of marrying, she did not raise that question. She, 
however, objected to his tall stature. S.K. Banerji, 
Humayun Badshah, Vol. II, 1941, p. 37. 

136. Ain, I, p. 277 ; Badaoni, II, pp. 391-92 ; Tr., pp. 404-6. 

137. Pelsaert, Jahangir's India, p. 84. 

138. Hamilton, I, 159 ; Delia Valle (Edward Grey), I, p. 83. 
Also see Herbert's Travels, p. 39. Guru Nanak also 
refers to monogamy when he writes to Kabir : "Father, 



dear it is God who arrangeth marriages. He maketh no 
mistakes and those whom He hath once joined, He joineth 
forever." Macauliffe, op. cit. 9 I, p. 100. 

139. Ain, III, p. 311 ; Mandelslo, p. 52. A second wife is 
allowed if the first dies and the second is usually "a maid 
of the same race or tribe." (Sen, Travels of Thevenot 
and Careri, p. 248), Chaitanya remarried after the death 
of his first wife. The Chaitanya Movement by Melville T. 
Kennedy, p. 16. For custom in Malabar, see Phillip's 
Account of East India, p. 27. 

140. J.R.A S., Bombay, Vol. VII, p. 15. 

141. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 311. 

142. Badaoni, II, p. 208 ; Tr. 5 II, p. 212. 

143. Sen, Travels of Thevenot an d Careri, p. 248 ; Mandelslo, 
p. 52 ; Stavorinus, I. p. 440 ; Delia Valle (Edward Grey), 
I, p. 83 ; Herbert's Travels, p. 36 ; Hamilton, I, p. 159. 

143* Bharat Chandra Annadamangala quoted in Rahim, M.A., 
op. cit., p. 285. 

144. Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 314. "Of women who 
seem good in your eyes, marry two or three or four and 
if you still fear that ye shall not act equitably then one 
only or the slaves whom ye may have acquired." (Quran, 
Surah iv, 3). Herklots' Islam in India, p. 86 ; E.R.E., V, 
p. 742 under Family (Muslim). 

145. Badaoni, II, pp. 208-9 ; Tr.. II, p. 212. 

146. Ain (Bloch), p. 277. 

147. Badaoni, II, p. 356 ; Tr., II, p. 357. 

148. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 185. 

149. Careri (Sen, op. cit.\ p. 248. 

1 50. Mutah marriages were considered legal, according to Imam 
Malik, but Imam Shafi looked upon them as illegal. 
Badaoni, II, pp. 208-9 ; Tr., II, p. 212. 

151. Badaoni, II, pp. 208-9 ; Tr., II, p. 212. 

152. Hamilton's East Indies, 1, p. 159. Sometimes a sister 
would be married by her brother without the permission 
of the guardian, which was, however, disliked. T.A., II, 
p. 291. 

153. Storia, III, p. 55. Padmavati also refers to it. Padmavat 
(Urdu), p. 148. In the absence of the parents or on their 


demise the nearest relations or intimate friends did the 

154. It is interesting to recall the incident of Humayun's marri- 
age to Hamida Banu in this connection. Hamida, a girl 
of tender years, "resisted, discussed and disagreed for 40 
days to a proposal for marriage from Humayun as the 
latter happened to be a tall person." The marriage 
ultimately came through the mediation of Dildar Begam. 
This was a very rare case when the childish objections of 
a minor girl were respected and only persuasions were 
applied to obtain her consent. This may be partly due to 
the fact that the girl was a relation of the Emperor and 
partly because of the instigation of Askafi. For details 
refer to J.U.P. Hist. Soc., Vol. VII, Ft I, Jan. 1934, 
pp. 36-41 and Journal Sind Historical Society, August 
1940, Vol. IV, No. 4, pp. 149-99. When Hazrat Begam, 
the daughter of Muhammad Shah, reached her 1 6th year 
(February 1756), Alamgir II who was 60 years old 
demanded her in marriage. The reply of the girl was : 
"I prefer death to such a marriage. I regard you as my 
father and you, too, should look upon me in the same 
light as your three daughters. If you use force, I shall 
kill myself." Sarkar, Fall of the Mughal Empire, Calcutta, 
1934, Vol. II, p. 4. 

155. Badaoni, II, p. 62 ; Tr., II, pp. 60-61. 

156. Sanyal, Chaitanya, pp. 365-66. Jayasi refers to mediatory 
Pandits. Padmavat (Urdu), p. 146. 

157. Storia, III, p. 155. 

158. Ibid, p. 152. 

159. Ain, I (1873), p. 277. 

160. Ibid., p. 278. 

161. Ibid. 

162. Tatinnna-i-Wakiat-i-Jahangiri by Muhammad Hadi. E.&D. 
Vol. VI, pp. 396-97. 

163. Sarkar, Aurangzib, III, p. 55. 

164. Ibid. Arjumand Banu was 19 years and one month old 
when her marriage to Khurram took place. R. and B., 
I, p. 224, f.n. 2. Mihr-un-Nissa and Zubdat-un-Nissa 
daughters of Aurangzeb, were married to Izad Baksh and 
Sipihr Shukoh at the ages of 12 and 23 years respectively. 



Irvine, Later Mughals, pp. 2-3 ; Sarkar, Aurangzib, Vol. 
Ill, p. 55. 

165. For contemporary accounts refer to 6 A Few Literary 
Glimpses of Social and Religious Life in Medieval Bengal,' 
Indian Culture, Vol. X, No. 3, January-March 1944, 
p. 92 ; Hedges' Diary, pp. cccx (Hak. edition) ; Antonio 
Bocarro's 'Description of Sind' translated and annotated 
by Fr. Achilles Meers, Journal Sind Historical Society, 
August 1949 ; Grose, I, pp. 234-35. 

166. Hedges' Diary, p. cccx. 

167. Grose, op. cit., I, pp. 234-35. 

168. Journal Sind Historical Society, August 1940. The well- 
to-do would spend about forty or fifty thousand rupees. 

169. Grose, op cit., I, pp. 234-35. 

170. Qanungo, Dara Shukoh, p. 14. 

171. Padmavat (Urdu), p. 140. 

172. Ibid., p. 141 ; Storia, III, p. 59 ; Bartolomeo, p. 273 ; 
Bernier, pp, 161-62 ; Tulsi's Ramayana, p. 150. Hindus 
as well as Muhammadans consider some months to be 
inauspicious. Mrs. Meer Hassan Ali, Observations on the 
Mussuhnaims of India, I, pp. 352-53. 

173. J.U.P. Hist. Soc., Vol. VII, Pt. I, January 1934. 

174. Storia, III, p. 59. 

175. T.V. Mahalingam, Social 
University of Madras, 1940. 

176. Ain 9 III, pp. 338-39. 

177. Pandey, op. cit., p. 375. 

178. Macauliffe, I, p. 145. 

179. Ramayana ofTuhidas (Growse), p. 175. 

180. Storia, III, p. 62 ; Padmavat (Urdu), p. 147 ; Ramayana of 
Tulsidas (Growse), p. 158 ; Sur Sagar, I, p. 631. 

181. Padmavat (Urdu), p. 147. 

182. Storia, III, p. 62. 

183. Ibid., p. 55. 

184. Qanungo, Dara Shukoh, pp. 14-15. 

185. For a picturesque description of a contemporary marriage 
procession refer to Storia, III, pp. 150-51 ; Jahangir's 
India, p. 83 ; Delia Valle, I (ed. 1664), pp. 430-31 ; 
Mandelslo, p. 62 ; Sen, op. cit., p. 248. For a wedding 
procession refer to Plate LXII of the Catalogue of Indian 

Life Under Vijayanagar, 



Collection in Boston Museum, * VI by Coomaras.amy. 

18 6. Delia Valle (edition 1664), pp. 430 31. 

187. Jahangir's India ,p.^ 3. ^ ^ ^ . Q za/rfln 

188. Careri refers fte J ? _ ^ 

1664), pp. 430-31 ; Sen, o, ,,, 

190 De^Valle, II (ed- Edward Grey), p- 428. 

3. Ramayana ofTulsidas (\jiovf**j 9 F 

194 . 


195 PaJmrn-flf (Urdu), PP- 145-47. .._ 

196. Ramayana ofTulsidas (Growse), pp. 157, 

197. Storia, III, p. 57. 94.95 ; Ishuree Dass, 


Pandey, .. W- 3 455 7 IBo 

175 ; P^mav^ (Urdu), pp. 141-49 ;5r 

versions refer to 
5 ; P^mav^ (Urdu, 

" df Vol. I, pp. 631-32 ; >lin. HI, 307-8. Chattanya's 
Sog Shy wriZ several years after his death may not 
Sain a reliable account of the ntuals. Refer to 
C Krishna Chaitanya, Vol. I, by Nisjkant a Sanyal 
Bhaktishastri, Pub. Tridandi Swami Bhakti, l933, PPp 368- 
69 For a few references in Tukaram's verses see Psabns 
ofMaratha Saints by Nicol Macnicol, pp. 56-58 For 
European travellers' contemporary accounts refer to 
Herbert's Travels, p. 45 ; Storia, III, pp. 55, 62, 150-51 , 
Hamilton's East Indies, I, P- 159 ; Manx's Ind^y 
Pelsaert, p. 82 ; Grose, I, pp. 234-35 ; Delia Valle (1664), 
pp. 430-31 ; Careri (Sen), p. 248 ; Bartolomeo, p. 280; 
Mandelslo, p. 62, 


199'. Called vari in Punjab. 

200. Ramaycma ofTuhidas (Growse), p. 158. 

201. Padmavat (Urdu), pp. 147-49. 

202. Ramayana of Tulsidas (Growse), pp. 156-58. 

203. SurSagar, I, pp. 631-32 ; II, pp. 1665, 1671, 1678. 

204. For accounts of European travellers refer to f.n. 198 above. 
235. E.R.E., VIII, pp. 450-51 ; Padmavat (Urdu), pp. 147-48 ; 

Ain, III (Sarkar), pp. 337-42 ; Ramayana of Tulsidas 
(Growse), pp. 157, 162. 

206. Padmavat (Urdu), p, 148. 

207. Storia, III, pp. 54 ? 63. 

208. Bartolomeo, pp. 273, 281 ; Dubois, I, pp. 226-27. 

209. M.N. Srinivas (Marriage and Family in Mysore, Bombay, 
1942, p. 75) describes tali as a small plate of gold with a 
dome-like eruption in the middle crowned by a ruby. It is 
considered to prolong the life of the husband. Dubois, I, 
pp. 226-27. 

210.. Storia, III. p. 63. 
211. Padmavat (Urdu), p. 162. 

21 1.* Rahim, M.A., Social and Cultural History of Bengal. 
21?. It has been described in the last paragraph, Pt. I, Punjab 
Civil Code (ed. 1854). 

213. Journal Punjab Historical Society, Vol. X, pp. 1-3. 

214. The custom was in vogue in the Utradhi also Dakhna and 
Dahra Sects of Arora community of Multan. Ibid. 

215. A coconut of (or sent by) the house of Emperor Akbar. 

A coconut of (or sent by) the house of Raja Todar Mai 


A coconut of (or sent by) the house of Misr Chhabildas, 
A coconut of (or sent by) the house of Kishne Mangle. , 
A coconut of (or sent by) the house of Rain Ram Prithvi- 

pat Narule. 

Journal Punjab Hist. Soc. Vol. X, pp. 1-3. The Khatris of 
Bahawalpur also observed this custom (Bahawalpur Gazet- 
teer, 1904, p. 114). But since 1922, on account of Hindu- 
Muslim tensions, they changed one sentence "Akbar Shah 
Badshah de ghar da narial." J.P. Hist. Soc. Vol. X, p. 3. 

216. Ramayana of Tulsidas (Growse), p. 161. 

217. Purchas' India, p. 9. For Nayar's marriage customs refer 
to Asiatlck Researches, Vol. V, pp. 13-14. Sometimes the 


bride's price was paid. See Sen, Travels of Thevenot and 
Carer!, p. 257. For marriage customs of Korkus of the 
forest villages of Melghat refer to J.R.A.S.B. letters. Vol. 
XII, 1946, No. 2. 

218. For modern works refer to Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, 
p. 318 ; Herklots' Islam, pp. 56-88 ; E.R.E., Vol. VII, 
pp. 815-59. Mrs Meer Husain Aii Observations on the 
Mussulmauns of India, pp. 367-69. According to the 
Quran and the traditions, marriage depends on three facts: 
the assent of the parties, the evidence of two witnesses and 
the marriage settlement. If any of these is wanting, the 
marriage is void. Herkiots' Islam, p. 79. For a beautiful 
painting refer to Shivalal, Studies in Indian Painting, 
p. 107, Plate No. 48. 

219. Jahangir's India, p. 82. 

220. Sen, Travels of Thevenot and Cared, pp, 31-33. 

221. Storto, m,p. 152. 

222. R. and B., I, pp. 159, 224-25 ; Padshahnama, I, A, pp. 328, 
453 ; Qanungo : Bar a Shukoh, p. 14. 

223. Jahangir's India, p. 82. 

223.*Rahim 5 M.A, Social and Cultural History of Bengal 
pp. 286-87. 

224. Jahangir's India. "Amongst the bride's presents with 
mehndi may be noticed everything requisite for a full-dress 
suit for the bridegroom, ami the etcetras of his toilette, 
confectionery, dried fruits, preserves, the prepared pawns, 
and a multitude of trifles too tedious to enumerate." 
Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 319. 

225. R&B.,I,p. 159. 

225*. Subah-ul-Din, Hindustan Ke Musalman Hukamrano ke 
Ahd ke Tamadani Jalwai, p. 504. 

226. Herklots 5 Islam, p. 70. 

227. Qanungo, Dara Shukoh, pp. 14-15. 

228. Ibid. 

229. With this is usually combined the rubbing with haldi or 
turmeric. Herklots' Islam, p. 66. 

230. Ibid. Kamarbands were offered to the guests on Dara's 

231. Storia, III, p. 152. 



232. Qazi Muhammad Ishan officiated at the marriage ceremony 
of Dara. Qanungo, Dam Shukoh, pp. 14-15. 

233. Herklots' Islam, p. 74; Hughes' Dictionary oflslam,p. 318 
Badshahnama refers to the prevalent custom that the father 
of the bride was not expected to be present at the time of 
the nikah. Badshahnama, I, Pt. II, p. 270. 

234. i.e., "I claim forgiveness from God." Hughes' Dictionary 
of Islam, p. 318, 

235. Ibid., p. 318 ; Herklots' Islam, pp. 75-76. 

236. Storia, III, p. 152. This term originally meant the price 
which was paid to the wali (guardian) of the bride. E.R.E., 
VII, p. 865. For details refer to Ibid., pp. 865-66 ; Ibid., 
Vol. V, p. 743. 

237. J.UJP. Hist. Soc., Vol. VII, Pt. I, Jan. 1934, p. 38. Hindal 
is reported to have said, "Heaven forbid, there should not 
be a proper maash and that so a cause of annoyance should 
arise." Ibid. Rs. 2 lakhs was paid by Humayun as 
mahr. Ibid., pp. 36-41. According to another version, 
Humayun gave Rs 3 lakhs of ready cash for the dower. 
J. Sind Hist. Soc. August, 1940, Vol. IV, No. 4. For 
another controversial point whether the above-mentioned 
sum was given as a dower or as a fee to the Qazi, Mil 
Abul Baqa, refer to f.n. 3 of S.K. Banerji, Humayun 
Badshah, Vol. II, p. 37. 

238. Qanungo, Dam Shukoh, pp. 14-15. On Salim's marriage 
to the daughter of Raja Bhagwan Dass, Akbar fixed a 
sum of two krors of tangahs as the marriage settlement. 
(T.A., II, p. 599 ; A.N., Bev., pp. 677-78). Maasir, l t 
p. 404, writes two krors of rupees. 

239. Mandelslo, p. 62 ; Herklots' Islam, pp. 77-78. 

239.* Rahim, M.A. Social and Cultural History of Bengal, 
p. 287. 

240. Sen, Travels of Thevenot and Careri, p. 248 ; Mandelslo, 
p. 62 ; Storia, III, p. 152 ; Herbert's Travels, p. 45 ; Barto- 
lomeo. p. 272. 

241. Macauliffe, I, p. 145 ; J.R.A.S. (Bombay), III, p. 15 ; 
Sanyal, Chaitanya, p. 366. 

242. Bartolemeo, p. 272 ; J.P.U. Hist. Soc. Vol. V., April 1938, 
p. 27. 

243. Macauliffe, I, p 145. A man in straitened circumstances 


appealed to Gum Nanak to procure a wedding outfit for 
his daughter. Ibid. 

244. Tukaram in J.R.A.S. (Bombay), III, p. 1 5. - 

245. Sanyal, Chaitanya, p. 366. 

246. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 281 . 

247. Padmwat (Urdu), pp. 148, 203. 

24! Ramayana of Tulsidas (Growse), p. 159. "The enormous 
dowry was beyond description gold and jewels, shawls, 
robes, and silks of all kinds in the greatest profusion and 
of immense value, elephants, chariots, horses, men 
servants and cows with gilded horns and hoofs." Ibid. 

249. Sur Sagar, II, p. 1 664. 

250. Maasir, I, p. 404 ; T.A., II, p. 599 ; A.N. 9 III (Bev.), 
pp. 677-78 ; Badaoni, II, pp. 342-43 ; Tr., II, pp. 353-54. 

251. For an earlier reference in Tamil refer to Saletore's Vijaya- 
nagar, Vol. II, pp. 188-89. 

252. Am (Bloch), I, p. 278 ; Bartolomeo (p. 272) a little later 
laments the lot of those parents whose daughters could 
not be married as they could not afford to pay high 

253. Sarkar's, Aurangzib, III, p. 54. 

254. The Baudhayana Pitremedha Sutras says : "It is well- 
known that through the Samskaras after birth one conquers 
earth, through the Samskaras after death the heaven." 
Quoted in Pandey's, Hindu Samskaras, p. 407 ; E.R.E., 
IV, p. 476. 

255. Caland divides the whole ceremonial into 1 14 acts not to 
speak of variations in each of these. For details refer to 
Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics 9 Vol. IV, pp. 476-78 ; 
Sinclair Stevenson, Rites of the Twice Bom, pp. 136 ff and 
Pandey, op. clt. 

256. The earliest literary mention, of the funeral ceremonies is 
found in the Rig-Veda and Atharva-Veda. Also seePandey, 
op. ciL 9 p. 421. Cremation is regarded as offering into 
the sacred fire conducting the corpse to heaven as a 
sacrificial gift. (A.G.S. IV, 1-2; Bh. G.S. 1-2) quoted in 
Pandey op. cit,, p. 443. 

257. Early Travels, p. 323. 

258. Ovington, p. 342. Also see Herbert's Travels, p. 46. 




JRU^5 o/ me i w/c , F if pers on 


1 ' /I O 

270 Lria, III, P- 72 ; Pandey, o^. ctt., P- 430. 
271- Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 354. 


272. Herbert's Travels, p. 45 ; Samuel Purchas' India, p. 2. 

273. Ain 9 III (Sarkar), p. 354, 

274. Ibid. It is only by holding the tail of a cow that the dying 
man hopes to cross the horrible river of blood and filth 
called Valtarani. Sinclair Stevenson, op. cit. 9 p. 141. 

275: For details refer to Pandey, op. cit. 9 p. 476 ; Sinclair 
Stevenson, op. cit. 9 pp. 140-41. 

276. For reference to this custom see Sinclair Stevenson, 
op. cit. 9 p. 142. 

277. Sen, op. cii., p. 249. 

278. Tavernier, Chapter VII, p. 168. 

279. Delia Valle (1664 edition), p. 435. 

280. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 354. 

281. It is still prevalent in some parts of that province. Pandey, 
op. cit., p. 431. 

282. Tavernier, Chapter VII, p. 168, says up to the chin. 

283. Ain 9 III (Sarkar), p. 354. Ralph Fitch relates another 
interesting incident : "If a man or 'woman be sick and like 
to die they will lay him before their idol and he shall help 
him. Failing which he will take it to the riverside and 
set him on the raft made of weed. 5 ' Early Travels, p. 22. 

284. Storta, III, p. 72 ; Ramayana (Growse), p. 458. 

285. Macauliffe, Vol. I, p. 115. "Those whose letters hath been 
torn in God's court must die, my brethren." Ibid. 

286. Delia Valle, Vol. II (Ed. Grey), p. 271 ; Petermundy, II, 
p. 220 ; Ovington, p. 243 ; Storia, III, p, 156. 

287. Petermundy, II, p. 220. 

288. Sen, Travels ofThevenot and Cared, p. 34. In Malabar 
the body of the king must be burnt within three days after 
his death. NieuhofPs Voyages 9 p. 288. 

289. Pandey, op. cit., p. 439. 

290. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 355 ; Tavernier, Chapter VII, p. 168 ; 
Herbert's Travels, p. 45 ; Alberuni, II, p. 169. 

29 1 . Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 355, says white sheet of fine linen. 
Mrs. Sinclair writes as follows : "A middle-aged man is 
wrapped in red, a dearly loved young man in red brocade, 
a married woman usually in a gaily coloured garment but 
a widow invariably in white, blue or black cloth.*' Sinclair 
Stevenson, op. cit., p. 144. 

292. Am, HI (Sarkar), p, 355. 


293. Storia, III, pp. 72, 155. If a woman died before her 
husband, she is considered so lucky that her face and 
especially her forehead was smeared red. Sinclair Stevenson, 

op. cit., p. 143. 

294. Am, in (Sarkar), p. 356 ; 5/ona, III, p. 71 ; Tavermer, 
Chapter VII, p- 168 ; Sen, op. ri/., p. 249 ; Delia Valle 

(1664 edition), p. 435. 

295 Cot is usually made of bamboo though it should be ot 
udumbara wood (Fieus Glemaratd). Pandey, op. cit., p. 432. 

296. Storia, III, p. 155. . _ 

297. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 294 ; Storia, 111, 


298. Storto, III, p- 156 ; Petermundy, II, p. 220 ; Delia Valle, 
II (ed. Grey), p. 271 ; Sen, op. cit., p. 249. 

299. Ovington, p. 342. Also see Petermundy, II, p. 22U. 

300. Pandey, op. cit., p. 434. 

301. Delia Valle, II (ed. Grey), p. 271. 

302. Pandey, op. cit., p. 439. 

303 Herbert's Travels, p. 451. Nieuhoff's Voyages, p. 229; 
Ramayana (Growse), p. 257 ; Sinclair Stevenson, op. cit., 

304. P Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 393. For details also see Grose, 
op. cit., I, p. 228. 

305. Storia, III, p. 73- 

306. Ibid., p. 154. 

307. For details refer to Pandey, op. cit., p. 447. 

308 Storia, III, p. 73. On hearing the death of Dasrath, Rama 
and all his people took a bath in the stream. Ramayana 
(Growse) p. 293. All the relatives of the dead down to 
the seventh or tenth generation bathe in the nearest stream 
and purify themselves by it. Pandey, op. at., p. 447. 

309 Ibid p. 448. Other prescriptions are : rinse the mouth, 
' touch water, fire, cow-dung, etc., inhale tlhe smoke of a 

certain species of wood, tread upon stone and then enter. 
ERE IV p 478. These are supposed to act as a barrier 
to the hiau'spicious spirit of the dead and symbolize the 
severance of relations with the deceased. Pandey, op. cit., 
p. 448, 
310. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 355. 


311. Early Travels, p. 217. She would abstain from putting 

on ornaments and luxurious garments until her death. Ibid. 

"312. Storia 9 TLI,p.72* Recently about 40,000 people offered 

themselves for hair-cut on the death of their ruler, the 

Raja of Gwalior. 

313. Ain, III, (Sarkar), p. 357 ; Herbert's Travels, p. 45 ; 
Nieuhoff, Voyages, p. 228, mentions 13 days. 

314. Fandey , op. cit., p. 450. 

315. Ibid. 

316. NieuhofFs Voyages, p. 228 ; Asiatick Researches, Vol. V, 
p. 12. 

317. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 356 ; Ovington, p. 243; Travels in 
India in the 17th Century, p. 294. On the death of Dasrath, 
Bharat gave Brahmans abundant gifts, cows, horses, 
elephants, all kinds of carriages, thrones, jewels, robes, 
grains, lands, money, houses, for his purification. 
Ramayana (Growse), p. 257. 

118. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 356. According to Herbert (p. 45), 
during these ten days they would "neither use wife, nor 
laugh nor take opium or betel, put on no clean clothes 
nor oyle one's head." Also refer to Contfs Travel in India 
in the 15th Century, p. 25 and Asiatick Researches, Vol. V, 
p. 12. The women passed this period in singing mournful 
songs, crying, scattering and pulling their hair, then singing 
again etc. and off and on beating their breasts in the 
company of female friends, relatives and neighbours, 
Petermundy, II, p. 220; Travels in India in the 17th Century , 
p. 294. Rama fasted the whole day on hearing the death 
of his father. Ramayana (Growse), p. 293. 

319. Burhan's Tuzuk-i-Walajahi, Pt. I (English Translation), 
p. 77 ; Herbert's Travels p. 45. 

320. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 294. 

321. On the fourth day after the death of a Brahman, the fifth 
after the death of a Kshatriya, the ninth and tenth after 
that of a Vaisya and Sudra respectively. Ain, III, 
(Sarkar), p. 356. 

322. "In order to cool the soul of the deceased," according to 
Manucci. Storia, III, p. 154* 


323. Storia, III, p. 154 ; Sen, Travels of Thevenot and Careri, 
p. 294 ; Delia Valle (1664 ed.), p. 435 ; Grose, op. cit., I, 
p. 227. 

324. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 356. Herbert's -Travels,', p. 45. 
Alberuni. II, p. 169. Also refer to Islamic Culture, July 
1934, p. 430. 

325. Storia 9 ISI 9 p. 154 ; Sen, op. dr., p. 249 ; Delia Valle (1674), 
p. 435; Alberuni, II, p, 169. 

326. Ramayana (Growse), p. 257 ; Grose, op. cit. 9 I, p. 227. 

327. Am, III (Sarkar), p. 357. It is supposed to nourish the 
soul of the deceased who is regarded as still living in a 
sense and the efforts of the survivors are to provide him 
with food and guide his footsteps to the paramount abode 
of the dead. Pandey, op. tit., pp. 464-75 ; E.R.E. p. 810. 

328. Am, III (Sarkar), p. 357. For details of this ceremony 
refer to E.R E., Vol. IV, p. 479. According to Hindu 
belief when the body dies, the soul takes a subtle 
form which they call Preta. This is properly the spirit of 
the deceased which meets its Pitaras after the obsequial 
rites are performed. E.R.E., II, p- 810. 

329. Storia, III, p. 73. Tukarara also refers to this ceremony. 
J.R.A.S., Bombay Branch, Vol. Ill, p. 19. 

330. To feed the ancestors to propitiate or keep them away or 
to summon their aid are the purposes served by the 
Shraddhas described in ritual and law. E.R.E. , Vol. IV, 
p. 479. 

331. Tuzuk (R & B), I, pp. 246-47. 

332. Abul Fazl adds the following days. Also on the first day 
of the first quarter of the new moon, on the 6th lunar day 
of the month of Kuar, and bestowing charity in a place of 
worship in the name of the deceased. Ain 9 III (Sarkar), 
p. 307. Also see Sinclair Stevenson, op. cit. 9 pp. 171-81. 

333. Ain 9 III (Sarkar), pp. 307-8 ; J.R.A.S., Bombay Branch, 
Vol. Ill, p. 19. 

334. "I shall go and procure some vegetables. We shall cook 
them." J.R.A.S., Bombay Branch, Vol, III, p. 19. 

335. Melville Kennedy, The Chaitanya Movement, p. 18. 

336. For details refer to Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and 
Ethics, Vol. IV, pp. 501-2 ; Hughes' Dictionary of Mam, 
pp. 80-82 ; Herklots' Islam in India, pp. 90. 


337. E.H.E., IV, p. 501. 

338. M.A. (Urdu), p. 381. 

339. Herklots' Islam in India, p. 90. 

340. Hughes' Dictionary of Mam, p. 80. 

341. Also see Storia II, p. 342 ; IV, p. 436. If a great man died, 
the fact was communicated to the emperor in the phrase 
"Such or such a one hath made himself a sacrifice at Your 
.Majesty's feet/' A Voyage to East Indies, reprint of 1777, 
p. 382. 

342. Maasir-ul-Umra, I, trans,, Beveridge, p. 123. 

343. Ibid. 

344. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 282. Delia Valle 
(1664 edition), p. 432. 

345. Irvine, The Later Afughals, Vol. I (ed. Sarkar), p. 7. 

346. Ovington, p. 246. 

347. The Prophet gave the following reason for it : "If he 
was a good man, the sooner he is buried, the more quickly 
he will reach heaven ; if a bad man, he should be speedily 
buried so that his unhappy lot may not fall upon others in 
his house." Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 81. 

348. It consists of three pieces of cotton for men, five for 
women. Only white colour is admissible in India. E.R.E., 
IV, p. 501 ; Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 81. 

349. Sarkar, Anecdotes of Aurangzlb, p. 124. 

350. Delia Valle (1664 edition), p. 431 ; Storia, 111, p. 153; 
E.R.E..IV, p. 501. 

351. Storia, 0, p. 126; IV, p. 431. Smith's Akbar, p. 327. While 
removing the corpse, the head was taken out first in order 
to baffle the ghost and to prevent its finding its way back. 
See W. Crookes 9 Popular Religion and Folklore, second 
edition, ii, p. 56 Also see Macauliffe, op. cit., VI, p. 385. 

352. Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 44. 

353. Maasir, I, p. 148 ; Gulbadan Begam, Humayunnama, trans. 
Beveridge, p 62. 

354. Maasir, I, p. 613. 

355. Ibid. Azam Shah carried the dead body of Aurangzeb on 
his shoulders up to the main entrance gate. W. Irvine, The 
Later Mughals, (ed. Sarkar), Vol. I, p. 7. 

356. Ovington, p. 245 ; Storia, III, p. 153. 

357. Storia, III, p 153. 



358 . "A turban bound with gold is laid upon the outside as a 
token that inside is a body.'* Storia, III, p. 153. 

359. Storto,IH,p. 153. 

360. Ibid, 

361. RR.E.,IV,p. 501. 

362. Storia, III, p. 153. 

363. E.R.E., IV, p. 510 ; Qanoon-i>-lslam> pp. 96-97. 

364. Ibid. ; Sir John Marshall in India, p. 404. 

365. Delia Valle (ed. 1664), p. 401 ; India in the 17th Century, 
p. 382. "The grave of a woman should be the height of 
a man's chest, if for a man to the height of the waist." 
Qanoon~i-Islam, p. 98 ; Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 45. 
On Kam Baksh's death, Qazi and Muhammad Ghauz, 
the chief Mufti, with other religious men, were entrusted 
with the grave. Irvine, The Later Mughals, Vol. I (ed. 
Sarkar), pp. 64-65 . 

366. Sir John Marshall in India, p. 404. 

367. "When the angles come and ask the dead his catechism, 
he must reply that God is Allah, His Prophet, Muhammad, 
his religion, Islam, his Bible, the Quran, and his qibla the 
Kdba" Also see Irvine, The Later Mughals (ed. Sarkar), 
Vol. I, pp. 64-65. 

368. E.R.E., IV, p. 502. 

369. Stor/0,111, p. 153. 

370. Ibid.,, Also see Gulbadan Begam, Humayunnama, trans., 
p. 62 ; Qanoon-i-lslam, p. 105. 

371. Maasir, I pp. 255, 563, 723. 

372. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p, 282. 

373. Tuzuk (R & B), I, p. 85. 

374. Maasir, I, p. 295. 

375. Ibid., p. 246. 

376. Daughter of Dara Shukoh. Sarkar, Studies in Aurangzib's 
Reign, p. 81. Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah stopped drum- 
beating for three days to show respect to the memory of 
his kinsman. Hadiqatul-Alam, II, p. 123, quoted in 
Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah, I, p. 140. 

377. Latif, Agra, Historical and Descriptive, p. 40. 

378. On the death of Jiji Anaga, Akbar, besides her sons and 
in fact the whole tribe, got their heads and moustaches 


shaved. Maasir, I, p. 327. Sometimes a widow would 
also get her head shaved. Maasir, I, p. 812. 

379. Storto, III, p. 253- 

380. Qanoon-i-Islam % p. 101 . 

381. ]&M. 

382. Badaoni, I, p. 248. 

383. Storto, III, p. 153. Akbar attended the chihlum of his 
story-teller Darbar Khan. Hodivala's Studies in Indo- 
Muslim History, p. 580. A sum of Rs. 2 lakhs was 
spent in furnishing the corpse, distributing alms and 
despatching coffin to Delhi on the death of Jahanzeb Banu 
Begam. Sarkar, Studies in AurangziVs Reign, p. 81. 

384. Delia Valle (1664 edition), p. 432 ; Ovington, p. 245; 
India in the 17th Century, p. 282. 

385. Tuzuk (R & B), I, p. 247. 

386. Storia, III, p. 153 ; Ovington, p. 245. 

387. Tuzuk-i-Walajahi by Burhan Ibn Hasan, English translation 
by S. Muhammad Husayn Nainar. 

388. Ovington, p. 245. 

389. Fetermundy, II, p. 229. 

390. Tuzuk~i-Jahangiri, R & B., I, pp. 148, 247, 249. 

391. Delia Valle (1664 edition), p. 432. 

392. Ibid. 

393 Ibid. I 

394. Sarkar, Aurangzib, III, p. 101. 

395. E. & D., Ill, p. 380. 

396. Sarkar, Aurangzib, III, p. 101. 

397. Ibid. 


Social Etiquettes and Manners 

oc ial cal.s have neve, been in 

Our individualistic outlook ^/ for it . Our 
prevalence of the caste ^f^'^SC imposed by society, 
women's inability, on account of rest ncUons ^ ^ ^ 
to attend to male guests or t >tdk a ^ however) in 
have been another factor. Men me .01 , ^ ^ 

the past and they do W$^S# or even leisure to 
the villages but women had little oppon > . Q urban 

l pay a visit to thdrfcn^fi^^^^ foun d .till 
areas met only briefly to talk busme^ a n & ^^ ^ ^ 

few er opportunities to vjsU on e^ row ^ ^ Ifldia . H o W - 
observance of the jtofc dumg ^ funerals , etc. or 


their friends and relatives. 

Formalities for receiving a guest _ lities dur i ng Mughal 

Visitors were received w ^many o ^^ for ^ 

days . Whenever a visitor _ arnvea, ^ ^ ^^ 3 The shoes 

master of the house to receive ^^ If he happened to be 

were usually put * ' usual in a Hindu home 

an elderly or spiritual person it w sanda i-paste, flowers, 

...1. v,;c f^t wih water mixed wuu hmise- 

an e 

to wash his feet W1 h wata nuxed j ^ 

and-rice.' lf there ^ ^Jto welcome him. 6 He 
keeper would rise from his seat t ^ ot a 

theJt^tothctowmff^J^ aQd costly ca r f ets 
family, was spread f er T^ i ster their backs and sides.'' 7 A 

D ' 



Chairs were thought to be uncomfortable and were rarely used. 1 
Even the Governor of Surat had no chairs and one was brough 
specially for Roe on his insistence. 10 A person who let his 
legs or feet be seen while sitting was considered to be devoic 
of manners. 11 Nobles and governors would usually receiv< 
their visitors in their daily darbar held in the Diwan Kham 
richly decorated with handsome rugs and costly tapestry. 12 Th< 
visitors took their seats on his either side according to thei: 
rank or dignity after the usual salams}-* Strangers were aliowe< 
to visit by permission and left after their business was over. 1 
Intimate friends might stay on till the noble retired to tfa 
zenana. 15 

Visit to king difficult and expensive 

A visit to the king was both difficult and expensive. Hig 
and influential nobles had to be approached and even bribe* 
before the royal permission could be had. 16 Sir William Norri? 
who came to India as the British king's ambassador to tfa 
great Mughal, rightly formed the opinion that man 
"generous and great men" besides the Mughal would have to b 
"gratified," and as the presents sent from London were much to- 
few, so he asked his men to make local purchases. 17 Th 
ceremonies to be observed at the court required a goo 
deal of training. Sir Thomas Roe, 18 Bernier 19 and Mamicci 5 
have referred to the formalities an ambassador had to observ 
while paying a visit to the Indian sovereign. 

Reception of an ambassador and king 

A. noble was specially despatched to receive the ambassado 
at an earlier stage of his journey and present him with khilat o 
behalf of the king. The ambassador was expected to preset 
his credentials to the king clad in this robe of honour. Persia 
ambassadors were shown special courtesy while others wei 
allotted an inconspicuous place in the darbar. 21 A few ambasss 
dors had the good fortune to be received by the king in th 
private audience. 

A foreign ruler was received with due ceremonies. Raj 
Bhagwan Das was sent by Akbar to receive Mirza Sulaimai 
the ruler of Badakshan at the Nilab River. 22 M. Jani Beg, tt 



, rt f Qinrf was received by Abul Fazl at the gate. 23 Khusrau 
L f !on rfS Khan, ruler of Baikh and Badakshan, 
by Ali Mardhan Khan at the edge of his carpet. 

a great man- a king, a prince, 
no hle"It was the usual custom to offer 
I t onsidered highly discourteous 
ry - call upon a superior dignitary 
The presents meant for the nobles were of 
ue but those offered to the king mcluded rare 
an cost heavily- Tavernier's presents to Aurangzeb 

instance included "a battle-mace of rock crystal all the 
tnstance me . emeralds ^ 

o b 

toein ,ho pre nd,o,he so,e possessioa of i, 

there is aujwiiu fc sincerity which even 

but jMom ^32V ^ot rightly" ridicules the 
attends it in the u a ^ India Company 

ign0f ' to a cepTS 30 offered to them as a present by 
Unawar of the Indian custom, the envoys thought 

were belgTeated as beggars and got annoyed. Thevenot, 
*ere bemg ; t ^ ^^ |he prOper 

wel! aware :rf the^ nd an ^ ^ ^ a preseat . Either 
and civdart P ted the money and 

the envoys, he wntes sho oiven the money back after 

'touched and then returned ,.- 

kings rarely paid visits to their nobles. Even these 
f Sly confined to those families which were in 
rar e r ^r^^Site royal house.- It was the highest 

ever dream of. Huge presents had 


to be offered to the king as nazrana. 35 Sometimes, however, 
the king would call on an ailing noble of a very high rank to 
inquire about his health. 36 Hawkins describes in detail the 
ceremonies to be observed by a nobleman while paying his 
respects to the king after two or three years' continuous 
absence from the capital. 87 

Politeness of Indians 

The Indian manner of conversation has elicited much praise 
from the travellers 38 who describe them as "past masters of 
good manners." 39 Polite and modest in their conversation, 
they were at the same time very civil and reserved. 40 Even 
friends gossiped in a dignified manner. 41 While talking to their 
elders or superiors, they were very careful and would not let 
their heads be uncovered, 42 as this was considered to be a sign of 
disrespect. They applauded the elders' performances and dared 
not contradict or even question the authenticity of their 
statements. 43 They would not usually take their seats in their 
presence, as it was taken to be a gesture of disrespect to the 
elderly fellow. Religious teachers, Brahmans 44 and the Qazis 
were specially cared for and respected. Akbar stood up to 
receive the saint, Dadu. 46 Aurangzeb was annoyed to learn 
that Ibrahim Khan, the Governor of Bengal, sat on a couch in 
the darbar while the Qazis and other jurists took their seats on 
the floor. 46 Babar, who calls the Pathans rustic and tactless, 
goes on to quote an instance : "Biban waited on me s this 
person sat although Dilawar Khan, his superior in rank, the 
son of Alam Khan who are of royal birth, did not." 47 

Respect shown to elders 

Everyone greeted his elders with the utmost respect. Akbar 
had just gone to bed when his aunt Nigar Khanum arrived. 
Half asleep, he at once got up and saluted her. 48 Careri relates 
3aow sixity-five years old Shah Alam alighted from his horse at 
the sight of his father Aurangzeb and paid his respects. 49 On 
receiving a letter from Jahangir, Khiirram even when in rebel- 
lion, kissed and lifted it to his eyes and head and while reading 
he bowed down at every word. 50 At an interview the prince, 
according to etiquette, would walk round the emperor twice 


and present nazar and nisar to him. 51 Raja Ram Singh, as a 
token of respect, touched the feet of the older Shaista Khan 
who embraced the Raja and kissed his head. The sons of the 
Nawab in turn touched the feet of the Raja and accompanied 
him for a considerable distance. 52 How a Mughal king bade 
good-bye to his son going out on an expedition or welcomed 
him on his victorious return is very well illustrated in various 
paintings of the period. 53 While the king embraces his son out 
of paternal affection, the latter bows his head with all respect. 54 

Court etiquette 

Elaborate rules had been laid down regarding appearance, 
salutation and conduct in the darbar. 55 , Every noble at the 
court was obliged to attend the darbar twice daily. 56 It was 
strictly forbidden to come in a palki within the enclosure of the 
royal palace. 56 * Except with the permission of the king, no 
one could come armed to the darbar. 66 " 1 " Even the offering of 
betel-leaves by the nobles to each other was not permitted. 56 % As 
a general rule, barring a few specially privileged notables 57 or 
princes of the royal blood, 58 none could dare to sit in the court. 
The highest dignitaries of the state, ambassadors from foreign 
lands and even dethroned princes seeking military or financial 
aid, were no exception to it. When Ambassador Sir Thomas 
Roe demanded a chair, he was frankly told that "none has 
ever sat in this place." 59 The princes stood within a few 
yards of the royal throne. Next came the most favoured 
grades who stood within an enclosure of silver railings. The 
red-painted wooden railing enclosure was meant for the lesser 
mansabdars.* No one was permitted to leave the darbar till the 
king had retired. The king was addressed as Hazrat Salamat, 
Qihlah-Din-wa-Duma, Qiblahi-Din~i-Jahan> Alam Panah, etc. 61 
Aurangzeb was called Pir-i-Dastgir** The king would reply 
in a dignified and majestic tone. 63 Linschoten's observation 
that the king would talk to an ambassador even though he 
could understand his language only through an interpreter 
is based on hearsay 64 . Serious notice was taken of any mis- 
conduct. Lashkar Khan, the Mir Bakshi, once appeared in 
the court drunk and misbehaved. He was ordered to be taken 
round the city tied to a horse's tail and later sect to jail 65 


Behaviour in assembly 

The decorum maintained in an assembly was exemplary. 66 
They made 'no gestures and were never loud In their discus- 
sions. 67 There was a certain gravity in their mode of speaking. 88 
If there happened to be something confidential to be conveyed 
to the other person, they would hold a handkerchief or scarf in 
.-front of their mouths to avoid the other's breath. 69 None of 
them would move from his seat 70 or do anything which might 
be against the recognized etiquette. 71 Ovington, after admiring 
the Hindu merchants for their innocence, humility and patience, 
writes : 'The Orientals are generally much more tender and 
. . . more prompt and easy in their deportment than those 
bred in Europe." 72 

Orme's praise of the dignified manner in which the 
courtiers of the Nawab behaved in face of the indecent jokes cut 
by the Europeans regarding their manners, etc. may well serve as 
an example. 73 They would, no doubt, make a loud noise when 
quarrelling but rarely did they come to blows. 74 

Offer of a betel significant 

Visitors were usually entertained with betels 75 which 
were brought in wooden trays. 76 The offering of a betel also 
indicated that the visitors might now leave. 77 When offered 
by the emperor, it meant great honour and had to be eaten in 
his presence. 78 The greatest honour, however, consisted in 
partaking of the half-chewed betel of the emperor. He 
would sometimes bestow a jagir, khilat, or other gifts on the 
visitor." 79 

Greetings and salutations 

Hindus and Muslims differ in their mode of greeting 
friends, relatives or superiors. The handshake, 80 the present 
mode of salutation, common among the x educated classes of both 
communities, was never in vogue during the ancient 81 and 
medieval periods. Its general adoption is primarily due to 
India's contact with the West during the last two centuries. 

Manucci describes five kinds of salutation prevalent among 
the Hindus in Mughal days. 82 "Ram, Ram/' 83 the most popular 
form of greeting among equals, has been referred to by many 
travellers. 84 Quite frequently the palms of the hands would be 


folded 85 and raised up to the stomach as a mark of respect for an 
elderly friend. An embrace might also follow specially when 
they had not met for a long time. 86 A person of higher status, 
a governor, a minister or a general, was greeted by raising the 
folded hands above the head. 87 Greater respect was paid to an 
elder, father, mother or a spiritual teacher. The younger would 
greet an elder by bowing down, touching his or her feet and 
raising the hand to his head. 88 He would even prostrate himself 
before his teacher. 89 The king was also greeted in the same 
manner by all classes 90 except the Brahmans who would only 
raise their folded hands. 91 Brahmans, as a class, were held in 
high esteem and none would dare to pass by them without bowing 
his head in reverence. 92 The superior would greet the inferior 
by displaying the palm of the right hand raised high. 93 Guru 
Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, is said to have advised 
his followers to return the salutation with the words "Sat Kartar" 
(the True Creator). 94 

Muhammadaii salutations 

Salain^ was the usual salutation among all classes of 
Muhammadans who are religiously bound to greet each other 
with the words al-Salam alekum^ the other responding Wa- 
lekum-al-Salam.^ Strangely, the travellers fail to refer to the 
use of the latter form of greeting by Indian Muslims 
during Mughal days. Nizamuddin, however, refers to its use 
while relating the incident of Shaikh Ali who had adopted the 
practices of Mahdism. The latter did not observe taslim while 
paying a visit to King Salim Khan. Shaikh Ali made the 
salutation permitted by the sham to which Salira Khan indig- 
nantly replied alek-al->Salam? B Aurangzeb, however, made it 
obligatory in April 1670. 99 Friends would greet each other by 
raising the right hand to the forehead, 100 and would even 
embrace 101 or grasp each other's hands in token of love. 102 A 
little inclination of the head or body also served the same pur- 
pose. 103 When greeting a superior, the performance of both 
the above-mentioned modes together was necessary. 104 

High personages were greeted by raising the right hand to 
the forehead and bending the body forward. 106 It was custo- 
mary for a person of lower status to get down from his horse 
at the sight of a superior one and let him pass first. 106 The 



latter acknowledged the greeting of the Inferior person with a 

inclination of the head. 107 The nobles would dismount at tt 
sight of the royal ladies and greet them with a bow. Ravin 
received a betel-leaf, they again bowed and withdrew. 108 

Korhish and Taslim 

Kornish and taslini have been mentioned by Abui Fazl * 
the recognized modes of salutation to the king. 109 Kornish 1 
consisted in placing the palm of the right hand on the forehca 
and bending down the head. 111 While offering taslim, 11 * tl 
person placed the back of his right hand on the ground, raise 
it slowly till he stood erect when he put the palm of his han 
on the top of his head. 118 After raising the hand from ti 
ground, it was usual, as Ovington remarks, to place it on tl 
breast before taking it to the forehead. 114 Delia Valle corn 
borates it. 115 It was the usual custom, as Babar relates, t 
kneel thrice before the king 116 upon taking leave, or upo 
presentation, or upon receiving a mansab, ajagfr, or a dress c 
honour or an elephant or a horse but only once on all othe 
occasions. 117 Akbar issued orders that taslim should I 
repeated thrice. 118 He 9 however, exempted Sh. Gadai Kami 
and Mirza Sulaiman, 119 ruler of Badakshan, from this customar 
salutation. These modes of salutations were strictly reserve 
for the king during Akbar's reign. 120 Taslim, however, becam 
a common mode of greeting among nobles during the succeed 
ing reigns but Aurangzeb forbade it in April 1 670 and introduc 
ed Salam-alekum instead. 121 


Akbar, the founder of Din-i-llahi, introduced another salu 
tation called Sijdah, 1 ** perhaps at the insistence of his friends 
admirers and disciples. 128 As it consisted in bowing down th 
forehead to the earth, it was looked upon as man-worship b 
the orthodox. 124 Akbar thought it wise to forbid this practic 
in Darbar-i-Am but allowed it in private assemblies 125 Thi 
custom appears to have been continued during the reign o 
Jahangir when the subjects prostrated themselves before th 
king in grateful return for any royal favours conferred on then 
and also on receipt of royal mandates, 126 


Kissing the ground 

It was, however, found to be objectionable and Shahjahan 
introduced instead Zaminbos or the practice of kissing the 
ground which was also abandoned after some time and the 
usual mode of salutation by bowing and touching the head -was 
restored with the addition that it was to be observed not less 
than four times. 127 Bernier describes how this custom was 
observed by all the ambassadors when attending the Mughal 1:is 
court but the Persian ambassador would not do so in spite of 
all the machinations of Shahjahan. 129 Aurangzeb completely 
did away with these so-called pretensions to idolatory and 
ordered that the usual mode of salutation, al-Sala?n-alekuin, 
be observed. 130 

Defection, if any, was immediately detected and the 
offender was suitably punished. Aurangzeb was highly displeased 
when Zulfiqar Khan's knees touched the royal throne while he- 
was bowing to- kiss the Emperor's- toe. The Khan was ordered 
to attend the court for three days with spectacles on as "he had 
forgotten the court etiquette due to long absence." 131 

The custom of performing taslim thrice continued without 
any change during the reigns of the later Mughals as is clearly 
borne out by the despatches of Johan Ketelaar, the Dutch 
ambassador to Shah Alara. 1232 * Whenever the ambassador 
received a present from the king, he would "turn his brow 
towards his tent in the Moorish, fashion and perform three 
s a lams." 133 

It is interesting to note here that Jharoka darshan or the 
practice of the king appearing before the public, which began 
during Akbar's time, became so popular that many Hindus would 
start day's work only after having a look at the auspicious face 
of the king. It was continued during the reign of Jahangir and 
Shahjahan but was given up by the orthodox Aurangzeb. 133 * 


1. See The Mirza-Nama of Mirza Kamran, English transla- 
tion by M 5 Hidayat Husain, J.R.A.S.B.', New Series, 
Vol. IX, 191 3, p. 5. " 

2. Macauliffe, I,p. 65 ; Y.H. Khan, N&am-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah, 
r, pp. 9, 144 ; Maasir, I, p. 723. 


3. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 280 ; Fryer (old 
p. 95. 

4. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 280 ; Storia,. II 
p. 39 ; Tavernier, II, p. 233. 

5. Ain, III, p. 38 L Ramayana ofTulsidas (Growse), p. 172 
Storia, III, p. 38. Jhanda, a carpenter of Bisiar (in ol 
Bushahir State) received Guru Nanak in his house, washe 
his feet and drank the water used for this purpos< 
Macauliffe, op. at., I, p. 93. 

6. Maasir, I, p. 127 ; M. Jan! Beg, the ruler of Sind, w; 
greatly displeased when Abul Fazl did not rise to recen 
him (Maasir* I, p. 127). Khan Jahan Lodhi used to ri: 
in honour of Fazil, Dewan of Deccan, but would n< 
do so for Asad who used to say : "He rises for a Moghi 
and does not rise for me who am a Saiyid." (Maasir, 
p. 270). 

7. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 280. 

8. Mandeislo, p. 27 ; Jahangir's India, p. 61. 

9. Tavernier, II, p. 233. 

10. Roe's Embassy, p. 65. 

11. Travels in India In the 17th Century, p. 280. Tavernier sa 
Mir Jumla sitting on a carpet and wrote that "People s 
in this country as in Turkey and as our tailors do. 
Tavernier, IT, p. 233. Various paintings of the peric 
depicting darbar scenes corroborate the above versioi 
Even see "A drinking party" (Plate 88, Vol. Ill, Chest* 
Beatty). Akbar is also seen sitting in the same postui 
with his legs underneath in the presence of Baba Bila 
(Plate 89, Vol. I, Chester Beatty). 

12. Jahangifs India, pp, 67-68 ; De Laet, p. 91 ; Mandelsb 
p. 64 ; Ornie's Fragments, p. 426. 

13. Ibid. 

14. Mandeislo, p. 64. 

15. Jahangir's India, p. 68. 

16. Tavernier had to offer presents worth about . 1,739 t 
the grandees including Shaista Khan, Jaffar Khan, chii 
treasurer, the stewards, the captains of the palace gate 
etc. Tavernier, I, pp. 106, 114, 115 (ed. 1925). Also refi 
to Sir William Norris at Masuiipatam, J.I.H., Vol. V 
1927, p. 59. The consul at Surat told Sir William Norr 


. - that not to speak of the nobles and others even the king 
himself "values nothing so much as a good sum of money 
paid into his treasury/' J.I.H., Vol. VI, 1927, p. 59. 

17. Sir William Norris at Masulipatam, J.I.H., Vol. -V, 
p. 211, 1926, and Vol. VF, 1927, p. 59. 

18. Roe was refused a chair in the court on the plea that "no 
man ever sat in that place" but he was -allowed, as a 
privilege, to recline against a pillar. Roe's Embassy, 
pp. 92-93. 

19. Bernier (ed. Constable), pp. 117-18. 

20. Storia, I, pp. 87-89. - '! 
21.. Bernier, pp. 119-20 ; I.N., I, 336-37 ; M.A. (Persian), 37 ; '! 

Roe's Embassy, pp. 295-297. Also see Sir Norris at 

Masulipatam, J.LH., Vol VI, p. 65. - ( 

22. T.A., II, (trans), p. 475. i 

.23. Maasir,I,p. 127. .- ( 

24. Ibid., p. 822. j 

25. Hamilton, I, p. 119 ; Fryer (old), pp.- 80-81 ; Tavernier, I, | 
p. 115 ; Thevenot, p. 100 ; Mandelslo, p. 33 ; Storia, II, | 
pp. 344, 52. Manucci writes that this habit was borrowed 

by the Indian kings from Persia. Storla, II, p. 52. T.A., [ 

II, pp. 263, 302, 325, 346-47. Also see extract from the !' 
"Letter Book of Thomas Pitt 1 ' (1699-1709), J.LH., Vol. 
XX, pt.- Ill, p. 315. 

26. Hamilton, I, p. 119. Geleynssen rightly observes : "Here [ 
(India) as in most parts of the world, the great men afe j 
eager for presents, firstly for the respect and recognition . f 
they imply (for they stand very strictly on their reputation) ! 
and secondly, for the gratificatian because most of them , 
are exceedingly covetous and avaricious. Geleynssen' s 

Report, trans., J.LH. Vol. Ill, Pts. Ill and IV, p. 80. j; 

Also Sarkar, Studies in Aurangzib's Reign, pp. 1 lO-Il. 

27. Tavernier, I, p. 114. j> 

28. Ibid. For Sir William Norris' presents to Nawab of 
Masulipatam refer to J.LH. 3 Vol., V, p. 219. 

29. Thevenot, op. cit., p. 100. / 

30. Despatches of Dutch Ambassador Ketelaar, J.P.H.S., 

Vol.1, p. 15. M 

? t 

31. Ibid. Also see extract from the "Letter Book of Thomas '' 


* Pitt" (16994709) by Dr. A.G. Pawar in J.I.H. 9 Vol. XX, 
PL 3, December 1941, p. 319. 

32. Mandelslo, p. 33. 

33. Thevenot, Chap, xxxviii op. cit., p. 100. Manrique men- 
tions how Tulsidas, a trader of Multan, received his gift. 
After kissing it a number of times, he touched it with his 
head thrice. Manrique, II, p. 224. 

34. Shahjahan honoured Afzal Khan with a visit. Maasir: I, 
p. 152. 

35. Ibid. 

36. Akbar visited Abul Path, the Sadr, during the latter' s 
illness. Maasir, F, p. 108. Aurangzeb called on Jaffar 
Khan to enquire about his health. Maasir, I, p. 723. 
Also see Y.H. .Khan, Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah, I, p. 9. 
Khan Khanan went to the house of Maulana Pir Muham- 
mad, his Vakili-Mutlaq, when the latter was ill. T.A., 
II, p. 230. 

37. Hawkins' Voyages (Hak. Soc.), p. 441. Also see Bernier, 
p. 266. 

38. Jahangir's India, p. 67 ; Mandelslo, p. 64 ; Orme's Frag- 
ments, pp. 427-29 ; De Laet, p. 91 ; Ovington, pp. 232, 

39. De Laet, p. 91. 

40. Mandelslo, p. 64 ; De Laet, p, 91 ; Ovington, p. 231. 
Also see Am, III (Sarkar), p. 8 ; Mirza-Nama, English 
Translation, M. Hidayat Husain, A.S.B. New Series, 
Vol. IX, 1913, p. 4, 

41. Orme's Fragments, p. 426. 

42. Storia, III, p. 39. Sannaysis and Brahmans were an 

43. Orme's Fragments, p. 426. 

44. Nieuhoff's Voyages, p. 222 ; Ornie's Fragments, pp. 432, 

45. W.G. Orr, A Sixteenth Century Indian Mystic : Dadu and 
His Followers, p. 35. Also see T.A., II, p. 46$. 

46. Sarkar, Anecdotes of Aurangzib, p. 118. 

47. B.N. (Beveridge), p. 466. 

48. A.N., I, p. 90 ; Jr., I, p. 231. Also see Badaoni, II, p. 64 ; 
Tr: II, p. 63. 

49. Sen, Travels of Thevenot and Careri, p. 219. 



50. Padshah Buranjis, Islamic Culture, January 1934, p, 71. 

51. Sarkar s Studies in Aurangzib's Reign, p. 74. 

52. Islamic Culture, April 1934, p. 91. 

53. Plate II, Indian Drawings, 'Shahjahan leaving for an 
expedition to Balkh in 1647 A.D.' and 'Jahangir receiving 
Prince Khnrram on his return from Deccan' (Plate XXIII, 
Catalogue of Indian Collections, Par! VI, Mughal Paint- 

Ibid. For a painting depicting Jahangir welcoming 
Shahjahan, refer to Percy Brown. Indian Paintings Under 
the Mughals, Plate LVIII, p. 150. 
Ain, I, (1939) pp. 168-69. 

Tavernier, I, pp. 114-15 ; Sir William Norris at Masuli- 
patam, J.I.H., Vol. VI, 1927, p. 59. 
56*. Ali, M. Athar, Mughal Nobility Under Aurangzeb, p. 138. 



56+ Ibid. 

57. Abdur Rahim was allowed to sit in the darbar by Jahangir 
and a little later by Shahjahan. For details see Tuzuk, 
p. 416 ; Badshahnama, I, i, p. 194 quoted in Thrones* 
Chairs and Seats used by the Indian Mughals by Abdul 
Aziz, p. 182 ; Ovington, p. 194. 

58. This honour was conferred on Prince Khurram after his 
return from a victorious campaign in the Deccau. Tuzuk, 
p. 195 ; R. & B., I, 395. Dara Shukoh was allowed to sit 
in the darbar on the Nauroz festival in 1060 A.H. 
Badshahnama, III, p. 108a, vide Abdul Aziz, op. at., p. 183. 

59. Roe's Embassy, Foster, 1926, p. 71. 

60. Early Travels, p. 115 ; Manrique (Hak. Soc.), pp. 192-98 ; 
Petermundy, II ( Hak. Soc.), p. 200 ; Roe's Embassy, p. 93 ; 
A.N., I, p. 358 ; M.A., pp. 88, 128. 

61. Storia, II, p. 346. 

62. Ibid. 

63. Storia, II, p. 401. 

64. Linschoten, II, p. 67. Monserrate (p. 204) praises the 
courtesy and kindness shown by Akbar towards foreigners 
and ambassadors. 

65. A.N., II, p. 364 ; Jr., II, p. 529. 

66. Referring to the assemblies usually held in the Diwan 
Khana of a noble, Pelsaert writes : "It is more like a 



school of wise and virtuous philosophers than a gathering 
of false infidels." Pelsaert, Jahangir's India, p. 67. Also 

refer to Orme's Fragments, 431. 
67. Orme's Fragments, p. 426. Mandelslo, p. 64 ; Ovmgton, 

275 313- This was considered one of the main tenets 
of Mirza. Mirza-Nama, English trans, in J.A S.B., N.S. 

India, p. 67. See Plate 79 (b), Vol. Ill, 


of the Library of Chester Beatty for "A saint conversing 

with a young noble. 1 

69. Linschoten, II, p. 56 ; Jahangir's India, p. 67 ; Mandelslo, 

p. 64. 

70. Jahangir's India, p. 67. 

71 ' Orme's Fragments, pp. 428, 432 ; Ovmgton, .p. 275. 

72 Ovington, p. 275. "Banias are most innocent and obse- 
quious, humble .... "/Wd. 

73 Orme's Fragments, p. 427. 

74 Thevenot, Chap, xxxviii, p. 72 ; Ovington, p. 275. 

75* -Sen, -op. cit., p. 205 ; Mandelslo, p. 33 ; Storia, I, p. 63 ; 
Pieter Van Den Brocke at Surat (1620-29), translation in 
JLH. Vol. XL It is oifered as a glass of wine among 
Europeans. Grose, op. cit., I, p. 237. Mir Jumla enter- 
tained Tavernier and his party with betels. Tavernier, I, 
239 ; Y.H- Khan, Nizam-ul-Mulk AsafJah, I, p. 144 ; 
History of East Indies, p. 364. 

76. Linschoten, II, p. 64 ; Grose, op. cit., I, p. 237. 

77. Feterinundy, II, p. 97 ; Storia, I, p. 63 ; Linschoten, II, 
p. 68 ; Sen, op. cit., p. 205 ; Travels of Pedro Teixeira, 
p 200. According to the latter traveller it was served 
twice on the arrival of a guest and at the time of his 

78. Beraier, p. 13 ; Linschoteii, II, P- 68 ; M.A. (Taiab), 
p. 199 refers to the offering of three biros of pan by 
Aurangzeb to Sikandar Adil. Also see T.A., II (trans.), 
p. 371 ; Travels of Pedro Teixeira, p. 200. Pieter Van Den 
Brocke at Surat (trans.), W.H. Moreland, J.I.H. Vol. XI, 

1932, p. 4. 

79. T.A., p. 263 ; India in the 15th Century, p 31. 

80. Alberuni refers to it when he writes : "In shaking hands 
they grasp the hand of a man from the convex 


. Alberuni (Sachau), Vol. II, p. 182. Nizam-ud-din refers 
to It in Mughal times. Bairam Khan was killed by a 
Nuhani Afghan, when the former was shaking hands with 
the latter. 

81. For various modes of Hindu salutations refer to Bulletin 
of the School of Oriental Studies, Vol. VI, (1930-32), 


82. Storia, III, pp. 37-38. . : .. 

83. Name of a Hindu avatar, Lord Rama, the hero of the 
Ramayana. P. Thomas, Hindu Religion, Customs and 

, . Manners* p. 80. 

84. First Englishmen in India, p. 105; Thevenot, Chap. 
XKXvii, p. 65 ; Herbert's Travels p. 45. 

85. Namaste meaning "greeting to you" is the modern epithet I 
for the same,. "The Maratha Poet-Saint Dasopant Digam- 

ber" by Justice E. Abbot, Journal American Oriental 
Society, Vol. 42, pp. 268 and 278. There is a reference 
to Sashtanga Namaskara, Ibid., p. 278. See Thomas, 
op. cit., p. 80 ; Dubois, Hindu Manners and Customs, 
Vol. I, pp. 329-30 ; Baboo Ishuree Dass, Domestic 
Manners and Customs of the Hindoos of Northern India, 
p. 131. 

86. Storia, III, p. 38 ; Early Travels, p. 19 ; De Laet, p.. 81. 

87. Storia, III, p. 38 ; Thevenot, Chap, xxxvii, p. 65. 

88. Ovington, pp. 183-84 ; De Laet, p. 81. For Dasopant 
Digamber, the Maratha poet, prostrating before his mother, 
refer to Journal American Oriental Society > Vol. 42, p. 268. 
Thomas, op. cit., p. 80 ; Ishuree Dass, Domestic Manners 
and Customs of the Hindoos, pp. 130-31. 

89. Storia, III, p. 38 ; Bartolomeo, p. 161 ; Bhakta Lilanirita, 
J.R.A.S., Bombay Branch, Vol. Ill, p. 127. For a disciple 
prostrating before his Guru see Plate XII, Indian Drawings 
by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. 

90. Storia, III, p. 38. 

91. Ibid. Bulletin of School of Oriential and African Studies, 
Vol. XII (1948), p. 627. Ramesvar Bhatt of Wagholi, 
we are told in Bhakta Lilamrita, felt his whole body 
burning due to a curse from a Muslim fakir. He was 
advised to ask for the fakir's forgiveness. He reply, how- 



ever, was : "How can I. a Brahman, fall at a Musalmairs 
feet ?" J.R-A S. Bombay Branch Vol. Ill, p. 22. 

92. Storia, III, p. 38 ; Nieuhoff's Voyages, p. 222 ; Orme's 
Fragments, pp. 432-34 ; Bartolomeo, p. 160, Brahrnans 
would then bless him. For an earlier reference see Bulletin 
of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. XII, 
p. 627, "Gardizi on India." 

93. Storia, III, p. 38. 

94. Macauliffe, Sikh Religion, Vol. I, p. 49. 
'95. r.^.,II,p- 193 (Trans.). 

96. Sarkar, Mughal Administration, p. 138 ; Hughes' Dictionary 
' of Islam, p. 563; Crooke's Islam in India, p. 186. It 

means "Peace be on you." 

97. " And on you be the peace, too. " 

98 T.A., II, p. *92 (trans.)- Also see Macauliffe, I, pp. 52-53. 
99. Sarkar, Mughal Administration, p. 138. 

100. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 181 ; Sen, Travels 
ofThevenot and Careri, p. 247 ; Ovington, pp, 183-84; 
Jahangifs India, p. 67 ; De Laet, p. 91 . This custom of 
lifting the hand to head or any motion of the body in 
salutation is not in accordance with the tradition. 
Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 563. 

101. Mandelslo, p. 64. 
102- De Laei, p 81. 

103 Mandelslo, p. 64 ; De Laet, p. 91 ; Jahangir's India, 

p. 67. 

104. Ovington, pp. 183-84 ; De Laet, p. 91 ; Jahangir's India, 
p. 67 ; Storia, III, p. 37. 

105. Jahangir's India, p. 67. 

106. Ovington, p. 195. 

107. Tavernier, I, p. 234. 

108. Storia, II, p- 354. 

109. Whenever a picture of the king was brought, the noble 
would leave his seat and bow down in all reverence. Pad- 
shah-Buranjis, trans, in Islamic Culture, April, 1934, p, 434. 

110. As to its beginning Akbar is said to have related to Abul 
Fazl as follows ; "One day my royal father bestowed upon 
me one of his own caps which I put on. Because the cap 
of the king was rather large, 1 had to hold it with my 
(right) hand whilst bending my head downwards and thus 


performed the manner of salutation (kornish) above des- 
cribed. The king was pleased with the new method and 
from his feeling of propriety, ordered this to be the mode 
of kornish and taslim" Am, I, p. 167. 

111. Ain, I, p. 166. According to Abul Fazl the saluter thus 
places himself at the complete disposal of the king. He 
writes : ''His Majesty's sons and grandchildren, the gran- 
dees of the court and all other men who have admittance 
attend to make the kornish" Ain, I, p. 166. 

112. Lit, the act of praying for peace. (Hughes' Dic- 
tionary, p. 563). It is also the benediction at the close of 
the usual form of prayer (Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, 
p. 628). Also see Bernier, p. 214; Darbar-i-Akbari,p. 132. 
Akbar is said to have originated this mode of salutation. 
In other Muslim countries the mode of salutation 
consisted in folding the arms over the breast and then 
bending the head. Ain, I, p. 158 ; Sarkar, Mughal 
Administration, p. 138. 

113. Ain, I (1939), p. 167. It signified, according to Abul Fazl, 
that the person is ready to give himself as an offering. 
Delia Valle also refers to it. Delia Vaile, I, p. 38 ; Maasir, 
I, p. 585. 

114. Ovington, pp. 183-84. 

115. Delia Valle, I, p. 38. 

116. B.N. 9 p. 641. 

117. Ain, I (1939), p. 167. Maasir, 1, p. 586. Bernier relates 
how every noble on guard used to perform taslim thrice on 
receiving the meals supplied by the royal kitchen. Bernier, 
p. 258 ; Sen, op. cit,, p. 243. 

118. Ovington, pp. 183-84. 

119. T.A., II, p. 477 ; Maasir, }, p 570. 

120. Sarkar, Mughal Administration, p. 137. 

121. M.A., pp. 98, 272, quoted in Ibid. 

122. Lit. prostration. '"'As a religious observance the prostra- 
tion is ... on the forehead, the two hands, the two knees 
and the toes of both feet. Women must touch the ground 
with the elbows, men on the contrary must keep the 
elbows up." Badacni, I (trans.)* P- 612, f -D . 3. 

123. Ain, I (1939), p. 167, f.n. 1, It was invented by Nizam 



of Badakshan. Ibid., p. 487 ; Maasir, I, p. 585. 

124. ^/7i,I (1939), p. 167. Aziz Koka hated this custom am 
was reluctant to attend the court. Maasir, I, p. 325. Als< 
see Chester Beatty, Vol. II, Plate 26 f. 157b, "Akbarreceiv 
ing homages of nobles of Gujarat. One of the noblei 
prostrates before him." 

125. Ibid; Maasir, I, p. 586. 

126. Lubb-ut-Tawarikh of Rai Bhara Mai. E & D, VII, p. 170 
Darbar-i-Akbari, p. 133. It was observed at the court o 
Siraj-ud-daulah even in 1757. Refer to J.R.A.S., Bomba] 
Branch, Vol. XXIV, p. 324. Anquetil Du Perron of Paris 
India as seen by him (1755-60) by Shams-ul-Ufma Jivanj 
Jamshedji Modi. 

127. Ibid. Maasir, I, p. 586, says that taslim was ordered to be 
observed four times. Rai Bhara Mai of Lubb-ut-Tawarikh 
i-Hind says this act was ordered to be performed several 
times. E & D, Vol. VII, p. 170. 

128. Bernier, pp. 117, 204. 

129. Bernier, p. 152. 

130. M.A. (Urdu), p. 98. 

131. Sarkar, Anecdotes of Aurangzib, p w 75. 

132. Despatches of John Josua Ketelaar, Ambassador of Dutch 
East India Company, translated Into English in Journal oj 
the Punjab Historical Society, Vol. X, pp. 14, 16. 

133. -Ibid., p. 18. 

133*.Khafi Khan, Vol. II, p. 213 ; Tuzuk, III, p. 45 ; Guldasta, 
Munshi Chandra Bhan, p. 4 ; Sharma, S.R., Religious 
Policy of the Mughals, p. 43. 


Charity and Fasts 


A virtue of both communities 

Charity 1 has been enjoined upon their followers by the 
religious scriptures of both the communities. 2 Rig- Veda says: "He 
who gives charity goes to the highest place in heaven." Mann* 
and Prophet Muhammad 4 lay down definite rules to be followed 
for acquiring this religious merit. The grant of precious metals, 
especially gold and silver, estates, buildings, and cows is 
considered highly meritorious among Hindus. 5 Zakat, the 
annual legal alms* of five things, viz., money, cattle, grain, 
fruit and merchandise, is obligatory on every Muslim. 7 The 
building of temples 8 and mosques 9 had its own merit among 
Hindus and Muslims respectively. 

People seem to have been more charitable of disposition in 
Mughal days than in the twentieth century. Abul Fazl admires 
the Indians who were always ready to come to the succour of 
anyone in distress and would "grudge neither property, life nor 
reputation in his cause/' 10 Alms were frequently bestowed on 
the needy and the deserving. Mirat-i-Ahmadi says : "Let 
them be charitable, according to their means, to all religious 
mendicants, and to all poor, indigent, and naked persons who 
will not open their mouths to ask for the means of subsistence 
and have secluded themselves from the world/ ' u Guru Nanak 
said : **The wealth of those who have not given alms shall 
slip away/' 12 Though no hard and fast rules were adhered, to, 
Hindus preferred to give away edibles like rice, wheat, etc. 
in charity, 13 while Muslims believed in offering garments, 
blankets, sheets, and shoes, 14 ... 


Liberality of the Hindus 

The liberality of the Hindus has particularly been cc 
mended by several travellers 15 including Alberuni who menti 
alms-giving as the daily routine of a Hindu 16 "who stron 
believed that such acts would atone for all his sins." 17 Taverr 
corroborates : "They would gladly offer to the travellers wh 
ever they required anything to eat or drink." 18 Guru Nana 
travels afford several instances. 19 Brahmans, the usual recipie 
of such alms, were never refused. 20 Even Tukaram did i 
hesitate to part with his hard-earned money when demanded 
a Brahman. 21 Most of the alms-houses were attached 
temples and they catered to the needs of the pilgrims and ne< 
scholars. In fact, villages had been endowed for the purpose 
Rajas and other rich persons. 21 * Money was also offered 
the needy and the deserving. 22 Monthly allowances were fc 
for widows, the pious and the needy. 23 

Abul Fazl used to visit the houses of the derveshes at ai 
to distribute money. 24 Sometimes an ascetic oifaqir undertc 
a fast unto death to compel a rich bania or a pious audie: 
to give him a fixed sum of money, 25 or even to accede to so 
other demand. 26 When on a pilgrimage, it was customary 
give as much money in aims as possible. 27 

Charity by Mughal Mugs 

Mughal kings were very particular in giving away a ia 
sum of money in charity. Akbar had fixed daily, monthly 2 
yearly allowances for the deserving. 28 Abul Fazl writes that 
crore of dams was kept ready in the audience hall for distrii 
tion among the poor and the needy. 29 Haji Begam, wife 
Humayun, is said to have paid maintenance allowance to ab< 
five hundred needy persons. 29 * Nurjahan helped the poor 2 
orphan girls by providing dowries for their marriages. S9 * Moi 
and bread were freely distributed to the poor on the fulfilm 
of a desire such as the birth of a son. 30 Jahanara distribu 
fifty thousand rupees to the poor on the recovery from illn 
of her father Shahjahan. 30 * Festivals like Nauroz? 1 Salgirat 
Ids?* Shab-i-Barat^ etc. were the special occasions for a k 
to show his generosity, and Mughal emperors were never feu 

Charity was also resorted to in order to avert the evil effe 


of the stars, especially on eclipse days. 33 On his death-bed, 
Aurangzeb refused to give an elephant and a diamond in 
charity as desired by the astrologers, as he considered it to be a 
practice of the Hindus. The Emperor, however, sent Rs. 4,000 
to be distributed among the poor. 36 In his last will he wrote 
that the three hundred and five rupees earned by him as wages 
from copying the Quran might be distributed among the 
faqirs on the day of his death. 37 Akbar, on the other 
hand, is said to have given to the Jain monks 500 cows in 
charity after his recovery from' serious illness. 38 The 
custom of Zakat, it seems, was not observed by the majority 
of Muhammadans, who would try their best to avoid it 
Badaoni relates the instance of Makhdum-ul-Mulk who made 
over his property to his wife at the end of the year for this 
purpose and took it back. 39 

Provision of drinking-water fey the roadside 

Hindus and Muslims, the former in particular, considered it 
highly meritorious to make arrangements for drinking-water on 
roadways especially during the summer season. 40 Linschoten 
found large water-pots left on the roads in Cambay for this 
purpose. 41 The rich would spend huge amounts of money to 
dig wells 42 and construct tanks 43 for storing water to be availed 
of during times of scarcity. Jahangir in the 14th year of his 
reign ordered that wells should be dug at every three kroh 
(12,000 yards) from Agra to Delhi. 44 Jahangir's mother, 
known as Maryam-uz-Zamani, built a baoli or step-well in the 
pargana of Jasut. A sum of Rs. 20,000 was spent on its 
construction. 44 * Bernier 45 and Thevenot 46 refer to the existence 
of these wells. Gopi Talao in Surat has been referred to by 
many a traveller. 47 Thevenot writes about it thus : "It is a 
work worthy of a king and it may be compared to the fairest 
that the Romans ever made for public benefit." 48 

Provision of wayside rest-houses 

The Brahman wife of Abdur Rahim of Lucknow built 
houses, made a garden, a sarai and a tank after her husband's 
demise. 49 Rai . Gaurdhan Suraj Dhwaj, who flourished during 
the reign of Jahangir, is said to have built sarais and tanks on 
the road from Delhi to Lahore. 50 Sarais or inns were also 


constructed by rich Hindus and Muslims as a charitable mea 
at all important places for the convenience of travellers. 51 5 
Shah's sarais, 52 Salim Khan's later additions, 53 Nurjah 
Nur Mahal-ki-Sarai at Agra 54 and a similar one at Patna 55 
Begam Sahib's famous caravan-sami at Kirki 56 deserve sp 
mention. The famous Arab Saraf was built by Haji Beg 
wife of Humayun. It was meant to serve as a resting-place 
Arab travellers and merchants. 56A There is evidence to si 
that Sher Shah constructed or repaired about 1700 sarau 
Akbar issued orders to kotwals to build sarais when 
necessary. 560 Arrangements for drinking-water were also IT 
at regular intervals. For example, wells were dug on A: 
Ajmer road. 560 Zinat-un-Nisa Begam is said to have built at 
fourteen sarais in different parts of the country. 665 Fruit-t 
were planted on roadsides for the benefit of the public. 57 
order to earn spiritual merit the pious people got small j 
forms, about 3 yards in length, constructed near these sara 
These were meant to help weary porters to put off and take 
the luggage conveniently without anybody's help. 59 Rudolf 
two other Christian fathers saw such stone-tables at aln 
every step after crossing the Tapti River on their way to 
court of the Great Mughal 60 Two poor houses were cc 
tructed by Akbar in 1583 A.D. 61 Jahangir ordered the prep; 
tion of ghawar khanas throughout the length and breadtl 
this country. Cooked food WHS to be kept ready for dervesi 
devotees and pilgrims in these places. 6 ' 2 The author of 
Maasir-ul-Umra praises Farid Murtuza KhanBukhari,a cour 
of Akbar, for his magnanimity. Several sarais and mosq 
are ascribed to him. He had made it a custom to feed < 
thousand persons daily. 63 Husain Ali Khan's bulghur kha 
(barley-houses) where he served the shaikhs and faqirs person? 
were well-known. 64 Similarly Bakhtawar Khan, a noble 
Aurangzeb's court, built a number of inns, bridges, we 
tanks, and mosques. Shaista Khan and Mir Jumla built 
number of inns or rest-houses and bridges. 64 * During the ac 
famine conditions in Kambhalmir, Nawazish Khan \ 
generous enough to sell his dishes of gold and silver for help 
the people. 65 


Charity to birds and beasts 

Strict believers in the transmigration of souls, 66 the Hindus 
were particularly charitable towards birds and beasts 67 
Hospitals were constructed at some places, especially in southern 
India, 85 for (heir treatment and maintenance. Manrique saw 
cows and calves "clothed in fine coats buttoned and tied over 
their chests and bellies" in Gujarat. 69 Quite frequently a bania 
would be seen scattering flour and sugar to feed little ants. 70 
Stables for cows, buffaloes, mares, camels, goats and sheep were 
also built by munificent persons. Rai Gaurdhan, who got them 
constructed on the style of those in a foreign land, deserves 
special mention. 71 

Hospitals for the public 

Public hospitals, too, are referred to in Mughal records. 
Jahangir 72 ordered their establishment in the principal towns 
of the Empire where physicians were to attend upon the sick. 
All the expenses were to be defrayed from the royal 
exchequer. Mirat-i-AhmadF* gives some details about their 
working. 74 

QtaritafeSe funds of the slate 

We may refer here to Bait-ul-mal 7 * which was in fact the 

charitable department's store-house. It looked after the belong- x 
ings of those left without heirs and escheated property of the 
nobles. 76 Its funds, according to Muhammadan law, could 
be spent only in works of charity. Jahangir's farman of 1605 
clearly laid it down that its funds should be spent in building 
mosques arid sarais, repairing broken bridges and digging 
tanks and wells,. 77 Aurangzeb refused to lay his hands upon 
this source even when his treasury had been emptied during 
the Deccan wars. 78 He made elaborate arrangements for the 
proper conduct of this department. 79 The Qazi of Ahmedabad 
was instructed to supply 150 coats and 150 blankets to 
beggars every winter out of this account besides Rs. 6,000 
allotted for the clothing of the poor. 80 The Emperor 
(Aurangzeb) in his religious zeal went to the length of pardon- 
ing Mir Habibullah of Jaunpurj the Amir of poll-tax on non- 
Muslims, who had misappropriated over Rs, 40,000 from the 
Imperial treasury as "the money of this sharer (Aurangzeb) 


sunk in sin has been spent by means of this my agent in 
of charity." 81 

'Charity in' holy places 

Among Muhammadans it was considered meritoric 
spend money in charity at their holy places like Mecca, M 
Mesliad, etc. There are numerous instances when the IV 
kings 82 and their nobles 83 would send money besides c 
blankets, etc. to be distributed among the needy there. 84 
^Koka was liberal enough to undertake to bear the cost 
maintenance of the tomb of the Prophet for fifty years. 85 1 
Haji Mohammad Anwar-ud-din Khan 86 distributed nine 
of rupees among "the great men and the gentle" of holy ] 
Sahibji, 'the wife of Amir Khan, also spent large si 
Mecca. 87 Lashkar Khan, a noble of Aurangzeb's court, f< 
- sarais in Meshad. 88 

. . FASTS 


Fasts among Hindus 

From ancient times fasts have been observed with r< 
fervour in the Indian society. 89 The purposes of fas 
a. religious, magical or social custom are various. As 
of penitence 90 or of propitiation, as a preparatory rite 
some acts of sacramental eating or an initiation or a m< 
ceremony or one of a series of purifactory rites., 91 as a mi 
inducing dreams and visions and a method of adding f< 
magical rites, 92 it has has been resorted to by both comm 
Alberuni describes at length this custom which he dec 
be "voluntary and supererogatoy" with the Hindus. 93 
Fazl has written about its 12 different kinds, and enu: 
29 days on which a Hindu was obliged to fast for 24 
every year. 94 It includes the anniversaries of the ten av\ 
well as the eleventh day of each lunar fortnight oi 

month. 95 

Besides these o bligatory fasts, most Hindus abstain* 
food frequently as a means of self-discipline 96 and on 1 
grounds. 97 Thevenot corroborates it, though with 
exaggeration, that "none of them let a fortnight pa 
without mortifying himself by abstinence." 98 They 


even resort to this practice to cure several diseases." la fact, 
a fast or even the practice of austerity in life was considered 
to be of religious merit. 100 Brahmans 101 and women 102 were 
naturally more particular about it. These fasts might be 
complete or partial and for a longer or shorter period, 103 in the 
case of either category of people The longer fasts might last 
for a month 104 or even six weeks which Mandelslo rightly 
regards as nothing less than a miracle. 105 It was usual to take 
water sometimes mixed with chiraeta 1 ** 5 on all these fast days. 
Fruits, sweetmeats and milk preparations were allowed to be 
taken during certain obligatory fasts. 107 The curious reader 
may refer to the Ain-i-Akbari for a contemporary account ot 
all the details. 108 It was forbidden to take meat, pulse (ados 
cicerlens), the bean lobiya (dobchos sinesis), honey and molasses 
during the fast days. 109 It was equally objectionable to anoint 
oneself with oil, to shave or to have sexual intercourse. 110 The 
playing of games like chaupar or solah, was also prohi- 
bited. 311 It was considered highly meritorious to give alms and 
sleep on the ground on fast days. 11 - 

Fasts among Muslims 

Though Islam is not an ascetic religion, the value of fasting 
as discipline and a good deed is clearly recognised and it is said 
that **the very smell of the mouth of a keeper of fast is more 
agreeable to God than the smell of musk." 113 Penitential 
fasting was highly commended by Prophet Muhammad him- 
self. 114 Every Muslim is obliged to fast during the whole month 
of Ramzan 115 when none may eat or drink between dawn and 
sunset. 119 The fast was rigorously and strictly observed during 
Mughal days. 117 They would neither drink nor smoke nor 
have sexual intercourse. 118 The orthodox prayed day and 
night. 119 The sick, infirm, travellers, idiots, and young children 
were, however, exempted. 120 In 1650 A.D., when Shahjahan 
was over sixty and could not bear the rigours of the Ramzan 
fast, learned maulavis declared after consulting the Quran that 
the king should give money in charity instead. A sum of 
sixty thousand rupees was distributed among the poor that 
year. 121 Akbar was not used to fasting, as a remark of a 
Christian missionary, Rudolf, suggests. 122 Aurangzeb strictly 
observed ail the fasts and would abstain from food even oa 


Fridays. 123 A fast was sometimes undertaken to give solemnity 
to an occasion. Humayun fastecl for a day when oaths of 
confederacies were taken. 124 


1. It implies aims-giving as well as kindness and affection. 
Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 50. 

2. Hindus and Muslims. 

3. E.R E. op. cit., Ill, p 388. A chapter of Skanda Parana 
and the second part of Hemadri deal with the rules for 
aims-giving. Abul Fazl enumerates 16 kinds of dana or 
alms, viz , Tula-dar.a. Hiranyagarbha-dana, Brahmanda- 
dana, Kalpa-tani-dana, Go-Sahasra-dawa, Hiranya-Kama- 
dhenu-dana, Hiranyasva-dana, Hiranyasva-raiha-dana, He- 
mahashti-ratha-dana, Panchalcngala-dana, Dhara-dana, 
Visva-chakm-dana, Kalpalaia-dana, Sapta-sagara-dana, 
Ratna-dhenu-dana, Mahabuta-ghata-dana. For details refer 

to Ain, III (Sarkar), pp. 305-7 and E.R.E., III, pp. 387-89 
(under Charity). 

4. E.R.E, V., p, 502 ; Hughes, op. ell., pp. 14, 50, 699; 
Baiilie NBE, A Digest of Muhammadan Law, 2nd edition, 
London, 1875, p. 555. Herklots' Islam in India, pp, 113- 

5. The mahadana (great gifts) are sixteen in number, E R.E., 
III, p. 389. Phillips in his "An Account of the Religion, 
Manners and Learning of the People of Malabar" details 
the various acts regarded as virtuous by the natives. It 

includes "alms consisting of boiled rice to feed the poor, 
the Brahmans, other holy men (or alms consisting in 
garments), Kamatanitm (when a rich man gives his daughter 
to a poor man or helps a poor man to settle his daughter 
in marriage), Fischoranatanum (alms consisting of money) 
to build places of worship, to make ponds of water 
for the convenience of men and beasts, to build homes for 
travellers, to build hospitals, to plant gardens, to set up 
piaos for drinking-water, to plant trees on the high- 
ways and to bring up orphans, and assist learned men 
to live comfortably that they may be able to instruct the 


ignorant/' (pp. 18-19). Also see _ Orme's Fragments, 
p. 434. 

6. For details see Herkiots' Islam, pp. 113-14; E.R.E., 
V, p. 502. Legal alms may be given to the following 
classes of pilgrims who are unable to defray the cost of 
their journey ifaqirs and beggars, debtors unable to pay 
their debts, champions in the cause of God, travellers who 
are without food, proselytes to Islam. Herklot's Islam, 
p. 114, 

7. The duty is not incumbent oa a man who owes debts 
equal to or exceeding the whole amount of his property 
nor is it due on the necessaries of life such as dwelling 
houses, clothes, furniture, etc. Herkiots' Islam, p. 114. 

8. Maasir, I, p. 526 ; Orme's Fragments, p. 434. Even 
Marathas levied special occasional contributions to build 
public works like temples. Raghubir Singh, Malwa in 
Transition, p. 332. 

9. Maasir, I, pp. 423-25, for a mosque built during Babar's 
reign refer to J.L&. Vol. XI, pp. 190-91. ForMahabat 
Khan's mosque at Peshawar, Islamic Culture, Vol. XIV, 
No. 1, January 1940, pp. 30-32. Also see Oriental College 
Magazine, Lahore, Vol. 16, Pt. I, November 1939, pp. 59- 
60. For mosque built by Jahanara Begani at Kashmir 
refer to P. Saran's Provincial Government of the Mughals* 
p. 418 ; Phillips 1 Account of East Indies, pp. 18-19. 

10.. Ain 9 III, p. 9. 

11. Mirat-i-Ahmadi, translated from Persian by James Bird, 

12. Macauliffe, op. cit. 9 I, p. 14. 

13. Delia Valle, p. 69 ; Travernier, I, p. 225 ; Thevenot, 
p. 93 ; Phillips' Account of East Indies, pp. 18-19 ; Macau- 
liffe, I, pp. 14, 206. Orme's Fragments, p. 434. 

14. Maasir, 1 9 pp. 525, 693, etc. It was the general practice 
but should not be taken as a rule. During the Deccan 
campaigns Abul Fazl used to distribute cooked khichri 
among the poor and the needy throughout the day. 
Maasir, I, p. 127. 

15. Tavernier, I, p. 225 ; Delia Valle, I, p. 69 ; Thevenot, 
p. 93 ; Orme's Fragments, p. 431. 


16.- Alberuni's India, II (Sachau), p. 149 ; Orme's Fragments, 
p. 434. 

17. Orme's Fragments, p. 431. 

18. Tavernier, I, p. 225. Also see J.R.A.S. Bombay, Vol. HI, 
! p. 18. 

19. Guru Nanak and Shaikh Ibrahim were served with a basin 
of milk by an unknown villager in Pak Pattan where they 
stayed for a while. Macauliffe, I, p. 88. 

20. Asiatick Researches. Vol. IV, p. 332. 

21. J.R.A.S., Bombay Branch, Vol. Ill, pp. 16, 23. 

21.* Refer to Mazumdar, B.P , The Socio-Econornic History of 
North India, pp. 262-63. 

22. Tavernier, I, p. 52. 

23 r . Maasir, I, p. 526. Even marriage expenses of the poor 
children were defrayed. Ibid. 

24. Maasir, I, p. 126. 

25. Tavernier, II, p. 173 relates how a Brahman priest at 
Patna demanded Rs. 2,000 and 27 cubits of cloth under a 
similar threat. Also see Thevenot, p. 93. Even Muslim 
mendicants obtained alms from Hindus by resorting to 
this practice. M.S. Commissariat, History of Gujarat. 
For the Hindu custom of "Dying to redress a grievance" 
refer to Journal of American Oriental Society, Vol. 21. 

-26 Asiatick Researches, Vol. IV, pp. 332, 334. Sometimes 
Brahmans. were employed even for realising the debts by 
calling upon the debtor to discharge his debt within a 
stipulated period. 

27. Storia, II, p. 244 ; Ramayana ofTulsidas (Growse), p. 272. 

28. Ain, I (1939), p. 276. For Gulbadan's charities refer to 
her Hwnayunnama, trans., pp. 16-11. 

'29. Ain, I, p. 14. A separate treasurer had been appointed 
for charitable donations. Ibid. Also see Ain, I (1939), 
p. 276. 

29.* Monserrate, p. 96. 

29. + 'E & D, VI, p. 405. Also see Beni Prasad, p. 185. 
' 29.-Qazwini, Badshahnama, Vol. Ill, f. 572. 

30. See Plate 21, "The Library of Chester Beatty," Vol. II. 

31. P.N. Chopra, Society and Culture during the Mughal Age, 
second edition, 1963, pp. 84-89. 

32. Ibid., pp. 89-93. 



33. Ibid., pp. 103-61. 

34. Ibid., p. 102. 

35. R & B, I,- pp. 160, 267. When Begam Sahiba was con- 
fined to bed due to burns, various charitable measures were 
adopted. Prisoners were released ; debts were remitted ; 
maintenance allowances were restored. Maasir, Vol. I, 
p. 739. Also see Journal Punjab Historical Society, Vol. 
X, p. 4. 

36. E & D, VII, p. 386. Also see M.A. (Urdu), p. 28. 

37. Sarkar, Anecdotes of Aurangzib, p. 46. 

38. A.N. Vol. Ill (trans), p. 313, quoted in A.L. Srivastava, 
Akbar the Great, Vol. I, p. 398. 

39. Badaoni, II, p. 203 ; Tr. II, p. 206. 

40. Early Travels, p. 325 ; Storia, I, p. 214 ; Linschoten, I, 
p. 254 ; Ketelaar, the Dutch ambassador in 1711 saw a 
baoh or step-well built at Shazpur in Gwalior state 
in memory of a dog by a Hindu merchant. Travels of 
Dutch Ambassador Ketelaar, trans, into English in Punjab 
Historical Society Journal, Vol. X, p. 85. Phillips' Account, 
op. dt: 9 pp. 18-19. 

Linschoten, I, p. 254. Also see Tavernier, I, p. 225. 
Early Travels, p. 325 ; Thevenot, Chapter XXXIV, p. 81, 
and Francis Goldie, The First Christian Mission to the 
Great Mogul, p. 60. 

Delia Valle, I, p. 32 ; Linschoten, I, 254 ; Storia, III, 
p. 242. For a pond built by .Raja Todar Mai refer to 
A.N. III, p. 569 ; Tr. Ill, p. 862. 

R & B, II, p. 100. A well ascribed to Humayun's reign 
has been discovered in a village called Pilakhnab about 14 
miles from Aligarh. For details refer to J.I.H. Vol. XI, 
pp. 190-91. For a well built by a copper-smith from the 
money he received in chanty refer to J.R.A.S., Bombay, 
Vol. Ill, p. 16. 
44.*R&B, II, p. 111. 

45. Bernier (Smith's edition), p. 284. 

46. Thevenot, III, pp. 42-43. 

47. Delia Valle, I, p. 32 ; Thevenot, p. 34 ; Fryer (old), 
p. 104 ; T.A., II (trans.), p. 384 ; Anup Talao has also 
been referred to vide Babarnama, II, Tr., pp. 204, 212, 

. 219 and the A.M., Ill, p. 246 ; Tr, III, p 384 ; Jahangir 






mentions a similar tank called Kapur Talao ; Tuzuk\ Tr., 
II, pp. 68-69 For controversy regarding the site of the tank 
- see- Hodivala's Studies in Irido- Muslim History, pp. 533, 

48. For details see Thevenot, pp. 25, 35. For the construc- 
tion of a great bath at Lahore by Farid Murtaza Khan, 
Akbar's courtier, see Maasir,.!, p. 526. 

49. Haasir, I (trans), p. 50. For reference to sarais, tanks, 
mosques, etc. built by Shaikh Farid see Maasir, I, p. 525. 

50. Maasir, I, p. 574. For another tank built by Raja Bir 
Singh Dev Bundela, see Ibid. y pp. 423-25. 

51. Thevenot, Chap, xxxiv, p. 81 ; Storia, III, p. 242 ; 
Bernier, p, 233 ; Gareri (Sen 5 op. cit.) 9 p. 246 ; Early 
Travels, p. 325 ; John Marshall in India, pp. 112, I 18, 125. 
He says that one can stay in a sarai for a month at 
the rate of 4 or 5 pice per month, p. 118. Edward Terry 
in Early Travels, p. 31! ; De Laet, p. 32. Also J.I.H.> 
Vol. X, 1931, p. 245. 

52. T.A., II, pp. 174-75. For details see K.R. Qanungo, 
Sher Shah, pp. 389-91. E & D, VI, p. 188 ; IV, p. 418. 
P. Saxon's Provincial Government of the Mughals, p. 410. 
Also see Storia, I, p. 116 

53. T.A., II, p. 190. He is said to have added another room 
to each of the sarais of Sher Shah from Nilab to Bengal. 
T.A., II, p.. 190. 

54. Peteramndy, II (Hak. Society), p. 78. 

55. Ibfd., p. 159. 

56. Journal Punjab Historical Society, Vol. II, No. 2, p. 15. 
Tavernier, I, p. 41. For sarais built by Akbar refer to 
A.N., III (Tr.), P- 155 ; Ain, I (Bloch), p. 222. 

56. A Monserrate, p. 96. 

56. 3 Cambridge History of India, IV, p. 57. 

56. c Ain, II, p. 44. 

56. D A.N., III, 156. 

56. E Norris, op. cit., p. 236. 

57. Ain> II, p. 353 ; Phillips' Account, op. cit., pp. 18-19. For 
Jahangir refer to Thevenot, Pt. Ill, pp. 42-43 ; Bernier 
(Smith), p. 284 and for a sarai built in Aurangzeb's reign 
at Nurabad (14 miles from Gwalior along Delhi-Gwalior- 

. Bombay Trunk Road) refer to Indian Historical Quarterly, 



Vol. XVI, No. 3, Sept. 1940, pp. 592-95. For sarals at 
Surat refer to Godhialio's Travels (1663), Calcutta Review, 

58. R&B-.I, p, 420. 

59. Thevenot, Chapt xxxiv, p. 81. 

60. Francis Goldie, The First Christian Mission to the Court 

of the Great Mogul, p. 60. 

61. Ib id., p. 95. They were named Khairpura- and Dfaarm- 
pura. Later on another place called Jogipura was built. 
Atn, I, (1939), p. 210. 

62- Tuzuk (Lowe), pp 35, 61. 

63. Maasir, 1 9 p. 526. 

64 Ibid., p. 638. 

64,* Maasir-i-Alamgiri. op. eft., p. 223. 

65. Maasir. I, p. 400. 

66. Mandelslo, p. 58. 

67. Particularly cows. Travels in India in the 17th Century, 
p. 216 ; Thevenot, Pt. Ill, p. 36. Purchas' India, pp. 92- 
93. Orme's Fragment^ p. 431 Also see E.R.E., op cit. 9 
III p. 389. 

68. Particularly at Canibay. Samuel Purchas' India, pp. 92- 
93. Linschoten, 1, p. 254. For a hospital in Surat for 
the treatment, of cows, horses, goats and other animals see 
Ovington, p. 390. The traveller refers to another hospital 
there meant for preservation of the bugs (Ovington, 
p. 30 1). Also see Stavorinus, II, pp. 489-90, who mentions 
the yearly revenue of the hospital in A.D. 1774-75 when 
it had suffered considerably to be Rs. 6,000. Also see 
"Notice of a remarkable hospital for animals at Surat 
(June 1893)." Journal Royal Asiatic Society of Great 
Britain and Ireland, Vol. 1, pp. 96-97. Also see J.R.A.S 9 
Bombay Branch, Vol. XXIV. p 356 for a reference to the 
hospital in 1756. 

69. Manrique, II, p. 102. 

70. Linschoten, I, p. 254 ; Ovington, p. 30. Travels in India 
in the 17th Century, p, 2 1 6 ; Thevenot, op. cit , p. 36 ; 
Stavorinus, II, p. 486. Once Tukaram would not drive 

away the bees settled on his body, saying : "One should 
not spare one's own body when one can do others good." 
(J.R.A.S. Bombay, Vol. Ill, p.. 20). For Tukaram's other 



charitable acts refer to Bhakta Lilamrita, trans ir 
English, J.R.A.S., Bombay, Vol. Ill, p. 18. 

71. Maasir, I, p. 574. 

72. Tuzuk (Lowe), p. 8. The Eighth Institute. 

73. Mirat (l.o) fol. p. 7 3 la in Saran's Provincial Government 
'the Mughals, pp. 419-20. 

74. Elliot's views (V, p. 513) have no justification in view 
the contemporary records. 

75. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol I, p. 598. Akbar hims 
supervised the Religious and Charity Department. Sar 
op. tit., p. 404. 

76. Sarkar, Mughal Administration, p. 170. Mirat-i-Ahma 
Vol. I (G.O. Series, 1927), pp. 266-67. 

77. Tuzuk, 4, quoted in Sarkar, Mughal Administration, p. 1' 

78. Manucci, quoted in Ibid., p. 178. 

79. In 1690, Aurangzeb appointed provincial qazis as trust* 
of the branch of the Bait-ul-mal of their provinces. Ibi 
p. 167, 

80. Ibid., p. 177. 

31. Sarkar, Anecdotes of Aurangzib, p. 93. 

82. Akber sent 5 lakhs of rupees and 10,000 robes throu, 
Abu Tarab Gujarati to be distributed among the needy 
Mecca. Shahjahan likewise sent 5 lakhs of rupees a 
goods worth 2 lakh and 40 thousand rupees to be sold a] 
the money distributed among the needy there. Maasir, 
pp. 143, 825. Kh. Abid was appointed leader oft 
Haj party in 1676 by the Emperor. He was to take ro} 
presents to Mecca and Medina. Maasir-i-Alamgiri (Bi 
Ind) 1871, p. 143. Also see Burhan's Tuzuk-i-Walaja 
English trans., part 1, p. 17. 

83. Maasir, I, pp. 326-27 and 834. Kh. Abid visited Mecca 
1657 A.D. Nizamul Mulk Asaf Jali 1, by Dr. Yusuf Kha 
p. 2. 

84. Rs. 60,000 was sent to Najaf and Karbala as a prese 
on the recovery of Muhammad Azam. Rs. 120,000 w 
distributed among the poor of Mecca and Medina. Sarfc 
Studies in Aurangzib' s Reign, p. 72. 

85. Maasir, I, pp. 326-27. 

86. He received the title of the Fairashi (one who sprea 


carpets). Burhan's lta*-MK-W*. 


. , 

nam a (trans.), PP- 69 ' 72 - 

88. JMA, P- 834. Hastings > Encyclopaedia of Religion 

89. For this custom see Hastings A > ^ ^^ 

fife, Vol. V, pp. 259 '64 m , u)j 

rSaSrPP 327-28 ; and PhiUips' 

, . , PP. 8 8-93. Brahman 

90 . For details regarding the to 

Asia* Society, January, "J^ltt P- 

91 . acj-doP"^ o/*" 1 " " f ^cloke's to, p. 220, 

. 233-40. 

/in rit DP. 88-93. 

95. S, (SarSr), HI. p. 326 ; Dubois 

96. GantarLekhmala, I, pp. 6, 31 , * 

r - 1 n 

. x> No . 

97 . . 

9, Ibid. ; Pyrard, I, p. 479. 
99. Careri (Sen, o/, O, P 

(MDC c3tXVn), p. 129 

ver, parar 


[04. Thevenot, Chap. XLVII, p. 82; Mandelslo, p. 54. Purcte 

: India, p. 92. Tavernier, II, p. 173. 

105. Mandelslo, p. 54, 

106. A bitter root. It is said to be useful against ditempei 
and it also strengthens the gums. Thevenot, Chap. XLV] 

. . . p. 82. Mandelslo, p. 54. Also see Pyrard, !, p, 379. 
.107. Hedges, IT, p. cccxiv f.n. ; also see Aim (Sarkar), III, p 

108. Aln (Sarkar), III, pp. 327-28. 

109. Ibid, p. 328. 

..110. Ibid; Dubois, I, pp. 272-73. 

111. Ain (Sarkar), III, p. 328. 

112. Ibid. 

113. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. V, p. 76 
Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 124. 

114. For details see E.R.E., V, p. 764. 

115. The 13th, 14th and 15th day of each month area' 
generally observe^ as fasting days and also the day 
Ashum, the 10th day of the month of Muharram, E.R. 

?i Vol. V. p. 764. Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 124. 1 

1 " , other fasts observed by the devout are the six d* 

following the Id-ul-Fitr, Monday and Thursday 
every week, the month of Shaban .and on alternate da 
Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 124. For fast after 
death, see Herk lots' Islam, pp. 91 and 105, 
.116, The sick, infirm, travellers, idiots and young children a 
however, exempted. Also see Ovington, p. 243 : E.R. 
V } p. 764 ; Herklots' Islam, p. 112. 

117. Ovington, p. 243 ; Delia Valle, p. 429 ; Storia, I, pp. I: 
59. Letters received by East India Company, Vol. '. 
p. 10 ; Jahangifs India, p. 73. 

118. Delia Valle, p 429 ; Herklots' Islam, p. 205; Ovingt 
p. 243 ; Jahaugifs India, p. 73. The use of betel-lea^ 
tobacco or snuff is also forbidden. Herklots 9 Islam, p. 1 

119. Ovington 9 p. 243. 

120. B.R.E., V, p, 764. 

121. Inayat Khan, Shahjahannama, E & D, VII, p. 97 e 

122. Rudolf, the Christian missionary, is said to have indu 
Akbar to fast for a day. First Christian Mission to G? 
Mogul, p. 95. Also refer to "The Annual Relatior 




. 99. 



Houses and Furniture ' 



Houses in India have always been built with due co 
tion to climatic conditions. As most of the coun 
within the tropics, it has ever been the endeavour o 
architects to use architectural devices like pierced sc 
lattice windows to act as a mitigator of excessive light a 
As in Assyria and Persia, the flat-terraced roofs, used ft 
ness, sleeping and even exercise, predominate 1 here al 
astute observer like Bernier righlty reprimands the El 
who overlooked this basic fact in the construction o 
homes and complained of the architectural inferiority of 
buildings as compared to those in the West. "What 
and proper at Paris, London or Amsterdam," he writes, 
be entirely out of place in a different climate like that of 
The comfort and convenience of the dweller was the ms 
sideration while planning construction of buildings. 8 

Mughal palaces 

The dwelling of a king, a raja or a prince was the chie 
tion in a capital or a city in which such royal residen 
situated. Fortified by a wall and moat, these fortress 
were usually situated on the bank of a river or a stream 
of these were situated on rocky eminences "just turning 
overhanging lakes or artificial pieces of water" 4 and c 
most picturesque combination. 5 These palaces consiste 
parts inner and outer, The inner part contained the 
of the queens, and the princesses, the private coui 
the retiring-rooms, etc., while the outer part cc 



Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas, the arsenal, the store-house, etc. 
The palaces also contained pleasure-gardens, flower-gardens, 
groves, tanks, etc. in their proper places. The Mughal gardens 
-copied from earlier gardens of Turkestan and Persia were 
invariably square or rectangular in shape with fountains and 
pavilions. Running water or canal was another feature of the 
Mughal gardens. The principal pavilion, such as the exquisite 
black marble baradari in the Shalimar garden of Kashmir or 
the octagonal building which once adorned the great tank of 
the ruined garden at Bijbehara, served as retreats from the glare 
of the midday sun. 6 There were also pavilions for witnessing 
animal-fights and for musical entertainments. Stables for horses, 
elephants, cows, etc. were also provided. Akbar's 7 palaces at 
Agra, 8 Allahabad 9 and Lahore may serve as good examples of 
the Mughal conception of royal palaces. 10 Percy Brown describes 
these palace fortresses at some length in his Indian Architecture. 
All these palaces had gardens with running water which flowed 
in channels into reservoirs of stone, jasper and marble. In all 
the rooms and halls, there were fountains and reservoirs of 
proportionate size. 

Akbar's palace-fortress at Agra was the first to be construc- 
ted, 11 as is evident from its irregular grouping of halls and 
rooms and the want of symmetry in its lay-out It is said to 
have contained "500 edifices of red sandstone in the fine style of 
Bengal and Gujarat." These were, however, subsequently 
destroyed by Shahjahan to make room for his more sumptuous 
marble pavilions. 12 From the vestiges of the two palace 
buildings, Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal, it appears 
that they were designed on the usual scheme of a range of 
double storeyed chambers surrounding a central courtyard. 13 
Similar in conception, though smaller in area, was the Lahore 
Fort. This rectangular-shaped palace-fortress was divided 
longitudinally into two approximately equal spaces, that 
"towards the south being reserved for the official and service 
buildings while in the space at the rear were grouped the royal 
palaces." In between these two parts were a row of buildings 
acting as a screen. 14 Akbar's palace-fortress at Allahabad is 
mostly in ruins and there now remains only a baradari known 
as the zenana. The chief features of the buildings at Fatehpur 
Sikri-- "the planning, the wide-projecting drepstones and their 


supporting brackets, for shade and protection from rain, the 
double roofs domed or vaulted for coldness" are all dictated 
by considerations of comfort and convenience rather than 

imitation of other buildings. 16 The palace enclosure in the 
fort of Delhi 17 is symmetrical in its arrangements. It has four 
partsa large central quadrangle containing the Diwan-i-Am 
or Hall of Public Audience on each side of which are orna- 
mental gardens ; and there is a range of marble palaces on one 
side facing the gardens, the other side commanding an open 
view of the river. As originally planned, there were to be six 
marble structures on the outer side the pavilions were closed 
except for screened windows and other similar openings. 
Included in this range of buildings were a hall of private audience 
and a luxurious hammam or bathing establishment and between 
each structure there were wide courts and terraces. The finest 
of all these buildings were the Hall of Audience and the Rang 
Mahal. 18 The spacious gardens were often elaborate and 
comprehensive compositions and were a special feature of the 
Mughal architectural projects. 19 

Hindu palaces 

Most of the Hindu palaces built during the 16th and 17th 
centuries, particularly in the capitals of the native states in 
Rajputana, viz., Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmir, Orchha, Datia,, 
Udaipur and the city of Amber (Jaipur), do not follow any 
particular style, 20 ancient or modern, and appear to be, as 
Fergusson notes, "a vast congeries of public and private 
apartments grouped as a whole more for convenience than 
effect." 21 But their situation on "rocky eminences, jutting 
into ,or overhanging lakes or artificial pieces of water" makes 
them "one of the most picturesque combinations.' ' 22 These 
palaces, as already stated, are unsystematic in their compositions 
and are built more for convenience and comfort than for 
architectural considerations. As is but natural, the Mughal 
style (Indo-Persian) dominates the planning, composition and 
construction of these royal residences which were usually 
situated "at the mouth of a rocky gorge, and around a petty 
lake, the whole securely reposing under the protection of a 
range of fortresses on the ridge above. ID the central position 
is the great pile forming the open courtyard or darbar square. 


which is approached by means of a fine staircase and through 
an imposing gateway. Two halls within the square were promi- 
nent, the Diwan-i-Am or Hall of Audience and the entrance to 
the palace itself both of which in style are apparently improvi- 
sations on the existing architecture of the Mughals. Almost 
facing this Diwan-i-Am but depicting an entirely different 
aspect of the building is the facade and entrance hall to the 
palace apartments. Beyond this darb&r square and leading out 
of it is one range of structures consisting of minor palaces, 
zenana apartments, courtyards, terraces and gardens, covering a 
large space and forming the minor precincts of the palace." 2S 
From this an idea may be formed of the general character of the 
palaces. Jahangir Mandir built at Orchha (Bundelkhand) by 
Raja Bir Singh Deo (1605-26) is a fine example of an Indian 
medieval castle. It is "picturesque., artistic, and romantiA c 
besides being a superb example of the builder's art. A door- 
way on the southern facade leads into a ground floor hall. 
Passing through it, one finds oneself in a square courtyard of 
1.25 feet side around which the entire interior structures are 
arranged. The interior quadrangle has no large structures; 
it is a wide open space containing a raised platform with a 
fountain playing in the centre."- 4 It is in reality a simple 
composition. This great palace was obviously so designed that 
every part fulfilled its function and expressed purpose; its 
rooms were devised for seclusion, its terraces for the cool 
air, its corridors for convenience, each compartment, court, hall 
and passage had its specific use and was introduced into the 
scheme in accord with the requirements of its inmates. 25 In 
order to maintain communication with the various parts, each 
group of rooms were approached by a continuous hanging 
balcony. The palace at Gwaiior is an interesting example of 
a Hindu palace. The dimensions of the palace are 300 ft. by 
160 ft. On each side it is 200 ft. high and has two under- 
ground storeys. 26 Raja Bir Singh's palace at Datia, built in the 
year 1620, is slightly smaller than the Jahangir Mandir. It 
consists of a congeries of large subterranean hails, descending 
to several storeys. A complete suite of underground apartments 
or tahkhana for retreat during summer, of almost the same size 
as the structure above, was another feature of this palace. In 
the middle of the courtyard was the five-storeyed building 


containing the royal dwelling apartments. The central edifi< 
was connected to the "ranges of rooms by which it w 
surrounded, by means of four flying corridors or bridges 
double storeys carried across from the middle of each side." 27 
Prominent among medieval Indian palaces is that of Amfo 
once the seat of the rulers of Jaipur state. Its construction \v 
started by Man Singh in 1592 and was completed by Jai Singl 
(1625-66). In the richness of its architecture this pala 
rivals Akbar's contemporary palace at Fatehpur Sikri. With 
drawing and dining rooms, its kitchens, lavatories, 28 arrani 
ment for sprinkling water on khas tattis by means of iron pij 
having holes, etc., it gives a complete idea about a medie 11 
Indian palace. 29 

Palaces in the south 

The south is not so rich in secular architecture. There a 
however, four palaces in Madras built in the 16th and 1' 
centuries. Lotus Mahal, a garden palace, was built in Vija; 
nagar about 1575 A.D. It was followed by the erection o 
palace in the fort at Chandragiri by the Vijayanagar rulers. 1 
lower portion of this "rectangular palace is of a solid constr 
tion of stone masonary but the upper storeys are of br 
strengthened with a certain amount of wood work ; finally 
surfaces were coated with stuco." There is a palace at Madi 
built about 1645 A.D. The last group of palaces built ab 
1700 A.D. at Tanjore are much of the same style 30 

Mansions and villas of the upper classes 

No uniform pattern was followed by the nobility in 
construction of their houses in various parts of the coun 
The climatic conditions in a particular region, the availability 
materials and the taste of the builder were the main factors 
the design of a building. A house, however, in a country '. 
India which is in the tropics was considered to be beautiful, 
Bernier remarks, "if it be conspicuous and if the situatior 
airy and exposed on all sides to the winds, especially to 
northern winds." 31 The traveller observed that "many 
their houses are built high and fiat on the top from whc 
in the cool season of day they take in fresh air. They have 
chimneys to their houses for they never use fire but to d 


their meat. In their upper rooms they have doors and windows 
to let in the air but use no glass." An ideal house situated in 
the middle of a flower-garden would have courtyards 3 trees, 
basins of water, "small ejects de eauin the hall or at entrance 
and handsome sub-terraneous apartments" which were provided 
with large fans. It served as a retiring-place during the 
summer noons. 32 Mandelslo's remark that "there is no house 
almost but hath its garden and tanques" shows the general 
popularity of the gardens. 33 The outer appearance of such a 
house might not be so impressive but inside there were all 
sorts of luxuries including tanks, private recesses for their 
women, etc. During summer these tanks were filled with water 
"drawn by oxen from wells-" The water thus drawn was some- 
times raised through the device of a wheel in such great quantity 
that it rose like a fountain when passed through a lead pipe. 34 
The roofs were generally kept fiat, so that the dweller might be 
able to enjoy the evening breeze. Khas tattis were also used 
during summer. 

Division of two wings 

These houses had large enclosures in the middle of which 
were situated the dwelling apartments, so that no one could 
approach directly the place where the women resided. The 
house had to be so constructed as to provide for two wings 
known as the mardana and zenana. A drawing-room where 
the noble received visitors and held court, a khwabgah or the 
bed-room, a kitchen, lavatories, etc., besides a courtyard, 35 were 
the necessary requisites. 36 Quite frequently, however, there were 
three to four diwans or large rooms raised high from the ground 
for fresh air to come in. The climatic conditions also necessi- 
tated a terrace where the family could sleep during nights. 37 
The roofs of the buildings were kept fiat for this purpose. A 
barsati or a spacious room was also built on the terrace where 
"the bed-stand is easily moved in case of rain, when the cold 
wind is felt at the break of day or when it is found necessary to 
guard against the light but penetrating dews" which, as Bernier 
notices, "frequently cause a numbness in the limbs and induce 
a species of paralysis." 38 The European travellers are full of 
praise for the houses of the rich which were "noble and ele- 
gant," 39 spacious and pleasant. 40 Nieuhoff, however, observed 


that their houses were not as high as similar buildings in Europe. 
The traveller noted that at the entrance of their houses, whether 
of the rich or the poor, were courtyards surrounded with high 
walls which were meant for the reception of the visitors. 41 
Hindus, unlike Muslims, paid more attention to the 
outer look of their houses which were built of "stone and 
cemented with lime up to the first storey above which carpenter's 
work was to be seen with sculptures in relief in teak wood 
painted in various colours." 42 

Merchant's houses at Sorat 

The houses of the merchants at Surat were fair and stately. 
Built of brick and lime, they were several storeys high. Stone 
being unavailable, timber imported from Daman was exten- 
sively used in their windows with chicks or lattices carved in 
wood. Externally they were purposely kept plain and simple 
to avoid the avaricious eyes of the Mughal Governor, but 
"were ornamented without displaying gold-embroidered tapes- 
try." Mandelslo saw beautiful gardens and fair country houses 
in the suburbs of Surat. 43 

Houses in Kashmir 

These houses were seldom three or four storeys high 44 except 
in Kashmir, where, as Tarikh-i-Rashidi points out, most of these 
houses were at least five storeys high, 45 each storey containing 
apartments, halls or galleries or towers. 46 Khulasat, which puts 
the number of storeys in Kashmir at four, elaborates : "On the 
ground floor are kept animals and furniture, the second storey 
is the residence, the third and fourth are used for keeping 
articles." 47 Due to frequent earthquakes, houses in Kashmir 
were built of wood. 48 Pelsaert praises the ''elegant look" of 
these houses which were ventilated with handsome and artistic 
open work instead of windows or glass. 49 On the roof of these 
houses, which were all made of wood, were planted tulips which 
presented a nice spectacle to look at in spring. 50 Pelsaert 
mentions that people grew grass or onions on the flat-roofed 
houses so that during the rainy season the "green roofs and 
groves, usually situated on the river side, make the city most 
beautiful on a distant view." 51 Khulasat also mentions floating 
houses in Kashmir. 52 Most of these houses possessed a garden 



and sometimes even a small lake which at a distance joined 
the main canal where they enjoyed boating. 53 

Mansions at Agra 

Bernier saw at Agra the mansions of nobles interspersed 
with "luxuriant and green foliage in the midst of which the 
lofty stone-houses of the Banias or Hindu merchants have their 
appearance of old castles buried in forests,'' 54 Birbal's house 
at Fatehpur Sikri represents a "superb example of a residential 
building remarkable for its balance and harmony of design." 
It was a two-storeyed building raised on a plinth, the first 
floor was reached by two staircases. The ground floor had a 
suite of four rooms, each with a flat ceiling. Tavernier was 
greatly impressed by the houses of the nobles at Agra which he 
regarded as "the biggest city in India.'' 55 Nicholas Withington, 
however, regarded Agra as inferior to Lahore. 56 

Monserrate had nothing but admiration for the "well-built, 
lofty and handsomely decorated residences of the rich men at 
Delhi." 57 He particularly refers to the abundance of green 
trees. 58 Khulasat praises the "heart-ravishing" houses of the 
nobles at Delhi which had ' 'perfect grace and happiness." 59 

Mansions at Delhi and Lahore 

There were lofty and spacious houses of the upper classes 
at Delhi, Lahore and Masulipatam. They had balconies and 
folding windows. Some of them had a tank in the middle of 
the courtyard which served as a retreat during summer. 60 These 
mansions, to quote Khulasat, reposed in the midst of "extensive 
gardens or clusters of trees." 61 

In Malabar, the houses of the rich, as Bartolomeo noted, 
were built of teak wood and consisted of not more than two 
storeys. In front of the lower storey, there was a small hall 
which served as a verandah or parlour. The upper storey 
was used for study, as a bedroom or for any other private 
work. 62 He saw several houses which were 400 years old and 
had not suffered any decay. 

Verandah was a speciality of houses in Sind. Bocarro found 
.50,000 well-built houses in the "Kingdom of Cande" (Sind). 63 
In Cambay the houses of the well-to-do were built of brick and 
stone and had flat roofs with "ceilings of tiles and cisterns." 64 


The houses of the rich in Gujarat were built of brick and lime 
on broad stone-foundations. Most of the houses had secret 
passages for escape in an emergency. 65 Some among the 
wealthy people, having built vaults, covered their buildings with 
lime mortar. 

The houses of the rich in Dacca were no doubt built of wood 
or bamboos but most of them contained a tank. The tanks 
were considered essential, as the Muslim women observed purdah 
and would not like to go out for bathing. Unlike the present- 
day houses, however, they were flat-roofed and were incon- 
venient during the rainy season. 65 * 

Houses of the middle class 

The houses of traders, merchants and petty umras 
were modest in their appearance as compared to those of the 
nobles. They lacked elaborate carvings, embellishments 
and beautiful gardens. Some of them, were built of brick, 
burnt tiles and lime, 66 others of clay and straw. 67 In the 
villages, the well-to-do zamindars had several huts grouped 
together. The thatched rooms were supported by long, hand- 
some pillars of cane. The walls were covered with a fine white 
lime. 68 These houses were very airy and commodious. Some 
of them were two storeyed and had beautiful terrace roofs. 69 In 
Agra most of the houses were two or three storeys high during 
Jahangir's time. 70 The majority of the houses in Varanasi^ 
according to Tavernier, were built of brick and cut-stone. 71 
The houses of the merchants in Malabar were two-storeyed 
and could be had at 20 crowns while those of the commoners 
cost two crowns. 72 

Arrangement of the houses 

If the building happened to be in the main street, the lower 
storey of it was fronted with awnings and similar expedients to 
form traders' booths. But in the quieter alleys of such towns as 
Bikaner, Jodhpur, Lashkar (Gwalior) and Ajmer, such dwellings, 
two or three storeys high, would have a flat roof enclosed 
with a balustrade or perforated parapet, thus converting it into 
a terrace for use in the hot weather. Outside on the ground 
floor was a platform approached by steps. It would serve as 
a chabutara or sitting-out place for the use of the master to 


conduct his business and entertain Ms friends.- There was 
usually only one strong wooden doorway in the centre for 
protection. The middle storey might consist of a wide and 
continuous balcony supported on clusters of carved brackets. 
The windows were screened with stone-lattices. It enabled the 
occupant to see without being seen. Another feature was the 
eave or chhajja, above the cornice of each storey, with its great 
width, its cast and shadow which helped to keep the entire 
building cool during summer. 73 In Gujarat and Kathiawar, 
the same general description held good except that in those 
parts wood took the place of stone. In Kashmir the face of 
the houses wore picturesque compositions of wood in which 
arcaded balconies were a special feature. 

In Ahmedabad the houses were generally built of brick and 
mortar and the roofs tiled. Ferishta wrote about its 30 mohallas, 
each mohalla having a wall surrounding it. He thought it to be 
the "handsomest city in Hindostan." 74 

Huts of the poor 

No traveller has a good word to say about the houses of 
the lower classes. These have generally been described as . I 

thatched huts, without any cellars and windows. Each hut 
had only one apartment. The addition of a second hut and a 
granary was considered as making a house a comfortable 
abode. 75 These huts had only a single opening for air, light 
and entrance. It was impossible to enter without stooping. 76 "" 
The floors of the houses were of pounded earth spread over 
with cowdung. 77 To keep them clean, pasting with cowdung 
was done afresh almost every day. 78 

The mod huts 

Such huts could be easily built in a few days; the mud walls, 
six or seven feet high, did not take much time to harden due to 
the -intensity of the heat. Orme was misinformed when he 
wrote that these houses, constructed with bamboos and pack 
thread, and covered only with the mat of palm-tree leaves, 
would last for six months. 79 In fact they lasted much longer as 
Abul Fazl mentions. 80 These thatched cottages were, however, 
subject to frequent fires. Bernier refers to a fire in Delhi 
which burnt down 60,000 huts. 81 The traveller particularly 


observed that the houses and cities were crowded ; large 
families stayed in a single hut. 82 In their huts they had only a 
mat to sleep upon and a pit or hole in the ground to beat their 
rice in. They had only a pot or two for cooking purposes. 83 

Building materials of the poor 

Bamboo canes, branches of trees, ropes and grasses of 
diverse kinds constituted the main building materials of the 
houses of the poor. Abul Fazl found the houses in Orissa 
made of reeds, 84 while bamboo was used in the construction 
of houses at Ajmer. 85 The houses at the latter place were 
tent-shaped. 86 Manucci's remark regarding the houses at 
Patna (Bihar) that they were thatched with leaves of palm-tree 
finds corjoboration from Tavernier. 87 During his travels from 
Varanasi to Patna, Ralph Fitch found that most of the houses 
of the poor were of "earth covered with straw." 88 Due to the 
frequent changes in the course of the Jhelum River, the people 
in Multan (West Punjab) had their houses built of wood and 
grass. 89 Tavernier was struck by the "miserable huts" of the 
poor at Dacca which were made of "bamboo with mud spread 
over them." 90 The bamboo houses in Bengal used to last for a 
very long time. 91 The houses in Khandesh looked a little 
better. They were made of earth like the houses in other parts 
of the country but were covered with varnished tiles. Many 
of them were surrounded by trees which made them look 
beautiful. 92 Most of the houses in Kashmir were made of 
wood. However, many people lived in large boats as in 
Bassein, 93 Tavernier, Thevenot and Cared have referred to the 
houses of the poor at Surat. Like those in Malabar, they were 
made of bamboo canes covered with branches and leaves of 
palm-trees, the interstices being filled up with cowdung mixed 
with clay to "prevent those outside from seeing between the 
reeds what goes on inside." 94 The houses of the lower classes 
in Sind were made externally of poles covered with a mixture 
of straw and mud. 95 The houses of the working classes in the 
south were "nothing but huts covered with Cajan leaves." 
These were so low that a person could not stand upright in 
them. The houses in Vijayanagara were arranged according to 
occupation in long streets with many open spaces. They were 
usually of straw and mud but the wood of coconut was used ' 


wherever it was available, particularly in coastal areas. 96 The 
houses of the poor in Cochin were, according to a 17th-century 
traveller, nothing but hovels. They could not be called even a 
booth. 97 

Love for trees 

The foreigners praise the Indians for their love for trees. 
They were planted all around their villages and towns. In 
fact, from a distance their villages looked like forests or groves. 98 
Every Hindu would have a tulsi plant in his house. It was 
tended reverently and worshipped." 

Use of cowduog 

Pietro Delia Valle noticed in A.D. 1 623 a universal custom 
which escaped the attention of the previous travellers. "When 
we arriv'd at this Town (which he calls Tumbre) we found the 
pavements of the cottages were varnish'd over with cowdung 
mix'd with water ; a custom of the Gentiles in the places 
they are wont to eat, as I have formerly observ'd. I took it 
for a superstitious Rite of Religion ; but I since better under- 
stand that it is us'd only for elegancy and ornament, because 
not using, or not knowing how to make, such strong and lasting 
pavements like ours, theres, being made sleightly of Earth 
and so easily spyl'd, therefore when they are minded to have 
them plain, smooth and firm, they smear the same over with 
cowdung temper'd with water in case it be not liquid (for if it 
be there needs no water), and plaining it either with their 
hands, or some other instrument, and so make it smooth, 
bright, strong and of a fine green colour, the cows whose dung 
they use never eating anything but Grass ; and it hath one 
convenience, that this polishing is presently made, is soon dry 
and endures walking, or anything else, to be done upon it ; and 
the Houses wherein we lodg'd we found were preparing thus at 
our coming, and presently dry enough for our use. Indeed 
this is pretty Curiosity, and I intend to cause tryal to be 
made of it in Italy, and the rather because they say for certain 
that the Houses whose pavements are thus stercorated, are good 
against the Plague, which is no despicable advantage. Onely 
it hath this evil, that its handsomeness and politeness lasteth 
not, but requires frequent renovation, and he that would have 


it handsome must renew it every eight, or ten days ; yet, being 
a thing easier to be done and of so little charge, it matters not 
for a little trouble which every poor person knows how to 
dispatch. The Portugals use it in their Houses at Goa stud. 
other places of India ; and in brief, 'tis certain that it is no 
superstitious custom, but onely for neatness and ornament ; 
and therefore 'tis no wonder that the Gentiles use it often and 
perhaps every day, in places where they eat, which above all 
the rest are to be very neat." 100 



Furniture, in the modern sense of the word, has never been 
very popular in India. It does not imply, however, that its 
various forms were not known to our ancestors. The refer- 
ences to pitha 101 (stool), protha 10 ' 2 (a broad couch over which 
women lay down to sleep), and talpa 10 * (a bed or a couch) in 
Vedic texts and to khatta (bedstead), and pithamasana (chair or 
stool) in the Amarakosa^ besides many others, may very well 
serve as examples. Even a cane-bottomed seat or vetrasana 
finds a reference in Hemachandra. 105 There is no denying tfa.e 
fact, however, that these articles, including the khatta, were of 
course never in common use and the Mughals did not bring 
about any radical change in this long-established custom. 106 

Chairs superfluous and uncomfortable 

The Indian mode of sitting 107 did not necessitate chairs wtdcii 
were rightly regarded in Mughal days as superfluous and 
uncomfortable. 108 Leaving aside even that, there was no place 
for them in the royal darbar as all, including the highest 
dignitaries of the state, ambassadors from foreign lands and 
even the princes of royal blood, except the privileged few, had to 
keep standing. 109 Fryer's 110 and Pelsaert's 111 observations 
regarding the complete absence of chairs are rather exaggerated. 
The Governor of Surat, we are told, at once sent for chairs 
when Roe called on him. 112 The use of elbow-chairs by the 
rich has been stressed upon by another seventeenth-century 
traveller. 113 Abdur Razzaq, the Persian ambassador, who visited 
Vijayanagar a little prior to our period, also, testifies to the 



use of chairs and settees by courtesans of Vijayanagar. 13 - 4 
Several contemporary paintings depict Mughal kings 115 and even 
their nobles 116 sitting on chairs having arms and high backs. 
The seats, sometimes cushioned, were always wider than those 
of today. The legs of the chairs were sometimes carved out 
and the feet were connected by wooden planks. 117 Some of 
them got their chairs covered with ivory. 118 Couches, usually 
made of precious wood 119 or even metals, 120 were well cushion- 
ed with costly carpets and rugs. Monserrate writes : "Akbar 
generally sits with cross-legs upon a couch covered with scarlet 
rugs." 121 Sometimes made of wood, they had diamond-set 
handles with garlands of flowers on them. 1 ' 22 

Furniture for sitting 

Stools were used in those days. Usually covered with 
leather or cloth, they could be interwoven with cane also. 123 
Pidis also find reference in old Bengali literature. 124 
Those made of suitable wood such as kanthal (yellow wood) 
and mandar (the coral trees) were articles of luxury. 125 Mundas 
of reed have also been mentioned by M. Ashraf in his Life 
and Condition of the People of Hindustani 

Tables were not much in demand during Mughal days. 127 
Hamilton hints at it : "They lack wooden dishes and tables but 
not so well as in China." 128 But tables were in use among the 
merchants on the West Coast. 129 Linschoten refers to the use 
of plantain leaves for making table-cloths and napkins. 130 Sind 
leather was also employed to cover tables. 131 

Royal thrones 

Thrones have always served as the usual seat for the Indian 
kings. 132 Besides the imperial thrones in the darbar, it was 
customary to have one provided in every room of the palace. 
A nicely designed golden foot-stool was invariably placed 
beneath the throne. 133 Mughal emperors spent large sums of 
money on design and construction of their golden thrones, 134 
which were used like chairs. Abdul Aziz has described some 
of these thrones in a chronological order in his monograph 
"Thrones, Chairs and Seats used by the Indian Mughals." 135 
Whenever the king visited any of his subjects, some minor throne 
usually moved ahead of him. 136 Marble platforms were usually 



constructed in the courtyards and in the lawns oftheroy 
palaces for seating purposes. 

t or bedstead, the most common article of furnitv 

very particu ar aou ^ ^ 

JS^^iS^^^ inlaid with f d '- has: 

diamonds. A oe bedsteads used to be unpo: 

been mentioned." Lac ^ ere ^ _ Light and easily port 

were spread over the floor of the swing. 


of the poor was very scanty and consisted 
P bed-cloths- of the rich ^ were 


mattresses were much in demand in those days. 161 Rich Hindus 
preferred to use beautiful mats called sitalpatis 1 ^ which were 
perhaps more exquisitely made than now. They had the 
reputation of being exceedingly cool when slept upon. 163 A 
costly blanket called Indra Kambal 164 and pillows filled with 
mustard seeds were regarded as articles of luxury. 165 Manrique 
also refers to the use of Sind leather for beds. 106 Quilts were 
also used in winter, particularly in northern India. 167 Manrique 
admires those of Sind for their excellent back stitches. 168 Fine 
quilts of Cambay were exported to Europe. 169 

Mosquito curtains 

Mosquito curtains were also freely employed, particularly 
in Bengal, by the well-to-do who got them prepared of silk 
cloth. 170 Chandua curtains, their special form, find reference 
in Mymensingh ballads. 171 The use of the word ^g^t both for 
a mosquito curtain and a fishing net in a verse in the Sabdaratna- 
samanvaya composed by King Shahaji of Tanjore (A.D. 1683- 
1711) testifies to the use of nets in mosquito curtains. 172 
Achy uta Raya, king of Vijayanagar, had a mosquito curtain with 
a frame of silver. 173 

Mats usually made of straw 174 or the leaves of palm or 
coconut trees 175 were used by the poor to sit and lie upon. 176 
These finely woven mats were spread over a place smeared over 
with cowdung. 177 Muslims of Bengal, according to Mukund- 
ram, preferred to use reed mats. 178 


Diwan khanas or drawing-rooms of the nobles were deco- 
rated with costly carpets 179 usually imported from Persia, 1 " 
Carpets of Turkish leather were also used, 181 Akbar caused 
great improvements to be made in the carpet-weaving industry 
as a result of which "wonderful varieties and charming tex- 
tures" were produced. 18 " Terry considered Indian carpets to 
be as good as those made in Turkey or Persia. 183 Lahore and 
Kashmir 184 carpets were particularly famous. Pyrard admires 
the pile carpets of Bengal which they "weave with great 
skill." 185 But the carpets of Goshkan (Joshaqan, a town in 
Iraqi-i-Ajam), Khuzistan, Kirnian and Sabzwar still retained 
their popularity and were imported in large numbers. 180 



Mugs and spreads 

Galims (or rugs) and takya namdas (or woollen coverlets) w< 
in great demand among the nobles who had them import 
from Kabul and Persia. 187 India-made qalins were equa 
handsome and durable ; they were surprisingly cheap. 
Srinagar and Masulipatam 189 were particularly famous for th 
fabrics, fine closely woven and beautifully designed rugs. 
The Indian Hunting Rug of the Boston Museum of Fine A 
is one of the best carpets now extant in the world. It vi 
manufactured in A.D. 1640. 191 

Jajams, shatrinjis and baluchis were sometimes spread w 
the mattresses. 192 In the drawing-room of the Governor 
Dacca, Fryer saw the floor spread over with a soft bed o^ 
which was laid "a fine white Calicut, the pedestals were mas 
silver." 193 Big cylindrical cushions were a part of the furniti 
and no drawing-room could be considered complete withe 
them. 194 Whether on the throne, in the chair or even on t 
-carpeted floor, cushions were there to support one's back a 
even sides if necessary. 195 Delia Valle describes the drawii 
room in the provincial palace at Ikkeri, The king, he writ 
sat upon a little quilt having at his back two great cushions 
fine white silk. Curtains were also used to decorate t 
rooms. 196 Some of them carried pictures of men, houses a 
scenery. 197 Gujarati 198 and Banarsi curtains were particula 
liked. The latter were embroidered with silk. 1 " Sind ha< 
reputation for leather hangings. 200 The^ king and the nob 
used to import costly tapestry hangings from abroad. 201 Pet 
mundy gives a fairly accurate description of the khas tatt 
which were used in summer, 202 and helped to keep the roc 

.Drawing-room of a noble 

Bernier's description of the diwan khana of a noble is qu 
informative.^ 3 The gilt ceiling of the drawing-room as w 
as the walls was beautifully painted. 204 The floor, 205 cover 
with a carpet usually four inches in thickness, had spread o^ 
it a white cloth in summer and a silk carpet in winter. Ru, 
too, were used to enhance its beauty. 206 Ome or two mattress 
with "fine coverings quilted in the form of flowers and on 
.mented with delicate silk embroidery interspersed with gc 


and silver" were also laid at some conspicuous corner where 
distinguished visitors were accommodated. There was a big 
pillow of brocade at each of these mattresses while many more 
of velvet or flowered satin were placed round the room. 
Beautiful porcelain vases and flower-pots decorated the several 
well-cut and well-proportioned niches at the sides of the room. 
Chinaware was also used for decorative purposes in Mughal 
interiors. 207 Jahaagir also refers to the use of Chinese porcelain 
in the Tuzuk. Sir Thomas Roe, who was conscious of its 
growing popularity, 203 relates how a Dutch ambassador 
brought a nice present of chinaware "sanders, parrots and 
cloves" for the Emperor. 209 Barbosa writes about the Muham- 
madan merchants of Reynel 210 that in their " well-kept and 
well-furnished houses they have many shelves all round the 
front room which are filled with fair and rich porcelain of new 
styles." 211 


Fans have been in use in India from time immemorial. 212 
During its long history the fan has been -made of palm-leaf, 
ivory, silver filigree, as well as of vellum, silk, tulle, lace, kid, 
chicken-skin, paper and of a score of other materials. 213 The 
king of Vijayanagar sent for a fan called khatta for the use 
of Abdur Razzaq, the traveller who visited the court in 1443 
A.D. 214 During Mughal days, however, the common people 
used fans made from the leaves of palm and coconut trees. 215 
But the rich had broad fans, made of stiff leather, 216 or even of 
ivory. 217 Ovington refers to the use of murchals or fans of 
peacock feathers and leather which were four to five feet long. 
Padmavat refers to the use of fly-whisks (chowries) by the well- 
to-do. 218 The Emperors and the nobles must have used diamond- 
studded fans fitted with golden handles. We find a reference 
to a similar fan called Lakeer Biyani in old Bengali literature. 219 
It has been described thus: "It was nicely made, of round 
shape resembling the moon. Its handle was made of gold. Even 
the wind god was afraid of it and bowed to its will at its very 
sight. There were ornamentation of gold on the fan and golden 
lotuses all around it.... The thread that was used in the fan was 
golden. The fan was a valuable one and was full of pictorial 
decorations." 220 


Swinging fans 

There is also a reference to the use of swinging fans i 
houses of the rich. Usually made of linen, they could be 
by means of a string from outside. 221 

Royal furnishings on tours 

Tents, marquees and wooden partitions may also be in 
in the royal furnishings which usually accompanied kin 
tour. 222 Eleven types of such camps, viz., bargah with twi 
poles, chubln rawati raised on ten pillars having one o 
doors, do-ashiyana manzil or house of two storeys raisec 
18 pillars, zaminbos, a tent made, of various forms, the 
consisting of nine awnings on four pillars, the mandal con 
of five awnings joined together, ath-khamba> consisting of 
teen awnings, khargah?^ a folding tent made in various 
the shamiancP^ with awnings made of various sizes, anc 
parda made of carpeting are described in detail in the 
Abul Fazl. 225 Gulalbar, which may also be added, w 
grandest of them all, never occupying an area of less th 
hundred square yards. 226 Gulalbar was a wooden screei 
its parts joined together with leather straps, so that it cc 
folded when necessary. 227 Qalandari, a covering made of 
cloth or any other lighter material , was also used to 
protection from the rain and the sun. 228 Even the poor i 
umbrellas sometimes made of leaves. 229 Manrique evalua 
total cost 230 of the rugs, carpets, wall hangings and tents 
Imperial palace, pavilion, etc. to be Rs. 9,925,449. 

Cabinets and cfeests 

Cabinets, chests, boxes, etc. were also to be found 
houses of the merchants on the West Coast. 231 C 
manufactured at Surat were said to be the best in the w 
Tattah had a reputation of making fine cabinets, usually 
with ivory. 233 Paes, a traveller, saw a room in the p* 
Vijayanagar decorated with ivory carvings of lotus, roi 
other flowers. 234 


Strictly speaking, utensils do not form part of the fu 
But European travellers of our period include them 


list. 235 The poor among Muhammadans could only afford a few 
earthen wares, 236 while Hindus had them made of brass or 
coppr. 237 A "few flat dishes of copper or brass, drinking- 
vessel with a spout, a pot~kdHie in which they boil their rice, 
a viMacea,or round lamp of iron or brass fastened to a chain 
by which it can be suspended in the middle of the hut'* and a 
wooden mortar were, according to an 18th-century traveller, 
their only vessels. 238 Golden and silver vessels were used by the 
kings and the nobles. 239 Bengal was reputed for black and red 
pottery wfiich was made, according to Pyrard, like the finest 
and most delicate terresigillee.^ U( > Manucci also refers to 
baskets made from branches of palm or coconut trees. 241 


1. Barrister Fletcher and Barrister F. Fletcher, A History of 
Architecture on the Comparative Method) 4th edition, 
London, pp. 440-41. 

2. Bernier, p. 240. 

3. Fryer (old edition), p. 199. For a painting, 'Masons build- 
ing a walP refer to Plate, LIX, Fig. 1 , Indian Museum 
Collection, No. 201. - f 

4. Fatehpur Sikri had a large artificial lake on the north-west 
to mitigate the dust and stifling heat of an Indian summer. 
E.B. Haveli, Indian Architecture, London, 1913, p, 164. 

5. Fergusson, James, History of Indian and Eastern Archi- 
tecture, Vol. II, p. 170. 

6. See CM. Villiers Stuart, Gardens of the Great Mughals. 

7. Nothing of importance now remains of Babar's buildings. 
Haveli, op. cit., p. 153. 

8. This great stronghold takes the form of an irregular semi- 
circle. One of its most remarkable features is the massive 
enclosure walls which consist of a solid sandstone rampart 
just under 70 feet in height and nearly one and a half miles 
in circumference. Its dimensions allow a number of com- 
modious rooms to form the interior, providing quarters 
for a considerable guard. Within the area enclosed by 
the walls of this fortress there were built, according to the 
Ain 9 more than 500 edifices of red standstone, in the fine 


style of Bengal and Gujarat. Percy Brown, Indian Are 1 * 
lecture, The Islamic Period, Bombay, p. 100. 
9. It is now however partly dismantled. There now remar 
only a baradari or pavilion known as zenana. 

10. Akbar's buildings strictly speaking are Rajput rather- tto 
Mughal. Havell, op. cit. 9 p. 163. Akbar's palace at Ag 
and buildings at Fatehpur Sikri are essentially a new dev 
lopment of the same Buddhist-Hindu craft tradition whi 
had created the architecture of the preceding Mussalmj 
dynasty. Ibid. 

11. It was completed in eight years (1565 A.D. 1573 A,E 
at a cost of 33 lakhs of rupees. A. Goswami and S.: 
Saraswati, Glimpses of Mughal Architecture, p. 23. 

12. Jahangiri Mahal was perhaps the residence of the he 
apparent. Percy Brown, op. tit , p. 100. 

13. Goswami and Saraswati, .op. cit. 9 p. 23. 

14. Ibid. 

15. Ibid. 

16. HaYell, op. tit., p. 171. 

17. "Neither Jahangir nor Shahjahan had Akbar's genius i 
constructive statesmanship and so far the persona! inf 
ence went they only helped Indian craftsmen to clothe 
more costly materials the creative ideas of the precedi 
century. Sumptuous decoration and lavish expenditure 
material rather than intellectuality in design were the ch; 
acteristlcs of the later period of Mogul avchiiecturi 
Havell, op. eft., pp. 199-200. 

18. Percy Brown, op. tit., p. III. 

19. Ibid., p. 118. 

10. Fergusson, op. tit.. Vol. II, p. 170. 

21. Ibid. 

22. Ibid. 

23. Percy Brown, op. tit., pp. 127-30 

24. Ibid., p. 130. 

25. Ibid. 

26. Fergusson., op.cit., I, p. 175. 

27. Strange to say, writes Percy Brown, it was never OCCUDK 
No royal family even lived within its precincts Per 
Brown, op. cit. 9 p. 131. 

28. These were similar to the one built at Agra Fort where t 



sewage and sullage dropped directly below into a drain 
carrying the refuse in the Yamuna. 

29. Man Mandir built by Maharaja Man Singh (1486-1516) 
a little earlier on the heights of Gwalior Fort seemed 
to have served "more a retreat for the royal ladies than 
a permanent residential palace." Percy Brown describes 
it thus : "The main bedy $f the building is in two storeys 
but on the eastern face agaimt the retaining wall of 
the fort there are two additional ranges of underground 
apartments for use in the hot weather. The rooms of the 
uppermost floor have balconies overlooking the open courts 
beflow and above there are roof terraces in which to take the 
air, while around the whole are narrow screened passages 
for communications. The whole structure is unscientific." 
Percy Brown, op. cit. 9 p. 129. See also Ferguson, op. tit., 
I, p. 177. 

30. Percy Brown, op. at,, p. 132. 

31. Bernier, p. 247. In 1 677 A.D. Aurangzeb put a ban on 
the construction of pucca houses by mansabdars above 
400 without special permission. Sarfear, Maa$ir-i-Alaingiri 9 
(Urdu) p. ICO, / 

32. Ibid., p., 248. 

33. Mandelslo, p. 54 ; Ejivard Terry, Early Travels, p. 301. 

34. Pelsaert, Jahangir^s India, p. 67. 

35. Nieuhoff's Voyages, p. 221. 

36. Mandelslo, p. 64. 

37. As Pelsaert says, "Their houses are noble and pleasant 
except a flat roof on which to enjoy the evening air." 
Jahangifs India, p. 66. 

38. Bernier, p. 247. 

39. Jahangtr's India, p. 67. 

40. Mandelslo, p. 64. 

41. Nieuhoff's Voyages, p. 221. 

42. "Travels of Pedro Godinho" (1683), Calcutta Review, Vol. 
XCIII (1891), p. 67. 

43. Ibid., p, 67 ; Fryer (old), p. 92 ; Travels in India in the 
17th Century, p. 225 ; Edward Terry in Early Travels, 
pp. 301-2 ; Ovington, p. 216 ; Thevenot (Sen, op. tit.), 
p. 22 ; Careri (Sen, op, eit.), p. 163 ; Hamilton, I, pp. 161- 


62 ; Thomas Herbert's Voyages, p. 31 ; Tavernier (Bg 
I, p. 6; Mandelslo, p.. 12. 

44. Nieuhoff s Voyages, p. 221. . 

45. Tarikh-i-RasMdi, trans. E. Denison Ross, p. A 
Khulasat writes four or more storeys. Khulasat, extn 

translated in India t of Aurangzib (Sarkar), p. 1 
Thevenot says three storeys high. Thevenot, p. 82. 

46. Tarikh-i-Rashidi, translation E. JDension Ross, p. 425. 

47. Khulasat, India off Aurangzib (Sarkar}, p. 112. 

48. Ain, (Sarkar) III, p. 352. 

49. Jahangir's India, p. 3.4. 

50. Khulasat, op. tit. (Sarkar), p. 112. 

51. Jahangir'slndia,p.34. 

52. Khulasat, op. cit. (Sarkar), p. 70* 

53. Thevenot, p. 82. 

,54. Bernier, p. 285. . . * * 

55. Tavernier, p. 76, I, p. 86, - 

56. Nicholas Withington in Early Travels, p. 244. 

57. Monserrate, pp. 97-98. " 

58. Ibid. 

59. Khulasat, extracts translated in Sarkar's India of Aurang 
p. 5. 

60. Travels in India in the 17th Century, pp. 174-75 ; Taveri 
(Ball), I, p. 141 ; For Lahore see Early Travels, p. 2 
"It was said to be one of the largest cities of the wh 
universe for it is xv miles in compasse and exceei 
Constantinople itself in greatness.'" I hid. 

61. Khulasat, op. cit. (Sarkar), p. xxxviji. > 

62. Bartolomeo, op. cit., pp. 155,158. 

63. Bocarro's 'Description of Sind,' translated and annota 
by F. Archilles Meersman, Journal of Sind Histor 
Society, August, 1940, Vol. IV, p. 201. The title of 
worF is 'Livro das plantas de fortalezas cidades 
paroacoes da Estado de India Oriental composed in 1 

64. Delia Valle, I, p. 67 ; Pieter Van Dan Brocke at Su 
J.I.H., VoLX, 1931, p. 246 

65. Khulasat, op. cit. (Sarkar), p. 61 ; also see A in, 
(Sarkar), p. 246. 

65.* Karim, Abdul, A Social History of the Muslims in 


Dacca, 1959, p. 190. 

66. Saletore, Social Life in the Vijayanagar Empire, Vol. II, 
p. 293. 

67. Ain, Jarrett (1891), Vol. II, p. 122. 

68. Bernier, p. 246. 

69. RennelFs Memoir of a 'Map of Hin dostan, p. 58. 

70. Tuzuk, Rogers, I, p. 7 ; Latif, Agra, Historical and Descrip- 
tive, p. 24. 

71. Tavernier, p. 96. ; 

72. History of&utch East Indies, p. 314 ; also see A. Sarada 
Raju, Economic Conditfons in Madras Presidency (1800- 
1850) , University of Madras, 1941, p. 279. 

73. Percy Brown, op. cit,, Islamic Architecture, p. 133. 

74. See Thornton, Gazetteer of India, Vol. I, p. 28. x 

75. Linschoten, I, p. 261. For houses in Narwar (Gwalior), 
Tavernier (Ball), I, p. 51 ; Roe's Embassy, p. 90 ; Masuli- 
patam, Tavernier (Ball), I, p. 141 ; Patna, Purchas' 
India, pp. 6, 10, and Hamilton, II, p. 22. For a thatched 
hut of Sadhus late 17th century, refer to Plate LX, 
Catalogue of the Indian Collection in the Museum of 
Fine Arts, Boston, Part VI, Mughal Painting by Ananda 
K. Coomaraswamy. 

76.-.Nieuhoff's Voyages; p. 221 ; Tavernier (Ball), I, p. 100. 

77. Storia, III, p. 41 ; also see Orme's Fragments, pp. -407-8. 

78. India in the 17th Gentury, p. 451. 

79. Orme's Fragments, p. 472. 

80. Ain (Jarrett), II (1891), p. 122 ; Pelsaert, Jahangir's India, 
p. 67. 

81. Bernier, p. 246. , v : < '' N 

82. Bocarro's account in Journal of Sind Hist., Soe., Vol. IV, 
August 1940. 

83. Linschoten, Purchas' India, X, p. 262. 

84. Ain, III (Sarkar), p. 138. 

85. Ibid, p. 273. 

86. Ibid. 

87. Tavernier (Ball), I, p. 100. 

88. Ralph Fitch, Early Travels, pp. 23-24. 

89. Khulasat (Sarkar), India of Aurangzib, p. 79. 

90. Tavernier, op. cit., I, p. 86. 

91. Khulasat (Sarkar), op. cit. 9 p. 41. 


92. Thevenot, p. 100. 

93. Pelsaert, Jahangir's India, p. 34 ; Ralph Fitch, Ea 
Travels, p. 30. 

94. For Surat see Sen, Careri, p. 163-; Thevenot, p. J 
Tavernier (Ball), I, p. 6 ; for Malabar refer to Nieuho 
Voyages, p. 221 ; Bartolomeo, p. 155 ; Padre Godii 
(1663), Calcutta Review, \ . . XCIII (1 891), p. 67. 

95. Bocarro's Description of Sind, Journal of Sind Hist. S 
Vol. IV, August, 1940. 

96. Saletore, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 295. 

97. India in the 17th Century, p. 215. 

98. Sen, Travels of Thevenot and Carerf, p. 246. 

99. Fryer (old), p. 199. 

100. Saletore, op. cit., II, pp. 296-97. 

101. Vaj Sam, XXX, 21. Also refer to The Industrial Arts 
India by C.M. Birdwood, p. 203. For reference to ch 
and tables during the reign of Chandra Gupta Mai 
(322 B.C.), V.A. Smith's Early History of India, p. 12? 

102. Rig-Veda, V, VII, 55, 8. 

103. n>id,VU 9 55, 8, A. V., V, 17, 12 ; XII, 2, 31, 41. 

104. Some Aspects of Indian Civilization, pp. 18-19. Also 
T.N. Mukharji, Art Manufacturers of India, p. 232 ; I 
Majumdar (ed.), History of Bengal, Vol. I, p. 615. 

105. Ibid. 

106. The houses of the merchants on the West Coast, hov/e 
were well furnished. Moreland, India at the Deal 
Akbar, pp. 161-62, 273. 

107. Cross-legged or knees bent inwards. The latter pos 
was usually adopted by Muhammadans in the Mu; 
darbar. See Chester Beatty, op. cit., VoSs. I-III" and Sh 
III, p. 41. 

108. Particularly when sitting with their legs dangling dc 
Thomas's Customs and Manners, p. 75. Also see Ain 
(Sarkar), p. 324 and Pelsaert, Jahangir's India, p. 67. 

109. Studies in Indian Paintings, Plate No. 39, clepicl 
European ambassador in the Court of Shahjahan. Al 
Aziz, Thrones, Chairs and Seats used by the Indian Mugi 
p. 182 ; Storia, I 5 pp. 88 (middle) and 89, The not 



exceptions were, Abdur-r-Rahim (vide Tuzuk, 416; 
Badshahnamc: , I, 194), Prince Khurram (Tuzuk, 195, 
R & B, I, 395) and Dara Shukoh (Badshahnama, III, 
I08a). This unique privilege was not in recognition of 
one's position as an ambassador or royal prince, but was 
meant as a royal tribute to his personality and descent. 
Abdul Aziz, op eft., p. 182. 

110. Fryer (old), p. 200. 

111. Pelsaert, Jahangir's India, p. 67. 

112. Roes Embassy, p. 65. 

113. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 456. 

114. Mahaiingham, Administration and Social Life under Vijaya- 
nagar, p. 268. 

115. A little prior to our period we see Tiraur sitting on an 
armed chair (Plate No. 44, p. 102 of Studies in Indian 

.Painting) ; for other two pictures depicting Timur in a 
similar chair refer to No. 44 and the other unnumbered 
both in possession of Delhi Museum of Archaeology. For 
a painting of Akbar's time depicting a woman with a tall 
Chaghtai cap sitting on a chair refer to Plate III. Catalogue 
of Indian Collections, Part VI, Mughal Paintings. Plate 
XLVIF depicts a princess seated on a chair with water and 
lotuses in the foreground. In Stochoukine (La Peinture 
Indienne, Plate XXXI) we see Jahangir sitting on a jewelled 
chair. Aurangzeb is depicted sitting on a chair in Storia, 
II, Frontispiece. Plate LXII and LVI (Catalogue of 
Indian Paintings, Part VI, Mughal Paintings, A.D. 1712) 
depict Jahandar Shah on a beautiful chair. 

116. For Sadullah Khan, the Prime Minister of Shahjahan, 
sitting on a chair administering justice see Stochoukine, La 
Peinture Indienne, PL LV and for Fakhir Khan, another 
noble, on a chair see PL XXXII (Binyon, Court Painters), 
Abdul Aziz, op. cit. 9 p. 228. 

1 17. Refer to the footnotes 115 and 116 above. 

118. For illustration of two chairs belonging to 17th and 
1 8th centuries refer to figure 1 37 of The Arts and Crafts 
of India and Ceylon by Coomaraswamy. 

119. Several contemporary paintings depict these couches ; see 
for example Plate 58, Vol. 111,'Chester Beatty ; Also refer 
to Maasir, I, p. 64. 


120. Sometimes of gold. Aspects of Bengali Society, p. 27. 

121. Monserrate's Commentary, p. 199. 

122. Ibid. 

123. Delia Valle, pp. 245-46. Also see Capt. Cope, A New 
History of the East Indies, p. 37. 

124. Aspects of Bengali Society, p. 300. 

125. Ibid. 

126. Ashraf, op. cit. 9 p. 274. 

127. The writer has come across at least one beautiful con- 
temporary painting (Chester Beatty, op. dt. 9 Vol. Ill, 
PL 58) which depicts a nice little table with a single leg in 
the centre. Nuniz also refers to the use of a three-legged 
stool by Achyuta Raja of Vijayanagar. His dinner was 
served on this table made of gold. Mahalingham, Adminis- 
tration and Social Life under Vijayanagar, pp. 282-83. 

128. Hamilton, I, p. 126. 

129. Moreland, India at the Death of Akbar, pp. 161-62 ; 
Mandelslo, p. 27. 

130. Moreland op. cit., p. 273. 

131. Manrique, II, p. 239. 

132. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, The Arts and Crafts of India 
and Ceylon, p. 169 ; Mukharji, Art Manufactures of India, 
pp. 231-32. Thrones are mentioned in Rig-Veda, the 
Ramayana and Mahabharata. Birdwood names .them 
rajapatra and rajasana (The Industrial Arts of India, p. 204). 

133. Refer to Plate No 31, Chester Beatty, op. cit., Vol. II, fol. 
201 for example. Also refer to Ramayana of Tulsidas 
(Growse), p. 369. 

134. Refer to Abdul Aziz, Thrones, Chairs and Seats of Indian 
Mughah, pp. 183-87. 

135. For Babar's thrones Plate XXXIV (b) of Loan Exhibition 
of Antiquities, Delhi, 1911 ; Plate XIV of Percy Brown's 
Indian Paintings under the Mughals ; For Humayun's throne 
Tarikh-i-Khandan-i-Timuriya (Bankipur Library) facing 
page 158. For Akbar's Plate facing p. 164 of Humayun* 
nama ; Plate XIV of Stochoukine's La Peinture Indienne, 
Plate XLVII (c) of Loan Exhibition, Delhi; Chester Beatty* 
Vol. II, Frontispiece, and Plates 6, 16, 17, 31, 65. For 
Jahangiri thrones, Percy Brown, Plate XLIV, PI. LVI, 
No. 2 ; Binyon, Asiatic Arts in the British Museum, R & B ? ' 



,o T> * TT 80 For Shahjahan, Plate XXV of 


Society, p. Til. 


Exhibition, p. 119.- 

, P 

and Ceylon, p. 169. 

146. Beraier, p. 359. 

147. Felsaert ^ / 
pp. 21-22 , 

148. Ap* of Be 



O f 

126 . 


fc Q/ molo C onti, 

society, p. 298. . 

. Paes and Nuniz give a 
^ & fa ^ palace at 

a bed-room the former 
of cane . work over 


the heart-shape and interweaved between one and another 
is a twist of thick seed-pearl work, on the dome are 
pendants of the same. In this chamber was a bed which 
had feet similar to the porch, the cross bars covered with 
gold and there was on it a mattress of black satin ; it had 
all around it a railing of pearls a span wide, on it two 
cushions and no other covering." Nuniz writes about 
Achyuta Raya : "The bedsteads in which his wives sleep 
are covered and adorned with silver plates. Every wife 
has her bed in which she sleeps and that of the king is 
plated and toed and has all its legs of gold, its mattress 
of silk and its round bolster worked round the ends with 
large , seed-pearls. It has four pillows of the same pattern 
for the feet and has no other sheet than a silk cloth on 
top." Mahalingham, Administration and Social Life under 
Vijayanagar, pp. 289-90. 

149. Ibid., p. 290. 

150. Mentioned in Moreland, India at the Death of Akbar, 
pp. 161-62. 

15 i. Bernier, p. 353. 

152. Quoted in Saletore, op. cit., II, p. 290. Also see Travels in 
India in the 17th Century, p. 280. 

153. Ovington, A Voyage to Swat in the Year 1689, ed. by H.S. 
Rawlinson. O.U.P. 1929, pp. 197-98. 

154. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p. 280. ? 

155. Mandelslo, p. 27; De Laet, p. 89; Pelsaert, p. 61 ; 
Hamilton, p. 126 ; also see Plate XVI, Indian Drawings. 

156. The bedding of the well-to-do, according to old Bengali 
Literature (Storia, III, pp. 39-40), comprised rough 
cloths, cMonpachhras, still used in Tipperah side, a bed- 
sheet and winter cloth, Khua fabrics, Bhutan! blankets, 
silk fabrics, velvets, and red blankets. Aspects of Bengali 
Society, p. 299. 

157. Aspects of Bengali Society, p. 298 ; Ashraf, p. 273 ; Bernier, 
p. 353. Tattah coverlets were quite well-known. A New 
History of East India, p. 225. 

158. Refer to Plate XIV of Catalogue of Indian Collections, 
Part VI, Mughal Paintings. 

159. Bernier, p. 353. 

160. Tavernier, I, p. 51. 


, . n 739 Catalogue of Delhi 

161. Mannque, II, ? ^ } - 

P ' 4 f ' r to 

162. XfiM/asfl* refers to 

i Art Edition, 

it Vide I N Sarkar, India of Aurangzib, 
it. VidcJ. mats 


165. Airf., P- 299 

166. Manrique, II, P- 


pp. 271-72. 

asser tion that instead of 

168 . Mannque^ ^ /M 

169. Cope Capt, A " 

. 225 
in his 

. 590, edition 1903. 

173 . Mahalingham, 

r, p. 289 


Palghat (Malabar). Birdwood, op. cit., pp. 

175 . Sforifl, HI, p. 187. fa of mcolo 

176. Samuel Purchas' /wfa, pp. >*, 


Conti (Travels in India in the 15th Century], pp. 21-22 ; 
Storia, III, p. 42 ; Mandelslo, p. 85. 

177. Travels in India in the 17th Century, pp. 392, 456 ; Storia, 
III, p. 41. 

178. Bengal in the 16th Century, p. 93. 

179. Early Travels, p. 311 ; Jahangifs India, p. 61; Careri 
(Sen, op. cit.), p. 248. 

180. De Laet, p. 91 ; Aspects of Bengali Society, p. 296. 

181. Mandelslo (p. 28) saw such a carpet also at the residence o] 
the Governor of Ahmedabad., 

182. The carpet in possession of Vincent Robinson and showr 
in the Indian Section of the South Kennsington Museun 
was made in the 16th century or early 17th century. I 
contains 3,500,000 knots in its entire surface or 400 knot 
to the square inch. Its pattern was so complicated that i 
change of the needle was required for every knot. T.N 
Mukharji, Art Manufacturers of India, Calcutta, 1888 
Pelsaert, Jahangir's India, p. 9. Also see Journal q 
Indian Arts and Industry, Vol. XI, April 1905. Ar, 
Islamica, Vol. VII, pp. 93-94 (for a Persian garden-carpe 
in Jaipur Museum), and Vol. VIII, pp. 121-212. 'Th 
Art of Carpet- Making and a Survey of Persian Art" b; 
Von Kurt Erdmann ; "On the Origin f the Persian Carpe 
Pattern" by Ernst Cohn- Wiener, Mamie Culture, Vol. XI 
No. 4, Oct. 1937. H. Hendley, Asian Carpets, 16th 
]7th century designs from Jaipur palaces, London, 1905 
Handbook of the Jeypore Courts by H. Hendley, Calcutta 
1886, and Martin's A History of Oriental Carpets befor 
1800, Vienna, 1908. 

183. Early Travels by Foster, p. 308. 

184. Plate No. 57 of Indian Arts at Delhi (1903) shows twc 
wonderful carpets believed to have been made in Kashmi 
about three hundred years ago. The carpets are preserve* 
in the Asar Mahal, an old palace in Bijapur. An ol< 
manuscript Haft Kursi-i-Padshahan gives the date of thei 
arrival from Kashmir in the year A.H. 1067 (1657 A.D.) 
Indian Arts at Delhi, p. 432. Some of the carpets use< 
to cost a hundred rupees a yard. Maasir, I, p. 715. For i 
Bijapuri Jainamaz of the same period refer to Ibid., p. 433 
Ain, I (Bloch) 1939, p. 57. Agra, Fatehpur and Lahor< 


were the main carpet-weaving centres, Banaras too was a 
well-known centre. John Marshal writes : "They have 
excellent carpets (rugs) of 100 rupees each." John Marshall 
in India, p. 170. For present-day centres see Birdwood, 
Industrial Arts of India, pp. 294-98. 

185. Pyrard, I, p. 328. 

186. Ain, 1(1939), p. 57. Pyrard writes: "From Ormus to 
Goa came carpets the most exquisite and the best made in 
the world." Pyrard, II, pp. 239-40. 

187. Ain, I (1939), p. 57. For Persian rugs, see Churchill Mary, 
The Oriental Rug Book, pp. 172-205, 102-160. 

188. Ain, I (1939), p. 57. Abul Fazl relates that a single galim 
20 gaz 1 tassujes long and 6 gaz 11| tassujes broad would 
cost Rs. 1810, though its estimated price by the experts 
would not be less than Rs. 2715. For Indian rugs see : 
Churchill Mary, The Oriental Rug Book, pp. 228, 240 ; 
and Hawley A. Walter, Oriental Rugs, pp. 253-76. 

189. Catalogue of Delhi Art Exhibition, p. 440. 

190. Amritsar, Agra, Lahore and Multan were also rug manu- 
facturing centres. Walter, Oriental Rugs, p. 256. The 
well-known carpet now in possession of the Girdler's 
Company of London, was manufactured at Lahore in 
1634. Ibid. 

191. Eight feet three inches long and five feet three inches wide, 
it contains about three hundred and sixty knots to the 
square inch. It depicts a hunting scene and its predomi- 
nant colour is red. For details refer to Walter, Oriental 
Rugs, pp. 335-36. 

192. Ain, 1(1939), p. 57. 

193. Fryer (old), p. 131. 

194. Ibid. ; Bernier, p. 248 ; Travels in India in the 17th Century, 
pp. 456 and 280 ; The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon 
by Ananda Coomaraswamy, London, 1913, p. 169 ; 
Ovington, pp. 31344. 

195. Bernier, p. 248 ; Fryer (old), p. 200. Mughal nobles have 
been depicted propped up by large cushions in innumerable 
contemporary paintings for which refer to Chester Beatty's 
Vols. Mil ; Percy Brown's Plates XV, XXVII of Catalogue 
of Indian Collections, Part VI, Mughal Paintings ; Studies in 



Indian Paintings ; Plate No. 39 ; Travels in India in the 17th 
Century, p. 456. 

196. Delia Valle, II, pp. 250-52 quoted in Saletore's Social and 
Political Life in the Vijayanagar Empire (1346-1646 A.D.), 
Vol. II, p. 292. 

197. There is a painting on stuff in possession of Bedford 
College for Women, London, which was probably used as 
a temporary decoration in the King's Camp while on 
expedition. It dates back to the Mughal period, A.D. 
1600-1620. For details refer to 'A New Mughal Painting 
on Stuff' by Basil Gray in Ars hlamica, Vol. IV, pp. 459- 
60. Futuhat-i-Firuz Shahi, vide f. 10-11 quoted in Ashraf, 
op. cit., p. 273. For curtains refer to the various darbar 
paintings of the period. 

198. Gul, IB, 20-23 quoted in Ashraf, op. cit., 273. The house 
of a noble called Khalifa where Gulbadan was received at 
Koli (Aligarh) by the Mughal Emperor was decorated with 
Gujarati curtains. Ibid. 

199. William Finch in Purchas, IV, p. 66. 

200. Manrique, II, p. 239. 

201. East India Company Records, Vol. IV, p. 286. Sometimes 
it would cost 18 shillings per stitch. Ibid. 

202. Petermundy, II, p. 191 ; Bernier, p. 247 ; Maasir, I, p. 602. 

203. Bernier, pp. 247-48. 

204. Or plastered with line white lime. Early Travels, p. 311. 
Also refer to "The Annual Relation of Father Fernao 
Guerreiro," J.P.H.S., Vol. VII, pp. 58-59. 

205. Usually paved with stone or else made with lime sand. 
Early Travels, p. 311. 

206. Aspects of Bengali Society, p. 2.97. 

207. Abdul Aziz, The Imperial Treasury of the Great Mughals, 
J.I.H., Vol. XIV, 1935, p. 67. 

208. Roe's Embassy, pp. 445,. 459. 

209. Ibid., p. 68. 

210. Rander near Surat. 

211. Barbosa, trans. Dames, I, pp. 147-48. 

212. Some Aspects of Indian Civilization, pp. 125-26. "The 
daughter of king Nila," a famous Sanskrit poem tells us, 
<s was the first who fanned the sacred fire with a decorated 
palm-leaf." Its objects are to relieve "the effects of heat, 


sweating, thirst, fainting and excess of fatigue." Susruta 
Samhita, IV, xx, iv, 82. 

'213. Some Aspects of Indian Civilization, pp. 125-26. Some- 
times they were made of mica. Aspects of Bengali Society 9 
p. 290, 

214. Major, R.H., India in the 15th Century, p. 31. According 
to Nuniz, the greatest honour which the Raja of Vijaya- 
nagar could confer on a noble consisted of two fans 
made of the white tails of certain cows, and orna- 
mented with gold and precious stones. Mahalingham, 
Administration and Social Life under Vijay ana-gar 9 p. 277. 

215. Orme's Fragments, p. 471 ; Storla III, p. 187. Also see 
Petermundy, II, p. 191. 

216. Early Travels, p. 313. 

.217. An ivory fan probably of the 17th century is in the Kuns- 
thistorisches Museum, Vienna, and is referred to in the 
Burlington Magazine, LXXV (1949), 64, pi. I. C. Ars 
Islamica, Vol. IX, Parts 1-2, p. 94, f.n. 7. 

218. Padinavat (Hindi), p. 269. Ramayana of Tulsidas 
(Growse), p. 171. These were usually made of the tail-hair 
of a wild ox, peacock-feathers or grass roots. 

219. Aspects of Bengali Society, p. 292. Other fans mentioned 
are Danda Pakha, Aber Pakha. Ibid., p. 289. 

220. Aspects of Bengali Society, p. 292. For a painting depict- 
ing a big round fan of 12th century see **An Indian 
Prince," Illustrated Weekly of India, p. 35, July 20, 1952. 

221. Petermundy, II, p. 191. The early swinging fans consisted 
of "a large frame of wood covered with cloth or painted 
paper. " 

222. For the encampment on journeys [see Ain 16 of Ain-i- 
Akbari, I (1939), pp. 47-49. 

223. Bernier (p. 359) writes as Karguais. 

224. Called Chandoas (canopies) in Bengal. Aspects of Bengali 
Society, p. 296. 

225. For details refer to Ain, I (1939), pp. 55-57. For illustra- 
tions see Plates X and XI, p. 54. 

226. Ain. I (1939), p. 47. 

227. Ibid., p. 57. 

228. Ibid., p. 50. 

229. Petermundy, II, p. 126, 


230. Manrique, II, p. 248. 

231. Mandelslo, p. 27 ; Moreland, India at the Death of Akbar T 
pp. 161-62. 

232. Capt, Cope, A New History of East Indies, p. 246. 

233. Ibid., p. 225. There, are two Ivory caskets in the 
. Residenz Museum, Munich, and two ivory caskets and 

an ivory fan in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. 
The first dates from the second half of the 17th century 
vide Burlington Magazine, LXIX (.1936), 275, Pi. 3. The 
second Vienna casket probably dates from the 17th 
century. Burlington Magazine, LXXV (1939), 64, PL I A. 
An ivory casket in British Museum, early 17th century, 
South India., etc. ATS Islamica, Vol. IX, p. 94, f.n. 7. 

234. A.K. Commaraswamy, History of Indian and Indonesian 
Art (London, 1927), p. 123. 

235. De Laet, p. 89 ; Pelsaert, p. 61 ; Bartolonneo, p. 156. 

236. Pelsaert, p. 61 ; De Laet, p. 89. 

237. Bartolomeo, pp. 156 and 159. Cups, spoons and dishes of 
the Malabaris were usually made of coconuts. Travels in 
India in 15th Century, p. 221 . Also see Mandelslo, pp. 64 
and 85. 

238. Ibid. ; Mandelslo, p. 64. 

239. De Laet, p. 91 ; Pelsaert, p. 67 ; Storia, If, p. 53 ; Man- 
delslo, p. 74. 

240. Pyrard, I, p. 329. 

241. Storia, III, p. 187. 


Mode of '["ravelling and 



Though travelling was recommended by the learned of the 
age as a source of profit and a means of success, It was not 
much indulged in during Mughal times. Except for certain great 
highways, the permanent bridges over even the smaller rivers 
were rare. 1 It was reported to the East India Company in 1666 
by their agents in India that "there were no better roads or 
mending of highways, but the first carts that travail must cut 
them anew, with their wheels, that makes it very tedious and 
troublesome travelling in the first of the year.'* 2 There were 
few efforts by the Mughal emperors to improve the condition of 
the roads. Sher Shah Sur was, however, an exception. 3 It was 
not safe to travel withoul a proper escort, as the highways 
swarmed with robbers and thieves. 4 Along the way there was 
scarcity of provisions and goods for both men and cattle and 
officials made the conditions still worse by demanding illegal 
gratification. Ordinary people, merchants and travellers preferred 
to accompany a carvan which, to quote a contemporary, was 
"a great multitude of people, travelling together on the way 
with camels, horses, mules, asses, etc. on which they carry their 
merchandise from one place to another." 5 Thousands and 
thousands of people would join the king's entourage whenever 
he moved out. And as a writer says : "Akbar's court, even 
- when quartered in a city, was a camp or his camp was a 
travelling city." 6 


Means of transport 

Modern technical devices being unknown, the means of 
transport in those days were confined to human carriers, beasts 
of burden, and wheeled traffic on land, boats on rivers, and small 
sailing ships in the coastal seas. It took months and sometimes 
even years to traverse long distances. India's transport, how- 
ever, compared favourably with the contemporary world, and 
there is some truth in Tavernier's observation that the "manner 
of travelling in India is more commodious than anything that 
has been invented for ease in France or Italy." 7 


The ox was the conveyance of the poor In villages and even 
in towns. "They ascended the ox," remarks Ovington, "with 
equal ease as we do our horses.'" 8 Instead of saddles, however, 
they put on a soft cushion and, with the strings of the reins 
passing through the nostrils of the animal in their hands, 
"travelled longer and shorter journeys at a good, round, easy 
rate."** Terry and Thevenot both confirm that some of them 
would go "as a fast as a horse" and covered 20 miles a day. 10 
The bullocks of Vijayanagar were known for their "commodious 
pace" 11 and people rode them with panels, girts and bridles. 12 
It was the practice to shoe the oxen especially when they were 
to cover long distances. 13 They put a thick scarf around their 
necks and a collar of leather a little above, before they were 
yoked to the wagons. 14 


Horses, ponies, mules and even donkeys were used for 
riding purposes. In sandy places like Rajasthan and Sind 
camels were employed to cover distances. The traditional 
bail-gari or the bullock-drawn cart was much more in use then. 
It carried passengers as well as luggage. Its structure and 
shape have not much changed during all these centuries. Drawn 
by two or even three oxen, it could cover 20 miles a day. 15 
These carts were covered completely when ladies travelled. 16 
Manrique travelled in a similar cart from Agra to Patna. They 
could be had on hire. 17 


Samuel Purchas saw in the country many fine carts 


gilded and covered with silk and fine cloth. 18 In Vijaya- 
nagar, it appears, carts were not used on a large scale owing 
to the bad conditions of the roads. 19 Thevenot refers to 
the use of chariots which were flat and even, having a border 
four fingers broad with pillars all round. The number of the 
pillars depended upon the taste of the owner but normally it 
did not exceed eight. It had two wheels, each having eight spokes 
four or five fingers thick. Those who could afford it covered the 
wooden floor of the chariot with a nice carpet, and "thongs of 
leather were interwoven from pillar to pillar to keep one from 
falling out." Some of the rich had their chariots ornamented 
with ivory. They were covered like the rooms of a house, 
their windows adorned with gilded leather or silk hangings, 
their mattresses made of silk quilts. Cushions were also used. 
Even a beautiful canopy was used sometimes as a protection 
against the sun. 20 

White oxen 21 were in great demand and were used by the 
nobles to draw their carriages.- 2 To make them look more 
beautiful and impressive, they would "deck the ends of their 
horns with sheaths of copper and even clothe them." 23 These 
oxen were well fed and looked like elephants. 24 Some of the 
ordinary oxen were also very strong and would cover 12-15 
leagues a day. They could travel for about two months at this 
speed. 25 The hire of such a coach was a rupee per day. 26 Theve- 
not found these chariots very comfortable. The finest chariots 
were built at Tattah. 27 Akbar preferred to drive in a two-horse 
chariot "wherein he would sit cross-legged upon a couch covered 
with scarlet rugs." 28 Among the presents sent by the East India 
Company to Jahangir, there was an English coach which created 
some sensation at the court and was used as a model by local 
craftsmen. 29 Jahangir presented it to Nurjahan. Its English 
lining was taken off and the coach was covered with gold, velvet 
and decorations. 30 

Horses, mules, and ponies served as a quicker form of trans- 
port. 31 The poor rode donkeys, too. 32 In sandy parts like Rajas- 
than an Sind 33 and even in Multanand Gujarat 331 camels were 
used. The swiftest camels came from Ajmer, 34 Ths jammaza 
breed was considered to be the best. It was followed closely by 
M;. 36 These varieties surpassed even those imported from Iran 
and Turan. 36 The ordinary kind came from JodhpuTjINagor, 


Bikanir, Jaisalmir, Bhatinda, Bhatnir and Gujarat. The Am 
describes in detail the trappings. The poorer sort had the 
barest possible, a mahar kathi'^ (saddle), an afsar (head-stall), a 
dum-afsar (crupper), etc. The rich had kuchi (saddle-cloth), a 
qatarchi, a sarbachi (a sort of quilt), a tang (a girth), a sartang 
(a head-strap), ashehband, (a loin-strap), &jalajil (a breast-rope 
adorned with shells or bells), a garadaband (a neck-strap), three 
chadars (or coverings) made of broadcloth or variegated canvas 
or wax-cloth. Besides these, there were jewels, trimmings, silk 
and various other articles to adorn. 38 


Elephants with beautiful howdahs were quite often used as a 
conveyance by kings and nobles. 39 Princesses would also move 
about on elephants. Bernier refers to Roshan Ara Begam's 
trips seated in a golden howdah on a Pegu elephant. 40 The best 
elephants came from Pannah. 41 Elephants were also found in 
the Suba of Agra, forests of Bayawan and Narwar, Suba of 
Allahabad, in the confines of Pannah, Ghora, Ratanpur, 
Nandanpur, Sirguja and Bastar, in the Suba of Malwa, in 
Hindiyah, Uchhod, Chanderi, Santwas, Bijagarh, Raisin, 
Hoshangabad, Garha, Haryagarh in Bihar, in Rohtas and 
Jharkhand, and in Bengal, Orissa and Gurgaon It was 
perhaps during the reign of Shahjahan that white elephants 
from Pegu were first imported. 42 During Akbar's time there 
were 101 elephants in the royal stables reserved for the King's 
use. They were known as khas elephants. Whenever the King 
mounted an elephant, it was customary for him to grant to 
the mahavat a sum equal to his one month's wages. 43 Of the 
many articles prescribed by the Ain as the harness of the 
elephants, the important ones were dharna, a large chain of 
iron, gold or silver, loh-Iangar, a long chain which prevented 
the elephant from running, gadela, a cushion, a chaurasi 9 a 
number of bells attached to a piece of broadcloth tied before 
and behind with a string passing through \t,pitkachh, two chains 
fastened over the elephant's sides for beauty, qutas (the tail of 
the Tibetan Yak), about sixty, more or less, attached to the 
tusk, the forehead, the throat and the neck for ornamentation, 
and the tayya, five iron plates, each a span long and four fingers 
broad, fastened to each other by rings. Gaj-jhamp was a 


covering put as an ornament above the pakhar. It was made 
of three folds of canvas, put together and sewn, broad ribbons 
being attached to the outside. Meghdambar, an awning to 

shade the elephant-driver, was invented by Akbar. The ranpiyat 
was a fillet for the forehead made of brocade or similar stuffs, 
from the hem of which nice ribbons and qutas hung down. 
The gateli which consisted of four links joined together with 
three above them and two others over the latter was attached to 
the feet of the elephant. Its sound was very effective. Pay-ranjan 
consisted of several bells similarly arranged. 44 


Mules were used particularly for travelling on an uneven 
ground. According to the Ain^ it possessed the "strength of a 
horse and the patience of an ass and though it has not the 
intelligence of the former, it has not the stupidity of the latter." 
It never forgot the road on which it had once travelled. Akbar 
encouraged its breed. The best mules in the country came 
from Pakhali (a. little town north of Rawalpindi) and its 
neighbourhood. 45 They were also imported from Iraq-i-Arab 
and Iraq-i-Ajam and cost about Rs. 1 ,000 per head. For the 
poor, a saddle and a rope or a chain sufficed as the equipment 
for riding a mule. The rich, however, had a large number of 
accessories which included a palan (pack-saddle), a shaltang 
(shawl-strap), palastang (blanket-strap), a horse-hair saddle, a 
sardoz (common head-stall) a inagasran (to drive away flies), a 
currycomb, a hair-glove, etc. 46 


Horses were preferred to other beasts for their swiftness, 
impressive look and comfortable ride. Horses were also used 
for drawing carriages. Special attention was paid to their 
proper breed. Horses were imported from Iraq-i-Arab, Iraq-i- 
Ajam, Turkey, Turkestan, Badakhshan, Shirwan, Qirgluz, Tibet, 
Kashmir and other countries. Punjabi horses called Sanjui 
(or Satuji) resembled Iraqi horses. Horses of Pati Haibatpur, 
Bajwaral, Tihara (in the Suba of Agra), Mewar and Ajmer 
were much sought after. Gut horses of northern mountains 
.and tanghan (or taghari) horses of Cooch-Behar were known for 
their strength. 47 Kashmir horses were small, strong and capable 


of covering difficult tracts. Bengalis rarely took to horse-riding. 4 * 
The trappings of horses included an artak or horse-quilt, a 
yalposh (or covering for the mane), a woollen towel, the saddle- 
cloth, a magasran (a horse-tail fan to drive away flies), a nukhta 
and qayza (the bit), etc. 49 


The nobles and the wealthy, however, preferred to travel 
in palanquins which were very comfortable. Several European 
travellers have described in detail these conveyances which were 
in fact box-litters with a pole or two projecting before and be- 
hind and which were borne on the shoulders of four or six men. 50 
But when the journey was long, there were relays of bearers to 
take over. 51 The palanquin-bearers belonged to a special caste of 
Hindus known as Kahars. These palanquins were covered all over 
with cloth. In case of rain, wax-cloth was placed all over the 
palanquin. 52 There were several types of this conveyance. 
Doli and do la were ordinary types of palanquins. The former 
was specially hired for women to cover short distances. 53 It 
is still customary to carry home the bride in a doli which is 
covered with a red cloth. 54 It was covered with a rich cloth 
known as Pater Dola in Bengal 55 It was hung on a single 
pole projecting before and behind and was borne on the 
shoulders of three men on each side. 


A palanquin was similar to a doli in shape excepting the size 
which was bigger. 56 In Bengal the rich used sukhasan orsukhpal, 
a crescent-shaped litter covered with a camlet or a scarlet cloth, 
the two sides of which had fastenings of various metals. 57 
Abul Fazl calls sukhasan as a "boat of dry land.'* 58 It was 
conveniently adapted for sitting in, lying at full length or 
sleeping on during travel 59 


Chandol was perhaps the most luxurious litter. It was closed 
and covered like the room of a house ; the windows were 
adorned with gilded leather or silk hangings ; the mattresses- 
were made of silk. Sometimes they spread a tiger-skin on the 
floor. 60 Some decorated them with plates of carved silver while 


others had them painted with flowers and other curiosities or 
set round with gilt balls. 61 There also hung in the palanquin a 
beautiful vessel containing drinking water. 

This litter had two beautifully decorated poles projecting 
before and behind and was borne on the shoulders of 12 persons, 
three persons at each pole, i.e., six persons on each side. 62 
The following is a poet's somewhat exaggerated description of 
a richly furnished palanquin of a noble, raja or a rich merchant : 
"The handles were made of gold and gems, besprinkled with 
liquid sandal. The roof of the palanquin was covered with a 
piece of thick silk. Precious gems decorated its skirts. Peacock 
feathers were used to adorn the palanquin. The silk tufts 
around it gave it a dazzling look. The merchant sat on the 
palanquin on one side and both on his right and on his left his 
attendants were fanning him with chowries." 63 According to 
the Ain, finely built carriages were called bahals.^ There is a 
reference to the invention of an extraordinary carriage by 
Akbar. It was large enough to hold several apartments with a 
bath-room and was drawn by an elephant. 65 

Elephant- litter? 

Sometimes elephants were employed to carry the litter which 
was suspended between two elephants. In summer the nobles 
had khas tatties (screens made of fragrant khas grass) fixed on 
all its four sides in order to have coolness inside. Petermundy 
refers to the growing of barley on the outer side of tatties to 
give it a pleasant look. 66 The noble Saif Khan's sister-in-law 
travelled in this type of litter to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. 67 
There are frequent references to the use of camel and elephant 
litters. Manucci's Storia Do Mogor has a beautiful painting 
showing a litter fitted on the back of a camel by means of 
ropes. Petermundy describes imari (Petermundy, ambarre) or 
an elephant-litter as a "little coach made fast with strong 
ghirsees (ghirnees or pulleys) and ropes on the elephant's 
back standing on pack-saddles . . .at least a foot above 
his chine, which is a great height from the ground." These 
litters used by the king and the nobles were highly decorated 
and ornamented with all sorts of silk stuffs and jewellery. The 
curious reader may make a reference to Manucci's Storia^ Do 


Mogor for having an idea about the fine kind of howdahs used 

by the Mughal emperors. 

Ships and boats 

Ships and boats were the principal means of water transport. 
There was a network of navigable rivers covering the provinces 
of Smd, Multan, Lahore, Kashmir, Delhi, Agra, Oudh, Allaha- 
bad, Bihar and Bengal. The Ganges, the Yamuna and the 
Indus were mainly employed near the coastal regions. 
There was a fleet of 300 to 400 sea-going ships plying between 
Cambay and Goa and another of 250 sailing from Goa to the 
South, besides numerous ships plying on the eastern coast of 
Bengal and Orissa. 69 Mandelslo's view that some of the largest 
ships could carry 1,000 persons seems to be exaggerated. 
Hamilton is more reasonable when he says that the largest of 
the ships could accommodate 200 persons. 74 Each ship had a 
number of cabins, which were hired out to passengers. A lock 
and a kishii (boat) were provided with each cabin. The lower 
part of a ship was constructed with triple planks, so that it could 
withstand the tempests. Some of the ships were built in 
compartments. If one part was damaged, the other parts 
enabled the ship to continue the journey. 71 Manucci is full of 
praise for the Indian ships which, according to the traveller, 
lasted much longer than those built in Europe. 72 Indians were 
quick to learn the British technique of building ships and 
quickly adopted it. 70 The ship-building centres in India were 
at Allahabad, Lahore, Multan, Kashmir and many places on the 
West Coast. 7 * 

Boats and rafts were used as a means of conveyance on the 
rivers. Akbar travelled in a boat from Agra to Allahabad. 
There is also a reference to Akbar's journey from Delhi to 
Agra by boat. 75 In Bengal, travelling was by boats, especially 
during the rainy season. They built different kinds of boats 
for purposes of war, carriage and swift sailing. 76 There were 
in Bengal alone about 4,200 big boats and 4,400 smaller ones, 
.according to Chahar Gulshan. 11 Larger boats could carry even 
an elephant. 78 Boats on the Indus were provided with all 
amenities of life. 79 

The boats meant for the royalty were highly artistic. Abul 
Fazl refers to the "wonderfully fashioned boats with delightful 



quarters and decks and gardens."' The stern of the boats was 
made In the shape of animals so as to amuse and interest 
spectators. 80 To Humayun goes the credit of inventing Jasr-i- 
Rowan or a moveable bridge. It served both as a bridge 
and a boat. Several boats were joined together with hooks 
and. iron chains. It was covered with wooden boards and 
was so firmly fixed with iron nails, etc. that passengers on foot 
and even riders could cross over it. Whenever the King 
planned a journey by river, the bridge was divided into several 
parts and steered on the water. 81 Petermundy refers to lighters 
and gabares at Agra of 300 to 500 tons which were used to 
transport great men and their families down the river to 
Allahabad. Patna and even Dacca. 

In Vijayanagar brigantins or fustas were used for rowing. 
The people also used harigolus or coracles or round basket 
boats covered with hide. These basket-boats, made of cane, 
were covered with leather outside. They carried 15 to 20 
persons. Even horses and oxen could cross in them. In the 
Tamil districts boats called parisus, made of wicker and leather, 
were used. In the Coromandel Coast there was in use a type of 
boat called mxxala. Besides rafts, hollowed trees and canoes 
were used. 82 The fishermen used catamarans (several pieces of 
wood fastened together in the form of rafts) to sweep the rivers 
and the seas. 


Several European travellers have made a special mention of 
the manner of travelling in Mughal times. The custom required 
that all the able-bodied umras who were "not exempted by a 
peculiar office" should accompany the King when he moved 
out on his takht-i-ra*an or the throne which was carried on the 
shoulders of eight men. Sometimes, however, as for example, 
paying a visit to the mosque for prayers, he would dispense 
with this large retinue and only the umras on duty accom- 
panied him. 83 

A noble's procession 

It was a pleasure to see a noble going to attend the darbar. 
In his rich palanquin, he would sit cross-legged against a thick 


cushion of brocade, chewing his betel, sweetening the breath 
and reddening his lips. Some of them had a hubble-bubble to 
keep themselves busy. On one side of the palanquin was a 
pikdan or spitoon of porcelain or silver; on the other side, there 
were two more servants to fan the lord, flap away the flies or 
brush off the dust with a peacock-fan. A few footmen marched. 
In front to clear the way, and a soldier on a stately steed followed 
in the rear. 84 

If a long journey was intended, it was usual to send an 
advance party two days ahead to make necessary arrangements 
for stay at the first halting stage. The noble's procession was 
led by elephants and with flags, followed by the measurer of 
way and a contingent of horses. Drum-beaters on elephant's 
back came next. Trumpets were sounded off and on. Footmen 
carrying the noble's insignia or flags followed. 85 At night 
mashalchis with their lighted mashais (pots filled with oil in an 
iron hoop and emitting light with a lot of stinking fumes), 
marched ahead of the palanquin. 86 The noble was seated in a 
palanquin if the weather was bad, otherwise he rode on the 
back of a horse or an elephant. He was surrounded by servants 
some of whom were busy beating away the flies, others carried 
fans and cold water. The rear was made up of horsemen and 
foot-soldiers who acted as an escort. Their number varied from 
200 to 500, according to the status of the noble. 87 

Armed escorts for travellers 

It was equally necessary for merchants and travellers 
to engage an escort, particularly when they carried some 
merchandise. These people, armed with bows, arrows and 
muskets, were a deterrant to robbers. 88 European travellers 
lavish high praise on these escorts for their faithfulness to their 
masters and for their honest dealings. Their services could be 
had for Rs. 4 or Rs. 5 per month. 89 Sidi Ali Reis, who visited 
India during Humayun's reign, refers to a particular tribe called 
Bats who had taken it up as a regular profession. 90 

Princesses' mode of travelling 

Bernier has left for us an eye-withess account of the pro- 
cession of Roshanara Begam. He could not conceive of an 
"exhibition more grand and imposing." She sat in a beautiful 


golden meghdambar on. a Pegu elephant. It was followed by five 
or six other elephants, carrying other ladies of the royal house- 
hold, in equally resplendent meghdambars. Surrounding the 
princess were the chief eunuchs beautifully dressed and finely 
mounted, each with a wand of his office in his hand. Her 
female bodyguards, Tartars and Kashmiris, richly attired, rode 
their handsome steeds. There were, besides, a large number of 
eunuchs on horseback and foot-soldiers with canes in their 
hands to clear the way, and whip away the intruders, if any. 
These princesses were followed by the principal lady of the 
court, mounted and attended to much in the same manner. 
Fifteen or sixteen ladies of high rank would thus pass by with 
"grandeur of appearance, equipage, and retinue more or less 
proportionate to their rank, pay and office." 

Jahanara, however, preferred to travel in a palanquin which 
was covered with a rich cloth or net of gold. It was sometimes 
ornamented with precious stones and pieces of looking-glass. 
The eunuchs around it had peacock-feathers with handles of 
enamelled gold-work or adorned with precious stones. The 
palanquin moved very slowly and there were watermen in front 
who sprinkled water to lay the dust. Scents and perfumes were 
also kept by near the palanquin. The male attendants with 
sticks of gold or silver in their hands called out : "Out of the 
way, out of the way." 91 

No one could dare cross till the royal procession had 
passed, otherwise he was sure to be beaten back. Bernier 
once escaped with his life with great difficulty. It was indeed 
proverbial that three things were to be carefully avoided, the 
first being getting among the choice horses where kicking 
abounds, the second, intruding on the hunting-ground, and 
the third, a too near approach to the ladies of the seraglio. 92 

If any noble with his retinue happened to pass that way, 
he would dismount and stand aside with his hands crossed 
till the palanquin of the prince or princess came close ; 
he would then respectfully bow and depart. It was customary 
in Mughal times for a person of junior rank to show the same 
civility to his superiors. Sometimes even the emperor and 
the princes alighted from their palanquins as a mark of respect 
to devout persons and waited deferentially till their carriage had 
passed by. 93 Sometimes the emperor or the prince would send 


a gift of several pieces of betel In a gold brocade bag ornamen- 
ted with precious stones as a mark of honour to the noble 
who waited. 94 

Procession of an ambassador 

An accredited ambassador's procession to the court of the 
Great Mughal to present his credentials and have an audience 
with the King was equally picturesque. The procession of William 
Morris 95 included State horses richly caparisoned, trumpeters, 
State palanquins, peons, lancers, players on hautboys, kettle- 
drums and bagpipes, musketeers and archers in due order. 
These were followed by a person of rank carrying a naked 
sword and liveried servants on horseback. The Sword of 
State was carried before the palanquin carrying the distinguished 
ambassador. As many as 30 peons followed, bearing silver 
lance and swords with scarlet scabbards. Close to this palan- 
quin, on the left hand side, was carried a shield emblazoned 
with the King's arms. There were in attendance two chief 
peons carrying silver-gilt fanning feathers. Behind them were 
members of the embassy seated in coaches. Some gentlemen 
were on horseback. 96 



The Indian postal system during medieval times did not 
cater to the needs of the common man. There was no regular 
provision for the carrying of public mail. But there were 
excellent arrangements, as Le Bon puts it in his Civilization of 
India, for carrying the King's mail. Letters and information 
reached them quickly and properly. Ibn Batuta describes in 
detail the postal system as it prevailed in or about 1324 A.D. 
There were two kinds of couriers, horse and foot, posted at regular 
intervals. Foot-couriers carried a whip in their hands about 
two cubits long and small bells on their heads. 97 Nizam-ud-din, 
author of the Tabaqat, praises the postal system of Sikandar 
Lodi. 98 The King received daily the report of prices and 
occurrences in parganas of his dominions." Babar tried to 
improve upon it and ordered a tower to be built at every ninth 
kuroh. At every 18th kuroh (13 or 14 miles) were to be kept 


ready six post-horses for carrying the maii. 1(1 Its maintenance 
expenses were to be borne by the master of the neighbouring 
pargana. To facilitate communications Babar also ordered a 
road to be built from Agra to Kabul. 101 


Sher S hall's sarais were also the stations of dak-chaukis 

(mail stages). Two government horses were kept ready in each 
sarai for carrying persons and despatches. By dak-chaukis 
news reached him every day from Nilab and the extremity of 
Bengal. 102 Akbar improved upon Sher Shah's system and 
established throughout his dominions two horses and several 
runners at every fifth kuroh. They were employed to convey 
letters from and to court. Whenever a loyalfunnan or a letter 
from a nobleman reached a chaukf, it was immediately conveyed 
to the next chanki by a rider. According to Ferishta, 50 kurohs 
were thus covered in 24 hours. A letter reached Ahmedabad 
and Gujarat, a distance of about 500 miles, in five days. 103 

Runners under Akbar and Jaliangir 

Akbar had in his employment for an emergency 4,000 
runners, some of whom would cover a distance of 700 miles in 
ten days. 101 Pelsaert was surprised at the incredible speed with 
which the royal letters were transmitted during Jahangir's lime. 
Runners had been posted in the villages four or five kurohs 10 * 
apart and they took their turn of duty day and night. As soon 
as a letter was delivered, he would run wirh it and hand it over 
to another messenger at the next chauki who would deliver it 
to the next one, and so on. According to Tavernier, it was 
thought inauspicious to hand over the letters. In fact, they 
were thrown at the feet of the runner who would run with them 
to the next stage. 106 The letters thus travelled day and night at 
the speed of about 80 kos in 24 hours and reached their desti- 
nations. 107 In some cases they covered as many as 50 to 100 /cos a 
day. 1071 It is no wonder, then, that melons and oranges from 
Karez and Bengal, situated at a distance of 1,400 and 1,000 
miles respectively, were received in Delhi quite fresh. 108 

Aurangzeb issued strict orders that postal runners were to 
cover one jaribi m kuroh in one ghari. If a runner failed to 
cover the fixed distance or reached the destination late, he 


was fined. The fine amounted to one-fourth of his salary. It took 
12 days for a runner to reach Delhi from Ahmedabad. In an 
emergency, however, the distance was covered in a week. Tfye 
local zsLmin&a,rs,faujdars and police officials were responsible 
for the safety of these runners. Each province had a large 
number of these posts or dak-chaukis. For example, there 
were 20 dak-chaukis between Ahmedabad and Ajmer and 62 
runners; 110 between Ahmeciabad and Bharoach, there were 16 
posts and 35 runners. 111 

Pigeons as letter-carriers 

The Mughals did not practise the ancient custom of sending 
letters through pigeons on any large scale. However, there 
is a reference in the Ain to a special variety of pigeons known 
as the "rath pigeons" which were trained to carry letters from a 
great distance. 112 Jahangir observes that they would deliver 
messages from Mandu (Malva) to Burhanpore normally in three 
hours. But if the weather was bad, they took five to six hours. 113 
Quli Ali of Bukhara, Masti of Samarqand, Mullazada, Sikandar 
Chela, Haji Qasim of Balkh, Abdul Latif of Bukhara, Habib 
of Shiraz were some of the famous pigeon-trainers during 
Akbar's time. 114 

Pigeons were also employed by the nobles to bring them 
the news of the King's arrival at the Public Hall While the 
noble kept himself in readiness at home, a servant with two 
pigeons of different colours waited at the Hall. As soon as 
the King left his palace, he would release a pigeon of a parti- 
cular colour, thus conveying the news to his masters. 115 

The Central Government was kept informed of happenings 
in different parts of the country by the following agencies : 

Public reporters 

Waqai-navis : He was a public reporter, appointed by 
the Central Government in each province to report to the 
King the occurrences of those places. He received reports 
from his agents appointed in the various parganas and incorpo- 
rated what he thought suitable in the weekly provincial news- 
letter. He had his clerks appointed in the offices of the subedar, 
diwan 9 faujdar, kotwal, etc. The contents of his letters were 
cpmmunicatcd to the subedar, and if he was posted to a field 


' .army, to the genera! in .command, before they were sent to the 


'Secret reporters 

Sawanih nlgar or Khufia-navis (a secret news-writer) repor- 
ted matters to the Emperor without any knowledge of the 
provincial authorities. They resided and worked secretly in the 
subas and sent their reports. 


Harkara literally, carrier of news was in fact a spy who 
kept his agents in the office of the local authorities like waqai- 
navis and sawanih nlgar. The harkara reported the news to 
the governor of the suba and also sent closed envelopes to the 

Waqai was sent once a week, sawanih twice and the akhbar 
of harkaras once a month. All these news-reporters worked 
under the direction of darogah-i-dak-chauki or Superintendent 
of Posts and Intelligence. All reports were received by him 
and handed over to the wazir unopened for submission to the 
Emperor. 116 

Classes .of official letters 

There were the following classes of official letters :farman 9 
shuqqa, ahkam any letter addressed by the Emperor directly 
to any other person, subject, prince, contemporary sovereign 
was included ia this category ; nishan* a letter addressed by a 
prince to anyone except the Emperor ; arzdasht, a letter from 
any subject to the Emperor or a prince and also from a prince 
to the Emperor ; hasb-ul-hukm, a letter written by a minister 
under the directions of the Emperor ; ahkam and ramz 9 notes 
and points dictated by the Emperor as material for official letters 
to be later on drafted in the conventional style ; sanad, a letter 
of appointment ; parwana, an administrative order or ruling to 
a subordinate official, usually the result of a suit at court ; 
dastak, a short official pass or permit for transit of goods ; and 
ruqqa, a private letter. 117 

The royal far mans, written in a large and beautiful hand on 
paper sprinkled with gold dust, were sealed and rolled up and 
put in a bag of cloth of gold, the mouth of which was tied with 


' coloured strings and sealed with wax with seals of the Wazir^ 
Such bags were called khimtas. 11 

Letters abroad 

Special measures were adopted for the security of the letters- 
sent ' abroad to emperors or principal ministers. Letters- 
were enclosed in a large hollow cylinder of bamboo, with an 
opening at one end and about two inches long. After putting in 
the letter, this opening was sealed. Thus the letter was carried 
neat and clean unaffected by rain or dust. 119 

Royal treasury 

- The royal treasury was transmitted to the Centre from the' 
various parts in much the same manner as the mail. Unlike the' 
mail, however, it changed posts on the frontiers of the provinces 
only. The Sitbedar received it on the border of his province 
and carried it to the fort under special supervision. He then 
loaded the treasury into, another carriage and sent it onward 
under heavy guard. 120 The same practice was followed by all 
the Subedars till the treasury reached the Centre. 

Private post 

There were no regular arrangements for private post. It 
was either entrusted to these agencies or in some cases des- 
patched through special messengers, Hawkins refers to the 
- news sent by the merchants of Goa about the arrival of English 
'ships at the port. Three days after, news came of their arrival 
at Surat. 121 Badaoni refers to regular correspondence and 
even exchange of gifts between him and his friend Yaqub of 
Kashmir. 122 The rich people and merchants had their own 
special messengers. With a plume on their heads and bells 
fixed to the belt, they would run at a steady pace. To avoid 
fatigue, they took large quantities of opium. 153 Private individuals 
utilised the services of a touring acquaintance to send letters* 
to their friends or relatives in the areas he was likely to visit. 

Despatch of money 

An individual despatched money to distant places through 

sarrafs who were scrupulously honest in their dealings. He 

would hand over the amount to the sarraf who wrote on a 


slip of paper in Hindi, without any seal or envelope 9 Instruc- 
tions to their agents who worked in different parts of the 
country. This paper was called kundi. On showing it, pay- 
ment was at once made by the agent without any argument or 
hesitation. Sometimes a person would sell the hundi at a small 
discount. The purchaser would himself get the amount from 
the proper place. 124 The traders would also sometimes place 
their goods at the disposal of the sarrafs who would arrange to- 
send them to their destination safely on some payment. 


Our study of the means of communication during medieval 
time would not be complete without a reference to the sarais 
or rest-houses. They were, in fact, means tor postal com- 
munication and a halting stage for weary travellers. 125 "These 
sarais/' to quote Dr. Qanungo, "were the veritable arteries of 
the Empire, diffusing a new life among its hitherto benumbed 
limbs. " lii6 European travellers pay handsome tributes to the 
Mughal emperors for the construction and maintenance of 
sarais throughout the length and breadth of the empire. 127 
Some philanthropists also built sarais as an act of charity. 128 
Akbar had given orders for the building of sarais throughout 
his dominions. 129 Ain corroborates it. 130 Nicholas Withington,. 
who visited India during Jahagir's time, found a sarai or a 
lodging-house at every 10 kos. v There .were arrangements 
for cooking and provisions for cattle. 131 The Emperor gave 
orders for the construction of a milestone at each, kos and the 
sinking of a well at every third mile. 132 He was very particular 
that a sarai or a mosque be built near all those roads which 
had been the scene of thefts and robberies. 133 Manucci, during, 
Aurangzeb's time, saw these sarais on almost every route. But 
they seemed to have been greatly neglected, for Norris found 
them "dirty and nasty, fit for nobody but carters and camel 
drivers." Bernier, too, is critical of these sarais where "men,, 
women and animals were all housed together.'* 134 Manucci, 
however, admires some of the big sarais which were like "forti- 
fied palaces with their bastions and strong gates." They were 
made of stone or of brick. Mandelslo praises the sarais 
built at Agra where excellent arrangements had been made for 
the stay and safety of the belongings. 135 Some of these sarais 


were spacious enough to accommodate as many as 1,000 
persons, camels and carriages. There were separate quarters 
for men and women. 136 But perhaps the best sarai was that of 
Begam Sahiba built at Delhi by Jahanara, the eldest daughter 
of Shahjahan. 137 Bernier compared it to Palace Royale at' 
Paris. 188 It had upper chambers, lovely gardens and orna- 
mented reservoirs. 139 In this sarai stayed mostly rich merchants 
from foreign countries with their merchandise from Persia, 
Uzbekistan, etc. in complete safety. 140 Each sarai was under 
the charge of an official who would close the gates at sunset 
calling upon everyone to check his belongings. Before opening 
the gates next morning, be would again request the inmates to 
take care of their property. Gates were opened only after 
everyone had satisfied himself about his things. If anything 
was reported missing, gates were kept closed and a thorough 
search was ordered and the thieves caught red-handed. 141 


1 . Rennei, Memoir of a Map of Hindostan or The Mogul 
Empire, London, 1788, p. 255. For important routes see 
Foster, Early Travels, p. 53 ; Purchas, India, Vol. X, 
pp. 172-81. 

2. Foster, English Factories in India (1665-67), p. 570. Also 
see Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections, edited Smith, 
1915, p. 301. As late as 1824 Bishop Heber wrote about 
the miserable condition of the roads in Upper India. 
"There are no roads at all and the tracks which we follow 
are often such as to require care even on horseback." 

3. For Sher Shah see T.A. 9 p. 232, Badaoni, I, p 472, 
E & D, Vol. IV, p. 417 ; for Akbar's measures to build 
bridges refer to Smith, Akbar, the Great Mogul, p. 413. 

4. Roe's Embassy, 1899, p. 298 ; Tavernier, I, Chap. Ill, 
p. 29 ; Foster, Early Travels, p. 314 ; W. Foster ; English 
Factories (1646-80), p. 193. 

5. Foster, Early Travels, p. 260. 

6. Smith, op. tit., p. 357. 
: 7. Tavernier, I, p. 28. 

8, Ovington, p. 254 ; Early Travels, p. 311. 

9. Ibid. 


10. Early Travels, p. 311 ; Sen, Travels ofThevenot and Careri, 
p. 73. 

11. Caesar Frederick, quoted by T.V. Mahalingham, Economic 
Life in the Vijayanagar Empire, p. 153 . 

12. Purchas, X, p. 98. 

13. Thevenot, edition 1681, Chap. xxix. 
14 Tavernier, p. 29. 

15. De Laet, p. 83. 

16. Terry in Early Travels by Foster., p. 312, 

17. Manrique, II (1629-43), p. 145, 

18. Samuel Purchas' India 9 pp. 78-79 ; also for Gujarat, Ain II 
(Jarrett), p. 240. 

19. T.V. Mahalingham, Life in the Vijayanagar Empire., 
p. 153. 

20. Sen, op. cit., p. 75. 

21. Each ox, according to Thevenot,. cost about 200 crowns* 
Thevenot (Edition 1681), Chap. XXIX. 

22. Mandelslo, III, p 122. 

23. Sen, op. at., p. 73 ; Mandelslo, III, p. 65. For a beauti- 
ful contemporary painting of a 'Bullock Chariot' by Abul 
Hasan Nadiruz Zaman, the greatest painter of Jahangir's 
time, refer to Shanti Swarup, The Arts and Crafts of India 
and Pakistan, Taraporevala, 1957, facing page 14. 

24. History of East Indies, Vol. I, pp. 288-89. 

25. Tavernier, Chap. Ill, p. 29. 

26. From Surat to Agra was 40 days journey and would cost 
about Rs. 40 to Rs. 45. Tavernier, Chap. Ill, p. 29. 

27. Sen, op. cit., p. 25. 

28. J.S. Hoyland, The Commentary of Father S.J. Momerrate 
on the Journey to the Court ofAkbar,p. 199. 

29. Roe's Embassy, edited by Hakiuyt Society (1899), p. 6,! 

30. S.M. Latif, Agra, Historical and Descriptive, p. 28. 

31. Mandelslo, p. 65. 

32. For a drawing showing a woman riding an ass refer 
to Petermundy, II, p. 192. The ass is adorned with a 
"collar of cocker (coche shell) bells almost as big as a hen's 
eggs, a frontlet of netting work and beads, their horns tip- 
ped with brass, etc." Ibid. 

33. Roe's Embassy, p. 298. 


33. 1 Sorley, H.T., Shah Abdul Lot if Bhatti, Oxford, 1941, 
p. 89. 

34. Petermundy, II, pp. 245, 291 . 

35. Ain I, (1939), p. 151. 

36. Ibid. i 

37. Petermundy, II (p. 190) has kojavas (camel pannier) 
covered with red. 

38. Ain, I. pp. 152-53. 

39. 76/rf., p. 138 ; also see Mandeislo, III, p. 65. 

40. Ranking's Historical Researches, p. 286 ; for the use of 
elephants in State processions refer to H.H. Das, Norrti* 
Embassy to-Aurangzeb, Calcutta, 1959, p. 152. 

4L Ain 9 I, op. cit., p. 129, The price of an elephant varied 
from one lakh rupees to one hundred rupees. Ibid., 
p. 124-25. 

42. fadshahnama, I, p. '967. 

43. Ain, I, op. cit., p. 138. 

44. Ain, I, op. cit., pp. 134-36. 

45. Ain, I, op. cit,, p. 160. 

46. Ibid., pp. 161-62. 

\ 47. -4fti, 1, o/i. eft , p. 140, 

48. Abul Fazl quoted by T.K. Raychaudhari, Bengal under 
Akbar and Jahangir, 1953, pp. 1 92-93 ; Ain, Jarrett, II, 
p. 350. 

49. Ain, I, op. cit., pp. 143-44. 

50. See Hobson-Jobson, p. 503 ; also see Sen, op. cit., p. 76. 

51. Ibid. -i Ta vernier, I 9 Chap. Ill, p. 29. 

52. Tbid. 

53. For a contemporary painting refer to Plate XLII, Storia, 
Vol. IV, facing page 122 ; also see Petermundy, II, p. 192. 

54. Sen, op. cit., p 12 ; also see H.H. Das, Norris' Embassy 
to Aurangzeb, Calcutta, 1959, p. 162. 

55. T.K. Raychaudhuri, Bengal under Akbar and Jahangir, 
1953, p. 192. 

56. Storia, Vol. IV, Plate XLI $ facing p. 92. 

57. Ain,.U 9 Jarrett (1891), p. 122 ; T.K. Raychaudhuri, op. cit., 
p. 192. 

58. A.N., I, p. 203 ; Tr., I, p. 315. 

59. Ain,-TL, revised Sarkar, p. 134. 

60. Travels in India in the 17th Century, p, 187, 


6L Sen, op. cit. 9 p. 76. 

62. For a contemporary painting of Chandol refer to Plate 
XXXIX, Storia, Vol. IV, facing page 32. 

63. T.C. Das Gupta, Aspects of Bengali Society from Old 
Bengali Literature, Calcutta, 1935, pp. 301-2. 

64. Ain, I (Bloch), p. 275. 

65. Ibid. 

66. Petermundy, II, p. 19L 

67. Ibid, p. 190 ; for a contemporary painting refer to Storia, 
Vol. II, Plate XL, facing page 62. 

-68. Storia, Vol. I, pp. 112, 158, etc ; also see Lalit Kala 
Akademi, Miniatures, Paintings of Sri Moti Chand 
Khajanchi Collection, Plate 68. 

-69. Balakrishna, Commercial Relations between England and 
India (1600-1757), pp. 279-81. Also see Moreland, India 
at the Death of Akbar, p. 171 ; Tavernier, I, p. 128 ; II, 
pp. 266-67 ; Voyagev ofPyrard De Laval, p. 182 ; Com- 
missiarfs History of Gujarat > p.. 534, 

70. Hamilton, I, p. 124. 

71. Major, India, p. 27 ; Varthema, p. 154 quoted in T.V. 
Mahalingham, Economic Life in Vijayanagar, 1954, p. 146. 

72. Storia, I, p. 162. Also see Hamilton, I, p. 236. 

73. Ovington, p. 280. 

74. Chahar Gulshan, p. 40. 

75. A.N., II, p. 76 ; Tr., II. p. 118. 

76. 'Ain, Jarrett, II, 1891, p. 122., , ; 

77. Chahar Gulshan, Cbalterman, p. 40 (MS.) 

78. A.N., I, p. 360 ; Tr. 9 1, p. 364, f.n. 2. 

79. Pinkerton's Voyages (Collections) ; Hamilton (1688-1723), 
Vol. VIII, p. 307. 

80, A.N., III, p. 85 ; Tr. HI, p. 120. Also see Qanom-U 
Hwnayun, trans., pp. 42-44* 

81. Qanoon-i-Humayun, trans., p. 45. 

82. Mahalingham, op. cit^ p. 148. 

83. Bernicr(189I),p. 215. 

84. Bernier (edition revised by Smith), pp. 213-14. 

85. Tavernier, I, Chap. Ill, p. 29. ; 
,86. Travels in India in the 17th Century % p. 187. 


87. Roe's Embassy, p. 29S. 

88. Tavernier, I, Chap. Ill, p-. 29, . ' : 

89. Terry in Early. 'Travels; by Foster,, p. 31-4 ; Tavernier, I,. 
Chap. Ill, p. 29, 

90. Travels ofSidi All Reis, p. 351 . 

91. Storia, I, pp. 220-21. 

92. Bemier (1891), pp. 373-74. IB Persia, according to ther 
traveller, things were much worse, 

93. H.H.- Das, .Atoms' Embassy to.Aurangzeb, p. 207. 

94. Sioria,'l 9 pp. 220-21... . . 

95. Ambassador of King' William III of England to the Court 
of Aurangzeib. 

96. H.H. Das, ''Norr'is 9 Embassy, p. 206. 

97. S. Lee, Travels oflbn Batuta, pp. 101-2. 

98. The institution of dak-chaukis. is, however, attributed ' to- 
Ala-ud-din Khalji. Whenever he sent an army or an 

' expedition, it . was his ' practice to establish posts 
on the road, and at every post relays of horses were 
stationed. At every half or qiiarter kos runners were 
posted, and officers and report- writers were appointed 
The King would thus receive the news of his army's march 
daily or after two or three days. Tarikh-i-Firoze Shahi, 
E.&D., Vol. in,p,203., *. . 

99. T.A., I, pp. 337-38. 

100. B.N. (Bev.), II, pp. 629-30, ' .- 

101. Also see #/., p. 626. 

102. Ferishta, p. 228, quoted by' Qanumgo,. Sher Shah* p. 392. ; 

103. Ferishta, Brigg^.'V6l II 

104. Ferishta, I, p. 272: , , , , , .. v ;.-, ;, 
1,05, : According t0 Hamilton,, at every 10th. mile. A New Account 

of East Indies, Vol. I, p. 150. ; 

W6.'.. Tavermer, p*. 100.;,;,; - . , . -. . ? 

107. Jahangifs India, p. 58. 
107. x Aw, I, p. 150. , 

108. Tuzuk, pp. 173-74, 21 1'. . . ; 

109. One jaribi equalled 25 dham and. one-dhara amounted "to 
42 fingers. . ' . ' . f ! 

110. The total pay of the./- tUnners between these chaukh, 
amounted to Rs. 255. 


111. Mirat-i-Ahmadi (Bombay Edition), Vol. II, pp. 117-18*. 
quoted In Islamic Culture, Vol. XVII (1944). % . - 

112. Ain, I(Bloch),pi3l4. 

113. Tuzuk (Lucknow Edition), p. 192,. 

114 ^w(BIoch), p. 302. . , 

115. Storw, II, p. 407. '. ; 

116* Mirat-i-Ahmadi 9 Sup. 185, Baharistan-i-Ghaibi (Paris. MSj 

lOla) ; Alamgirnama, 1081, quoted In Sarkar, Mughal 

Administration, pp. 71-75. 

1 17. Sarkar, Mughal Administration,- pp. 233-34. 

118. Ain, I, (1873), p. 264, Purchas, IX, 50 ; Sarkar, Mughal 
Administration, pp. 235-36. 

119. Ovington, p. 250. 

120. Riyed-us-Salatin (Cal. ed.), p. 257. The royal treasury was. 
shifted to Agra from Delhi on 1,400 Irabas or carriages 
drawn by bullocks in the 9th year of Aurangzeb's reign, 
S.M. Latif, Agra, Historical and Descriptive, p. 42. 

121. Hawkins' "Voyages, Hak. Soc. 1877, pp. 81, 94. 

122. Badaoni (MS.), pp. 44-45. 

123. Pelsaert, Jahangir's India, p. 62. 

124. See Khidasat-ut-Tawarikh. Also see Tavernier's Travels in 
India, ed. by Ball, Vol. I, pp. 36-37 ; William Foster, The 
English Factories in India (1637-1641), p. 84. 

125. De Laet, p. 55, 

126. Qanungo, Sher Shah, p. 392. 

127. Foster, Early Travels, p. 311 ; Mandelslo, p. 65; Ovington, 
p. 312 ; William Hawkins in Early Travels, p. 144 ; Storia, 
I, p. 116; The Voyage of M. Joseph Salbancke through 
India, Persia, part ofTurkie, the Persian Gulf and Arabia ; 
Purchas' India, Vol. 3, p. 262. 

128. Thevenot, Chap. XXXV. 

129. A.N., III, p. 262 ; Tr., Ill, p. 381. Also see Storia, I, 
p. 116. 

130. Ain, I (Bloch), p. 232. 

131. Early Travels, op. cit., p. 225. Also Finch in Ibid p. 179. 

132. Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri (Urdu), p. 88. 

133. Tuzuk4-Jahangiri (Lowe), p. 6, 

134. Berruer, p. 235. 


135. Mandelslo, p. 35. 

136. Storia, I, p. 68. 

137. It was razed to the ground after the Mutiny. 

138. Bernier, p. 28. 

139. Storia, II, p. 83. 

140. Bernier, p. 28. 

141. Storia, I, p. 68, 





Persian poetry attained new heights under the inspiring 
patronage of Mughal monarchs and their nobles. There is 
hardly a chronicle of the period which does not refer to the 
poetic celebrities that throve during the age. In fact, the period 
was so deeply permeated with the spirit of poetry that every 
educated person attempted versification of a fairly good order. 
The unprecedented recognition of art by the Mughal court and 
the Deccan rulers encouraged migration to India of a large 
number of poets from Persia, Bukhara, Samarqand, etc., con- 
vertijng the country into a veritable nest of singing birds. 

It is interesting to note that Jami, the leader of the poetic 
galaxy, was keen on visiting India during the reign ofBabar. 
Even Hafiz could not resist the temptation of such a visit, and 
would have certainly reached India but for a cyclone that made 
him change his mind. The experience is effectively epitomised 
in the following couplet: 

The hope of finding pearls made the hazards of voyaging 
appear insignificant in the beginning. But sorry, I have 
erred, for even a hundred pearls are not worth the perils 
of a single stormy wave. 

Abul Fazl enumerates 75 poets who came to India dur- 
ing Akbar's time. This influx of poets continued during, the 
reigns of Jahangir and Shahjahan. Some of the immigrant 


poets, were weighed In silver. The Mughal emperors were extre- 
mely liberal in their patronage of poetry. Some of the 
poets were even appointed commanders of 5,000 for example, 
Ghaznavi, and Zaya Khan. Jagirs were granted to Ghazali,. 
Faizi, Hayati and many others for the excellence of their poems. 
Huge rewards in cash were also given. Besides the emperors, 
nobles and grandees patronised poetry. Abul Path Giiani, Abdur 
Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, Ali Quli Khan, Khan-i-Zaman, Zafar 
Khan, Khan-i-Azam Kokaltash, ( and the famous Ibrahim Adil 
Shah II of Bijapur were known for their liberal patronage of 
poets and scholars. Zafar Khan, Governor of Kashmir, is said 
to have prepared a bayaz which contained the selective poems of 
each poet in his own hand with his .photograph on the reverse. 

It was in this congenial atmosphere that Persian poetry 
thrived and lured Iranian poets to come to India and enjoy th* 
admiration which was withheld in their own country. 

Ali Quli Salim of Tehran says: 

Iran hardly offers palpable means for achieving perfection; 

Henna acquires no colour 

until it finds its way to India. 

Kalim says : : 


A captive of India that I am, 
I regret this enforced journey. 

But whither shall this wing-flutttering 
cany the lacerated bird ? 

Kalim goes lamenting towards Iran 

dragged by the company of eager fellow-travellers, 

covering like the camel bell 

each stage of the journey as on others" feet. 

Drawn by love and fondness for India., 

I look back with such intense longing 
that even if I set my face unto 
the road nothing meets my eye. 

Mirza Saib 9 who flourished during Aurangzeb's reign 
when the patronage of Persian poetry had certainly received a 
setback due to the orthodox views of the Emperor, says: 

Like the desire to go to India which prossesses every heart, 
there is not a head which does not dance to the tune of 
thy love. 

Thus there were quite a large number of poets to illumine 
the Indo-Persian poetry during the Mughal period. The con- 
temporary Safavi court could not boast poets of equal merit or 
originality. It was not lack of genius, but of court patronage that 
was mainly responsible for this setback. To borrow the words 
of Dr. Hermann Ethe, these poets of the 16th and 1 7th centuries 
produced the "Indian Summer of Persian Poetry." Strong 
national sentiments of the Persians had made them rather 
chary of recognizing the poetic talents of the Indians Hadi 
Hasan in his Mughal Poetry: Its Cultural and Historical Value 
has examined the views of Iranians and the Europeans about 
Mughal poetry. He comes to the conclusion that. "Persian criti 
cism of Mughal poetry is altogether vague." Browne has tried 
to analyse the reasons for the denunciation of Mughal poetry by 
Persians "disparagement of national heroes and monuments, 
the use of unfamiliar words, the distortion of the meaning of 


familiar words, the coinage of new words, and above -all, the 
hair-splitting subtlety of the Indian mind which makes the 
sweetheart's mouth the end of a hair and then literary splits the 
hair." The disapprobation of the Persian works Atashkada by 
Lutf Ali Beg Azar and the Majma-ul-Fusaha by Riza Quli 
Khan is sweeping in the case of poets who came to 
India.. They praise all those poets who stayed on in Iran and 
find fault with such well-known masters of style as Faizi,* Urfi, 
Zuhuri and Saib. In most cases no critical account is given 
about the poetical demerits of these poets except advancing the 
plea that "they were not liked by Persians in that age." How- 
ever, there were independent critics who did riot hesitate to pro- 
perly evaluate the contribution of these poets of Mughal India. 
"After Jami," writes Gibb, "Urfi and Faizi were the chief 
Persian influences on Turkish poetry." Nefi, the greatest Tur- 
kish poet of the 17th century, is seen vying with Urfi, and it is 
significant that some of the best qasidas and diwans of Urfi are 
found in the libraries of Ankara and Instanbul. 

The main themes of the Persian poets in India were : my- 
sticism ; divine love ; beauty of the sweetheart ; praise of God, 
Prophet and the beloved. 

Waqai-goi, masalia, mazmun afrini and khial bandi were 
the chief features of the poetry produced during the period. All 
forms of poetry ghazals, qasidas, qitas were produced in abun- 
dance during the Mughal period. Most of the poets, however, 
expressed themselves through the medium of ghazal. Shibli rightly 
calls it the "age of ghazals. 9 " 

In the sphere of ghazals, Urfi of Shiraz, Saib Tabrizi, 
Naziri Nishapuri, Hakim Shafai, and Ali Naqi excelled others. 
Among the qasida writers, Urfi, Zuhuri and Talib Amuii distin- 
guished themselves. In the sphere of masnavis there was some 
definite deterioration. It was no longer the medium of expres- 
sion for moral or historical themes in a simple and unrhetorical 
style. Kalim's Shahjahan-Nama, written In a highly ornamental 
style, may' be cited as an example. Rubai (quatrain) provided 
a convenient medium to the poets to tackle different philoso- 
phical themes, There was, however, a significant departure 
from the traditional style. An attempt was made to express an 
idea in one verse which was usually done in two or three verses. 
It made it difficult for the reader to comprehend the true 


meaning. Naziri and Sarmad were the two well-known rubai 

writers of the period. 

Urfi, Qudsi, Talib Amuli, Anwari and Muhammad Ian 
excelled in the composition of qasidas. Urfl was the creator of 
anew style in this particular branch of poetry. -The "novelty 
in this style lay, apart from the introduction of a number 
of fresh terms into the conventional vocabulary of poetry, in the 
deposition of rhetoric from the chief seat and the enthronement 
of loftiness of tone and stateliness of language in its stead." 
Shibli -gives him the lofty title of the "king of qasidas: 9 Qudsi 
no doubt lacked Urfi's forceful diction and Amuli's metaphors- 
and similes. Yet he surpassed both in his originality of themes. 
Qudsi presented a beautiful qasida to Shahjahan in 1145 A.H. 
The Emperor was so much pleased with his performance that 
he was weighed in silver. Talib Amuli's compositions are 
characterized by the novelty of themes, figurative language, and 
fine allegories and metaphors. I have taken note of some of 
the important Persian poets during the Mughal times in the 
following pages. 


The first of the Mughals, Babar (1483-1530), 1 was not 
only a very successful warrior and ruler, but also a man of 
letters, a poet and calligrapher. He was "the last point of 
connection between Turki and Persian and a singular exception 
to the almost recognised practice of the literature of his time 
in leaving his memoirs in the Turki dialect." Fresh from 
Turkistan, his partiality for Turki, his native tongue, was but 
natural. He tried to keep Turki on a par with the acknowled- 
ged Persian of his court. He was* however, fond of Persian, 
and quoted frequently from well;known classical poets of Persia, 
such as Firdausi, Nizami, Saadi, Hafiz, Jam! and others. He 
also composed verses in Persian. Some of his verses written 
in refined, elegant and simple Persian have come down to us- 
under the pen-name of Babar: 


The New Year, the spring, the wine and the beloved 

are joyful ; 
' Babar, make merry 9 for the world will not be there 

for you a second time. 

Sometimes, however, this lively Padshah expressed feelings 
of repentance in his verses. When he fell ill in 1525 A ; D., he 
considered his illness to be divine punishment for his frivolous 
poetry, and after having asked God for mercy, "I broke my 
pen." Addressing Khwajah. Nasir-ud-Din Ubaidullah, he says : 

f 4 ^ 

We have frittered our life away 

pandering to our misdirected passions 

And are really ashamed of 

our actions before godly beings. 

Abul Fazl and Nizara-ud-Bin, the author of the Tabaqat- 
i-Akbari, praise him for his very ''charming verses." Babar's 
language is chaste, simple and fresh. Nizam-ud-Din calls him 
master of the art of poetry. According to Abul Fazl, he also 
wrote Masnavi-i-Mubin (Mubayyan), a didactic masnavi in 
Persian. It was a versified treatise on Muhammadan Law and 
Theology. Babar was also an anthologist and is said to have 
collected some of the choicest poems both in Persian and Turki. 
The poetical talent of Babar was inherited by most of his 
, children. 

Qandhari and Wafai 

The most important among the talented poets who had 
accompanied Babar to India were Atashi Qandhari 2 and Zain- 
ud-Din Wafai. 3 Atashi wrote beautiful verses. Badaoni quotes 
several of them in his Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh. Here is a verse 
composed by him : 

- - 


.Behold, my tears in thy absence 

have by and by swelled into a sea. 

Come, seat thyself in the boat of my eye 

and go promenading all over, 

He died in Lahore in 1565 A.D. Wafai excelled in chrono- 
grams and enigmas. According to Badaoni, Wafai was one of 
the greatest scholars of the age. He translated Turk! memoirs. 
of Babar into Persian and wrote a commentary on Mubayyan, 
a treatise written, by Babar on Hanafi jurisprudence. 

MulJa Shihab-ud-Din, better known as Mulia Shifaab, 4 
was reputed for his enigmas. According to Nizara-udDin P . 
his poetical name wasHaqiri. Maulana Baqai 5 is also said to 
have written a masnavi in the metre of the Makhzan-i-Asrar. 

With the accession of fHuraayun, 48 a new era bcgaa in 
the history of Persian literature. It marked a distinct break 
with Turki, the native language of the Timurids and gave a 
new impetus to Persian.. Humayun used Turki rarely and that 
too only in his confidential talks. The Emperor had a metrical 
turn of mind, and according to Nizam-ud-Din, he wrote beauti- 
ful verses. He had composed a diwan which was in. the Imperial 
Library during Akbar's time.. His diwan consists of 246 verses, 
comprising l6ghazats,'6Q quatrains, a masnavi and fords* The 
Patna manuscript of the diwan of Humayun is perhaps the world's 
solitary copy. He composed all kinds of poetry except qasidas 
and qitas, but was specially good at rubai and ghazal Simplicity ^ 
brevity and compactness are the features of his poetry. 

Humayun was a mystic and had some foreboding of his 
death when he composed this verse : 

O God, with Thy infinite grace , make me wholly Thine : 
make me a gnostic of Thy Special Substances (Names and 
Attributes). I am sore oppressed by the tyranny of reason : 


call me Thy madman and rekase me from earthly bondage. 

(Translation by Ha di Hasan) 
His poems abound In metaphors. When Humayun was 

in exile,, he wrote to Shah Tahmasp : 

All kings desire the shadow of the huma but here is Huma 
(Humayun) who fs seeking the shadow of a king. 
Sometimes Humayun corrected the compositions of other 

poets. A few instances have been cited by Badaoni in his 



Gulbadan Begum compoesd verses. Beveridge quotes 
one of her couplets from the Tazkirat-ul-Khawatin : 

A beauty that is unfahhful to the lover 
Believe me, she will always find life untrue to her. 
; Kamran 7 also was a poet of some distinction. Hadi 
Hasan quotes his congratulatory poem presented to Humayun 
when he ascended the throne in 937 A.H. : 

May thy realm perpetually increase; may thy star 

continue to rise ! 
May the dust of thy road be the antimony for my eyes 

dejected as I am ! 

. , May the dust which rises from the road traversed by 
the beloved (Lay la) settle in the eyes of the lover 
(Majnuri), its proper place ! 

May a hundred Dariuses and Fariduns be thy slaves, 

like me I 

Whosoever doth not encompass thee (with his love), may 

he be expelled from the vault of heaven / 

Kamran, so long as the world lasts, may Humayun be 

the king of the world ! 

Humayun gathered around him a galaxy of poets. 
Maulana Wahid-ud-Din Abu Wajid 8 excelled all in the compo- 
sition of poetry and was given the title of Amir-ul-Shoara or 


chief of the poets. His poetry Is full of pathos and pangs 

.of spiritual love. 

Maiilana Qasim-i-Kahi 9 wrote simple and sweet verses. 
Abu! Fazl counts - him among the. foremost poets of Akbar's 
court. Badaoni considered him to be unrivalled in the coin- 
position of chronograms. His poems were very popular among 
the Sufis. Here is a beautiful verse composed by Kahi: 

Over my grave it is not the Narcissus that 

appears to have blossomed. In fact ft is 

my very eye that has turned white after long waiting. 

He compiled a diwan consisting of qasidas, masnavis, 
rubais and ghazah. He wrote a masnavi, Gul Afshan y in reply 
to the Boston of Saadi. Both Badaoni and Abul Fazl admire 
the simplicity and sweetness of his verses. 

Kahi flourished during the reigns of Humaynn and Akbar, 
.and is said to have attained the age of 1 20. He received a 
reward of one lakh tankas (Rs. 5 5 000) from Emperor Akbar for 
an ode in which the word 'fiF elephant occurred in each 
verse. ^ . '.'-.. 

Hadi Hasan has quoted the entire' Ode in his work A 
Golden Treasury of Persian Poetry : 

Seeing the fondness of my beloved for elephants, / have 

spent the cash of my life on the path of the elephant. 
Like an elephant I throw dust on my head wherever I go, 

if I do not -sec i.iy mahout on my head. 
So that ^my love imy wax every moment that mahout drives 

his raging ei-phaat very close to me. 
I want to trumpet like a mad elephant all the time so that 

I my disclose my hidden secret. 
I repeat, 'tis better to hide love : 'tis best to control my 

tongue like an elephant. 
At the feet of the king's elephant (Bishop), Qasim-i-Kahi 


laid his face (castle) : this was his final move on the 
chess-board of life. 

The king who overthrows elephants is Jalal-ud-Din Muham~ 
mad Akbar he who bestows golden elephants on 
his poets. 

May the elephant of the sky be under the goad of his. 
authority so that it may recognise its master^ the Lord 
of Conjunction, 

Kahi had no scruples to steal Ideas from others. When 
someone pointed It out to him, he replied, "I have never asked 
you to believe that my poems were wholly mine. If they please 
you not, take a pen-knife and erase them from the copies of 
my diwan." He led a free and unconventional life and earned 
the enmity of the orthodox Badaoni and others. 

Manila Janubi 

Maulana Janubi 10 (Januni, according to Badaoni) was- 
known for his qasidas and the 38 couplets he wrote in honour 
of the Emperor, 

According to Professor Ghani, "the tendency to create- 
subtleties in the use of figures of speech and exhaust skill on 
the artful devices, which is a striking feature of the later Mughal 
age, is also visible in his writings." For example, .he says: 

The Emperor of Faith and the King of the Age 
Became victorious through his good fortune, 


Shah-Tahir Dakhan 11 was well-versed in natural and des- 
criptive poetry and also composed astronomical verses. He was, 
according to Ghani, an excellent poet and author of several- 
poetical works consisting mostly of masnavis and qasidas in 
praise of Humayun and Nizam Shah BiharL 

Shaikh Abul Wajid and Khawaja Ayub 12 were 
the other two well-known poets of the period. The for- 


met had specialised in ghazals, while the latter wrote all kinds 
of poetry ghazals, masnavis, rubais and qasidas. 

'Bairam Khan 

Bairam Khan lS could compose verses both in Turki and 
Persian. He compiled -a diwan containing verses in both these 
languages. Though a few IB number, his poems touch the heart, 
.and leave a lasting impression. Bairam patronized many a 
poet. It was under his patronage that Naziri Samarqandi took 
up the writing of Shaknama-i-Httmayim. 


Akbars reign 14 marks a new epoch in India's literary 
history. The rapidly dwindling influence of Turki reached its 
final sjage. The break with Turfd was complete. It no longer 
enjoyed the patronage of the Emperor who hardly understood it. 
We find no Turkish work included in the inventory of books 
given by Abul FazI, nor Is there any recorded instance of his com- 
posing verses in Turki or even reciting one from the works of 
others. The same is true of the contemporary works of Bada- 
onL Nizam-ud-Din and a score of others. 

Akbar was a great lover of Persian literature and himself 
composed verses. Abul Fazl writes: "The inspired nature of 
His Majesty is strongly drawn to the composing of Hindi and 
Persian poetry and is critical and hair-splitting in the niceties of 
poetic diction " 

Here is a verse composed by Akbar: 

In Majnun's neck is not a chain to restrain Ms madness : 
love hath put the arm of friendship round his neck. 

(Translation by Hadi Hasan) 

On the assassination of Abul Fazl, the Emperor cried 
-out in grief: 


Shaykh comes to us 
with such intense fondness 
That he has literally prostrated 
himself in eternal service for us, 

Akbar also quoted verses from standard Persian poets and 
knew the Diwan-i~Hafiz by heart. Once a poet quoted the 
verse of Fighani: 

Messiah as comrade, Khizr as guide and Jesus 
riding by his side 

in such fashion comes my glorious sun, Fighani.- 
Akbar at once corrected: 

7w such fashion comes my glorious horseman^ O Fighani 
Akbar's patronage attracted a galaxy of poets and scho- 
lars from far and wide. Shibli Nuarnani, author of Sher-ulr 
Ajam, gives a list of 51 poets who were attached to the court. 16 
Most of them had migrated to India from Persia. Sprenger 
gives a still longer list. 16 Abul Fazl informs us that -"thou- 
sands of poets are commonly at the court and many among them 
have compiled a diwan or have written a masnavi.^ He men- 
tions the best among them numbering 59 ? 17 while Tabaqat-i~ 
Akbari is gives a list of 81 and Badaoni 19 enumerates no less- 
than 168 poets, 

Mulla Ghazali Mashhadi (c. 974-980 A.M.) 20 was the first 
Malik-ul-Shoara or poet-laureate of the great Mughals. He 

was reputed for his great talent and unrivalled poetic expression. 


He composed several masnavts of which Mashhad-i- Anwar, 
MiraUut-Safat and Naqsh-i-Badi are well known. Khan 
Zaman enjoyed the latter work'so much that he gave ten thou- 
sand gold mohrs to the poet. A copy of his diwan called Asar-ul- 
Shahab is available in the Asiatic Society of Bengal Library. 
Mirat-ul-ulam mentions two books written by him, namely 
Asrar-i'Maktum and Rashhat-ul-Hayat to which Haft Aqlitn 
adds a third: Mirat-ul-Kainat. Badaoni and the Mirat estimate 
his verses at 40 to 50 thousands, Haft-Aqlim at 70,000 and 
Tabaqat-i- Akbari at 100,000. Here is a verse by Ghazali : 

Ghazali, I avoid the friend who speaks well of the evil 

1 'prefer the simple-hearted fellow who, like a mirror, reveals 
my faults to me, 

Faizi- '-. " 

Shaikh Abui Faizi (A.D., 1547-1595) 21 is by common 
consent among the three greatest Persian poets of the century, 
the others being Baba Fighani and Urfi of Shiraz. He represents 
a synthesis of the Iranian and Indian poetical traditions. Accord- 
ing to Shibli Nuamani, he was "one of the two Indian poets 
who wrote Persian which would, pass as the work of a genuine' 
Persian." Saib, the greatest poet of Shahjahan's reign, calls him 
Shirin Kalam. Gibb, in his History of Ottoman Poetry, says 
that "after Jami, Urfi and Fayzi were the chief Persian influences 
on Turkish poetry until they were superseded by Saib." The 
title of Malik-ul-Shoara was conferred on him after Ghazali. 

He composed a diwan entitled Tabashir-us-Subh which 
consisted of qasidas, ghazah\ tarikh bands, elegies, qitas, qua- 
trains, etc. The first edition of this diwan contained about 
6,000 verses ; the second was enlarged,, and it consisted of 
9,000 verses. The third edition, containing 12,000 verses, was 
perhaps compiled after Faizi's death. Paizi also took up the 
composition of khamseh, the five poems being Markaz-ul-Adwar 
written after the style of Nizami's Makhzan-u!~Asrar y Sulaiman- 


o-Bilqis to correspond to Nizam i's Shirin-u-Khusrau, Nal-Daman 
x>f 4,000 verses in imitation of Laila-Majnun, Haft-Kiskwar in 
imitation of Haft Paikar, and Akbar-Nama 9 but the last two 
works remained incomplete. He also composed a masnavi on 
the conquest of Ahnaedabad by Akbar in 1573 A.D. and eiititled 
it Zafamama-i-Ahmedabad. 

Faizi's poetry, mostly lyrical,, is tinged with mysticism and 
abounds in philosophical ideas. He introduced historical 
material which helped to widen its scope. There is emotion 
and strength in his poetry. He rightly says : 

This wine that bubbles forth from my cup 
fs in fact the very blood welled up from intellect. 
Even Badaoni, his bitterest critic., could not help praising 
Faizi for his remarkable composition of Nal-Daman. According 

to him, 


(This is in fact, a masnavi, the like of which has hardly 
been written all these hundred years following Amir Khusrau.) 
On the death of his 3-year-old child, Faizi says : 

O light of my bright eyes, how art thou ? 

Without thee my days are dark, without me how art thou ? 

My house is a home of mourning in your absence 

Thou haih made thou abode beneath the dust^ how art thou? 

Urfi SMrazi 

Maulana Jamal-ud-Din Muhammad "Urfi" (A.D. 1556- 
1591)2-2 j s "p ro |5 a |3]y on the whole the most famous and popular 


poet of his century." Badaoni concurs with this view and adds 
that fci there is no market, nor street where booksellers do not 
stand holding in their hands poetic collections of Urfi. The 
people of Iraq and India buy them as a token of blessing." 

Urfi had attached himself to Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan 
after the death of his former patron, Hakim Abul Path. His 
fame rests chiefly on qasidas. Important features of his poetry, 
according to Shibli, are forceful diction, new and original 
combination of words, fine metaphors and similes, lofty 
thoughts and vigorous themes. Faizi praises him for the sweet- 
ness of words, rapidity of thoughts, and minuteness of ob- 

Urfi's diwan comprising 26 qasidas, 270 ghazals and 700 
qitas and quatrains was compiled in 1598 A.D. According to 
Shibli, there were 14,000 verses in. his diwan. His first diwan, 
consisting of 6,000 couplets, was lost. 

Besides a diwan, Urfi's works include a number of treatises 
called the Nafslyya dealing with mysticism, a short masnavi in 
imitation of Nizami's Makhzan-ul-Asrar and another in imita- 
tion of KJmsrau-wa-Shirin of Nizami. 

In spite of his undoubted talents, Urfi was not able to 
gain favour in higher circles due to his intolerable conceit and 


Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan 2s wrote under the pen-name 
of Rahim. According to Shibli Nuamani, he would have com- 
peted with Urfi and Naziri, had he devoted himself to poetry. 
Abul Fazl writes that he was a versatile man who composed 
verses in Persian, Arabic, Turki, Sanskrit and Hindi. 

Khan-i-Khanan was famous for his patronage of men of 
letters not only in India but also in Iran and even in Turkistan. 
Many Persian poets, such as Rasmi Qalandar and Kausari, paid 
him compliments even in the face of Shah Abbas of Persia. 
Kausari said that among the aesthetes of the age, there was 
no such purchaser of words as Khan-i-Khanan. Urfi, Shakibi, 
Hayati, Rasmi, Naui, Sanai, Kafavi and even Naziri, Zuhuri, 
Qumrai, and Kahi received handsome rewards for their 


poetic talents from Khan-i-Khanan. He got Naui Shirazi 
weighed in gold. When Nazlri desired to see a heap of OBC 
lakh silver coins, Khan-i-Khanan not only arranged such a heap- 
but also sent the money to him. 


Mulla Nur-ud-Din Zuhuri (died 1616 A.D.), 24 the cofort 
poet of Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur, has been highly 
praised by Saib and Ghalib. He has been hailed asa 
saviour who gave a "new foundation to the dilapidated struc- 
ture of the old style of prose and poetry and saved it from total 
collapse." He played an important role in bringing about a 
literary revival in India and as such occupies a high place both 
among its contemporaries and earlier writers. Faizi calls him 
"an extremely elegant poet." Zuhuri's works are marked by 
imagination and subtleties which he created by giving figurative . 
touch to his composition. 

Zuhuri was a great stylist. Although it is not easy to 
understand his writings,' Ali Quli Walih Daghistani (author 
of Riyaz-us-Shoara) calls him, "a master of language like of 
whom not seen or heard of." Saib, the great Persian poet, 
pays him the following tribute: 

Saib, we were rather aliens to the ornate style of ghazal . 
And it is, indeed, Zahuri whom we all owe our knowledge- 
ability in the genre. 

Among the poetical works of Zuhuri are Saqi-Nama in 
praise of Burhan Nizam Shah, a masnavi and kulliayat or a 
diwan comprising qasidas, masnavis and rubais totalling 417 

folios of large foolscap size. The manuscript of the diwan is 
available in the Rampur State Library. It is said that Burhan 
Shah was so much pleased with his Saqi-Nama that lie sent to 
the poet a reward of several elephants loaded with gold, silver 

and other presents. Zuhuri was sitting in a coffee house at that 


time, smoking tobacco. He distributed the whole amount there - 
and then, and wrote back: 

They surrendered and I surrendered. 


Mulla Qummi (died 1615 A.D.) 25 produced some of his - 

finest works under the patronage of Murtaza Nizam Shah 
(1565-86 A.D.). He is the author of several masnavis as Asrar-i- 
Aimma, Manba-ul-Anhar 9 a masnavi divided into 17 nahrs*& 
mystical masnavi in the style of Sanai's Hadiqa, another name- 
less masnavi besides a bulky diwan of poems. 

Abu Talib Kalim, the poet-laureate of Shahjahan's court, 
pays tribute to Malik Qumnii by acknowledging him the king 
of kings of the realm of ideas, and the chief of the masters of 
speech. Iskander Munshi, the famous author of the Alamara- 
i-Abbasi calls both Zuhuri and Malik Qummi "lustre of 
the poets of the age and distinguished among their contempo- 
raries." There is an elegance and polished force and vigour of 
expression, skill in the technique of versification, spontaneity 
and sincerity of utterances which mark the poetical works of 
Qummi. His Saqi-Nama is a piece of unpassioned utterance... 
It is surcharged with lyricism and subjectivity and is knit up 
into a perfect literary piece of artistic effect. 


Muhammad Hosain Naziri of Nishapur (d. 1612 A.D.), 26 
the chief lyric poet at the time of Akbar, flourished under the 
patronage of Khan-i-Khanan. He wrote qasidas in praise of 
Akbar, Jahangir, Murad and Khan-i-Khanan. Jahangir re- 
warded him with a robe of honour and a purse of one thousand 
rupees when he recited a qasida on his coronation. But it is in 
the sphere of ghazals that he gained celebrity. According to 
Ghani, the chief merits of his ghazals are : the use of simple, 
sweet and colloquial words; the coining of new words and sugges- 
tive compositions; and consistency in thought and. expression. Like- 
a clever painter, he gives a lively touch to love, its joys and.. 


passions, grief and happiness. Saib, the poet-laureate at the 
1" court of Iran, says in one of his verses that he could not 
compete with Naziri. He preferred Naziri to Urfi. 

What is r his wild idea, O Saib, of becoming Naziri ? Even 
Urfi could not compete with Naziri in poetry. 
Naziri, who was eager to visit Mecca, wrote to his patron 

Through thy beneficence I have enjoyed all the pleasures of 

this world. 

What wonder if through thee, 1 should (also) obtain provision 

for the other world. 
Khan-i-Khanan provided him with the money. 

Saib, Mirza Jala! Asir, a poet of the later period, and 
Mirza Ghalib all have praised Naziri for his wonderful odes. 
He was a man of orthodox views and sometimes wrote verses 
attacking "the heretic Abul Fazl." 

Jahanglr and Nerjaliae 

Jahangir 27 was a gifted poet. Like Babar's memoirs, his 
autobiography Tusuk-i-Jahangiri is full of quotations from the 

classical poets and gives specimens of the Emperor's own poetry. 
The Emperor's love of wine is well known. He refers to it in 
one of his verses : 

The cup of wine is enjoyed best amidst vegetation, 


And the dense clouds ab&ve call for wine galore. 
Here is another verse by Jahangir : 

Numerous poetic exchanges have been recorded between 
Jahangir and Nurjahan, though contemporary authorities are' 
silent on this point. For example, expressing the intensity 
of his love, Jahangir once said : 

/ am not the nightingale to fill the air with my plaintive 

cries ; 

I am a moth that dies without uttering a single fnoan, 

Nurjahan replied : 

/ am not the. moth that burns itself instantaneously; 

I -suffer a lingering death like the candle which bums through 

the night without a murmur. 

Once Jahaagir said : 

Whv d<* <>ld 
backs be, it ? 
Nurjahan at once replied : 

experienced people go about with their 


the days of their youth under dust. 
neatly fond of rhymed ghazals and could 

rt demerits of a poem. According to Maulana 
judge the mer^s ana dements ol r ^ on a poetical com . 

Shibli Naurnam, his *as 

TalibAnsuli AD) 28 was the greatest poet of 

Talib Ann* (d. 162,^ ^ ' ureate was conferred on 

( he was only 20 years old. He was well 
but his chief claim lies in ghazal- 
^tccmedin India for his marvellous 
i the invention of fresh and picturesque 
ome of them very sweet and delicate. 
e the chief features of his poetry. "His 
removed from the highly coloured 

him m 

wri tmg. 

a nd 

sidles and 


sh od compose 50 to 60 verses in two 
hours. His famous qaS ida of 50 to 60 verses m 

his proposed visit to 


(He says that one should not take a black thing to India. 
Therefore, black luck should be left in Pers.u itself.) 


After his initial failure In India, he went to Qandhar to 
seek service under Ghazi Khan, the governor. In touching 
verses he gives expression to his feelings on leaving Lahore and 
.Delhi. About Lahore he says : 

Talib was a great favourite of Itmad-ud-Dawlah, who 

made him Keeper of the Seal. It was a respectable post. But 
Talib was born only for poetry.' As he performed his duties 
carelessly, many irregularities were committed by him, and he 
was ashamed of his conduct. Ultimately, he presented a qasida 
to his patron, requesting him to relieve him of his duties. He 
says. : . ' 

1 am thy old and trusted servant ; and now thou art entrust- 

ing me with thy seal 

When I have thy love, do I need thy seal ? 

Better far to have thy mihr (love) ihan to have thy muhr 

' (seal). 

(Translation by Hadi Hasan) 

Once, under the influence of liquor, Jahangir ordered that 
his favourites and intimate friends should attend his bazm (assem- 
bly) clean-shaven. Talib did not obey this order, and wrote to 
the Emperor : 



Thy bazm fe a paradise ; and I, an umhaved fellow, have no 

place in it. 

A. few other selected verses by Talib AmuK : 

To the abuses hurled at me I reply with blessings, lam like 
a cloud which takes up salt water (or bitter water) and 
returns sweet water. 

The world is an insipid place. It is, ihou wouldst my, the 
mouth of a patient, 

A helpless person should be attended to immediately. A 
pitcher having a broken handle should be lifted with both 

Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal 

Though Shahjahan's main interest was in architecture and 
he left a number of magnificent buildings including the world 
famous Taj Mahal for the posterity to admire, he was a great 
patron of learning. Many a poet flourished during his time. 

Shahjahan is also said to have composed verses. Hadi 
Hasan has quoted some of these verses in his works Mughal 
Poetry : Its Cultural and Historical Value and A Golden Treasury 
of Persian Poetry, 

Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal were once watching the 
River Jamuna from their palace. The water of the river leapt and 
foamed on the stones below. To pay tribute to his wife, the 
Emperor said: 



To see the lustre of thy face the river cometh all this way. 
Mumataz Mahal replied : 

And because of the awe of the king of the world (i.e. 
Shahjahan) it dasheth its head against the stones. 

The duty to awake Shahjahan from sleep was entrusted to 
a maid-servant of Mumtaz Mahal.. Once misjudging the time, 
she awoke the Emperor before dawn. Shahjahan lost his 
temper. He said to Mumataz Mahal : 

Her head (the maid-servant's) must be chopped off. 
Mumtaz Mahal replied : 


The head of that bird should be chopped off which has sung 
before its time, for what does this fairy-creature know of 
dawn or dusk ? 


A native of Mashhad, Haji Mohd Jan Qudsi (died 1646 
A.D.) 29 came to India after finishing his education in Mecca 
and Madina, and attained the coveted position of poet -laureate 
after the death of Talib Amuli. Shahjahan once honoured 
Qudsi by filling seven times his mouth with jewels as a reward 
for his verses. He was weighed against silver in 1045 A.H. for 
.a qasida. Inside the famous Peacock Throne were inscribed in 
enamel Qudsi's 20 verses by Shahjahan's order. Had! Hasan 



quotes them in full along with their English translation in his- 
work, Mughal Poetry : its Cultural and Historical Value. 

Hail the auspicious throne of the King, completed by the 
grace of God ! 

For its construction, Heaven melted, first of all, the gold of 
the sun. 

By the Emperor's order, the blue of the sky went to the 
enamelling of the throne. Of what use are jewels and gold 
save to embellish this throne ? For this purpose were the 
sea and the mine created. 

Qudsi contributed much to Persian poetry by composing 
qasidas and ghazals of a lofty nature. His poetry, however 
lacks the depth of Faizi 

He' wrote a masnavi on the exploits of Shahjah?n It 
was later on completed by Kalim. He was also greatly fasci- 
nated by the Valley of Kashmir and wrote a poem beginning 


Talib Ealim 

Abu Talib Kalim (died 1651 A.D ), 3 bom at Hamadan, 

lived mostly at Kashan before he migrated to India where he 
became poet-laureate at the court of Shahjahan after the death 
of Qudsi in 1046 A.H. Shibli discusses his poetical achieve- 
ments at some length in Sher-ul-Ajam. On one occasion the 
Sultan of Turkey wrote a letter to Shahjahan reproaching him 
for' his title Shahjahan or "King of the World,'* when in reality 
he was only the "King of Hind." Shahjahan seemed 10 agree 
with the views of the Sultan of Turkey and in fact consulted 
Zamin-ul-Daulah for an alternative title. Kalim's ready wit came 
to the rescue of the Emperor. The poet explained : 

Since both Hind (India) and Jahan ( World) are numeri- 

cally identical, the right of the King to be called "King of 

the World" (and not merely King of India) is demonstrated. 

Kalim wrote a beautiful poem on Shahjahan's second 
coronation on the Peacock Throne. For his 63 couplets he 
received six gold pieces per couplet.. Novelty of topics, original 
conceits and aptness of illustrations are the chief merits of his 
poetry. According to Browne, he resembled the more famous 
Saib in this respect. 

Kalim wrote all forms of poetry qasidas, masnavis and 
ghazals. His masnavis described the buildings erected by 
Shahjahan, besides mentioning some of the important events of 
his rule. He also completed the epic poem Padshah-Nama 
commenced by Qudsi describing the exploits of Shahjahan. 

As a man, he was of most amiable disposition. He was. 
not jealous of his contemporary poets and writers/ and had 
special affection for Saib and Mir Masum. 

He loved the valley of Kashmir where he migrated, and 
lived there till his death in 1651 A.D. He lies buried at the 
Mazar-i-Shoara in Kashmir along with Qudsi Mashhadi and 
Mohsin Fani of Kashmir. 



Mirza Muhammad Ali Saib 31 of Tabriz (died 1677-78 
A.D.) is by common consent the greatest of the Iranian poets 
of the 17th century. Shibli, his admirer, says that the Persian 
poetry which began with Rudaki ended with Saib, He considers 
him "superior in originality to Qaani of Persia, the greatest and 
the most famous of the moderns." On the other hand, Riza 
Quli Khan, author of Majama-ul-Fusaha, does not rank him so 
high, and says : "He has a strange method in the poets' path 
which is not now admired." Thus, he is one of those Persian 
poets who were "esteemed in India and Turkey but who were 
not honoured in their own country." 

Saib visited India in 1629-30 A.D. and stayed here for 
two years. He enjoyed the patronage of Shahajahan and Zafar 
Khan, Governor of Kashmir. The former conferred upon him 
the title of Mustaid Khan. On his return to Isfahan he became 
poet-laureate of Shah Abbas. He, however, annoyed his 
successor, Sulaiman, and lived a quiet life until his death in 
1678 A.D. 

Except Kalim, no other poet of that period could rival 
Saib. He was known for his originality and the simplicity of 
his style. Here is a verse from one of his poems : 

It is highly magnanimous ro remember friends distantly 


Else, every tree drops its fruit down to its own feet. 

His diwan is said to have a poetic collection of 100,000 
verses. A manuscript copy of it exists in Hyderabad. Saib was 
also an anthologist and collected the best verses of his pre- 
decessors, both ancient and modern. His bayaz contains a 
wonderful collection of poems, and favourably compares with 
the well-known compilation of the great Arabic poet Abu 
Tammam. Shibli had a manuscript copy of this bayaz in his 


Like Kalim, Saib was generous In his praise of Persian 
poets Faizi, Zufauri, Qumrai, Naziri, Shakibi, Talib Amuli, 
Nawai and others. He was a great admirer of Naziri, whom 
he ranks not only above himself but also above Urfi. He was a 
great admirer of Hafiz also. He praises Faizi thus : 


It is this ghazal of Faizi that shows his lucid style at Ms- 
best and which strikes both the eye and the heart alike. 

Brahman Labor! 

Chandra Bhari "Brahman" (died 1662 A.D.) 32 flourished 
during the reign of Shahjahan, who honoured him with the 
title of Rai. He was a favourite of Prince Dara Shikoh, who 
appointed him his chief scribe. After the execution -of Dara> 
Brahman was able to win Aurangzeb's favour, but after some 
time he retired and lived in seclusion till his death in 1662. 

Brahman was greatly impressed by Islamic culture and 
he imbibed its best features. He was at the same time a devout 

I possess the heart of an infidel. 

Many a time I took it to Kaba 

but brought it back a Brahman. 

He was a talented poet His diwan consisting of ghazah 
and quatrains is regarded, as a valuable contribution to Persian 
literature. His verses are clear and pure like those of the classi- 
cal poets. Some of his ghazah are adorned with rhetorical arti- 
fices and are written in flowery and ornate Persian, His com- 
positions frequently contain novel comparisons and similes: 


Saib honoured Brahman by including some of his verses 
in his i0j>flz. Most of his ghazah are based "on Vedantic 

philosophy and strike a very high note of rhetoric and mysti- 
cism." His letters have been written in an elegant style. For 
a critical review of his work, reference may be made to Guhar- 
i-Bahar or Bazam-i-Nazm Brahman (Urdu), edited by Bhagwant 

Dara Shikoh 

Darn Shikoh, 38 the eldest son of Shahjahan, was not only 

an author of repute but also a poet of considerable merit. He 
wrote under the no m de plume of QadirL Mullah Shah, his 
spiritual guide ar.d a gifted poer, acknowledges the prince's 
poetical genius and describes his verses as "incomparable and 
pleasing/* The author of Khazinat-ul-Ascifiya (written in 1280 
1 A.H.) corroborates the above view and recommends his ghazah 
as excellent. He adds: "His poetry is like the ocean of unitarianism 
flowing out of his pearl-scattering tongue like the sun of mono- 
theism rising from the horizon in the manner of his luminous 
opening verse (matla)" Without a discernible eye and intui- 
tion it would not be possible to comprehend Dara's composi- 
tions and grasp their sense. His flight of imagination is lofty, 
His poetry is important for the revival of Sufistic outlook in 
Persian poetry. 

The author of Khazinat-ul-Asafiya has styled his diwan as 
Aksir-i-Azam, but it is popularly known as Diwan-i-Dara 
Shikoh. It contains 1 33 ghazals and 28 rubaiyats (quatrains). 
His style is prosaic and his poems lack lyrical touch and polite 
emotionalism. The language used is neither graceful nor poli- 
shed. This is natural, for his poetry deals with philosophical 
Sufi and .mystic themes. He composed in imitation of Jami, 


who was his favourite. His verses clearly bring out his charac- 
ter, his dislike of narrow-minded mullas and his reverence for 
the saints. Some of his selected verses are as follows: 


Jaliao Ara, 34 the talented daughter of Shahjahan, was not 
only a gifted poet but also a fine prose-writer. Her Munis-ul- 
Arwah is the biography of Khawaja Muin-ud-Din Chishti. 
Another well-known work of hers is Sahabia. It is the life 
history of her Pir, Mulla Shah Badakashi. She gives us the 
minutest details about his dress, food, etc. Mullah Shah, the 
spiritual teacher of Dara Shikoh and Jahan Ara Begam, wrote 
a commentary partly in Persian and partly in Arabic on Surahs 
(i-iil and xil) and. named it Shah-i-Tafsir. 

Aurangzeb^s dislike of poetry 

Aurangzeb 35 was devoid of all artistic tastes. He aboli- 
shed the post of Malik-ul-Shoara and stopped stipends of many 
.a poet. 

It is however, surprising to find some of Ms ruqqats 
(letters) interspersed with verses of contemporary poets, and 
some of these are even ascribed to him. Rawlinson writes: 

"Though an accomplished poet, Aurangzeb discouraged 
poetry- on the ground that poets dealt in falsehood." It 
appears that the Emperor's liking for poetry increased with 
.advancing years. Bernier makes a reference to it. 

Mirza Abdul Qadir "BediP of Patna (died 1721 A.D.) 36 
was a reputed poet of the time of Aurangzeb and is said to 
have composed 90,000 verses. He wrote all forms of poetry 
excepting qasida. He never praised anybody and led an inde- 


pendent life. For that he was respected by nobles like Nizam- 
ul-Mulk and Nawab Mir Shakar Ullah Khan. In ghazal- 
writing, he was without a rival In his age. 

He was perhaps the first to introduce philosophical subtle- 
ties in his poetical compositions,. He was a mystic poet and 
introduced spiritual and realistic themes in his poetry. He is 
esteemed in the Soviet Central Asia and Afghanistan. 

His works include Unsur, a collection of prose and poetical- 
writings ; Muhit-i-Azam, a masnavi, on the lines of Zuhuri's- 
Saqi-Nama, Irfan, another metaphysical m.asnavi, Tur-i-Marafat, 
dealing with natural occurrences, and a masnavt, Tilism-i-Hairat* 
His diwan was published by Nawal Kishore Press in 1865 A.D. 

"Bedil brought the Indian style to its culmination in 
poetry, and this style Is often linked with his name* It is a 
difficult style, with involved metaphors and Intricate syntax, 
although the language is itself simple/' (A Dictionary of 
Oriental Literature, Vol. Ill, p. 32). 


Ghanimat Kunjahi (died 1695 A.D.) 87 had not the privilege 

to be associated witk the literary circle in the Mughal darbar. 
In fact, he lived away from the capital His masnavi, Nairang-i~ 

Ishq, was not in conformity with the prevalent notions at the 
Mughal court. The masnavi throws light or, the highly 
luxurious way of living in the time of Muhamad Shah. The 
striking features of Ms compositions are new and original 
similes, and metaphors, and an escapist view of life. "New 
traditions and terminology brought about search of new style' 
and original thoughts and as a result, the styie acquired a 
special appeal and delicacy in the presentation of lofty ideas and 

Zeb-un-Nisa, the cultured and scholarly daughter of 
Aurangzeb, was a mystic poet. It Is said that she spent 20 years- 
imprisoned in Salimgarh fort. She never liked, the cold ortho- 
doxy of her father and tried to weld Islam and Hinduism, to- 
gether, Her diwan, compiled 35 years after her death, contains 
many ghazals and rubais. Her poems show traces of Sufi 
pessimistic thinking and express the feelings of a suffering soul, 


Some of the poems show a remarkable liberality of ideas. The 
poetess speaks of the temple and the mosque in the same breath 
and sometimes combines them both. 

Here are a few selected verses by Zeb-un-Nisa : 

An attendant said : 

By chance the Chinese mirror is broken . 
Zeb-un-Nisa replied : 

It is all right. An object of vanity is broken. 

O waterfall, for whom dost thou mourn P For whom dost 
thou hang thy head in grief? What pain was it that, like 
me, thou didst dash thy head against the rocks all night 
and weep ? 


Mirza Nm>ud-Din Muhammad Ail 38 was famous for his 

satire and wit. He was granted the title of Danishmand Khan. 
The Waqai is the best known of his satirical compositions. His 
verses and ghazals are not excellent but his satire is pleasing 
and pungent. He is remembered, and admired for his florid 
style, but sometimes he is very obscure and beyond the compre- 
hension of the common reader. His diwan has been published 
besides Husn-o-Jshq in which he wrote in imitation of 
Fattahi's Husn-o-DiL 


BanwaliJDass Wall (1680 A.D. - 1720 A.D.) was another 
poet of Aurangzeb's time. His kulliyat or complete works 
have been published with notes and translation of selected 

Mulla Bihishti Shirazi wrote Ashobnama-i-Hindustan 9 a 
historical r.iasnavi on the war of succession between Shahjahan's. 


sons, from the rising of Murad Baksh in 1657 to the death of 
Dara Shikoh. The style of the book is exceedingly interesting 

and fluent. The language is simple. The author's poetic skill, 
especially in the description of clashes and battles, is of a very 
high order. He writes sometimes very boldly : 

Nemat Khan 

Nemat Khan "AH" (died 1709 A.D.) was attached to the 
Mughal court. From the position of a darogha he rose to the 
post of treasury officer and was honoured with the title of 
Muqarrab Khan. Himself a Shia, he did not like Aurangzeb' s 
victories over the Shia kingdoms of Golkunda and Bijapur. He 
also disliked the dry, severe and serene atmosphere of Aurang- 
zeb' s court and. his lack of patronage of poetry. In his writings 
he ridiculed the victories of Aurangzeb and found fault with 
the army as well as the set-up of the government. With a 
discerning eye he pointed out the defects and inherent weak- 
nesses in the system which were to become so very apparent 
after the death of Aurangzeb, He lamented the degradation in 
the national character. His ghazals are elevated and his des- 
cription of events critical. A verse from him : 

This community is so deeply engrossed in selfishness that 
none has ever had time to know what Islam really means. 

Tek Chanel 

Among the Hindu poets of Persian, Tek Chand "Bahar" 
held a pre-eminent position. According to a biographer, "he 
wrote pleasing verses and his writings reached the highest pitch 
of excellence." He was a distinguished pupil of Siraj-ud-Din 
.Ali Khan "Arzu." 



Wainiq Khatri, who subsequently embraced Islam, was 
greatly admired by Aurangzeb. He was master of sprightly 
style and the beauty, flavour and sweetness of his verses were 
greatly applauded. He gave up poetry later on at the suggestion 
of his patron, Aurangzeb, and devoted himself to serious 
branches of learning. 

Jaswant Ray was another Hindu poet who composed a 
diwan in the later years of Aurangzeb' s reign. 


i For Babar's poetical attainments refer to Babarnama, 
II, p. 470; Akbarnama, I, pp. 118-19, Tr. 1, pp. 278- 
78; Tabaqati-i-Akbari, II, Tr., p. 40: Badaoni, I, 343; 
Tr. I, pp. 448-49; Shama 9 -i-Anjwnan 9 p. 78; Indo- 
Iranica, June 1963; Ghani ? M.A., A History of Persian 
Language and Literature at the Mughal Court, I, p. 
46; Hadi Hasan, Mughal Poetry: Its Cultural and 
Historical Value, p. 66; The diwan of Babar Padshah 
has been edited by Dension Ross (Calcutta 1910). 
According to Hadi Hasan, the genuine Persian verses 
of Babar are only 19. 

2. For Atashi Qandhari refer to Badaoni, 111,180-81, 
Tr. Ill, 253-54. He is not mentioned in Tabaqat or 


3. For Zain-nd-Din Wafai refer to Badaoni, I, 341-42, 
Tr. I, 448; Ibid. Ill, 471-77, Tr. Ill, 610-18. 

4. For Mulla Shihab see A.S. Beveridge, Memoirs of 
Babur, p. 605, Badaoni, I, 342, Tr. I, 449; A.N., I, 
119, Tr. I, 280 (London, 1920). 

5. For Baqai refer to Badaoni, I, 342, Tr. I, 449; 
Akbarnama,!, 119, Tr. 281. 

6. For Humayun's poetical attinments, refer to Akbar- 
nama, I, 368, Tr. I, 665; Qanun-i-Humayun, 36, Tr. 
26; Tabaqat-i-Akbari, II, 138; Mamie Culture, Vol. 
XXV, Jubilee Number, pp. 212-276; Ghani, op. cit, 
II, pp. 10-26; Hadi Hasan, op. cit., p. 69. 

7. For Kamran's poetry refer to Hadi Hasan, p. 69. 


8. Qanun-i-Humayun, p. 42. 

9. For Qasim Kahi refer to Badaoni, III, 242-48, Tr. 
Ill, 173-76; Am, (Bloch), II, 55-62; Hadi Hasan, p. 
8 ; Diwan-i-Kahi was published by Iran Society,. 
Calcutta, in 1956. 

10. For Maulana Janubi refer to Badaoni, I, 469-72, Tr, 
I, 605-609. 

11. For Shah Tahir Dakhan refer to Badaoni, I, 483;. 
Tr. I, 626; Ghani, op. cit., II, p. 70. 

12. For Abul Wajid and Ayub refer to Ibid. 

13. For Bairam Khan refer to Badaoni, 1, 480, Tr. I, 622;. 
Armaghan-i-Paky p. 82, 

14. For Akbar's poetical talents refer to A.N., I, 271, 
Tr. I. p. 520; Ain (Bloch) Introduction xxvii; Urafat- 
ul-Ashiqin, Bankipore MS., f. 121 b; Hadi Hasan, p. 
73; Ghani, III, pp. 11-24. 

15. Sher-ul-Ajam, III, pp. 4-5. 

16. Sprenger, Catalogue of the Library of the King of 
Oudh /, pp. 55-56. 

17. 4//i (Bloch, Ed. 1939) pp. 617-680. 

18. T.A., Vol. II, pp. 484-520. 

19. Badaoni, III, pp. 170-397; Tr. HI, pp. 239-537. 

20. For Ghazali Mashhadi refer to Ain (Bloch), pp. 617- 
18; Badaoni, III, 170-72, Tr. Ill, 239-42; T.A. 9 II 
(Trans.), 710-16; Shama-i-Anjuman, pp. 227-38; Hadi 
Hasan, Mughal Poetry: Its Cultural and Historical 
Value, p. 26; Indo-Iranica, June 1957, June 1963. 
For Ghazali's diwan see A.S.B. (674); Bodleian . 
Library, 1033; British Museum (661-62). 

21. For Faizi refer to Ain (Bloch), pp. 618-35; Badaoni,. 
Ill, 299-310, Tr. Ill, 411-29; ' T.A. (Trans.), II, pp. 
716-18; Sher-ul-Ajam, III, pp. 28-72; Ikram, 
Aramghan-i-Pak (Karachi 1 959), pp. 91-117; Shama- 
i-Anjuman, pp. 316-64; Browne, E.G\, Literary History 
of Persia, Vol. IV, pp. 163-67, 242-45; Ghani, M. A., 
A History of Persian Language and Literature at the 
Mughal Court, Allahabad, 1930, pp. 39-66; Indo- 
Iranica, June 1957, June 1963, September 1963; Hadi 
Hasan, op. cit., p. 26. Also see Gibb, History of 

Ottoman Poetrv, I, pp. 5. 127, 129. For a copy of 


Faizi's diwan refer to Bankipore Library. The diwan 

was printed in Delhi in A.M. 1216 and also at Lahore 
but its copies are rare. For manuscript copies see 
British Museum, 450, 670; A.S.B., 692-93; Banldpore, 
261-64. The copies of Markaz-ul-Adwar are avail- 
able., as it was lithographed in 1831 at Calcutta and 
1346 at Lucknow. Manuscript copies of it are in 
the British Museum (Add 6625) and Asiatic Society 
of Bengal (695). Nal-Daman has been lithographed 
in India. It has also been printed in Iran. A manus- 
cript is available in Bodleian Library, Oxford and 
also in A.S.B. (696). In this connection also refer 
to Storey, II, Fasc III, p. 540 and Oriental College 
Magazine (Lahore), Vol. IV, No. 2 (Feb. 1928), 
p. 13. 

22. For Urfi refer to Ain (Bloch), pp. 639-41; T.A. II 
(Trans.), 719-20; Badaoni, III, pp. 285-87, Tr. Ill, 
pp. 392-95; Sher-ul-Ajam, III, pp. 73-\l9;Armaghan- 
i-Pak, pp. 54-55; Shama-i-Anjuman, pp. 297-98. 
Browne, IV, op. cit. pp. 241-49; Ghani, III, op. cit, 
pp. 103-180; Hadi Hasan, op. cit., p. 4; Indo-Iranica, 
Sept. 1957, pp. 28-35; Islamic Culture, Jan. 1929. 
For Diwan-i'Urfi refer to India Office, 1451-1463, 
Bodleian, 1051-54, 1991; A.S.B.; 683, 684; Bankipore, 
253-58, quoted in K.A. Nizami's "Persian Literature 
under Akbar," Medieval India Quarterly, Aligarh. 

23. For Khan-i-Khanan refer to Sher-ul-Ajam, III, p. 14; 
Ghani, op. cit, III, pp. 220-29; Browne, op. cit.* IV, 
pp. 165, 245, 252; Indo-Iranica, June 1963 June 1957, 
June 1962; Badaoni, III (Trans.), pp. 351, 393, 422n, 
439n. 4, 473., 495, 508; Ain (Bloch), p. 565; 
Maasir-i-Rahimi (Vol. Ill) counts 106 panegyrists and 
proteges of Khan-i-Khanan. According to Maasir 
Khan-i-Khanan, gave Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 12,000 to 
Naui and Shakibi respectively for their saqinamas, 
Rs. 80,000 to the latter again for his expenses for Haj, 
Rs. 12,000 to Anisi on the occasion of his marriage, 
one lakh silver coins to Naziri, and to many others 
he made generous contributions for their poetic talents. 


He got Naul Shirazi weighed in gold. But the 
account of Maasir is not always trustworthy. 

24. For Zuhuri refer to Badaoni, III, 269-70, Tr. III,. 
372-73; Ain (Bloch), p* 680; Armaghani-i-Pak 9 pp. 

f , 121-27; Ghani, op. cit, Hi, pp. 181-218; Browne, 
op. cit., IV, pp. 250,253, 268; Indo-lranica, June 
1957 and June 1963. The MS. copy of the diwan is 
in the Rampur State Library. 

25. For Mulla Quir.mi refer to Badaoni, III, pp. 332-34, 
Tr. Ill, 458-61; Ain (Bloch), p. 680; Indo-lranica, 
June 1957; Sprenger's Catalogue, p. 482. 

26. For Naziri see Armaghan-i-Pak, pp. 58-59; 'Ghani, 

III, pp. 74-78; Browne, IV, p, 252; Indo-lranica, June 
1963, p. 76. 

27. For Jahangir's poetical attainments refer to Tuzuki-i- 
Jahangiri (Nawal Kishore Edition), pp. 235, 246, 
237; Sher-ul-Ajam, III, pp. 15-52; Iqbalnama-i- 
Jahangiri (Urdu), pp. 91, 308; Hadi Hasan, op. cit.,. 
pp. 76-77; Shama-i-Anju/nan, p. 106. 

28. For Talib Amuli refer to Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri 

(Urdu), pp. 91, 308; Sher-ul~AjamJll,pp.l5%, 166-67; 
Armaghan-i-Pak, p. 60; Shama-i-Anjuman 9 pp. 271-73; 

IndoJranica, June 1962; Browne, IV, pp. 253-56; 

Hadi Hasan, op. cit., pp. 33, 37, etc 

29. Hadi Hasan, op. cit., pp. 27, 57-59; Lahori Padshah- 
nama, I, PL II, pp. 80-81; Armaghan-i-Pak, pp. 63, 
148-153; Indo-lranica, June 1957, June 1963. 

30. For Kalim refer to Sher-ul-Ajam, III, pp 184-206 
Armagh an-i-Pak, pp. 63-64; Shanta-i-Anjuman 9 pp. 
272-73; Hadi Hasan, 57-58; Browne, IV, pp. 258- 
63; Indo-lranica, June 1957, June 1963; For Jm 
versified Padshahnama see Rieu, ii, 686a and 686b. 
Storey, Persian Literature, Vol. II, Fasc iii, pp. 

31. For Saib refer to Sher-ul-Ajam 9 III, 169-181; Shama- 
i-Anjuman, pp. 251-55; Browne, IV, op. cit., pp. 
270-7 i; Hadi Hasan, op. cit., p. 27; Indo-Iranica 9 . 


June 1963, pp. 78-79. 

32. For Brahman refer to Gulzar-i-Bahar or Bazm-i-Nazm 
edited by Bhagwant Rai, Delhi; Armaghan-i-PsJc 9 
p. 171; Shama-i-Anjuman, p. 92; Indo-Iranica, June 
1962, pp. 14-15; Islamic Culture, April 1945, 115-22. 

33. For Dara Shikoh refer to Hasanat-i-Arifin, MS. No. 
553, Hyderabad State Library, The endorsement in 
the MS. calls it Diwan-i-Dara Shikoh. Letters of Dara 
Shikoh, Indian Antiquary, '1924; Vishva Bharati Quar- 
terly, Vol. VI ; Ruqqat-i-Alamgiri, Vol. I, Dar-ul 
Mussannifin, Azarngarh ; Islamic Culture, XXV, pp. 
52-72 ; Had! Hasan, op. cit, pp. 77-78 ; JRASB, 
1939, Vol. V, Art. 3 ; Armaghan-i-Pak, pp. 64-65, etc. 

34. For Jahan Ara refer to Oriental College Magazine 
(Lahore), Vol. XIII, No. 4, August 1937, The MS. 
of Sahabia is in the Appa Rao Bhola Nath Library, 
Ahmedabad. For Badakashi refer to the Oriental 
College Magazine, op. cit; Sharma's Bibliography, 
pp. 86-87. 

35. For Aurangzeb refer to Maasir-i-Alamgiri (text), pp. 
532-33 ; M. Abdul Rahman, Alamgir (Urdu) p. 516 ;. 
Ruqqat-i-Alamgiri (Trans. J.H. Billimoria), London, 
1908; Bernier, Travels (1891), p. 401; Sarkar, J.N., 
Studies in Mughal India, p. 41 ; Rawlinson, India 
p. 371. 

36. For Mirza Abdul Qadir Bedil refer to Armaghan-i- 
Pak, pp. 73-74, 194-201; Shama-i-Anjuman, pp, 82- 

37. For Ghanimat Kunjahi refer to Annaghan-i-Pak 9 pp, 
69-70, 178. For Nemat Ali refer to Ibid, pp. 71-72, 

38. For Mirza Niiruddin refer to Elliot and Dowson,. 
History of India as told by its own Historians, VII, pp. 
200-1;' Storey, II,. fasc. Ill, p, 590. 


Literature - II 


The prose literature which developed in the Mughal court 
and in the contemporary courts of the Beccan carried on the 
tradition of the Persian prose of the Sultanate. Historiography 
was no doubt most enthusiastically cultivated, but there is hardly 
any other branch of literature bifflographies, dictionaries, 
encyclopaedias, ethics, belles-lettres which was not touched. 
However, there was a deterioration in the standard of prose not 
only in India, but also in contemporary Iran, especially after the 
, advent of the Turks, Tatars and Mongols. Most of the works 
produced in. India during the period were marked by verbosity 
and exaggeration. This was specially true of the official histories 
compiled daring the period. 

Badaoni in his Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh refers to several 
works written by scholars in the times of Babar and Humayun, 
Only a few of these works are now extant and it is, therefore, 
not possible to know the merits of these treatises. Moreover, it 
is not always safe to ascribe them to a particular period. We 
may, however, take note of some of the important works. 

To Abdul Wahid Bilgrami, 1 who probably flourished in 
the times of Humayun and Akbar, are ascribed Jawaharnama-i- 
Humayun, a work on the use of precious and other minerals, 
and Sanbalf, a treatise on the technical terms of Sufism. Muslih- 
al-Din is said to have written a commentary in Persian on all 
Timurids, besides several Arabic works. Shah Tahir was a 
prolific writer both in Arabic and Persian. His letters, contained 
in a volume entitled Insha-i-Shah Tahir, deserve mention. S.K. 
Banerji mentions some of the works written during Humayun's 
time in his Humayun Badshah. But the real contribution in 



Persian prose was made during the time of Akbar, who had a 
number of brilliant scholars at his court. 


Abul FazI and Faizi 

Abul Fazl and Faizi v/ere among the best prose writers of 
Akbar's time. Many scholarly works were produced by them. 
Abul FazFs Iyar~i-Danish, based on the famous work Pan- 
chatantrcP, and Risala-i-Akhlaq are among his well-known 
works. His letters written to kings, amirs and even ordinary 
people, collected by Abdus Samad, show his wonderful prose 
style. The collection is named Imha-i-Abul Fazl or sometimesMafc- 
tubat-i-Allami. His style as depicted in his works and letters is 
quite different from that of the Akbar-Nama. The language too 
is simple, though ornate sometimes. The letters are in accord- 
ance with the established usages, and are on the whole easy, 
graceful and sublime. 

Faizi's marvellous commentary on the Quran, called 
Sawatai-ul-llham 9 contains no dotted letters. 8 Insha-i-Faizi 
or Faizi's letters to the Emperor and friends are of "gossiping 
familiar character and are embellished with plenty of verses." 
They throw light on the various aspects of the life of the people 
in those days. In these letters he has used Hindi words at 
certain places. 


Badaoni, the famous historian, was a well-known author. 
He translated many Sanskrit works into Persian prose. Tarikh-i- 
Kashmir is ascribed to him. Another work, Najat-al-Rashid 9 
described as a polemical work by Blochmann and a 
Sufico-ethical treatise by Ivanow, is richly interspersed with 
historical anecdotes and controversial discussions. It is written 
in fine and polished Persian, but the subject-matter is dry and 

Abdul Haq Dehalvi, a well-known scholar, is said to be 
the author of not less than 101 works. Among his best-known 
works is Akhabar-ul-Akhayar 9 a collection of the biographies of 
saints, scholars and holy men of India. It was completed in 


Ilahdad and Razi 

Ilahdad Faizi compiled a Persian dictionary in 1592-93 
and named It Madar-al-afazil. The Haft-Aqlim of Amin Ahmad 

Razi, written in 1593-94, is a gazetteer of the world, including 
India. It gives a brief historical review of India- and appends 
biographical notes on rulers, saints and scholars. 4 Krishan 
Das composed an encyclopaedia during the reign of Akbar. 

Other works of Akbar's time 

Among other notable works of the period are Nusakh-i- 
Jahanara of Ahmad Ghaffari, 5 a treatise on customs and 
manners of people by Beg Mirza and Mulla Tabb, 6 a treatise 
on Hadis by Shihab-ud-din, Wafai's work on the circums- 
tances of the conquest of Hindustan and explaining its wonders, 7 
Talib of Isfahan's treatise on wonders of Tibet, 8 Puru Khotam's 
commentary on Khirad-i-Afza* Siyar-i-Nabawi, a collection of 
traditions relating to the Prophet, Munaqib-i-Ghausiya, a bio- 
graphy of Muhammad Ghaus by Shah Fazl Shattari, and Halat- 
i-Hazrat Balawal, a biography of this saint of Mughal India by 
one of his disciples. 10 The only prose work of Mulla Nuruddin 
Zuhuri is Seh Nasr (or the three essays) which he wrote as a 
preface to the book of songs composed by Ibrahim Adil Shah, 11 
Idraki Beg Lari Thattawi's Belgar-Nama is a biography of 
Khan-i-Zaman Amir or Shah Qasim Khan, 12 



A king of highly refined tastes, Jahangir was the only 
Mughal ruler after Babar who wrote his memoirs. Instead of 
Turki, however, he used Persian. Unlike Babar, he did not con- 
sider himself to be a foreigner, but a native of the land of his 

birth. Jahangir as a true Indian "dwells delightfully on the 
charm of Indian flowery, particularizes the palas, the bokul and 
the champa and avows that no fruit of Afghanistan or Central 
Asia is equal to the mango," His memoirs are "a priceless 

record of his reign and are distinguished by their frankness and 
lucidity. Besides the account of military and political trans- 
actions, the memoirs are rich in details about the social, cultural 
and spiritual life of this period and the keen observations of 


Jahangir about men and matters." 13 The Emperor himself wrote 
till the 17th year when they were continued under his super- 
vision by Mutammad Khan. 14 This was done till the nineteenth 
year. They were finally re-edited in the reign of Muhammad 
Shah, and the account was brought up to the end of the reign 
of Jahangir. 

Guldasta-i-Faramin-i'Jahangin is an interesting collection 
of Jahangir's letters to Shahjahan when the latter was in rebel- 
lion against his father. Farhang-i-Jahangiri, a Persian dictionary, 
was compiled under the orders of the Emperor. The manuscript 
existed in the library of the Maharaja of Banaras. 15 Akhlaq-i- 
Jahangiri or a book of ethics was written by Abdul Wahab, and 
dedicated to Jahangir. 


Maasir-i-Rahimi by Muhammad Abdul Baqi is a biography 
of Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, a great patron of learning. 
It includes accounts of all those scholars and poets who 
flourished under the Khan's patronage. Haft-Aqlim of Amin 
Razi is a detailed account of the poets of the age. 1G Paighambar- 
Naina is a metrical biography of Prophet Muhammad. Father 
Jerome Xavier is said to have written many works in Persian. 
His Aina-i-Haqqnuma (truth-reflecting mirror) on the Christian 
religion, its fundamentals, etc. was dedicated to Jahangir. 17 
He also wrote in Persian a History of Christ in 1617 under 
Akbar's orders. 18 Allah Masih Panipati dedicated to Jahangir 
his abridged translation of the Ramayana. 


Nur-ul-Haq, son of Abdul Haq Dehalvi, wrote three 
Persian commentaries OB Sahih of al Bukhari. 20 Nizam-al-Din 
Thanesari's commentary on Surahs 9 Malfuz-i-Shaikh Nizam-al- 
Din Thanesari and Sharh-i-Lamaat are well known. 21 


Many prose works of great value were produced during 
Shahjahan's period. The story of the adventures of Prince 
Wala Akhtar of Hurmuz was composed by Munir in an ornate^ 
and flowery style. 22 Several works were produced by Mulla" 


Tughrai, such as Firdausiya in praise of the valley of Srinagar, 
Kanz-al-Maani and Taj-al-Madaih in praise of the princes Shah 
Shuja and Murad respectively. Sadiq Dehalvi was the reputed 
author of many works including Tabaqat-i-Shahjahani^ and 
Asar-i-Shahjahani. A revised edition of Malfuzat-i-Timwi was 
brought out by Muhammad Afza! in 1640. 

Chandra Bhan Braliman's books 

Chandra Bhan was a famous writer in Persian. His books 
were used as text-books for advanced study. Besides a diwan, 
his books include Guldasta, Chahar Chaman, Tuhfat-al- Anwar, 
Karnama, Tuhfat-al-Fusahi, and Majma-al-Fuqaias.^ Chahar 
Chaman, written soon after 1647 and divided into four main 
chapters, gives a detailed description of the festivals at the court, 
the daily occupation of Shahjahan, the author's life and his 
letters, and the last chapter deals with moral and religious 
matters. 25 The book is a fine example of Indianised Persian, 
Innayat Allah was the author of a book of tales entitled 
Bahar-i-Danish, completed in 1651. 


A remarkable religious work of the period Dabistan-i- 
Mazahib^ attempts to give an account of the various sects of 
Zoroastrianism, the philosophical school of Hindus, and the 
teachings of Buddhists, Jews, Christians, and Muhammadan 
sects. Sir William Jones observes : "The rare and interesting 
tract entitled Dabistan on 12 different religions was composed 
by a Muhammadan traveller, a native of Kashmir named 
Mohsani (of Fani) but distinguished by the assumed surname of 
Fani." 27 Tabaqat-i-Shahjahani by Muhammad Sadiq takes brief 
note of the great and distinguished men of the reign of 


One of the chief characteristics of the Persian prose 
literature was the growth and development of lexicography 
during this period. Under the patronage of the Mughal emperors 
and the rulers of the Deccan, Indian scholars devoted them- 
selves to the compilation of Persian dictionaries. And as 


Dr. AH Asghar Hekmat in Glimpses of Persian Literature 
says, "In a short time the number of dictionaries compiled in 
India exceeded those produced earlier in Iran. Their superiority 
has been such that even today students and scholars refer to 
them for the solution of their difficulties/* Farhang-i-Jahangiri 
was completed in A.D. 1 608-9 by Jamal-ud-Din Husayn Inju 
and dedicated to Jahangir* 

Farhang-i-Rashidi by Abdur Rashid, completed in A.D. 
1654, forms the basis of the famous Persian-English dictionary of 
Steingass. Muntakhah-al-Liighat-i-Shahjahani was also prepared 
by the same author. Shahid-i-Sadiq was a voluminous encyclo- 
paedia prepared during Shahjahan's reign. It took three years 
(1644-47) to collect the material on religious, philosophical, 
political, ethical and other allied subjects. The work, 
which was dedicated to Shah Shuja, contains extracts, proverbs, 
anecdotes, etc., arranged under innumerable subject-headings. 
According to Professor S.R. Sharma, "Two glosssaries of equiva- 
lents in Persian and Sanskrit, one of astrological data and an- 
other of terms in the Vedanta and Sufisin were also prepared." 28 
Burhan-i-Qate was completed in A.D. 1652 by Muhammad 
Husayn. Farhang-i-Anandraj by Muhammad Badshah and 
Farhang-i-Nizam by Sayyid Muhammad Ali also belong to this 

J>ara Shikoh's contribution 

Dara Shikoh was a master of Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit 
and author and translator of several well-known works. His 
Safinat-al-Auliya or the lives of Muslim saints "breathes noble 
sentiments, bearing testimony to his wide reading particularly in 
Sufi literature." Sakinat-al-Auliya, another work by him, deals 
with the various modes of Qadiri order and the life of Mian 
Mir. Risala-i-Haqqnuma, a faithful mirror of Dara's character, 
shows that the author held the Sunni faith as propounded by 
the theologian Imam Abu Hanifa. 29 It is a primer for the 
beginners in the path of Sufism. Majma-al-Bahrain, a compara- 
tive study of Hinduism and Islam, Hasanat-al-Arifin, an answer 
to public criticism of his Sufistic views, and Tariqat-al-Haqiqat 
are some of his well-known works besides some others of which 
we have no record. 



Tek Chand Bahar, the distinguished pupil of Siraj-ud-din 
All Khan Arzu, was the celebrated author of Bahar-i~Ajam, a 
well-known dictionary, and a book on philosophy, besides a 
commentary on Sadi's Bostan and Bahar-i-Bostan. ZQ 


Aurangzeb was master of Persian prose. His letters are 
of great literary value. Full of quotations from sacred scriptures 
and instructive passages from well-known Persian poets, 31 some- 
times interspersed with verses of his own, his letters written in 
simple language mark him out as one of the greatest Persian 
prose writers of his time. We shall take note of it separately. 

Manuals and Encyclopaedias 

UquI-i-Ishara, a scientific encyclopaedia, was compiled by 
Maulana Barari in 1673-74. 32 Tuhfat-ul-Hind by Mirza Khan 
is a manual of Indian literary studies. It includes discussions 
on various important topics, such as prosody, similes, music, 
astrology, etc. Maidnimal, a Kayastha, wrote an excellent 
work based on Lilawati in the third year of Aurangzeb's reign. 33 
Dastur-i-Jahan Kusha by Khair Ullah, completed in the 9th year 
of Aurangzeb's reign, deals with the duties of ministers and 
army commanders. Dastur-al-Amal describes revenues of 
different provinces, rules and regulations for assessment, collec- 
tion, etc., and is very useful. Farhang-i-Kardani by Jagat Rai 
deals with the revenues of Aurangzeb's reign. 

Fatwa-i-Alamgirl and oilier works 

Fatwa-i-Alamgiriy a work of great authority on Muslim 
Law, and an indispensable guide to the present-clay law-makers, 
was prepared in Arabic by a number of theologians, and later 
translated into Persian. 34 Muhammad Raza, the foremost 
huntsman of Aurangzeb's reign, completed an interesting manual 
on hunting and named it Saiyd-Nama.^ Mirat-al-Khayal, a 
very interesting work, gives in some detail the life and works 
of the Persian poets and poetesses of India. It was com- 
posed in 1690-91 by Ibn AH Ahmad Khan Sirhindi. Roz- 
namcha of Mirza Muhammad gives useful information about 


some of the nobles who survived Aurangzeb. It begins from 
the year 1707 A.D. Mukhtsar-i-Mufid is a short biography which 
gives geography of Persia with historical notes relating to the 
Imams and the Safavis. It was completed in Lahore in 1680. 36 
Kashish-Nama by Raj Karan and Tuhfat-al-Haqiat by Brahman 
Hisari were also composed during this period. Majmua-ul- 
Alamgiri, a useful guide to the duties of the faithful, was com- 
pleted during Aurangzeb's reign by Abdul Khaliq. Gcmj-i- 
Arshadi is a collection of the sayings of Shah TayyabofBanaras. 
The Aina-i-Bakht by Bakhtawar Khan gives an account of the 
qazis, muftis and calligraphists together with the daily routine 
of Aurangzeb. Ganj-i-Saadat is a Sufistic work of Muin-ul-Din. 
It was dedicated to Aurangzeb. 

Khulasat-al-Maktab, a rich collection of specimens of 
refined prose-style, intermixed with verses on all possible topics, 
by Sujan Singh or Sujan Rai was written in Alamgir's 42nd year 
inlliOA.H. 37 


Some of the famous collections of letters written by promi- 
nent and learned persons in Mughal times may be taken note 
of, for they enriched Persian prose. Faiyaz-ul~Qawanin 9 com- 
piled by Nawab Muhammad Ali Hasan Khan, contains letters 
of Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb 
besides those of Dara and Murad. 88 Insha-i-Abtfl Fazal 
contains letters about Akbar's official declaration of faith 
as a Muslim after he had been accused of apostasy by some of 
his orthodox contemporaries. These letters were compiled by 
Abdus Samad in 1602. Insha-i-Faizi is a collection of Faizi's 
letters. Jarida-i-Faramin-i-Salatin-i-Delhi contains letters written 
by Akbar to Khan-i-Khanan, Shahbaz Khan, Raza Ali Khan, 
etc. These letters contain detailed instructions to Akbar's 
officers for governing the rural country. Insha-i-Brahman is a 
collection of letters of Chandra Bhan Brahman. He was well 
versed in writing letters in an elegant style. 39 Munir, a famous 
prose writer of Lahore, says that Brahman's letters were studied 
with great appreciation even in Persia. The author of Tazkira-i- 
Husaini finds his letters written to nobles and kings very simple 
and easy to understand. Insha-i-Harkaran by Munsfai Har 

^360 , ilTtRATURE II 

Karan, son of Mathra Bass Multani and "secretary to Itbar 
Khan, was completed between 1624 and 1630. It contains 
references to instructions about the assessment and collection of 
land revenues, etc. Ahkam-i-Shahjahani contains letters of 
Shahjahan to Asaf Khan, Aman Quli of Turan, All Adii Shah 
of Bijapiir, to rulers of Golkunda, Shall Abbas of Persia, besides 
a letter written by Aurangzeb to Shahjahan just before the 
battle of Samugarh. Bahar-i-Sukhan by Muhammad Salih 
Kambhu, author of Anial-i-Salih, contains letters of Shahjahan 
as also of Aurangzeb to the rulers of Basra, Balkh, Persia, 
etc, 40 Insha-i-Jalat-ud-Din Tabatabai is a collection of letters 
written during Shahjahan's reign. It contains congratulatory 
pieces 'and other occasional 41 compositions. Ruqqat-i-Shah 
Abbas Sani contains some letters regarding the sieges of Qandhar, 
the Persian intrigues with Murad Baksli and the Deccan Sultans 
during the War of Succession. Khatui-i-Shivaji contains 
Aurangzeb's letters to Pricce Akbar and three Maratha generals 
besides Shahu's letters and of other notable persons. Alikam-i- 
Alamgiri (a collection of anecdotes narrated by Hamid-ud-din) 
contains many anecdotes about Aurangzeb, Ms sons and officers, 
and his orders on petitions usually in a caustic vein. 42 Munshiyat 
contains an interesting letter of Aurangzeb to Amdit-ul-Mulk 
giving him detailed instructions about the reception to be 
accorded to prince Akbar and the ceremonies to be observed 
between a Mughal nobleman and a Mughal prince when they 
met. Insha-i-Farsi contains among other things letters from 
Prince Akbar to Aurangzeb, Sambhaji to Aurangzeb, Muham- 
mad Shah to Nizam-ul-Mulk, etc. Khulasat-al-Iwha by 
Sujan Rai Bhandari was completed in Alamgir's 32nd year. 43 
Other collections are Haft-Anjuman by Talahyar (original name 
Udai Rai), secretary to Maharaja Jai Singh, and Insha-Madho 
Ram by Madho Ram, who was a munshi of Lutf Allah Khan, 
Naib Subedar of Lahore, in the reign of Aurangzeb. His letters 
are very difficult to understand. 44 

Atirangzefo's letters 

There are three main collections of Aurangzeb's letters. 
Ruqaat-i-Alamgiri contains 181 letters which are not fully written 
out, but are a precis of points dictated, including verses and 
quotations from Arabic texts. Their brevity sometimes makes 


them hopelessly obscure. . The second is Ruqaim-i-Karaim. It is 
a collection of letters, (about 166) written to Shah Alam, Shaista 
Khan, and Mir Abdul Karim. It was compiled by Sayyid Ashraf 
Kban. The third' collection Dastur-ul-Amal Agahi was com- 
piled by Aya Mai Jaipuri in 1743. It contains a number of 
stories, epigrams and maxims told by the Emperor. There is 
another important collection called Adab-i-Alamgiri which con- 
tains fully drafted letters of Aurangzeb from 1654 to 1658 to 
his father and sons and officers. These letters (628 in number)- 
form a valuable means of estiinating his character, and also 
throw light on many a- vexted question. Kalimat-i- Aurangzeb 
contains letters written by the Emperor during his last years. 45 

Aurangzeb's letters, as already narrated, are of great liter- 
ary value. According to Lane Poole, "the prose style of his 
Persian letters is much admired in India." Generally the style is 
simple, polite and graceful but sometimes the language is figur- 
ative and too difficult to be understood by the ordinary reader. 46 
They abound in domestic and homely touches, his joys and 
sorrows. 47 They show birn a complete master of Persian prose 
and have "a serene flow of unexceptionable diction characterised 
by a distinction of phrase and thought. His words are like lancets 
of steel, yet he maintains a correctiude of phraseology." They 
form a best guide to the rulers and nobles and a harmless friend 
to all "whether they love retirement or take delight in society." 4 ** 


Ghiyasuddin-bin-Humamuddm, surnamed Khwandamir, 
the grandson of the famous author of Rozat-al-Safa, held a 
high position among the historians of his age. His famous book 
Habib-its-Siyar, a general history brought down to the year 1524, 
is the best-known source of the history of Shah Ismail, the 
Safavi. The narrative, according to Elliot, "is more lively, fresh 
and interesting 1 ' than Rozat-al-Safa which the author has con- 
sulted and followed. His work, however, contains much 
superfluous material. Other works by him include Dastur~al~ 
Wuzara, which contains the biographies of famous ministers, 
Maasir-ul-Muluk 9 Makarim-ul-Akhlaq, Khulasat-aI-Akhbar 9 and 
Qanun-i-Humayuni, also called Humayun-Nama, an account 
of the early years of Hurrmyun's reign, which sheds light on the 
social and cultural life in that age. 


Mirza Barkhurdar Turkman completed his work Ahsan-al- 
Siyar in 1530-3 1 A.D. It gives in great detail the relations between 
Babar and Shah Ismail. 49 Tarikh-i-Ibrahimi by Ibrahim binHarine 
dedicated to Babar in 1528 A.D., is an abridged history of India 
from earliest times to the conquest of the country by Babar. 
Tarikh-i-MuzoffarShahiis an account of the capture of Mandu in 
151 8, interspersed with many beautiful verses. Tarikh-i-Gujarat is 
a history of Gujarat from the reign of Bahadur Shah(l 526-36) to 
the capture of Ahmedabad by Mnzaffar Shah III. Tarikh-i-Rashidi 
by Mirza Haidar Dughlat (1499-1551), first cousin of Babar, 
"forms a most valuable accompaniment to the commentaries of 
Babar which it illustrates in every page." It covers the history 
of the Mongol Khans, the amirs of Kashgar and some of the 
events of the reigns of Babar and Humayun. It provides valuable 
information about Central Asian politics. Mirza Haldar's account 
of Humayun's misfortunes, his character, disorders which 
marked the early period of his reign, etc. is very vivid. 

Among the histories written during the reign, we have al- 
ready noticed Humayun-Nama of Khwandamir. "Notwithstand- 
ing the high flown strain of eulogy in which the work is written, 
it contains some points of interest." 50 It gives an account of 
Humayun's rules and regulations and of some buildings erected 
by him. Tarikh-i-Ibrahim or Tarikh-i-Humayun, a concise general 
history extending to 1 549-50, was written by Ibrahim ibn Jarir. 
Mir Ala-ud-Daula, the brother of the famous historian Mir 
Abdul Latif Qazwini, wrote a line history Nafais-ul~Maasir. 
Badaoni, Abul Fazl and almost all later historians are indebted 
to this work for the later phase of Humayun's reign. 

'Humayun-Nama of Gtilfoadan Begum 

The most important of the histories written during Akbar's 
reign on Humayun is Humayun-Nama of Gulbadan Begum, 
daughter of Babar. It is divided into two parts. One part is 
devoted to the history of Babar, and gives interesting details 
about his family life. The other part deals with the reign of 
Humayun of which she was an eye witness. It is a very valuable 
work particularly for the social and cultural history of those 
times. Iqbalnama Tarikh-i-Hiirnayun Padshah, ascribed to Shaikh 
Faizi, Akbar's poet-laureate, is a poetical work on Humayun. 


Tazkirat-uI-Waqiat and Tarikfa-i-Humayois 

Tazkirat-ul-Waqiat (private memoirs of the Emperor Hu- 
mayun), commenced thirty years after the death of the monarch 
in 1586-87 by Humayun's ewer-bearer Jauhar, is a faithful record 
of Humayun's private life. The style is simple and free from 
"exaggeration and fulsome eulogy usually resorted to in 
oriental histories." Even most trivial details are given and the au- 
thor thinks "nothing too insignificant to relate of so great an Em- 
peror." Jauhar, however, is not dependable as far as dates and 
-events are concerned. Humayim-Shahi was the later recensions 
written at Janhar's request by Shaikh Faizi Sirhindi. Tarikh-i- 
Humayun of Bayazid, written in the year 999 A-H. at the request 
of Akbar, is full of useful information, and contains an account of 
officers and scholars connected with the Emperor from 1542 to 
1 59 1 . 51 The language used is no doubt shaky and rustic and some- 
times the sentences too are incomplete, yet it excels the works 
of Abul Fazl and Gulbadan Begum in volume and quality. 52 
Humayun-Nama by an unknown author, written after the style 
of Firdausi's Shoh-Nama, is a valuable historical narrative of 
the battles and conquests of Humayun and his predecessor. 

Akbar-Nama and Ain-i-Akbari 

Abul Fazl, author of the Akbar-Nama (the chroni- 
cle of the reign of Akbar) and Ain-i-Akbari (the laws of Emperor 
Akbar) gives us the minutest details about the institutions and 
events of his reign with glimpses of his predecessors. Blochmann, 
Jarrett and Elphinstone have commented on his style and 
work. Elliot, Dowson and Jadunath also have expressed their 
opinions. It is agreed by all scholars that "the work will 
deservedly go down to posterity as a unique compilation." His 
work, ''comprehensive and full of facts and events of his regime, 
comprising statistics and gazetteer and supplying varied infor- 
mation on the social, political, religious, literary, judicial, civil, 
military, agricultural and economic progress of the country is 
without a parallel in the whole history of Hindustan." His 
language is, however, not simple. The sentences are involved 
and their construction is peculiar. Sometimes he uses long 
sentences covering three pages. In spite of various shortcomings 
.of style and language, Abul Fazl's works deserve the highest 
praise considering the times in which they were written. Abdulla 
Uzbeg used to say : "I am not so much afraid of the sword of 


Akbar as I am of the pen of Abu! Fad." Had Abul Fazi left no 
records, our knowledge not only about the reign of Akbar but 
about the whole Mughal dynasty would have been very 
meagre. 54 Takml-i-Akbamama is a detailed account of Akbar's 
reign from the 47th year to his death. It was compiled by 
Innayat Ullah. 55 


Muntakiiab-itt-Tawarikh of Abdul Qadir Badaoni stands 
second in the list of the histories of that reign. Superior in 
style to that of the contemporary Bakhshi Nizam-ud-Din, it is 
certainly inferior to the Alamgir-Nama of Muhammad Kazim 
and the Padshah-Nama of Hamid Lahori. Difficult in language, 
it lacks proper arrangement of events. Its chief merit lies in its 
exposition of the religious views of the Emperor, and ''dispar- 
agement of the fulsome eulogi urn of Akbar-Nama" However, 
Badaoni's approach is biased and he sees everything through 
the coloured eyes of communalism. It is a general history of 
India from the times of Ghaznavids to the 40th year of Akbar's 
reign. It concludes with the lives of saints, philosophers, phy- 
sicians, and poets of Akbar's reign. 56 

Tabaqat-1- Akbar i 

Simple in language, clear in thought, better in arrangement 
though defective in chronology, 57 Nizam-ud-Din' s Tabaqat-i- 
Akbari is one of the most celebrated histories of India. It was 
written in 1592-93. This was the first history in which India 
alone formed the subject-matter to the exclusion of the history of 
the Arabic countries. The history actually begins with the 
Ghaznavids and comes up to the end of the 38th year of Akbar's 
reign. Nizam-ud-Din's account is that of a person who "ex- 
presses his views without favour or prejudice as Badaoni does." 
Even Badaoni lavishes praise on the author by calling his own 
work a mere abridgement of the Tabaqat. Ferishta says that of 
all the histories he consulted, it was the only one he found comp- 
lete. The later histories, as Rauzat-ut-Tahrin by Tahir Muhammad 
(compiled between 1602 and 1606), Tarikh->i-Salatin-i-Afghana}sy 
Ahmad Yadgar (compiled in 1611) and Maasir-i-Rahimi 5B by 
Mulla Abdul Baqi (written in 1616) copied verbatim from the 
Tabaqat. Even Khafi Khan, author of the most useful 
history of Aurangez's period, bases his account of the Panj 


Hazari and Chahar Hazari amirs and of some of the religious 
persons and poets on the Tabaqat** The author of the Maastr- 
ul-Umra found the work to be of much use. Erskine, Elliot, Dow- 
son, Ranking, Haig, Beni Prasad and Col. Lees are all fall of 
praise for "this best historian of the period," 60 and consider the 
Tabaqat to be "amongst the best Persian histories and the most 
reliable source of our information." 

Tarikh-i-Alfi and other works 

Another well-known work of the period was Tarikh-i-Alfi, 
a history of the Muslim world up to the 1000th year of 
the Hijra era. It was written by a group of scholars. Naqib 
Khan, Shah Path Ullah, Hakim Ali, Haji Ibrahim Sirhindi, 
Mirza Nizam-ud-Din, and Badaoni took part in its compilation. 
The first two parts of the volume were prepared under the 
supervision of Mulla Ahmad Thattawi and the third part was 
supervised by Asaf Khan. Badaoni revised the second 
portion. 61 It suffers from a defective plan and lacks uniformity 
in treatment. 

Tarikh-i-Haqqi of Abdul Haq is a brief history of Muslim 
India from the time of the slave-kings to that of Akbar. 62 It 
is based on Tdbaqat-i-Nasiri, Tarikh-i-Firozshahi, Tarikh-i~ 
Bahadur Shahi, and from the time of Bahlol Lodhi onwards on 
oral traditions and personal observations. Among other, histo- 
ries written during the period were Tarikh-i-Khandan-i-Timurya, 
the earliest account of Akbar' s reign 63 uptohistwenty-second year, 
Tarikh-i- Muhammad Arif Qandhari by Muhammad Arif, begin- 
ning from Akbar's birth, and closing with the account of a great 
fire at Fatehpur Sikri 64 (1579-80), Tarikh-i-Gujarat by Tarab 
Ali, based mainly on Akbar-Namaf* Tarikh-i- Sind, often called 
Tarikh-i- Masumi, a history of Sind from the Muslim conquests 
to its annexation by Akbar, and Tarikh~i-Tahiri 9 a history of 
Thattah by Tahir Muhammad. 66 

Halat-i-Asad Beg or the memoirs of the author of the last 
years of Akbar's reign give a detailed account of political 
transactions dating from the murder of Abul Fazl. 67 Akbar- 
Nama of Illahadad Faizi Sirhindi is based on Tabaqat-i-Akbari 
but sometimes copies from Akbar-Nama also. Zabd-ut-Tawarikh 
of Nur-ul-Haq commences with the reign of Qutb-ud-Din and 



ends at the close of Akbar's reign. Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh 
of Hasan bin Muhammad takes notice of ail the Asiatic ruling 
dynasties with biographies of prophets and sultans. Ali bin 
Aziz Allah Tabataba wrote Burhan-i-Maasir under the orders 
of Nizam Shah (1591-95), It is a history of the Bahmanis of 
Gulbarga, the Bahmanis of Bidar and the Nizam Shahis of 
Ahmadnagar coming down to the year 1596. 68 


The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, as already noticed, is the main source 
of history for the first 19 years of Jahangir's reign. Gladwin says 
that the memoirs are "universally admired for the purity, ele-r 
gance, and simplicity of style, and he appears in general to have 
exposed his own follies and weaknesses with great candour and 
fidelity." 69 Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri by Mutammad Khan is a very 
valuable history in three volumes. The first part contains the 
history of Babar andHumayun, the second deals with Akbar, and 
the third is occupied entirely with Jahangir. 70 "The work does 
not rank high among the critics," according to Elliot, "but still 
it is our only and authentic source for the whole reign of Jaha- 
gir." 71 Tatimma-i-Wakiat-i-Jaliangiri of Muhammad Hadi is a 
trustworthy record of the principal events of Jahangir's early life 
before his accession. 7 ' 4 * Intkhab-i- Jahangir Shahi (or historical 
anecdotes of Jahangir) supplies information about Jahangir's 
character and mode of life. 73 Pandnama-i-Jahangiri contains 
Jahangir's maxims, sayings, his rules and regulations in private 
and public life. 


Tarikh-i-Ferishta^ (also called Gulshan-i-Ibrahimi) by 
Muhammad Qasim Ferishta is "by common consent and not 
undeservedly considered superior to all the other general 
histories of India." It begins from the Muslim period and con- 
cludes with the events up to the date of its completion in 1611. 
The work, which also includes an account of minor dynasties, is 
of great historical value, based as it is on all available authentic 
sources. His style is generally simple and easy. 75 His work is most 
authentic for the history of the Sultans of the Deccan. Ferishta is 
also the author of a well-known unpublished work called Dastur- 
cd-Atibba. Tawarikh-i'Jah'angir Shahi or Farhing-i-Badi- .a! 


at-i-Jahangir, a brief chronicle of the first fourteen years of 
Jahangir's reiga by Wall Sirhindi, also remains unpublished. 
Shah-i-Fath-i-Kangra by Muhammad Jalal gives six stylistically 
different accounts of the expeditions sent by Shahjahan as Go- 
vernor of Gujarat against the rebel Suraj Mai in 1618. Fath- 
nama-i-Nur Jahan Begum by Mulla Kami Shirazi is a masnavi 
describing the events at the close of Jahangir's reign. It was 
compiled in 1 625-26. 76 Among other histories of the same reign 
are Mirat-i-Sikandari?' 1 a history of Gujarat from, the time of 
Zaffar Khan, Tarikh-i-Daudi of Abdullah, an Afghan version of the 
history of India under the Lodhis and Suris, Majalis-al-Salatin, 
a brief history of the kings of Delhi, Deccan and Kashmir, 78 
Baharistan-i-Ghaibi, a history of Bengal and Orissa divided into 
four chapters, and Tarikh-i-Turkumamai 9 a flowery and almost 
dateless history of Qara Quyumlu dynasty followed by a history 
of Tilinga, especially of Sultan Quli Qutb Shahi dynasty. 79 Maa- 
sir-i-Qutb Shahi-i-Mahmudi by Mahmud bin Abd Allah Nisha- 
puri in three volumes contains a sketch of Qutb Shah's 
reign along with contemporary events. Tarikh-i-Muhammad Qutb 
Shah by Habib Ullah is a history of Golkunda, while Tarikh-i 
All Adil Shah Saul by Nurullab is a history of Bijapur. 80 Anfa- 
ul-Akhbar by Muhammad Amin is a general history full of praise 
for N the author's patron, Navvab Sipahdar Khan, and 
describes in detail the buildings, gardens and history of 
Ahrnadnagar. 81 

Histories of Kashmir, Afghans and Deccan 

Makhzan-i-AfghancP* by Niamat Ullah, written in 1613, is 
full of details about the Afghans, their migraton to Ghor, Kuh-i 
Sulaman and Rob. His narrative comes down to 1612. 83 Haidar 
Malik bin Hasan Malik wrote Tarikh-i-Kashmir mainly an 
abridgement of Rajatarangini from earliest times to its conquest 
by Akbar. Baharistan-i-Shahi, a history of Kashmir, particu- 
larly of the Muslim period up to 1614, was written by an -anony- 
mous author in 1614. Another history of Kashmir was written 
at the request of Jahangir by an anonymous author. 84 Tazkirat- 
al-Muluk is a history of the Adil Shahis up to. 1611-12. It also 
includes contemporary Indian and Persian dynasties. 85 Among 
the histories of Goikunda, Maasir-i-Qutb Shaiii-i-Mahmudi by 


Mahmud and Hadiqat-al-Salatin, a pompous history of Sultan 
Abdulla Qutb.Shah from his birth to the 16th year of his 
reign (1640-41) deserve mention. 

'Historical Works of Shahjahan's reign 

Many famous historians adorned Shahjahan's court and 
produced valuable works. Maasir-i-Jahangiri was completed in 
1630 by Kamgar Husain while Mu'tamid Khan finished his 
Iqbalnama in 1632. Both these works are valuable source- 
material for the rebellion of Shahjahan and the events which 
preceded his accession. According to Shahnawaz, the Maasir is 
very important and outspoken. 

Mirza Aminai Qazvini's Padshahnama, the first official 
chronicle of Shahjahan's reign, covers only the first ten years. 
It is written in simple and graceful Persian. It also contains an 
account of contemporary scholars, physicians and poets. 
Padshahnama** of Abdul Hamid Lahori covers the first two 
decades (A.D. 1627-1647) of Shahjahan's reign. Abdul Hamid's 
account is very exhaustive and one gets a good understanding of 
the political, social and cultural life of the period. This work 
was continued by Muhammad Warris. who added a list of the 
saints, poets and scholars of the period but strangely enough 
excluded Hindus altogether. He also gave a graphic and picture- 
seque description of the buildings constructed during Shah- 
jahan's reign. The book emphasizes the role of the King as 
Defender of the Faith. An imitator of the style of Abul Fazl, 
Abdul Hamid is not less "verbose, turgid and fulsome" than his 
master. 87 

Shahjahan-Narna of Muhammad Sadiq written in simple 
Persian and of moderate size covers the period 1627-57 of 
Shahjahan's reign. It forms one of the most reliable sources 
of information for the period. Shahjahan-Nama of Innayat 
Khan, and Muhammad Salih Kambhu's history of that 
reign may also be mentioned. The latter was but a summary of 
the existing works on Shahjahan, while the former was an abrid- 
gement of Padshahnama of Lahori and Warris. 88 Amal-i-Salih 
by Muhammad Salih Kambhu Lahori is a history of Shahjahan's 
reign from his birth to his dealth in in 1665 A.D. It is written 
in highly polished, often rhetorical and refined Persian. A list 



at the end takes notice of some prominent shaikhs, physicians, 
poets and scholars of the period. 89 Tarikh-i-Shahjahani, a con- 
cise history of Shahjahan from A.D. 1592 to 1666 was compiled 
by Sudhari Lall Subhan from, Ainal-i-Salih and various other 
works. Among other histories dealing with Shahjahan's 
reign are : Ahwal-i-Shah Zadagi-i-Shahjahan 9 9Q an account of 
Shahjahan's life until his accession (A.D. 1590-1627), by 
Mutamad Khan 91 and Padshahnama of Jalaluddin Tabatabai 3 
which covers only four years from 5th to 8th (A.D. 1632 to 
1636) in a highly ornate style. 92 Among the general histories 
written during the period were Majalis-us-Salatin by Muhammad 
"Sharif Hanafi (Compiled In 1 628, it begins from Ghaznavid 
period and comes down to the early part of Shahjahan's reign), 
Muntakhab-al-Twarikh (Completed in 1646-47, it consists of 
accounts from earlier histories and ends with the accession of 
Shahjahan), and Afasah-al-Akhbar,^ general history by M. Baqir 
up to the accession of Shahjahan in 1627. Other histories are 
Lubb-at-Twarikh, a general history of India (1176 to 1689) 
from the time of Shihab-ud-Din by Rai Bindraban, son of 
Bahara Mai, 93 and Mukhtasir-ut'Tawarikh. 

Provincial histories include Majmul Muffassil of M. 
Muhammad, Gwaliyarnama by Shaikh Jalal Bisarl, based on a 
Hindi work by a Brahaman named Shyam, Hashim Beg Astar- 
badi's Fatuhat-i-Adil Shahi, a history of Adil Shahis coming 
down to 1644-45, Waqiat~i-Dakhan, an account of events in the 
Deccan In Shahjahan's reign, 94 and Tarkhan-Nama, a history 
of the Arghun and Tarkhan rulers of Sind (1554-1592) 
continued to the death of Mirza Asa Tarkhan. 95 

Among the poetical compositions of historical Importance 
are : Zafarnama-i-Shahjahani, an incomplete masnari on the 
life of Shahjahan, HuKya-i-Shahjahani, a masnavi describing 
the physical features of Shahjahan, an account of the flight and 
pursuit of Jhujhar Singh in masnavi verse by Abu Talib Kalim, 
Shahjahan-Nama, a metrical history of Shahjahan's reign, 
Padshahnama of Mirza Abu Talib Kalim in verse 98 and Ashob- 
nama-i-Hindustan, a historical masnavi on the war of succession 
between Shahjahan's sons. 


Aorangzefe against historical writings 

Aurangzeb stopped the regular annals of the empire which 
had been kept before by a royal historiographer, because it gave 
rise, in his opinion, to feelings of undue pride. Of all the 
great Mughals, he is the onljp king of whose reign we have no 
official records. After the expiry of the first ten years of his 
reign, scholars were forbidden to write or chronicle "the events 
of this just and righteous emperor's reign." 

The most important history called Muntakhab- ut- 
Lubab 97 was compiled in secret by Muhammad Hashiin, better 
known as Khafi Khan. It gives in a concise and condensed form 
the complete history of the Timurids from Babar's invasion to 
the 14th year of Muhammad Shah's reign (1719-1748). 98 The 
work, completed in 1732, is one of the best and the most im- 
partial histories of Muslim India. His style is reflective and 
language usually simple. To quote Sir Jadunath Sarkar, "His 
description of the conditions of society and characteristic anec- 
dotes save his work from the dry formality of the court annals." 
Here and there Khafi Khan adds some unauthentic incidents to 
make his narration interesting and readable. 

Alamgir-Nama and Fatuhat-i-Alamgiri 

The Alamgir-Nama by Mirza Muhammad Kazim, son of 
Aminai Qazvini, author of the Padshahnama, covers the first 

ten years of Aurangzeb's reign. The language is difficult, tedious 
and verbose. The real facts are frequently suppressed to flatter 
and please the vanity of the Emperor," The Alamgir-Nama of 
Hatim Khan is an account of the first ten years of Aurangzeb's 
reign , abridged from the Alamgir-NamaofMiihammadKazim. m 
The Fatuhat-i-Alamgiri by Ishar Das Nagar of Pattan in Gujarat 
is a history of Aurangzeb till the 34th year of his reign (1690- 
91). 101 The Fatuhat-i-Alamgiri by Rafat is a rhetorical account 
of the victories of Aurangzeb. 

Other Histories 

The Muasir-i'Alamgiri of Muhammad Saqi MustaidKhan, 

completed four years after the death of Aurangzeb (1710-11), 
is a history of Aurangzeb's reign, (lie lirsi ten years being an 



abridgement of the Alamgir-Nama. The style is, no doubt, too 
concise to have a parallel with any other history of the period. 
His language is simple and elegant. 102 Waqiat-i-Alamgiri* an 
anonymous history of the first five years of Aurangzeb's reign 
ended 1662, is ascribed to Aqil Khan Razi or to Mir Khan, 
subedar of Kabul. 

KfeoIasat-tit-Tawarikli and Dilkusha* 

The Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh a general history of India from 
the earliest times (beginning from the Pandavas) to the accession 
of Aurangzeb was completed in the 40th year of his reign 
(1695-P6) by Munshi Sujan Rai Bhandari of Batala. 104 The 
opening chapter is most useful, as it gives a detailed information 
about the products of the country and its geography as known 
in those times. It is written in a very simple language, and 
according to Col. Lees, "it is one of the most carefully compiled 
general histories of India I know of." Dilkusha (Tarikh-i- 
Dilkusha or Nuskha-i-Dilkusha) by Bhim Sen is a contemporary 
account of the Deccan affairs. It also throws light on the manners 
of the age and the character of administration, besides giving a 
description of the places the author visited. 105 Among other 
histories of the period are : Lubb-ut-Tawarikh-i-Hind (Essence 
of History), a concise history of India from Shihab-ud-Din to 
16#9-90 (abridged mainly from Ferisfata) 106 by Rai Bindraban; 107 
Muntakhab-al-Tawarikh 9 a sketch of Indian history abridged 
from the above by Jag Jiwan Das ; Jang-Nama by Danish- 
mand Khan, an account of Aurangzeb's war against the 
Maharana of Udaipur and of the hostilities between Bahadur 
Shah and Azam after his death ; Mlrat-ul-Alam by Bakhtawar 
Khan 108 ; Jawahir-al-Tawarikh by Salman Qazvini, a history of 
the Mughals from Adam to 1627 A.D. ; 109 Tarikh-i-Shah Shuja 
by Mir Muhammad Mastim, ending abruptly with Shuja's return 
to Tanda; 110 Tuhfat-al-Akhyar by M. Safi, a general history up 
to 1665-1666, etc. 

Provincial Histories 

Among the provincial histories Tarikh-i-Ashcm of 
Shihab-ud-Din Talish gives an account of the expedition 
to Assam undertaken in the fourth year of Aurang- 
zeb's reign. Tawarikh-i-AK Adil Shah by Nur Ullah is a turgid 


history of Ali Abdal Shah II from his birth to the Invasion of 
RajaJai Singh. ll * Basatln4-Salatin by Mlrza Ibrahim Zuberi is a 
history of Bijapur coming down to Aurangzeb's conquest. 112 
Ahwal-f-Salatin-i-Bijapur is a sketch of Adi! Shahi history up to 
the death of Sikandar in 1699. 113 Waqai-i-Niamat Khan, written 
in highly florid and difficult language, deals with the history of 
the siege and conquest of Oolkunda by Aurangzeb. 114 Tawarikh- 
i-Haft Kursi, a sketch of the Adil Shahi dynasty up to 1686, is 
by an unknown author. Waqai-i-Golkunda 9 a satirical account 
of Aurangzeb's siege of Hyderabad, is in mixed prose and 
verse. 115 Muhammad- Nama of Zahur bin Zahuri, began in 1641 
by Adil Shah's orders (MS. in Kapurthala), throws light on 
Sivaji-Afzal Khan relations. 126 Fatha-Nama, an account of 
the, conquest of Sholapur by Burhan Nizam Shah, was written 
"by Shah Tahir 117 while Raj Dilli is a history of the kings of 
Delhi by Banwalt Das Wall. 118 


Akbar ordered those "Hindu books which holy and staid 
stages had written and were all clear and convincing proof and 
which were the very pivot on which all their religion, faith and 
holiness turned" to be translated. 119 Badaoni criticises the 
intentions of the monarch who was keen to enrich Persian and 
Arabic literature. The bigoted historian did not realise that it 
would also help both religions to understand each other. 
He attributed it to a belief (of the Emperor) that translations of 
sacred Hindu works would "be the cause of circumstance and 
pomp and will ensure an abundance of children and wealth,'* 
which Badaoni says "is written in the preface of their books." 120 
The Emperor rewarded the scholars whose services he utilized. 
Badaoni was granted 1 50 ashrqfis and 10,000 tankas for translat- 
ing 24,000 slokas. 1 * 1 The Mahabharata was ordered to be translat- 
ed into Persian. 122 MullaSheri,Naqib, Sultan Haji l23f and Badaoni 
took part in its translation. Akbar look great personal interest 
in the work and spent several nights in explaining its meanings 
to Naqib Khan Eadaoni would not render an unbiased account 
and had to be reprimanded. 324 Faizi improved upon the transla- 
tion and rendered it in "elegant prose and verse" which was 
again revised by Haji. The translation with a preface by Abul 
Fazl was entitled the Razm-Nama (or Book of Wars). 126 



The Ramay 'ana 126 took four years to be translated. Naqib Khan, 
Shaikh Sultan, and Badaoni were the chief translators. 127 Mulla 
Sheri translated Harivansh, a book depicting the life of Lord 
Krishna. 128 Atharva-Veda, one of the four divine books- of 
the Hindus, was translated by Badaoni and Ibrahim Sirhindi 
Badaoni found that most of the principles described therein 
coincided with the fundamentals of Islam. 129 

Rajatarangini, a Sanskrit history of Kashmir for 4,000 
years, was translated, according to the Ain, in Akbar's reign 
while the Iqbal-Nama ascribed it to Jahangir's reign. 130 Nal- 
Daman was translated by Faizi in the masnavi metre of Laila- 
Majnun.^ 1 It consisted of 4,000 verses. 132 Nasrallah-i-Mustaufi 
and Maulana Waiz took five months to finish the translation of 
Panchatantra. 1 ^ According to Abul Fazl, "the style and language 
of the translation was very obscure, difficult, and it abounded 
with metaphors." Singhasan Battisi, containing 32 tales of King 
Bikramajit of Malwa, was translated by Badaoni and named 
Nama-i-Khirad Afza, which also gives the date of its composi 
tion. 134 Besides Sanskrit works in poetry and philosophy, Faizi 
made aversion of Bija Ganita and Lilavati of Bhascara Acharya, 
the best Hindu books on algebra and arithmetic. Muhammad 
Khan of Gujarat translated into Persian the Tajak, a well-known 
work on astronomy. 

Todar Mai translated Bhagavata Parana into Persian to 
induce the Hindus to learn that language. 135 Rajawali, a short 
account of the Rajas af Delhi from King Yudishtra to the 
invasion of Shihab-ud-Din, written originally by Misr Biddya 
Dhar, was translated into Persian by Shahu Ram, a disciple of 
Wali Ram. 136 

Prince Dara Shikoh, with the help of pandits, translated 
the Bhagavad Gfta. 1 * 1 Yoga Vashishta was also translated under 
his supervision. However, his greatest literary achievement 
was the translation of 52 Upanishads under the title Sirr-i-Akbar 
or Sirrul Asrar with the help of a number of pandits of Banaras. 
The translation was completed in six months. Dara writes 
that " he himself rendered into Persian (the Upanishads which 
are the store-house of the doctrine of unity) without any increase 
or decrease, without any selfish motive, sentence for sentence, 
word for word." Sometimes the translation, no doubt, leaves 


the original text to illustrate a point by some example but "we 
must say he has eminently succeeded in this attempt. The 
Sirr-i-Akbar of Dara Shikoh has not only all the merit of a good 
translation but also the compactness and charm of an original 
work." 138 Dara's munshi, Banwali Das Wall, translated the 
Sanskrit drama 'Prdbodha Chandra Vidya of Krishna Misr into 
Persian under the title Gulzar-i-Hal with the assistance of the 
Prince's favourite astrologer, Bhawani Dass. Chandra Bhan 
Braharnan translated Atma-Vilam, a Vandanta work ascribed to 
Shankaracharya. He also translated Dara Shikoh's questions 
relating to Hindu beliefs and customs and their answers by Lai 
Das into Persian and named it Sawal Wa Jawab-i-Lal Das Wa 
Dara Shikoh. 1 " 

Arabic and Turkish 

Besides Sanskrit books, Arabic and Turkish works were 
translated. Abu Dharr Salman translated Mukhtar-Nama, 
an Arabic work, into Persian in 1539-40 in the reign of Nizam 
Shah Burhan of Ahmadnagar. 140 Several Arabic scholars of 
repute as Mulla Ahmad of Thatta, Qasim Beg, Shaikh 
Munawar and Badaoni took part in. the translation of the 
famous book Mujam-ul-Buldan or Yaqut's geographical 
dictionary. Tarkh-i-Hukaman was translated by Masquid Ali of 
Tabriz, Haiwat-uI-Haiwan by Abul Fazl" 1 and Jam-i-Rashidi by 
Nizamuddin 142 and Badaoni. Taqi-ud-Din of Shustar 143 turned 
Shahnama into prose. Badaoni translated ahr-ul-Asmar 9 a 
work on the Hadis, and Zich-i-Jadid-i-Mirza was translated 
under Path Ullah of Shiraz. Waqiat-i Tlmur was translated into 
Persian by Mir Abul Talib-i-Turbati during the reign of Shah- 
jahan. Tattqiat-i-Kisrawi was translated from Arabic into Per- 
sian by Mirza M. Jalal by the orders of Prince Murad. Much 
money was spent in transcribing Amir Hamza which was done 
in 12 volumes in 15 years and was illustrated with wonderful 
paintings by Mir Sayyid Ali Tabriz. The Chingez-Nama, Zafar- 
Nama, Ain-i-Akbari, Razm-Nama,Ramayana 9 NalDaman 9 Kattlah 
Damanah, Iyar-i-Danish 9 etc. were all illustrated with very beauti- 
ful paintings, 144 Fatwa-i-Alamgiri was translated into Persian 
by M. Abdul Hakim of Sialkot and his several pupils. By 
Zeb-un-Nisa's orders, Mull Safi-ul-Din translated Tafsir-i-Kalrh 
into Persian. 



Among the important Turkish works translated into 
Persian was the Babar-Nama. Shaikh Zain-ud-Din Khwafi was 
said to have been the first to translate or rather to paraphrase 

the Babar-Nama into Persian in an elegant style. 145 Mirza Abdur 
Rahim Khan-i-Khanan later on, in Akbar's reign, made a 

complete translation of the work in 1590. 146 


1. Ghani, M.A,PartII,p. 45. 

2. T.A., II, p. 686. Also see Badaoni, II, p. 199, Tr. 
pp. 201-02. 

3. Badaoni, III, p. 215, Tr. Ill, p. 297. 

4. Sri Ram Sharma s A Bibliography of Mughal India 
(1526-1707 A.D.), p. 89. 

5. Badaoni, III, 5. 185, Tr. p. 259. 

6. Badaoni, II, p. 376, Tr. p. 388. 

7. Badaoni, I, 472-73, Tr. 611-12. 

8. Extracts were included in A.N., Badaoni, III, 265, 

Tr. Ill, p. 367. 
9. Akbar ordered the author to coin particular Sanskrit 

names for all things in existence. Badaoni, II, p. 257, 

Tr. p. 265. 

10. Sharma's Bibliography, p. 88. 

11. Islamic Culture, XIII, No. 4, p. 422 

12. Extracts tranlated in E and D, I, pp. 289-99. 

13. Philips, C.H. (Ed.), Historians of India, Pakistan and 
Ceylon, 1967, p. 149. 

14. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, pp. 556-57. 

15. Beni Prasad, History ofJahangir, p. 477, 

16. Beni Prasad, op. cit, p. 475. 

17. The Jesuits and the Great Moglud by Sir E. Maclagan. 

18. A.S.B.,1, 1888,pp.35-36. 

19. The whole translation was in verse. Storey, II, Fasc. 
I, p. 196. 

20. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, pp. 441-42. 

21. Storey, II, Fasc. I, p. 18. 

22. Saksena, B.P., Shahjahan of Delhi, p. 256. 

23. Storey, II, Fasc. 3, p. 568. 

24. Islamic Culture, April 1945. 

25. Sharma's Bibliography, p. 81. 


26. Ibid, p. 131. 

27. The best-known translation of the work is by Shea. 
and A. Fioyer. 

28. Sharma's Bibliography, p. 129. 

29. A.S.B., Vol. V, No. I, Art. No. 3 by K.B. Zafar 

30. "Literary Progress of Hindus under Muslim Rule," 
Islamic Culture, XIII, No. 4, pp. 40946. 

31. Ruqaat'i-Alamgirii translation by J.H. Biliraoria,. 

32. Storey, II, Fasc. I, XXXIV. 

33. Islamic Culture, XIII, No. 4, p. 422. 

34. Maasir-i-AIamgiri by Saqi, p. 530 ; E and D, VII,. 
p. 160. 

35. Sharma's Bibliography, p 130. 

36. Storey, II, Fasc. II, p. 237. 

37. Oriental College Magazine (Lahore), Vol. X, No. 4, 
August 1934, pp. 66-67 ; Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 454. 

38. Sharma's Bibliography, pp. 21-22. 

39. Ibid, p. 91. 

40. Ibid, 21-22. 

41. Islamic Culture, January 1941, p. 66. 

42. Anecdotes of Aurangzib and other Historical Essays 
by J.N. Sarkar, Calcutta, 1912. 

43. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 454. 

44. Adbiat-i-Farsi Main Hinduon Ka Hissa, p. 78. 

45. Sharma's Bibliography, p. 17, 

46. E&D, VII, pp. 200-201. 

47. Ruqaat-i-Alamgiri by Ashraf Nadvi, pp. 54-55. 

48. E&D, VII, pp. 204-206. 

49. For description see A.S.B., N.S., Vol. XII, (1916), 
pp. 297-98. 

50. E&D, V, pp. 116-26, English translation by Sada 

Sukh LalL 

51. Translation of the work with omissions of Chapters 

i-iii by B.P. Saksena in Allahabad University Studies, 
1930, pp. 71-148. 

52. /././/., Art. 22; B.P. Sakscna, op. cit., pp. 43-44. 

53. A detailed history of Akbar's reign with an account 
of his predecessors in three volumes. 



54. Ain-i-Akbari or the Institutes of the Emperor Akbar, 
translation by Francis Gladwin, London. Translation 
Vol. I by Blochmann, Vol. II aod III by H.S. Jarrett. 
Vol. II and III edited by Sir Jadunath Sarkar. 

55. E & D, VI, p. 103 ; Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 547. 

56. Persian edition, Calcutta, edited by Ahmad AI5 Kabir- 
al-Din Ahmad and W.N. Lees. English translation, 
Vol. I, G.S.A. Ranking. Vol. II, Akbar's reign by 
H.S. Lowe, Vol. Ill, traslation by T.W. Haig. 

57. Smith, Akbar, p. 460. 

58. E&D, V, p. 177. 

59. Kabiruddin's and Ghulam Qadir's text, edition in 
Bib. Ind. series, Vol. I, pp. 237-243 (1869). 

60. E&D, V, p. 178. 

61. Badaoni, II, p. 317 ; E & D, V, pp. 150-176. 

62. E&D, V, pp. 155-157. 

63. Sharma's Bibliography, p. 44. 

64. Ibid 9 pp. 39-40. 

65. Ibid, pp. 68-69. 

66. fi & D, I, 253-85. 

67. E&D, VI, pp. 150-74. 

68. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 740. Edition Hyderabad 
(Delhi printed), 1936. Abridged English tranlation 
The History of the Bahamcmi Dynasty based on 
the Burhan-i-Maasir by J.S. Kings of London, 1900. 
The History of the Nizam Shahi Kings of Ahmadnagar 
by Lt. Col. Sir Wolesiey Haig, Bombay 1923. 

69. Edition Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri edited by Sayyid Ahmad, 
Aligarh, 1863-64, Lucknow, 1914. English transla- 
tion of Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri by W.H. Lowe. Translation 
of Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri by A. Rogers, edited H. Beve- 
ridge. E & D, VI, pp. 276-39 1 . 

70. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 561. 

71. E&D, VI, pp. 400. Edited by Maulvis Abdul Hai 
and Ahmad Ali under Major W.N. Lees, A.S.B., 
1865. Edition, Calcutta. 

72. E&D, VI, pp. 392-400. 

73. Ibid, pp. 446-52. 

74. Edition Tarikh-i-Ferishta, Bombay, 1831-32. Edited 
by J. Briggs and Mir Khairiat Ali Khan Mushtaq. 


Tarikh-i-Ferlshta or History of the Rise of the 
Mohammadan Power in India till the year A.D. 1612 
by Mohammad Qasim Ferishta. Urdu translation 
by M. Fida AH Talib. English translation by J. 

75. E&D, VI, pp. 210-12. 

76. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 563. 

77. The Mirror of Sikandar by Fayzullah Lutfullah 
Faridi. Edition Bombay, 1831, 1890. 

78. Extracts in E & D, VII, p. 139-40. 
. 79. Storey, II. Fasc. II, pp. 299-300. 

80. Sharma, op. eft., p. 64. 

81. E. & D, VI, pp. 244 250 ; Storey, II, Fasc I, p. 125. 

82. Also called Tarikh-i-Khanahan Loodhi. 

83. Sharma's Bibliography, p. 36. Trans, by Bernhard 
Dorn, History of the Afghans, published by Oriental 
Translation Fund Series. Extracts in E & D, VI, 
pp. 71-115. 

84. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 681. 

85. Abridged translation of an extract in "The History of 
the Bahamani Dynasty" by J.S. King, London, 1900. 

86. Badshah-Nama of Abdul Hamid Lahori, edited by 
Maulvis Kabiral Din Mohd and Abdal Rahim under 
the supervision of W.N. Lees. Shahjahan does not 
call the work Badshah-Nama as is clear from an 
autograph reproduced by Blochmann. A.S.B., 
p. 272. Extracts E&D, VII (1870), pp. 3-72, 121-22. 

87. E&D, VII, pp. 4-5. 

88. Islamic Culture, January 1941, p. 73. 

89. E&D, VII, pp. 123-32. Edition Amal-i-Satih or 
Shahjahan-Nama of Muhammad Salih Kambhu, edit- 
ed by Ghulani Yazadani, Calcutta, 1912. 

90. Storey, II, Fasc, III, p. 565. 
9L Ibid. 

92. Islamic Culture, January 194J, pp. 64-68. 

93. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 453. 

94. Ibid, p. 581. 

95. E & D, I, pp. 300-326. 


96. Islamic Culture, January 1941, pp. 64-68. 

97. E & D, VII, pp. 208-10 ; Sarkar, II, p. 304 ; Sharma, 
op. cit, pp. 54-58. 

98. Extracts E & D, VII, pp. 207-533. 

99. Edition Calcutta, 1865-73, Bib. Ind. by Khadim 
Husain and Abdul Hai ; Storey, II, Fasc. II, p. 
586; E&D, VII, p. 177. 

100. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 587. 

101. Sharma, op. cit., p. 58. 

102. The History of the first ten years of the reign of 
Alamgir by H. Vansittart ; E & D, VII, pp. 181-97. 

103. Waqiat-t-Alamgiri, Lahore, ed. by M. Abdullah 
Chagtai ; Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 585. 

104.' E&D, VIII, p. 8. Col. Lees in J.R.A.S., N.S., Vol. 
Ill ; Khulasat-ul-Tawarikh by Sujan Rai Bhandari, 
edited by M. Zafar Hasan, Delhi 1918. Urdu transla- 
tion Arayish-i-Mahfil by Mir Sher Ali "Afsos" Jafari. 
English translation of Arayish-i-Mahfil or the Orna- 
ment of the Assembly by Major Henry Court, 

105. J.N. Sarkar, Vol. II, p. 304 ; Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, 
p. 589. 

106. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 453 ; E & D, VII, pp. 168-73. 

107. The son of Dara's diwan, Sahara Mai. Sarkax, II, p. 

108. E&D, VII, pp. 147-65. 

109. Storey, II, Fasc. II, p. 298. 

110. E&D, VII, p. 198. 

111. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 744. 

112. Edition Hyderabad, Urdu translation by Fazl-al-Haqq. 

113. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 745. 

114. E&D, VII, pp. 200-201. 

115. Edition Lucknow, 1844. Oriental College Magazine, 
Vol. II, No. 4, 1926. 

116. Sharma, op. cit., p. 65. 

117. Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, p. 741. 

118. Islamic Culture, Vol. XIII, No. 4, p. 402. 

119. Badaoni, II, p. 320, tr. 329. 

120. Badaoni, II, p. 320, tr. 330. 

121. Ain (Bloch), p. 111. 

122. T.A, II, p. 562. 


123. Sh. Sultan of Tfaaneswar. 

124. Badaoni, II, 320, tr. 330. 

125. T.A. 9 II, p. 562. 

126. Badaoni, II. 336, tr. 346-47 ; Badaoni, II, 366, tr. 378, 

127. Adbiat-i-Farsi Main Hinduon Ka Hissa, p. 88. 

128. Badaoni, III, n. 2, p. 345; n. 4, p. 350. 

129. Badaoni, H, p. 212, tr. p. 216. 

130. Iqbalnama (Urdu), p. 102. 

131. Badaoni, II, p. 396, tr. p. 410. 

132. Am (Bloch), p. 113. According to Badaoni, it con- 
sisted of 4200 verses. Also see Ain (Bloch), p. 1 13n. 

133. ATX (Bloch), p. 112. 

134. i.e. 989 A.H. Adbiat-i-Farsi Main Hinduon Ka Hissa* 
p. 88. 

135. Literary History of India by R.W. Frazer, pp. 364-65. 

136. KhuIasat-ut-Tawarikh, p. 1 ; Storey, II, Fasc. Ill, 
p. 452. 

137. DaraShikoh by K.R. Qanungo, pp. 135-40. 

138. Ibid, p. 152. 

139. Islamic Culture, April 1945. 

140. Storey, II, Fasc. I, p. 214. 

141. Badaoni, II, p. 204, tr. p. 207. 

142. Ibid, p. 384, tr. p. 397. 

143. Ibid, III, p. 206, tr. p. 285-86. 

144. Ain (Bloch), p. 115 and p. 114 n. 2. 

145. A.N., I, p. 280 n ; Badaoni, I, pp. 341, 471 ; Elliot, 
IV, p. 288. 

146. An, (Bloch), p. 112; Elliot, IV, 218; Iqbalnama 
(Urdu), p. 201. 


Literature III 


Medieval Hindi literature, according to Grierson, an 
eminent linguist, is an "enchanting garden abounding in 

There was a cultural renaissance in India in the 1 6th 
century. In literature, religion and music a galaxy of great 
talents enriched her cultural heritage, The keynote of this 
revival was a higher synthesis in which the soul of India was 
striving to attain a new spiritual equilibrium and. the 
beauty of individual life. The renaissance in literature was 
primarily due to the advent of the Mughals having their own 
well-developed and artistic language, namely Persian. The 
benevolent attitude of the Mughal emperors also helped to 
develop the Indian languages. Hindi was definitely taking shape 
in the time of Humayun and Sher Shah. Mailk Muhammad 
Jayasi's famous Padmavat (1540 A.D.) was produced in this 

Akbar took a keen interest in the cultivation of every kind 
of knowledge. He is said to , have composed a few verses in 
Hindi under the pen-name of Akbar Ray. His special regard 
for his Hindi subjects and their learning imparted a great 
stimulus to the development of Hindi literature. The greatest 
poets of Hindi, Sur Das and Tulsi Das, belong to his period. 
Jahangir continued to patronize Hindi poets and scholars. He 
had such a good command over Hindi that he could even under- 
stand the most intricate verses. In his Tuzuk> Jahangir writes 
about a Hindi poet who was brought to him by Rao Surjan 
Singh, a noble : 

"I read his poem. Few Hindi verses of such freshness 


have ever reached my ears. As a reward for this I gave 
him an elephant." 

For the first time in his reign endeavours were made by 
scholars such as Kesava Das to systematize the art of poetry. 
Shahjahan kept up the traditions of his predecessors. The 
Emperor himself composed verses in Hindi. 

In spite of Aurangzeb's policy of religious intolerance,, 
his reign was not lacking in Hindi poets and writers. But they 
were truly symbolic of the period. Decadence was writ large 
everywhere, and poets and scholars, with one or two excep- 
tions, were mere imitators of their great predecessors. 

Almost the entire Hindi literature of medieval India is in 
verses. Poetry was the most accepted form of expression in the 
field of literature. Prose was practically unknown and thought 
to be a difficult vehicle of expression even when tackling serious 
argumentative and dull topics. Besides poetry, there was some 
literature of a technical nature dealing with the rules of prosody 
and art of writing poetry (and also some biographies of saints) 
but this too was in verse. Nakha-Shikha or detailed description 
of the beauty of the beloved was a popular composition. 

This literature mostly dealt with the two incarnations (of 
Vishnu), Krishna and Rama. The creation of these two schools 
dates back to the time of the Padmavat (1540 A.D.). The stories 
of these two deities, with little difference in treatment, form the 
theme of almost all poets and writers. 1 Braj, the birth-place of 
Lord Krishna, naturally became the resort of Krishna poets. 
Vallabhacharya and his son Vithal Nath were the foimders of 
this school Of the eight disciples of this school known as 
Ashta Chhap, Sura and Krishna Das are the most celebrated. 
The remaining six poets of Ashta Chhap are Kumbhan Das, 
Parmanand Das, Chhit Swami, Govind Swami, Chaturbhaj Das 
and Nand Das. Bhaktamala of Nabha Das is the most reliable 
authority on the Krishna poets. Tulsi, the greatest poet of his 
age, belongs to the second school devoted to the worship and 
adoration of Lord Rama. Grieson writes : 

"Sura Das and Tulsi Das possessed the strength of giants 



and were far beyond their contemporaries in polish and in 
sense of proportion....'* 

Both these outstanding poets belong to "Sagun Dhara," 
Rama and Krishna Bhakti cults of Hindu philosophy of India. 
They believed in God through form and content and propagat- 
ed universal love. But the minor poets could not keep themselves 
within bounds and so there grew up another school of poets who 
laid down the rules of poetic criterion. Kesava Das, Chintamani 
Tripathi, and Kalidas Trivedi are well-known writers of this 
class. The 16th and 17th centuries "saw the rise of some 
remarkable religious sects which gave birth to a considerable 
body of literature." Guru Nanank, Dadu, Fran Nath and 
Guru Govind Singh belong to this class of reformers. Some 
of the courtiers of Akbar, such as Todar Mai, Birbal, Abdur 
Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, etc., were not only patrons of learn- 
ing but also composed verses in Hindi. 

Early Hindi Poets 

Guru Naoak and Kabir : 

Guru Nanak (1469-1 538), founder of the great Sikh religion, 
composed Japji Sahib which contains hymns in the early forms 
of Hindi and Punjabi. It forms a book of daily prayers for the 
Sikhs. Besides this, he composed a large number of verses which 
are included in the Adi Granth? which is a collection of hymns 
by various authors. A few of these hymns are in Punjabi, some 
in Marathi but most of them are in old western Hindi. 3 He was a 
great admirer of the philosophy of life as depicted by Kabir. 
The clarity and simplicity of his verses is an easier vehicle for 
his teachings. Here is a verse of his : 4 


, srrar STRT, 

*T;T Jf 



srrar i 


Life may cease any moment. This world is false like a 
dream. We must have faith in God and practise high 



Kablr (15th century) was the pioneer of Nirguna Bfaakti 
cult. His verses are composed in mixed language containing 
Awadhi, Braj, Poorbi (Bihari) and Persian words. He was a 
reformer and stood for Hindu- Muslim . unity. His composition 
Beejak is divided into three parts, Ramaini, Sabada and Saakhi. 
Ramaini and Sabada consist of padas, and Saakhi is full of 
couplets. The main theme of Beejak is mostly derived from the 
Vedant philosophy and aims at reformation in all walks of 
human life. 

God is One. Allah, Rama, Karim, Keshava, Hari, Hazrat 

are His synonyms. 

The other known poets of Nirguna Bhakti cult are Raidas 
or Ravi Das, Dharam Das, Dadu Dayal, Sundar Das, Maluk 
Das and Aksliar Ananya. 

Meera Bai 

Meera Bai (16th century), the great granddaughter of Rana 
Jodha Ji, founder of Jodhpur, was a staunch devotee of Lord 
Krishna. Some of her padas are in Rajasthani mixed langu- 
age and the others in pure literary Braj Bhasha. Four 
granthasNarasi Ji Ka Mayara, Geeta Govinda Teeka 9 Rctga 
Govinda, Raga Soratha Ke Pada are said to have been compos- 

ed by her. 



*ftqT5T ! 1 

O 772^ Lord ! 

Come and live in my eyes. 

You are really very handsome 

witti your sweet face, 

radiant blue frame and 

bewitching eyes, v 

the peacock-feather crown on your head, 


ear-rings of the shape of a shell 

and the red 6 tilak* on your forehead 

along with the sweet flute clinging by your lips, 

a garland on your chest, 

small bells ringing round your waist 

and making soft sounds on your ankles. 

Ye ! Lord of Meera, your gracious figure fills 

the hearts of your devotees with ecstasy. 

In the above pada Meera describes the beauty of Lord 
Krishna and desires to see this beauty for ever. 

The Krishna Bhakti cult also produced a number of talent- 
ed poets. Lai Das's two granthas Han Charftra composed in 
1528 A.D. and Bhagavata Dashmaskandhi Bhasha 6 in mixed 
Awadhi Bhasha and in dohas and chaupais are definitely of 

inferior quality when judged by poetic standards. 6 

Muhammad Jay&si 

Padmavat 7 , the famous romantic and half historical epic 
composed about the year 1540 A.D. by the celebrated Malik 
Muhammad Jayasi, the most important poet of the age of Sher 
Shah, derives its theme, with certain modifications in the actual 
facts of the story for poetical effects, from Ala-ud-Din's con- 
quest of Chitor. At the end, the poet gives an allegorical reli- 
gio-philosophical interpretation of the poem. "Chitor,** accord- 
ing to him, "represents the human body, Ratna Sen, the soul. 
Padmavati is the wisdom, while Ala-ud-Din is a spiritual 

Padamavat, composed in the Hindi metre and Hindi 
dialect but based on the Persian masnavi style, is among the 
first few notable works which do not deal with either Rama or 
Krishna. Though essentially a love story, the author has 
succeeded in keeping before his readers lofty and pure 
ideals. The original poem is difficult to understand but 
its originality and poetic beauty make it "one of the master- 
pieces of Hindi literature." The author, with his beautiful 
couplets and chaupais, has woven a really fine poem. It is 
also remarkable for the vein of tolerance which runs through it 


in every way worthy of Kablr and Tulsi Das. Padmavat begins 
thus: 8 

*Ff ^ft tflr tcTTfiFra- sifr i 

(the poet began the narration in 947). And some of his 
concluding verses are 

err f^rar, *R TFSTT sft^T i f|rar f%wsr, f 1% 
s <f*r ^RT i for 5^ SPRT ^t 

f ff^^T ^f^T I ^"f^T ?fff q* 
f ^ftf tcfR I 


Chitor symbolizes human body, the king the mind, Sinhal 
the heart. Padmini the brain and the parrot a spiritual guide , 
without whom nobody can detect Absolute. Nagamati is 
a symbolic figure for wordly affairs. He who has no atta- 
chement with wordly affairs escapes. Raghava, the messen- 
ger, symbolizes Satan, and Ala-ud-Din, the King, illusion. 

Akhravata, another composition of Jayasi, is a religious 
book mainly in chaupais wherein the author discusses various 
points connected with Ishvara (God) worship, the world, 
humanity, etc. 9 

Gada! Dehalvi 

In the reign of Humayun, Shaikh Gadai Dehalvi was the 
first notable scholar who combined the knowledge of Arabic 
and Persian with that of Hindi. He composed verses in Hindi 
and often sang them. 

Shaikh Abdul Wahid Biigrami and Maulana Jalali 
"Hindi" were" also Hindi poets. The latter was known for 
composing lyrics and enigmas. 

' KirpaRam (L 1540) was the author of Hita. Tarangini, 
the earliest extant work in Braj Bhasha dealing with the art of 
poetry. 10 His couplets resemble those of Bihari LaFs. 11 

Krishna Das and Parma 

Krishna Das (16th century) was one of the Ashta 
Chhaps or famous eight poets, and composed several well- 
known works such as Jugal Mancharitra, containing verses 


which depict tbe love of Lord Krishna and Radha, Bhramar Geet 
&4Prem Tatvaniroopana. 1 * According to Grierson, he is "a 
graceful and sweet poet'* 13 and wrote original poetry. Parma 
Nand Das, who flourished in 1550 A.D., wrote very easy verses. 
Dhruva Charitra and Dan-Lila are . his important works. 14 
Shri Vallabha Acharya was amazed to read his verses. Narottam 
Das's (fl. 1545 A.D.) granth, Sudama Charitra, discusses in a 
very sweet style and simple language the hardships a poor man 
has to endure due to poverty. The high character of the hero of 
the story in this ocean of misery makes it a wonderful piece of 
work. Shri Bhatt's (fl. 1544 A.D.) verses are in simple Hindi. 
His padas (songs) are short. Yugala Shataka, a small collection 
of his hundred padas, is considered sacred among Krishna 
bhaktas. Adi Bani is another work by him. 15 

\, sftafer 

I ! 

/'^7/ Bhoomi is charming; so are groves, Brinda- 
vana and water of the Yamuna. The ladies of the entire 
Gokal are attractive. They speak in a sweet tone. Lord of 
Shri Bhatt is captivating and so Is Radha Ram. 

Nartiari Bandijana 

Maha Patra Narhari Bandijana 16 ' (fl. 1550 A.D.) 17 was 
greatly honoured at the court of Akbar, who conferred upon 
him the title of Maha Patra. The Emperor was so mucli pleased 

with his following verse that he s according to the poet's desire, 
ordered cow-slaughter to be stopped forthwith. 

srf cflf^ 5TTff[ 



**/fers with a straw between his teeth, 
Wtefo^*"^^^ we, thecow, eat 
nobody kills him On the o w sme that m 

graSS but W e are ^^'^ l four offhand W 
always supply ^et milk anhe J ( ^ 

do not g ive Hindus Meet * * ^.^ fhe petition of 
Poet Narhari \ e * uest ** h are slaughtered when even 


Rukm ini Man g al ^a Sang**.* 

His ^ is ^ 

Among other works of tta M*nc^ 

aad ^to*a Chandr *\ 5 !?l Misra (fl- 1558 A.D.), 
flfflr b ^^" ffi^XoM^ato and some 
ftsto, -^^^(iatarWi^ Das (fl. 1567 
positions ^ <lumrln Das and a disciple of Vithal 


hardly be surpassed/ 


Hamar/ 1W ^m^aj Moteto. JC Cheri 
Bam Band Gulam Ray 

Akbar replied in verse : 

Tumhari Haiti Hamaray Mahalon Ki Ram 

Turn Sab Sardar Ray 
A Hindi couplet composed by Akbar on Birbal's death 



Seeing me forlorn, he gave me everything except unbearable 
dolour, which he has given me now and thus Birbal has 
kept nothing with him. 

Besides many works in Sanskrit, Swami Hari Das (fL 1 560 
A.D.) left poems in Hindi such as Hari DasJi KaGranth, Swami 
Hari Das Ji Ke Pada y and Hari Das Ji Ki Bani. Keay adds 
Sadharan Siddhant and Ras Ke Pada. His verses are in difficult 
language and are not so popular. According to Grierson, how- 
ever, his "vernacular poems rank next after those of Sur Das 
and Tulsi Das." 21 

Naod Das 

Nand Das (fl. 1568 A.D.) was a poet of renown. 
Next to Sur Das he holds the highest place among 
the Ashta Chhap poets. On Akbar's request he visited 
the court and sang his favourite hymn ending with the words : 
"Nandadasa Tharho nipata mikata" (My soul, thou standest 
very close and near Him.) When the Emperor pressed him for 
the meaning or significance of "standing very close and near 
Him," he became rapt in a trance and thus freed his soul from 
earthly shackles and stood as he stated "very close and near 
his Lord." His poetic skill is admirable. Sweet in rhyme, 
his verses at the same time are very easy to understand. The 
well-known proverb 22 ' 

1 1 

(Others poet coin and Nand Das inlays.) 

is significant. A large number of works are attributed to him. 
Ras Panchadhayi in Rolla chhandas is perhaps the most cele- 
brated. It narrates the miracles of Lord Krishna in a very 
pleasing manner. Besides Bhagavata Dash&ma Skandha, he is 
said to have composed Rukmani-Mangala , Roopa Manjari, Rasa 
Manjari, Biraha Manjari, Nama Chintamani Mala., Anekarth- 
nama Mala, Dan Lila, Mana Lila, Anekartha-Manjari, Shyama 
Sagai, Bhramar Geet, Hitopadesha and Nasikait Puran, but most 
of his works are not traceable. However, four of them have 
been published, namely Ras Panchadhyayi, Bhramar Geet y . 


Anekarfha Manjari and Anekarthnama. Mala?* Some of his 

Hindi verses from Bhramar Geet are quoted below : 

ft *r 

Addressing Braj maidens, Udho spoke thus: "I have brought 
a message from Lord Krishna but I did not find proper 
time and place to disclose it. On conveying the message I 
shall again go to Mathura." 


Manohar(fl. 1577 A.D.), nom de plume "Tosha," was 
well read in Persian and Sanskrit. His couplets contain many 
Persian words. Well chosen s they are, they add to the beauty 
of the verses. Shawp'iashiwiri is a collection of bis verses." 4 


Raja Birbal (A.D. 1528-1583) or Mahesh Das, 
nom de plume ''Brahma," is well-known for his short verses of 
witty and humorous nature. His verses were much liked, and 
Akbar conferred on. him the title of Kavi Raya or Hindi poet 
laureate. He has left a collection or diwan of several hundred 
verses. It is in Bharatpur. 25 

The Age of Great Poets 


Surdas (16th century), the blind bard of Agra, is by unani- 
mous consent the greatest lyricist of our country. He is the 
foremost poet of the Krishna sect and ranks second only to the 
great Tulsi.' 2 * 5 According io a well-known proverb, fc *Sura is the 
sun, Tulsi the moon, Keshav Das is a cluster of stars but the 
poets of today are like so many glowworms giving light here 
and there." 

As a poet with insight into child psychology, Sura has 00 
equal. Krishna's childhood constitutes the first great theme 


of Sura's poetry. To him Krishna is the divine being God 

at the helm of affairs of the universe. Some of his verses 

relating to Lord Krishna's childhood are as follows : 



(1) Oh my Lord Krishna, why do you quarrel, why are you 
lying like this on the floor ? / can offer you anything which 
you like but your quarrelling out of anger is no good. 
Krishna, the Lord of Surdas, stood fast in anger with his 
small rod. 

(2) Krishna is looking beautiful with butter in his hand. He 
crawls on his hands and knees with dust on his body and 
his face painted with curd. 

(3) Yashoda prompts Krishna to walk. She supports him 
with her hands and Krishna staggers along. 

The second great theme of Sura's poetry is love. With 
him love is a sublimated theme representing the irresistible 
attraction of the gopis of Brindaban towards the youthful and 
lovely Krishna. The intensity of passion displayed by the gopis 
for the person of Krishna is an expression of the natural attrac- 
tion of the human spirit towards the divine soul. Here the 
poetic genius of Surdas bursts forth into a series of excellent 
padas of great poetic merit. Surdas, convinced of the superiority 
of devotion over reason, conveys his message in a series of 
perfectly charming verses. 

Surdas composed several thousands of lyrical songs or 
padas in the most beautiful language and style. The power of 
his music and the earnestness of his words wield a profound and 
far-reaching influence. His songs and hymns are usually short 
padas (or simple stanzas of four lines), the first line forming a 
subject which is repeated as the last and the burden of the song. 


The following is a contemporary opinion about his achieve- 

ments : 

snf ipffasrr, $r tfta 5^ ^k 1 1 

(Gang excels in sonnets and Birbai in the kavitta metre* 
Kesav's meaning is ever profound but Sura possesses the 
excellence of all the three.) 27 

Unlike Tuisi Das, who touched almost every aspect of 
human life, Sura, while confining himself to a few, has seen it 
through once for all. He has left nothing to be added to. In 
the field of Shringar and Vatsalya he still remains unsurpassed. 
Realism is the keynote of Sura's poetry, while Tulsi possesses. 
more idealism. He wrote in the Braj Bhasha dialect of western 
Hindi and his language is considered to be the purest specimen 
of that form of speech. Most later writers have adopted this 

Sura's monumental work, the Sura-Sagar (the Ocean), is a 
collection of 5000 padas exceeding in length the Iliad and the 

Odyssey combined and yet a high level of beauty is maintained 
throughout. It is a story of Lord Krishna from his birth to his 
departure for Mathura. Ten important chapters of the Bhagavad 
Gita are dealt with in great detail while the rest are finished in 
a few padas. The Bhramar Geei (Song of the Black Bee) is a 
unique literary composition unsurpassed for its metaphysical 
import and poetic charm and grace by any similar com- 
position in world literature. In all lie is .said to have composed 
not less than 75,000 verses. 

Hita Marl Vans 

Hita Hari Vans of M.ulhura or ili! Ji (16lh century) is 

among the few distinguished writers of the period. He had a 
complete command over Sanskrit ana S Hindi. Besides u work in 
Sanskrit entitled Radha Sudhanidhi, consisting of !7u xlokas, he 
left a collection of Hindi VTSCS entitled Him Chauraxi, contain- 
ing $4 padas. The author of The Religion.}: Literature of India 
ascribes another Hindi work, Sphutapada, to him.*"- 




Dadu Dayal (A.D. 1544-1603), ' founder of the sect 
Dadupanthis, composed verses in the western Hindi dialect 
mixed with Rajasthani. Persian and Punjabi words also occur 
quite frequently. His Bani (poetic utterances of religious nature) 
is in 5,000 verses arranged in 37 chapters, each deciding a major 
religious question. Here is a verse by him. 29 


cT 5fk I ! 


Keshava Das (c. 1565-1617 A.D.}, 30 a great Sanskrit 
scholar, is ranked among the greatest poets of his age. His 
huge total of verses composed in almost all the different 
types of Hindi poetry, aspadas, dohas, chaupals, etc. prove 
him to be master of Hindi kavita,. His verses, no doubt, 
lack the simplicity and forceful touches felt in Tutsi Das's and 
Surdas's verses mainly due to the frequent use of Sanskrit 
words. But judged from the poetic standards, Keshava out- 
shone his two great compatriots in strictly confining himself to 
the limitations imposed. 31 

His two celebrated granths are Kavi Priya and Rasilca 
Priya. The first is on Alankaras, while the second deals with 
the laws of writing poetry. Kavi or Kavi Priya has come to be 
a standard authority on the art of poetry. He discusses various 
topics such as Kavya-Bhedas, Alankara Bhedas, etc. and cites 
original verses of great literary merit in support of his con- 

Balbhadra Misra (fL 1583 A.D.), said to be the elder 
brother of Keshava Das ? ranks among the first few honoured 
ones who composed their verses in conformity with the rules 
of writing poetry and did not even for poetical effects go out of 
the prescribed limits. Balbhadra is the author. of many scholar- 
ly works including a commentary on the Bhagavata Purana. 
His famous work Nakha-Shikha describes in the minutest detail 
every part of the body of a hero and a heroine, citing verses to 
illustrate his viewpoint. Nayaka-Nayika Bheda, another work 
by him, describes various kinds of heroes and heroines, classified 
under various categories. Some other works, such as Balbhadri 


Vyakaran, Banuman-Nataka and Govardhana Sat Sai Tika are 
.also ascribed to film. Dushana Vichara is said to be another 
composition of Balbhadra. 32 . 

Mas Khan 

Ras Khan's (fl. 1583 A.D.) two works, Premvatika 
and Sujan Raskhan have been published. The purity . of 
his ideas and the simplicity of his language are greatly admired. 84 
He has been given a place in the discourses of 252 Vaishnavas** 

Beni Madhava Das (fl. 1600 A.D.) wrote Gosain Charitra, 
a biography of his roaster, Tulsi Das. 

Nabha Das 

Nabha Das Ji (fl. 1600 A.D.) was a disciple of Agra Das. 
His most celebrated composition Bhakta Mala, completed after 
1642, contains an account of about 200 Vaishnava devotees (both 
the worshippers of Rama and Krishna, though the former predo- 
minate) in 316 pages comprising 108 stanzas. The poem main- 
ly in chhappaya metre is written in old western Hindi. The 
original work, full of legends connected with the life of each 
personage and his teachings, is too compressed and its style too 
difficult to be understood by the average reader. Growse 
observes: "A single stanza is all that is ordinarily devoted to each 
personge who is panegyrised with reference to his most salient 
characteristics in a style that might be described as of unparal- 
leled obscurity." 36 The work, which is little more than a cata- 
logue, is a useful contribution to Indian religious history. 
Besides Rama Charita Sambandhi, a collection of his padas, he 
wrote two Ashta-Yamas, one in Braj-Bhasha prose and the other 
in dohas and chaupais on the lines of Ramacharit Manas. 

Ganga KavJ 

Ganga Kavi (A.D. 1533-1617) was a darbari kavi at the 
-court of Akbar, who held him in high esteem. His real name was 
'Ganga Prasad. His generous patron Abdur Rahim Khan-i- 
Khanan is reputed to have awarded him Rs. 36 lakhs for the 
following verses composed by him. 






TR 1 


When Khan-i-Khanan> son of Bairam, lightens the girth 

in anger, the black bee is taken aback and does no! fly to the 
lotus garden. The does' not take back the gem 
into its hood. The wind does not carry the clouds. The swan 
leaves the Manasarowara lake. The chakor and the 

chakorl do not meet each other. The most beautiful 
damsel does not want her partner and there is no 
sexual passion. There is commotion In Poet Gang's mind, 
and the sheen of the sun's chariot fades. 

The poet eulogises Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan indirec- 
tly that when Khan-i-Khanan saddles his horse in an angry 

mood, the black bee is thunder-struck and does not fly to the lotus 
park, the hood of snake does not take the jewel, clouds are not 
borne by air swiftly, the swan, leaves the Manasarowara, the 
partridge does not mate, the beautiful damsel (Padmini) does 
not desire the company of her partner for copulation, the 
Shesha serpent is alarmed, so is poet Ganga's mind and the 
glare of sunshine is diminished. 

He was well-known for his comic style and was at his best 
in the description of battles. Bhikhari Das Ji praises him in the 
following well-known words : 

- Both Tulsi and Ganga were leaders among poets) 

Complete works of Ganga have now been published under 
the title Ganga Kavltta by Nagari Pracharini Sabha, Kashi. 

Tulsi Das 

The greatest of all the poets of northern India was Tulsi Das 

(16th century), the renowned author of the immortal work Rama- 

char it Manas (The Lake of the Deeds of Rama), popularly known 


as the Ramayana. He was one of the chief glories of the reign j 

of Akbar. He has been truly claimed as "the greatest man of \ 

the age greater than Akbar himself as far as the conquest of the 
minds of the people was concerned." Grierson writes: "Looking j 

back along the vista of centuries we see his noble figure unap- j 

proached and solitary in its niche in the temple of Fame, shining I 

in its own pure radiance." [ 

He deserves the splendid fame which his work has brought j 

him. He is loved and honoured in every town and village of \ 

northern India. He made the countryside ring with the simple r 

name of Rama. Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas are not read by 
the majority of the people of India, who look upon Tulsi's simple 
Ramayana as the only standard of moral conduct. 37 

The poet began his huge epic poem at Ayodhya in the 
year 1 574 and completed it on the sacred banks of the Ganges 
at Banaras in 1584 A.D. It is in no sense a translation of 
Valmiki's Sanskrit Ramayana but is quite independent in its 
treatment. The latter work may be considered one of its 
main sources. The general plan and the management of the 
incidents necessarily remain the same but there is difference in 
the touch in every detail. The difference in the theological out- 
look, however, is great. Rama is no longer a human being of the 
original text but appears as an incarnation of the supreme God 
in Tulsi's Ramayana. Less wordy and diffused, it is free from 
repetitions and interpolations of the Sanskrit text. 

The poem was composed in the Avadhi dialect of the 
eastern Hindi, also called Bafswari, which has been adopted siace 
then by all later writers for writing epic poetry. Tulsi, however, 
uses many words from other dialects, especially Braj Bhasha. He 
frequently uses Sanskrit words aad has little hesitation in alter- 
ing a word or employing a corrupt one to suit his metre and 
rhyme. He has been able to produce a strange yet beautiful 
combination of simple Avadhi and classical Sanskrit. Occa- 
sionally Arabic and Persian words also occur. 

The full force of Hindi poetry first becomes visible in his 
verses, which acted like a magnet in attracting the minds of the 
people revealing to them the inherent sweetness and purity of 
the language. He showed himself a complete master of every 
type of Hindi poetry and the highest title ofPoorana Kavi has 
been given to him. 38 


Unlike other poets Tulsi draws his similes and metaphors 
direct from nature itself. His perfect kavittas, free from the 
limitations of poetic rules, containing the beautiful description 
of nature, are as fresh today as they were centuries ago. 
Simple in language, chaste in style, pure in sentiments and full 
of lofty ideas, his works, especially the most celebrated Rama- 
.char ft Manas, have been rightly regarded as the greatest contri- 
bution ever made to the Indian literature. His works not only 
spread far and wide the ideal of Lord Rama but also saved 
people, by the tremendous influence of their chastened style and 
the noble ideas underlying their theme, from falling into the 
depths of that obscenity towards which the realistic rendering 
of the spiritual love of Radha and Krishna was tending. 
There is not an impure image or word in all his works from 
beginning to end. 39 

Several works are attributed to Tulsi Das. Twelve of them, 
six big and six smaller ones, are well-known. Dohavali (contain- 
ing more than 700 dohas,) Kavitta Ramayana (in praise of 
Lord Rama), Gitavali and Vinaya Patrika* Q (poetical composi- 
tions of a devotional or moral character containing a great var- 
iety of kavittas and padas in honour of Rama and Sita), Rama 
.Ajna Prashnavah* 1 (written at the instance of Pt. Ganga Ram 
.Jyotishi), and the famous Ramacharit Manas are the big ones. 
The smaller granths are Ram Lala Nahachhu, Parvati, Mangal, 
Janaki Mangal, and Barvai Ramayana, composed at the instance 
of Khan-i-Khanan, Vairagya Sandipani, and Krishna Gitavali. 
Here are a few typical verses by Tulsi Das : 

WT ^t JRSIT ?ft 
cftff vTFrf| WfsPT, ^t 

p Tf w 5ft ^ipq- ?rte ^ 5^Rft cfrfi n 

Those who are the fish of the ocean of ignorance,, are satis- 
fied with their intellect, feel vexed because of scatter-brain 
and do not accept monition. 
One should wish welfare of the people only when there is 


hope for their welfare, Tulsidas says he who considers sky a 
pillow is a rogue. 

Either you love Rama or you are loved by Rama. Tulsidas 
says: "Do what you find easier of the two" 

Rahim Khan-i-Khanan 

Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan (A.D. 1535-1627), nom de 
plume Rahiman, the greatest Muslim poet of Hindi, was a 
scholar of Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian and Arabic. His command 
over Bhasha was not less than Tuisi Das's and he was good at 
both Braj and Avadfai, southern and eastern dialects. He is 
.claimed to be a "Poorana Kavi." 42 

His verses in fine, simple and charming words have a 
direct appeal to the heart. He puts his thoughts in easy flowing 
Jauguage, a language which is free from the terse Sanskrit, 
Persian and Arabic vocabulary. But his verses always carry a 
message and have a deep meaning. In small stanzas his verses 
are easy enough to be understood and remembered by casual rea- 
ders. Kahirn's dohas are full of life and activity. They are 
always true to nature. Even Bihari, one of the greatest poets, 
could not resist the temptation to borrow some of his ideas. 
His works are Rahim Dohavali or Sat Sal., Barvai Nayika 
Bhed, Shrlngar Sorath, Madnashtakas and Ras Panchadhyayi. 
.Some other works such as Nagar Shobha Phutkal Barvaf, 
Phutkal Kavitta Savaiya and Rahim Ratnavali were also written 
by him. 

Ptihakara and Suadar Das 

Puhakara Kavi ? who flourished in 1616 A.D. , composed 
Rasa Ratana in prison and was subsequently released. It is a 
love story of Rambhati and Sur Sen narrated in chhandas. It is 
worth mentioning that only a few writers like Jayasi have 
touched such topics. 43 Unlike other reformers, Sundar Das 
(fl. 1620 A.D.), a fine poet, lacked their spiritual experience as 
well as broad-mindedness. His chief work Sundaravilasa deals 
with the six philosophical systems of the Hindus and also their 
'different paths of knowledge. Hriday Ram's (fl. 1623 A.D.) 
Hanuman Natak in savaiyas and kavittas is regarded as a unique 
work of the period. 


Sundar of Gwaiior (fl. 1631 A.D.) was the most celebrated 
poet at Shahjahan's court. He was honoured with the title of 
Maha Kavi Raya or poet laureate. Sundar Shringar, his most 
admired work, is on the art of poetical composition in the Braj 
dialect. Sinhasan Battisi and Barahamasa are other well-known 
compositions by him. 44 

Banal-si Das 

Banarsi Das (A.D. 1586-1641) was a well-known poet and 
author of several works. In the beginning he used to compose 
verses in Shringar Rasa but later on adopted the Jnana and 
bhakti kavitas. Ardha Kathanaka is his autobiography. His 
other compositions are Banarsi Vilas (collection of phutkal 
verses), Natak Samayasar, Nam Mala, and Banarasi Padhati. 

Dhruva Das 

Dhruva Das's (fl. 1643 A.D.) dohas, chaupais, padas and 
savaiyas all depict pure love and devotion. He was a voluminous 
writer and no less than forty granths of his on various aspects 
of Ishvara bhakti are traceable. Vrindavana Sata, Shringar Sata, 
Ras Ratnavall, Sukh manjari, Rati manjari, Bani Bihar and 
Rang Bihar deserve mention. His celebrated Bhakta Namavali, 
containing an account of the saints up to his time, was com- 
posed by him on the lines of Nabhaji's famous Bhaktamala.^ 

Banwari mod Senapat! 

Banwari (fl. 1643 A.D.) composed Shringar Rasa eulogis- 
ing the bravery of Amar Singh, elder brother of Maharaja 
Jaswaut Singh/ 16 Sabal Singh Chouhan was the author of the 
Mahabharala in dohas and chaupais, Ritu Samhar ka Bhasha 
Anuwada, Rup Vitas, and a plngal granth* 7 Kanakmanjari was 
written by Kavi Kashi Ram under the patronage of Subedar 
Nizamat Khan. It is a story of Dhandhira Shah and Rani 

Senapati (A.D. 1589-1649) may rightly be styled as the 
"Indian Wordsworth" in his love for nature poetry. He sur- 
passed all oilier Hi: di poets in his wonderful description of the 
various Indian seasons, Deva Datta perhaps excepted. Kavltta 
Ramakara, said to be his last grarnh, is the most celebrated. 



Kavya Kalpadrum is also ascribed to him. 48 Th following 
verses are by him : 

T | 1 

5T ^TfcT ^rTPT ^F tl 

/ r&e delusion and misery of the world time passes in dis- 
tress. There is no trace of joy* On the contrary, there 
are all sorts of troubles. That is why Senapati is saying 
this distracted. 


Chintarnani or Mani Mai Tripathi of Kanpur (fi. 1650 

A.D.) is regarded as the greatest poet of his time and the 
creator of a new style of poetry. He is an acknowledged authority 
on the ari: of poetic composition. He wrote Chhanda Vichar at 
the instance of his patron Makarand Shah Bhonsala of Nagp'ur 
while at the Imperial court. He was held in high esteem by 
Shahjahan, who frequently rewarded him. Kavikul Kalpatam, 
Ramayana, Kavya Prakash and Kavya Vivek are his well-known 
works. 49 The following is a verse from one of his poems : 




fiar ^ffe 


On the pretext of closing his eyes, she sudddenly comes 
and touches his back with her breasts.. Sometimes she 
smiles and stretching her limbs flaunts her incomparable 
parts. When the husband beguiles her Into allowing him to 
touch her breasts, she laughingly frowns. Thereby enjoy- 
ment Is augmented. The wife in the bloom of her youth 
captivates the heart of her husband engagingly. 

Bihari, the Incomparable 

Supreme among those who gave a new turn to the old 
poetry by according th-^ first place io the cultivation of art ID 



preference to devotion, stands Bihari Lai Chaube of Jaipur. 
.Sat Sai (or seven hundred verses), his incomparable work, is one 
-of the daintiest pieces of art to be found in any language. It 
was composed at the instance of his patron Mirza Raja Jai 
Singh whose deep respect for the great poet is ascribed to an 
incident. It is said that the Raja used to remain confined to 
his palace out of sheer love for his wives and consequently he 
paid no heed to the business of the State. The following doha 
of Bihari did the miracle, and sanity returned to the Raja. He 
was so much pleased with the poet that he awarded him an 
ashrqfi for each one of his dohas. 



There is no pollen or sweet honey on the flowers. Nor 
are they in bloom. JBut the large black bee is bound to the 
bud. One wonders what would happen in future. 

Bihari Sat Sai is a collection of 700 dohas, all in the same 
metre. Each of these verses is an independent work of art and 
has no connection with what precedes or follows. No verse 
contains more than 46 syllables and yet it is a complete poem in 
itself. Working under such limitations, Bihari was able to 
produce 700 miniature pictures of great beauty and excellence 
by his sheer skill and felicity of expression. Grierson writes : 
"The elegance, poetic flavour and ingenuity of expression in this 
difficult task are considered to have been unapproached by any 
other poet." His skill in describing a natural phenomenon is 

He has been accused of "compression," but none can 
deny the fact that it is on his brevity, his ability to fit in a word 
when many would not have conveyed the sense, that the main 
interest and the fame of his work rest. To borrow the words 
of a critic : 



(Dohas of Sat Sai are like small arrows which appear to be 
small, but the whole body is perforated.) 



Mat! Ram 

Mat! Ram (fl. 1664 A.D.) enjoyed the patronage of 

Bundi Rawal Bhava Singh. He dedicated his work Chhanda 
Sara to Maharaja Shambu Nath Solanki. Ras Raj, Sahityasar 

and Lakshan Shringar are some other works by him. His Sat 
Sai, composed on the lines of Blhari Sat Sai,is a work of unique 
interest. Free from superfluous words even for poetic effect, 
written in simple yet dignified language, it strictly follows the 
rules of poetic composition. 51 


Bhushan (17th century), brother of Chintarnani, was 
honoured with the title of Kavi Bhushan by Rudra, Solanki Raja 
of Chitrakut. He remained for some time at the court of 
Shivaji, who held him in high esteem and rewarded him im- 
mensely. Shiva Bhavani and Chhatarsal Dashakas are his cele- 
brated compositions. Bhushan Ullas, Dushan Ullas and Bhushan < 
Hazard are also ascribed to him. 52 Bhushan holds a very 
eminent position among Hindu kavis especially for his encourage- 
ment to the ideas of Hindu glory for which Shivaji stood. He 
excelled in "tragic, heroic and terrible style." 53 


I n 


^1" srat ^^fcr | n 

Hearing the tumuli of the tymbals of King Sivarqja, the 
emperor of Delhi startles out of his sleep again and again. 
Seeing him, the ruler of Bijapur sobs,. The English ladles 
suffer from palpitation. Qutb, the ruler of Golkunda, trem- 
bles. Even the assembly of rulers quivers from fear. Many 
a ruler feels alarmed. 

Jaswant Singh '.-.; 

, . Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Marwar, (c. 1625-81) was a 
poet of renown. Bhasa Bhushan, his celebrated grant h on 
rhetoric, is composed after the style of Chandralok. It holds the 
same position among Hindi writings as Chandralok among 
Sanskrit works. It has the admirable feature of containing 
lakshan (signs) as well as udaharana (example) in the same doha. 
His other works are AprokshSidhanta, Anubhava Prakash Anand 
Vilas, Siddhanta Bodh, Siddhanta Sara and Probodh Chandrodaya 
Natak. They are all in padas, and they deal with knowledge 
and Vedanta philosophy. 54 

Lai Kavi 

Lai Kavi or Gore Lai Purohit (c. A.D. 1648-1731) 
was a court poet of Maharaja Chhatrasal Bundela in whose 
honour he composed Chhatra Prakash" a biographical account 
of Chhatrasal, his most celebrated grant h- in dohas and 
thaupais. He has given us a very graphic and truly historical' 
sketch of the characters of Aurangzeb and Dara. He also gives 
us an account of the services rendered by Champat Rai under 
Dara at Qandhar. 56 He traces the genealogy and describes the 
traditionaj exploits of the dynasty. Vishnu Vilas, another 
book by him, is in barvai chhandas. 51 ' ' 

Sukh Dev and Guru Goyind Singh 

Kavi Raj Sukh Dev Misr (c. A.D. 1663-1703) is regarded 
as one of the masters of composition. His works are Chhanda 
Vichar, Shringar Lata, Adhyatma Prakash, Dasarth Rava and 
Mas Anarva. ' 

Of all the guru poets, Guru Govind Singh (AD 1666- 
1708) was a true kavi. Suniti Prakash, Sarva Loha Prakash 
Prem Sumarga, Buddhi Sagar, Bichitra Natak and Chandi 
Charitra are his well-known works. The last work describes the 
story' of Goddess Durga in simple and fine verses. 58 

Alam (17th century) was another Hindi poet who flouri- 
shed under the patronage of Muazzam. His most cele- 
brated works mphutkal verses are on Prem and Shringar. His 
beloved Rangrezan also composed verses. Aiarn once wrote 


The beautiful lady is like a golden wand but why her waist 
is slender. 

Rangrezan replied : 


Carving the gold from her waist the Creator inserted it In 
her breasts. 

Deva Datta 

Deva Datfa (c. A.D. 16734745) was a great poet and one 
of the most voluminous writers of his times. Not less than 
thirty of his granths are even now available. He wrote in a 
very flowery and ornamented Braj Bhasha. Keay writes about 
him : "In his handling of rhymes, his drawing of comparisons, 
his knowledge of the sayings current amongst folk and his 
description of heroines who represent women typical of various 
parts of India, he is considered to have shown the greatest skill* 9 

Azam Shah, the eldest son of Aurangzeb, greatly admired 
his verses in Bhava Vilas. Some fifty-two granths are ascribed 
to him. 60 It was not an unusual thing for the poet to select 
verses from his old writings and compile them into new ones. 
Most of his verses are couched in fine and beautiful idiomatic 
words while some are in oft-repeated words and phrases. 
Bhavani Vilas, Kushal Vilas, and Prem Chandnka were composed 
after the names of Bhavani Dass Yaish, Kushal Singh and Raja 
Udyota Singh. Jati Vilas contains an account of the different 
countries he visited while Rasa Vilas was composed after the 
name of Raja Bhogi Lull. R *g Ratanakar is an account of 
poets and poetesses. Some of the other works are Ashta Yama, 
Sujan Vinody Prem Tarang, Ras Vilas, Sukh Sagar Tarang^ 
Brahamdarshan Pachlsi, Prem Dipika, Nlti Shataka, Nakha Shikha 
Prem Darshan, etc. 



1. The very few who have not followed the beaten track deal 
with Ishvara may a, bhakti, puja, etc. 

2. The sacred Sikh granth in old Punjabi, with old Hindi 
extracts included in it, contains verses of Vaishnava saints 
and chiefly of Kabir and several Sufis, as Shaikh Farid 
of Pakpattan. The Adi Granth was put together by 
Guru Arjan. Ency Brit., II, p. 573. 

3. BSOAS, Vol. I, 1, 1917-20, pp. 119-23. 

4. Outline of Religious Literature of India, p. 336. 

5. Hindi ShabdSagar (HSS), vol. I, p. 117; Hindi Sahitya ka 
Itihas (HSI) by Ram Chandra Shukla, p. 201 

6. HSS, 1, p. 117; HSI, p. 201. 

7. (a) A specimen of the Padmavat by Grierson, ASB, 1893 

pt. I, pp. 127-181. 

(b) Vernacular Literature of Hindustan (VLH) by Grierson* 
pp. 15-18. 

(c) India's Past by Macdonnell, Oxford, p. 223. 

(d) BSOAS, I, 1917-20, pp. 119-23. 

(e) History of Hindi Literature, F.E. Keay, p. 32. 

(f) HSS, I, pp. 84-87. 

(g) HSI, p. 104. 

(h) Translation of Padmavat by Sir George Grierson and 
Pandit Sudhakara Dvivedi ia ASB, N.S., I, No. 877, 
pp. 15-16. Husain Ghaznavi wrote a Persian poem 
entitled Qissa-e- Padmavat on the subject. 

8. HSS 9 1, pp. 84-87. 

9. HSI, p. 104. 

10. Keay, op. cit, p. 32. 

11. HSS, I, p. 117 

12. HSS, I, p. 108; HSI, p. 171. 

13. VLH, p. 21 . 

14. HSS, I, p. 108; HSI, p. 172; VLH, p. 25. 

15. HSS, I, p. 113; HSI, p. 188; VLH, p. 28. 

16. HSS, I, p. 118. 

17. VLH, p. 39. 

18. HSI, p. 202; VLH, p. 39; HSS, I, p. 118. 

19. HSI, p. 191; HSS, I, p. 114; VLH, p. 28. 


20. HSS, I, p. 109; HSL p. 175; VLH, p. 25. 

21. VLH,p.29. 

22. "All others are simply founders but Nand Das is the 
artificer." Ktff, pp. 25-26; ASO^S, 1, 1917-20, p. 109; 
HSS, I, p. 107; HSI., p. 169. : 

23. VLH,p.26. 

24. #SS, I, p. 121; .S7, p. 210; Keay, p. 36; KLff, p. 37. 

,25. ^fc, I (Bloch), p. 442; Jl/ttw/r, II, p. 161; #SS, I, p. 119; 
HSI, p. 206; Fiff, pp. 35-36. 

26. VLH, pp. 21-22. 

27. Grierson writes: "Other poets may have equalled him in 
some particular quality but he combines the best qualities 
ofall."FJU7, p.25. 

28. According to Grierson, he flourished in 1560 A.D. "KT, 
p. 28; HSI, p. 177; Religions Literature of India, p. 318; 
aSS, 7, pp. 109-1 10 for verses, etc. 

29.' DaduDayalki Ban!, p. 186, FL// S p. 67. 

30. According to Grierson, he flourished in 1580' A.D. VLH 9 
p. 58.- 

31. as/, pp. 215-16; HSS, I, pp. 121-23. 

32. According to Grierson, he flourished in 1580 A.D. Keay, 
p. 37; HSS, I, p. 121; HSI, p. 21 1 . 

33. HS/,p. 192: VLH, p. 31. 

34. FSS, I, pp. 114-115. 

35. "Muslim Poets and Hindi Literature," K. Mukerjee, Art. 
in New Asia, July 1940, No. 3, pp. 6-7. 

36. K,#, p. 27 

37. The account is based on the following sources: KLa, pp.'43- 

45; IISI, p.!25;//SS, I, pp. 97-99; Smith, Akbar the Great, 
p. 420: India's Past, Macdonncll, p. 226; Wilson, Reli- 
gious Sects of the Hindus, p. 63; Religious Literature of 
India, p. 329; BSOAS, London, Vol I, pp. 113-120 (1917- 
20); The Prologue to the Ramayana of Tulsi Das "by 
Growsc, ASB y 1876, p. 2; Fra/-cr, Indian Culture, p. 367. 
.38. "He was a master of all the varieties from the simplest 
flowing narration to the most complex verses.*' VLB, 
p. 47. 

39. VLH, pp. 45-46. 

40. A collection of 279 hymns to Lord Rama. 


41. Collection of omens connected with the life of Lord Rama. 

42. HSS, 1, pp. 124-26; HSI, pp. 221-23. 

43. HSI, p. 237, HSS, I, p. 128. 

44. HSI, p. 238; VLH, pp. 60-61; Keay, p. 39. Garcin de 
Tassy ascribes another work called Sundar Vidya to him. 

45. HSS 9 I, p. 116; HSI, p. 195. The names of forty granths 
are written. 

46. HSI, pp. 366-67. 

47. Ibid 9 p. 368. 

48. HSS, I, p. 127; HSI, p. 232; Keay, p. 40. 

49. Keay, p. 42; VLH, p. 71. 

50. FLF, pp. 75-76. 

51. HSS, I, p. 139; FLF, p. 62; Keay 9 p. 42; HSI, p. 263. 

52. HSS 9 I, pp. 139-40. 

53. VLH, p. 61. 

54. JEWS, I, p. i35; Keay, p. 44. 

55. Published by Nagari Pracharini Sabha, Varanasi. 

56. Qanungo, Dara Shikoh, p. 416-17. 

57. HSS; I, p. 175; VLH, p. 77. 

58. HSS, I, p. 142; VLH, p. 66. 

59. HSS, I, p. 174; TS7, 376. 

60. FLF, p. 60; HSS, I, p. 144; HSI, p. 281. According to 
Grierson, he wrote about seventy works. 


The following is a list of the Persian books studied in 
madrasas during the Mughal period : l 


Ruqqat-i-Abul Fazl ; Letters of Chandra Bhan Brahman ; 
Letters of Mulla Munir; Insha-i-Yusufi; Insha-I-Madho Ram; 
Handbook of Shaikh Inayat Ullah; Insha-i- Khalifa; Bahar-i- 
Sukhan by Shaikh Muhammad Salih; Kheyalat-i-Nadir; Dastur- 
us-Sibyan; Epistles of Shaida and Mulla Tughra; Story of Lall 
Chand; Lilavati translated by Shaikh Faizi. 


Firdausi's Shahnama. Poems of Amir KhusrauQiranu& 
Sadain, Matla-ul-Anwar and Ijaz-i-Khusravi. 

Mulla Jami's works Yusuf Zulaikha, Tuhfatu-i-Ahrar, 
Nuzhatu-I-Abrar. Nizami's works Sikandarnama, Makh- 
zanu-I-Asrar, Haft Paikar, Shirin Khusrau, Laila Majnuru 
Diwans of Hafiz, Khaqani, Anwari, Shams-i-Tabriz, Zahir-i- 
Faryabi, Sadi and Salih. Qasaid of Badr-i-Chach, Urfi. and Faizi. 


Tuti-nama of Nakshabi; Anwar-i-Suhaili of Husain Waiz 
Kashifi; lyar-i-Danish of Shaikh Abul Fazl; Bahar-i-Danish of 
Inayatullah; Seh Nasr of Zuhuri. 

1. These books are not given in the order in which they were 
taught. The course refers to the 17th century. The list has been compiled 
from the following sources: Khulasatu-i-Maktib (MS) ; Chahar Chaman\ 
Gul-i-Raana-, Mamie Culture, April 1945 ; Sher-ul-Ajam 111 (1922), pp. 149- 
50 ; Adbiat-i-Farsi Main Hinditon ka Hissa, pp. 239-42. 



Zafarnama-i-Kangra by Raja Husain; Akbarnama of Abul 
Fazl; Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri; Zafarnama of Sfaaraf-ud-din All 
Yazdi; Tarikh-i-Firuz Shafai; Razmnama (translation of Maha- 


Akhlaq-i-Nasiri; Akhlaq-i-Jalali,Akhlaq-i-Muhasini; Works 
of Sharaf-ud-din Maniri; Nuzhatu-1-Arwah; Masnavi of 
Maulana Rum; Hadiqah of Sanai. 

Select Bibliography 

A. Foreign Travellers 

1. Vartheina, Ludovico di, The itinerary from 1502 to 
1508, edited by N.M. Pienzi. 

2. Dom Joao de Leyma, 1518 : His letters to the king of 

Portugal, Cochin, etc. Translated into English by S.N. Sen 
under the title An Early Portuguese Account of Bengal 

3. Reis, Sidi All (Duration of stay in India 1553-56) : 
Travels and Adventures. 

4. Monserrate, S. J. (1580-83): The commentary, 

trans, from Latin by IS. Hoyland, annotated by S.N. Banerji, 
1922, Oxford University Press. 

5. Linschoten, Van John Huyghen (1583-88) : The 
Voyage to the East Indies. Vol. I translated into English 
by Arthur Coke Burnell, London; Vol. II by P. A. Tiele, 
London, 1885. 

6. Ralph Fitch (1583-91) : England's Pioneer to India, 
Burma etc., edited by J.H. Riley. Also in Early Travels in 
India (1583-1 6 1 9), edited by William Foster, Oxford, 1921. My 
references are usually to the latter. 

7. William Hawkins (1608-13): Hawkins" Voyages 
during the reigns af Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth and James I 
edited with an introduction by Clements R. Markhara, London. 
Printed for Hakluyt Society. Also in Early Travels in India by 

8. John Mildenhall (1606): The Travels into Indies 
<and in the countries of Persia and of the Great Mogor or 
Mogull, Purchas, II, pp. 229-304. 

9. Pyrard, Francois (1608-9): The Voyage 
to the East Indies,, the Maldives, etc., translated into English 


from French by Albert Gray assisted by H.C.P. Bell, Hakluyt 
Society, London. Two volumes. 

10. William Finch (1608-11) : "Observations of William 
Finch, merchant, taken out of his large Journal} in Purchas, 
IV, pp. 1-77. Also in Early Travels in India edited by Foster. 
I have referred to the latter. 

11. Lancaster, Sir James (1610-11) : A Journal kept in 
the Fourth Voyage in the Voyages of Sir James Lancester and 
a Journal kept in the Sixth Voyage, April 1610-January 1611, 
in the Voyages of Sir James Lancester in Purchas, IV, pp. 214- 

12. Middleton, Sir Henry (1610-11): Account of the 
Sixth Voyage set forth by the East India Company in three 
ships in Purchas, III, pp. 1 15-94. 

13. Salbancke, Master Joseph (1610): The Voyage 
.through India, Persia, Part of Turkey, the Persian Gulf and 
Arabia (1 609-1 6 1 0) in Purchas, III, pp. 89-92. 

14. Erediade Manuel Godino (1611): Description of 
.Hindustan and Guzarate, edited and translated by Rev. H. 
Hosten, published in J.R.A.S.B., Letters, Vol. IV, 1938. 

15. Coryat, T. (1615-16) : Coryat's Crudities (Glasgow 
1905), 2 Vols. Also in Early Travels in India and in Purchas, 
IV, pp. 469-87. 

16. Roe, Sir Thomas (161 5-1 9) : The Embassy to the 
Court of the Great Mogul (1615-19), edited by William Foster, 
London, 1899. A later edition is of 1936. The first edition 
.is meant unless mentioned otherwise. 

17. Richard Steel & John Crowther (1615) : A Journal 
of the Journey of Richard Steel and John Crowther in Purchas, 
IV, pp. 266-79. 

18. Pelsaert, Francisco (1620-27): The Remonstrantie, 
translated from Dutch by W.H. Moreland and P. Geyl, Cam- 
bridge, 1925. 

19. Terry (1622) : The Rev. Edward Terry's Voyage to 
.East Indies, written for the most part in 1622, London 1655. 
Also in Purchas, IX, pp. 1-54 and in Early Travels, 

20. Delia Valle, Pietro (1623-24) : The Travels of a 
Noble Roman into East Indies and Arabian Deserta, London, 


1664. Also The Travels ofPietro Delia Valle in India in two 
volumes by Edward Grey, London, Hakluyt Society. The 
former edition is mostly used. 

21. Peter Mundy (1628-34) : Travels in Europe and 
Asia. Vol. II, Travels in Asia (1628-34). Second series, 1914. 

22. Manrique, Fray Sebastian (1628-43) : Travels, ed. 
Luard and Hosten (Hakluyt, 1927), 2 Vols. Vol. II relates to 
India and is meant if not mentioned. 

23. Jos de Castro, SJ. (1632): His letters written in the 
year 1632, edited by Rev. H. Hosten in J.R.A.S.B., 1938, 
Vol. IV, Article No. 21. 

24. Herbert, Sir Thomas (1634) : Description of the 
Persian monarchy now being the Oriental Indies and Afrik, 

25. Mandelslo, Albert (1638-39) : The Voyages and 
Travels of the Ambassadors sent by Fredrick Duke of Holstein 
to the Great Duke of Mitscow, etc. 9 containing a particular 
description of Hindustan, the Moguls, the Oriental Island and 
China (in Book III) by Adam Olearius, Second Edition, London 

26. Tavernier, J.B., The Six Voyages through Turkey 
into Persia and the East Indies, London, 1678. Part I is meant 
unless mentioned otherwise. 

27. Manucci, Niccolao Venetian (1653-1708); Storia 
do Mogor or Mughal India (1653-1708). Traslated into Eng- 
lish by William Irvine, Vol. I-IV, (1907-08). 

28. Bernier, Francois (1658) : Travels in the Mogul 
Empire (1656-68). Translated and annotated by Archibald 
Constable (1891). Revised by VA. Smith, Oxford (1934). The 
later edition has been used. 

29. Nieuhoff, John (1665) : Voyages and Travels into 
Brazil and the East Indies. Printed for Henry Lintot and John 

30. Thevenot, Monsieur de (1667) : Travels into the 
Levant, in three parts. Trans, into English, 1686. Part III relates 
to India. 

31. Marshall, John (1668-72) : John Marshall in India 


notes and observations in Bengal (1668-72), edited by Sir 
Shafaat Ahmad Khan. Oxford 1927. 

32. Bowrey, Thomas (1669): AGeograhical Account 
of the Countries round the Bay of Bengal (1669-79), ed. by 
Sir Richard Carnac Temple (Hakluyt Society), 1905. 

33. Fryer, John (1672-81): A New Account of East 
. Indies and Persia being nine years Travels, edited with an intro- 
duction, notes and an index by William Crooke, published in 3 
volumes by Hakluyt Society, London, 1909. 

34. Fryer, John and Sir Thomas Roe (1672-81) : Travels 
in India in the 17th Century, London, Trubner and Co., 1873. 

35. Hedges, William (1681-87) : The Diary of William 
Hedges during His Agency in Bengal with notes by R. 
Barlow, ed. by Col. Henry Yule, 2 Vols., London. 

36. Hamilton, Alexander (1688- 1723): A New Account 
vfthe East Indies (168S-1723), 2 Vols., London, 1724. 

37. Ovingtoxi, J. (1689) : A Voyage to Surat in the year 
1689, London, 1696. 

38. Careri (1695) : Indian Travels of Thevenot and 
Careri (1695), ed. by S.N. Sen, published by National Archives 
of India, 1949. 

39. Foster, William, Early Travels in India, Oxford, 1921. 

Later Travellers 

40. Grose, F.S. (1754-58): A Voyage to the East 
Indies with general reflection on the Trade of India, London, 2 

41. Stavorinus, John Splinter (1768-71) : Voyages to 
the East Indies. Translated into English by Samuel Hull 
Willcocke in 3 Vols., London. 

42. Bartolomeo, Fra Paolino da 'San (1776-89): A 
Voyage to the East Indies containing an account of the manners, 
customs etc. of the natives; notes and illustrations by John Rein- 
hold Foster. Trans, from German by William Johnston. 

B. Persian 

1 . Baharnama or Babar-Nama or Tuzuk-i-Babari by Babar, 
written in Turki and translated into English in three volumes by 


A.S. Beverfdge, Liizacand Co, London, 1921. Very useful for 

description of India, its people, etc. 

2. Tarikh-i-Rashidi by Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dugh- 
lat, translated into English by E. .Denisoa Ross, London,. 

' 3. Humaymnama or Huniayun-Nama by Gulbadan Be- 
gam, translated into English by A.S. Beveridge, London, 1902. 
Useful for harem affairs and culture. 

4. Humayun - Nama or Qanun-i-Humayuni by 

Khwandamir, translated into English by Beni Prasad ? 1940.. 

5. Tazkirat-ul-Waqyat (or Waqiat) by Jauliar. Translated 
into English by Charles Stewart, London. 

' ' 6. Akbarr.ama or Akbar-Nama (Persian text Bibliotheca 
Indica) by Abul Fazl. Translated into English by K. Beveridge 
ih three -volumes, 1904, 1912, 1939. Useful. 

7. Ain-i-Akbari (Persian text Bib. Ind.jby AbuIFazl.Trans- 
lated into English (Vol. 1) by H*. Blochmann (1873). Revised by 
D.C. Phillott (1939). (My references are to the laier edition* 
unless ' mentioned otherwise); Vol II by M.S. Jarrett (1890), 
revised by Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1949) ; Vol. Ill by M.S. Jarrett 
(1894), revised by Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1948). My referen- 
ces are to Jarrett unless mentioned otherwise. Extremely valu- 

8. Takmil-i-Akbarnama by Inayat Ullah. Extracts given 
in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. VI, pp. 1 13-116. 

9. Tabaqat-i'Akbari (Persian text N.K. Press, Lucknow) 
by Nizam-ud-Din Ahmad. Translated into English in three 
volumes by B.'De, I.C.S. Useful. 

10. Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh (Persian text Bib. Ind.) by 

Mulla Abdul Qadir Badaoni. Translated into English, Vol. I, 
G.S. Ranking (1898) ; Vol. II, W.H. Lowe (1S9S); Vol. Ill' 
T.W. Haig (1925). Very useful 

11. Gukhan-i-lbrahimi or Tarikh-i-Ferishta (Persian text 
N.K. Press, Lucknow; by MulKinimad Qasim Hindu Beg 
Ferishla. Translated into English by L Brings under the title 
History of the Rise of the Mahomeditn Power in India till the year 
A.D. 16 12^ Vols. I-1V, London, 


12. Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri (Persian text N.K. Press, Lucknow) 

by Jahangir. Translated into English by A. Rogers and HL 
Beveridge in two volumes. Very useful. 

13-. Iqbalnama-i'Jahangiri (Persian manuscript). Transla- 
ted into Urdu by Maulavi Abalswala Muhammad Zakriya, 
Osmania, Hyderabad-Deccan, 1928. Useful. 

14. Maasir-i-Jahangiri by Kamgar Ghairat Khan (Persian 
manuscript). Extracts in Elliot and Dowson, VI, pp. 439-49. 

15. Tatimma-i-Wakiat-i-Jahangiri by Muhammad Hadi. 
Also see extracts in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. IV. 

16. Maasir-i-Rahimi (Persian text Bib. Ind.) by Mulla 
Abdul Baqi in three volumes. Very useful. : 

17. Padshahnama (Persian text, 1931, Bib. Ind.) by Abdul 
Hamid Lahori. Translated into English by Elliot and Dowson, 
VoL VIII, pp. 3-72. Very useful. 

18. Badshahnama by Mirza Aminai Qazvini (Persian 
manuscript). Public Library, Lahore. Useful. 

19. Chahar Chaman by Chandra Bhan Brahaman. 

20. Amal-i-Salih (Persian text Bib. Ind.) by Muhammad 
Salih Kambhu in two volumes. Extracts in Elliot and Dowson, 
VoL VII, pp. 124-32. 

21. Ruqat-i-Alamgiri. Translated into English by J.H. 
Billimoria, London, 1908. Useful. 

,22. Ahkam-i-Alamgiri by Muhammad Sadiq of Ambala 
(Persian manuscript). Useful. 

23. Ahkam-i-Alamgiri by Hamid-ud-Din Khan. Transla- 
ted into English by Sir Jadunath Sarkar under the title Anecdotes 
of Aurangzib. Useful. 

24. Alamgirnama by Muhammad Kazim, Persian text 
(Bibliotheca Indica). 

25. Maasir-i-Alamgiri by Muhammad Mustaid Khan 
Saqi (Persian text Bib. Ind.). Translated into Urdu by Muham- 
mad Fida Ali Talab, Osmania (Hyderabad) Publications. 

26. Tarikh-i-Dilkusha or Nuskha-i-Dilkusha by Bhim 
Sen (Persian manuscript). 

27. Fatuhat-i-Alamgiri by Ishwar Das Nagar (Persian . 
manuscript), Punjab University Library, Lahore. 

28. Muntkliab-ul-Lubab by Khali Khun (Persian text Bib.;. 
Ind.) ? three volumes. , _ f . .,..'...<. . .:-, 


29. Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh by Sujan Rai Khattri (Persian 
manuscript). Khuda Baksh O.P. Library, Patna. 

30. Maasir-ul-Umra by Shah Nawaz Khan (Persian text 
Bib. Ind.) ? three volumes. 

31. Muat~i-Ahmadi by Ali Muhammad Khan. It is a 
political and statistical history of Gujarat. Translated from 
Persian by James Bird. 

C. Other Contemporary Works 

1. Mukundram, author of the poem Chandi composed 
in the sixteenth century. Translated into English by J.N. Dass 
Gupta under the title Bengal in the 16th Century., Calcutta, 

2. Muhammad Jayasi, author of Padmavat, translated 
into English, Cantos, 1 286, by George Grierson and Sudhakara 
Dvivedi, 191 1, and in Hindi by Ram Chandra Shukla. 

3. De Laet, The Empire of the Great Mogol Translated 
into English by J.S. Hoyland and annotated by S.N. Banerji, 
DJEL Taraporewala Sons and Co., Bombay, 1928. 

4. Lockter, Charles An Account of the Trade in India, 
London, 1711. 

5. Orme, Robert, Historical Fragments of the Mogul 
Empire, London, 1753. 

6. Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own 
Historians. Eight volumes. London, 1869-77. 

7. Samuel Purchas, Hakluyt Posthumus or Purchas fc 
HisPilgrimes, Glasgow (1905-07), 20 volumes. 

8. Locke, J.C., First Englishmen in India. Published by 
George Routledge and Sons, London, 1931. 

9. Major, R.H., India in the 15th Century^ London 
(Hakluyt Society). 

10. Reneli, James, Memoirs of a Map of Hindustan or 
the Mughal Empire., London, 1781. 

11. Sur Sagar, published by Nagari Pracharini Sabha. 

12. RamayanaofTiUlsiD&s, translated into English by 
F.S. Growse, Allahabad, 1888. 

13. Ramayana of Tulsi Das, translated into English by 
AXJ. Atkins, Hindustan Times, New Delhi. 

14. Phillips, An Account of the Religion, Manners mid 


Learning of the People of Malabar in the East Indies in Several 

Letters, London. 

15. Sathianthailer, Tamilham in the 17th Century. 

16. K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, Foreign Notices of South India, 

University of Madras, 1939. 

17. Chakrabarty, Taponath, A Few Literary Glimpses of 
Social and Religious Life in Medieval Bengal, published by 
Nritya Gopal Vidyaratna and Ganda Lekhmala, Indian Culture, 
Vol. X, No. 3 (Jan-March 1944) 

18. European Travellers in India during the 15th, 16th and 
17th Centuries, Kegan Paul, French Trubner and Company, 
London, 1909. 

D. Modem Works 

1. C.M. Viiliers Stuart, Gardens of the Great Mughals, 
A & C Black, 1913. 

2. Alberuni His India An Account of the Religion, 
Philosophy, etc. of India A.D. 1030. Edited and translated into 
English by Sachau, London, 1888, Vols. I and II. 

3. Altekar, 'A.S., The Position of Women in Hindu 
Civilization, Banaras, 1938. 

4. Altekar, A.S., A History of Banaras from Pre-Historic 
Times to Present Day, Banaras,, 1937. 

5. Altekar, A.S., Education in Ancient India, Banaras, 

6. Andrea, Butenschon, The Life of a Moghul Princess 
Jahanara Begum, ed. by Laurence Binyon, London, 1931. 

7. Ashraf, M., Life and Conditions of the People of 
Hindustan, Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, 1933. 

8. Ahmad, Aziz, Studies in Islamic Culture in Indian En- 
vironmcnty London, 1964. 

9. Banerji, S.K., Humayun Badshah, 2 Vols., Vol. I Ox- 
ford, 1938, Vol. II Lucknow, 1941. 

10. Banke Bihari, The Story of Mir a Bat\ Gita Press, 
Gorakhpur, 1935. 

11. Beni Prasad, History of Jahangir, London, 1930. 

12. Bjrdwood, George C.M., The Industrial Arts of India. 
Published by Chapman & Hall, Piccadilly, 1880. 


13. Biochet, IV, Bibliotheque Nationale Catalogue des 
^Manuscripts Persans Par E Blochet Tome Qttartrieme, Paris y 

1934. | 

14. Browne, E.G., A Catalogue of Persian Manu- \ 
scripts in the India Office, Oxford, 1903-1937. \ 

15. Browne, E.G., A Literary History of Persia, London, I 
1909. Volumes I-IV. . * I 1 

1 6. Carr, Stephen, The Archaeology and Monumental \ 
Remains of Delhi , 1876. 1 

17. Chopra, P.N., Some Aspects of Society and Culture I 
during the Mughal Age, Agra, 1963. \ 

18. Chopra, P.N., Impact of Islam on India, Journal of l 
World History, UNESCO, Paris. : 

19. Chopra, P.N., Experiments in Social Reform in ; 
Medieval India, Cultural Heritage of India, Vol. II, Rama- \ 
krishna Cultural Institute, Calcutta, 19 62. 

20. Chopra, P.N., A Social, Cultural and Economic His- \ 
tory of India, 3 Vols., Delhi, 1974. j 

21. Chopra, P.N., History and Culture, Vol. II, Gazetteer \ 
of India, New Delhi, (Ed.) 1973. 

22. Coomaraswamy, Ananada K., Indian Drawings. 

23. Coomaraswamy, Ananada K., The Arts and Crafts of I 
India and Ceylon, T.W. Foubis, London and Edinburgh, 1913. 1 

24. Crooke, W., The Popular Religion and Folklore of 
Northern India, Westminster, 1826, Vols. I and II. 

25. Cunningham, Alexander, Book of Indian Eras, Cal- 
cutta, 1883. 

26. Dasgupta, T.C., Aspects of Bengali Society from 
Old Bengali Literature, Calcutta, 1 935. 

27. Dubois, Abbe J.A., Hindu Manners, Customs and 
Ceremonies, translated from French by Henry K. Bcauchamp, 
Vol. I, Oxford, 1897. 

28. Erdmann, Von Kurt, The Art of Carpet-Making and 
a Survey of Persian Art. 

29. Ethe, Hermann, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts 
in the Library of India Office, ed. by Edward Edwards, Oxford, 
1903, 1937. 


30. Exhibition of Indian Art Catalogue Department 
of Archaeology, Ministry of Education, New Delhi, 1948. 

31. Faruld, Zahir-ud-din, Aurangzeb and His Times, 
Bombay, 1935. 

32. Fergusson, James, History of Indian and Eastern 
Architecture. Revised and edited with additions Indian Archi- 
tecture by James Burgess and Eastern Architecture by Rhene 
Spires, London, 1910, 2 Vols. 

33. Fletcher, Barrister and Barrister F. Fletcher, A 
History of Architecture on the Comparative Methods, London, 
4th Edition. 

34. Foster, William, Letters Received by East India 
Company from its Servants in the East, London, 1902. Six Vols. 

35. Foster, William, The English Factories in India 
{16244660), Oxford, 1910, Eight Volumes. 

36. Frazer, R.W., Literary History of India. 

37. Frederick Augustus, Count of ISioer, The Kaiser 
Akbar, translated from German by A.S. Beveridge, Vols. I 
and II, Calcutta, 1890. 

f 38. Garratt, G.T., The Legacy of India, Oxford 1937. 

\ 39. Ghani, M.A., .A History of Persian Language and 

\ Literature at the Mughal Court, Allahabad, 1929-30. 

! 40. Ghode, P.K., Studies in Indian Literary History, Vol. 

; I and Vol. II, Bombay, 1954. 

; 41. Ghurye, G.S., Indian Costumes, Bombay. 

42. Goswami, A. (Ed.), Glimpses of Mughal Architecture. 
Introduction with historical analysis by J.N. Sarkar. Text by 

1 S.K. Saraswati. 

43. Grierson, George A., The Modern Vernacular Liter a- 
i ture of Hindustan, Calcutta, A.S.B., 1889. 

| 44. Grierson, George A., and Sudhakara Dvivedi, Pad- 

mavat's translation, Cantos 1-286, Calcutta, 1911. 

I 45. Hadi Hasan, Mughal Poetry: Its Cultural and Histo- 

I rical Value, Madras, 1952. 

| 46. Haig, Sir Wolseley, The History of Nizam Shahi Kings 

i 1 of Ahmednagar, Bombay, 1923. 

47. Havell, E.B., Indian Architecture, London, 1913. 

48. Havell, E.B., A Handbook of Indian Arts, London, 
I 1920. 


49. Hawley, A. Walter, Oriental Rugs, Tudor Publishing, 
Company, New York, 1937. 

50. Hendley, T., Handbook of the Jeypore Courts, Cal- 
cutta, 1886. 

51. Hodivala, S.H., Studies in Indo-Musltm History, 
Bombay, 1939, Supplement, 1957. 

52. Hughes, Thomas Patrick, A Dictionary of Islam, 
London, 1885. 

53. Husain, Yusuf, Glimpses of Medieval Indian Culture, 
London, 1959. 

54. Ikram, S.M. and Embree, A.T., Muslim Civilization 
in India, New York, 1964. 

55. Ivanov, W. s Concise Descriptive Catalogue of the 
Persian Manuscripts in the Collection of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, First Supplement, Calcutta, 1927. 

56. James, Bwing, English translation, Dabistan-ul- 
Mazahib, 1843. 

57. Jafar Sharif, Qanun-iJslam or Islam in India, com- 
posed under the supervision of G.H. Herkiots, revised by 
William Crooke, Oxford, 1921. Also Qanun-i-Islam by Jaffur 
Shurreef, London, 1832, translation by G.H. Herkiots. 

58. Keay, F.E., Kabir and Kabir Panthis, London, 1922. 

59. Kennedy, Melville T., The Chaitanya Movement, 
Oxford, 1925. 

60. Lalit Kala Akademi, Miniature Paintings of Sri Moti 
Chand Khajanchi Collection. 

61. Latif, Syed Muhammad, Agra, Historical and Des- 
criptive, Calcutta. 1896. 

62. Law, N.N., Promo I ion of Learning in India during 
Muhammadan Rule, London, 1916. 

63. Levy, R., An Introduction to Person Literature, New 
York, 1969. 

64. Lewis, G.G., The Practical Boole of Oriental Rugs, 
Philadelphia and London, J.B. Lippincott Company. 

65. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion, Oxford, 
1909, Six Volumes. 

66. Macdonneli, A.A., India's Past, Oxford, 1927. 

67. Maclagan, Sir Edward 9 The Jesuits and the Great 
Moghuls, London, 1932. 

68. Macnicol Nicol ? Psalms of Maratha Saints. 


69. Mahalingham, T.V., Administration and Social Life 
under Vijayanagar, University of Madras, 1940. 

70. Mafaalingham, T.V., Economic Life in Vijayanagar, 

71. Majumdar, B.P., Socio-Economic History of Northern 
India, Calcutta, I960. 

72. Majumdar, G.P., Some Aspects of Indian Civilization, 
Calcutta, 1938. 

73. Majumdar ? R.C., The History and Culture of the 
Indian People, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Volumes I-XI except 
Vol. VIII. 

74. Majumdar, R.C., History ofHengal, Vol. I and Vol. 
II by Jadunath Sarkar. 

75. Martin, F.R., Miniature Paintings and Painters of 
Persia, India and Turkey, London, 1912, two volumes. 

76. Martin, A History of Oriental Carpets before 1880, 
Vienna, 1908. 

77. Meer AH Hasan (Mrs.), Observations on the Mussal-- 
mauns of India, London, 1832, two volumes. 

78. Mehta, Nanalal Chamanlal, Studies in Indian Paint- 
ings, Bombay, 1926. 

79. Moreland, W.H., India at the Death of Akbar An 
Economic Study, London, 1920. 

80. Moreland, W.H., From Akbar to Aurangzeb, London, 

81. Mujeeb, M., Indian Muslims, London, 1967. 

82. Mukherji, T.N., Art Manufacturers of India, Calcutta,, 

83. Nizanai, K. A., Studies in Medieval Indian History and 
Culture, Allahabad, 1956. ' ' ; 

84. Orr, W.G., A Sixteenth Century Indian Mystic Dadu 
and his Followers. 

85. Pande, Raj Bali, Hindu SamskarasA Socio-Religiouq 
Study of the Hindu Sacraments, Vikrama Publications, Bha- 
daini, Banaras, 1949. 

86. Pant, D., Commercial Policy of the Moguls, Bom- 
bay, 1930. 

87. Percy Brown, The Indian Architecture (The Islamic- 
Period), Taraporevala, Bombay. 


88. Philips, C.H. (Ed.), Historians of India, Pakistan 
and Ceylon. 

89. Qanungo, K.R., Dara Shikoh, Calcutta, 1936. 

90. Qanungo, K.R., Sher Shah, Calcutta, 1921. 

91. Rehman, M.L., Persian Literature in India during 
the Time of Jahangir and Shahjahan, Baroda, 1970. 

92. Rahim, M.A., Social and Cultural History of Bengal, 
Vol. I (1201-1576), Karachi, 1963. 

93. Rashid, A., Society and Culture in Medieval India, 
Calcutta, 1969. 

94. Rieu, C., Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the 
British Museum, 3 Volumes, London 1879-93, Supplement, 1895. 

95. Saksena, B.P., History of Shahjahan of Delhi, Allah- 
abad, 1938. 

96. Saletore, B.A., Social and Political Life in the Vijaya<~ 
nagar Empire (A.D. 1446-1646), Madras, 1934. 

97. Sarkar, J.N., History of Aurangzib, 5 Vols., Calcutta 

98. Sarkar, J.N., Chaitanya's Life and Teachings, S.C. 
Sarkar & Sons, Calcutta. 

99. Sarkar, J.N., Studies in Mughal India, Calcutta, 1919. 

100. Sarkar, J.N., Anecdotes of Aurangzib and other 
Historical Essays, 2nd Edition, 1925. 

1 01 . Sarkar, J.N. , India of Aurangzib. 

102. Sarkar, J.N., History of Bengal, Vol. II, University 
of Dacca. 

103. Shanti Swamp, The Arts and Crafts of India and 
Pakistan, Taraporevala, Bombay, 1957. 

104. Sharma, Sri Ram, A Bibliography of Mughal India, 

105. Smith, E.D., Architecture of Fatehpur Sikri, Allaha- 
bad, 1894-98. 

106. Smith, V.A., Akbar, the Great Mogul (1542-1605), 

107 Sprenger, A., A Catalogue of the Arabic, Persian 
and Hindustani Manuscripts in the Library of the King ofOudh, 
Vol. I, Calcutta, 1894. 

108. Srivastava, A.L., Akbar the Great, Vols. I-II, Agra, 


109. Storey, C.A., Persian Literature A Biographical 
Survey, London, 1927-39, 4 volumes. 

110. Sufi, G.M.D., Al Minhaj, Lahore, 1941. 

111. Tod, Col. James, The Annals and Antiquities of 
Rajasthan, edited by W. Crooke,| 3 volumes (1920). This 
edition in used unless mentioned otherwise. 

112. Winternitz, M., History of Indian Literature, trans. 
Mrs. S. Ketkar, 2 volumes, Calcutta, 1927-33. 

E. Vernacular Sources 
(si) Hindi 

1. Dvivedi, Sudhakara and George Grierson, Padrnavat 
(Hindi) with English translation, Cantos 1-286. 

2. Mahesh Prasad, Islami Teohar and Utsav,, Banaras. 

3. Shyam Sunder Dass, Hindi Shabd Sagar, Volume I. 
Published by Kashi Nagiri Pracharini Sabha, 1916. 

4 Shukla, Ram Chandra, Malik Muhammad Jayasfs 

5. Shukla, Ram Chandra, HindiSahitya Ka Itihas, Indian 
Press Ltd., Prayag, 1986 Samvat. 

(b) Urdu 

6. Azad, Maulavi Muhammad Husain, Darbar-i-Akbari, 

7. Azad, Maulavi Muhammad Husain, Sukhundan-i- 
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8. Abdullah Butt, Hindi Ke Musalman Shoara. 

9. Ikram, Armaghan-i-Pak, Karachi, 1959. 

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14. Nuamani, Maulana Shibli, Sher-ul-Ajam 9 Lucknow, 
1910 and 1922. 

15. Nuamarn, Maulana Shibli, Mazamin-i-Alamgir 9 
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16. Nuamani, Maulana ShibM, Aurangzeb AJamgm 

17. Rahman, M. Abdul, Alamgfr, 1st Edition, Lahore. 

18. Sandavali, NabI Ahmad, $aqiat-i-Alamgir. 

19. Sayyid Ahmad, Sir, Asar-us-Sanadid, Kanpur, 1904. 

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(F) [Miscellaneous 

1. Bulletin of the Deccan College of Post-Graduate and 
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2. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 


3. Calcutta Monthly for 1791. 

4. Epigraphia Indo-Mosleraica, Delhi. 

5. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 1938- 


6. Indian Antiquity. 

7. Indian Culture. 

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9. Islamic Culture. 

10. Journal of Indian History. 

11. Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society. 

12. Journal of Bombay Branch Royal Asiatic Society. 

13. Journal of the Bombay Historical Society. 

14. Journal of the Punjab University Historical Society. 

1 5. Journal and Proceedings of Asiatic Society of Bengal. 
.16. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain 

and Ireland. 

17. Journal of United Provinces Historical Society. 

18. Oriental College Magazine, Lahore (Urdu). 

19. Maarif, Dir-ul-Musannifin, Azamgarh, (Urdu). 

20. Medieval India Quarterly, Aligarh. 

21. Calcutta Review. 

22. Islamic Review. 

23. Journal of the Foyal Anthropological Institute of 
Great Britain and Ireland (Vol. 37). 


Abdul Hamid Lahori, 147 

Abdul Karim, MuHa, 143 

Abdul Latif of Bukhara, 304 

Abdul Rahim of Lucknow, 24! 

Abdul Shaikh of Eadacn, 135 

Abdur Razzaq, 268, 273 

Abul Fazl, 4, 6> 12, 14, 17, 33, 35, 38, 
5n, 62, 68, 39, 92, 14i, 144, 247- 
48, 150, 169, 171, 17478,180, 
185-86", 188-89,223, 239-40, 266, 
296, 298 

Achyuta R'aya, 271 

Adultry, 112, 123 

Agra, 11. 32-33, 62-63, 67, 85, 93, 
111, 139 f 173, 241, 257, 263, 294- 
95, 298-99 

Agra Fort, 59, 67 

Ahmedabad, 13, 36,- 43, 94, 138, 243, 
265, 303-4, 328 

Ahmednagar, 12^-22 

Ajmer, 66,' 71, 97, 172, 266, 293, 295, 

AkaBai, 123 

Akbar, 2, 9, II, 3?.- -3, 37, 39-42, 56- 
59, 61 f.4, 66-67, 69-71, 84, 87, 89- 
93, 108, lfI-12, 114, 116, 119, 
121-23, 147, S 72-79, S82, S84, 190, 
222,. 224, 22S-29, 240-4?., 245, 257, 
291, 293-95, 2%', 303-4, 325-26, 
3 8 i, 383, 388-89 

Akbari Mahal, 257 

Akhara, 68 

AH Mardaa Khan, 94, 121, 223 

All Sher, Mulla, 143 

Allahabad, 71, 25;, 294, 298-99 

Ambassador, mode of reception of, 

Procession of, 302 
Amber (Jaipur), 42, 116, 175 S 258, 


Annaprasana, 170 
Antarjali (pre-obituary), 186 
Antyesti (Obituary), 185 
Aqiqah, 172, 174 
Archery, 63 9 88 
Arthasastra, 9 
Asaf Khan, 33, 36,86 
Asaocha (uncleanliness period), 185^ 


Ashta Chhap, 382 
Ashtadhyayi, 145 
Ask an", Mirza, 174 
Asthi Sanchayana, 185 
Aurangzeb, 3, 17, 36, 39-40, 57-58, 

68-69, 84, 87-88, 93, 95, 114, 116, 

119, 121-22, 174-75, 179, 224, 229 9 

241-43, 303, 343, 382 
Azam Shah, 189 
Aziz Koka, 112,244 


Babar, 4, 6, 9, 38 5 40, 56, 61, 68-69, 
71, 151, 172, 189, 224,228,302, 
3 1 9-20 

Badakashan, 34, 122, 228, 295 

Badakhshi, Muiia Shah, 140, 143 

Baghdad, 143 

Bahadur Khan, 151 

Bait-ul-mal (Charitable Deptt.) 9 243 

Balkh, 34, 223 

Ballabhacharya, 184 

Balsar, 9 

Banaras (Varanasi), 2,9, 71, 134-36, 
145, 154, 266 

Barkhurdar, Khoja, 179 


Basra, 143 
Bassein, 266 
Bastar, 294 
Bayana, 141 
Baz Bahadur, 122 
Bedding, of poor, 270 
of rich, 270-71 
indra kambal, 271 
quilts of Cambay, 271 
Begam Sahiba, 308 
Bengal, 2, 4, 17, 32, 40, 62, 68, 94, 

109,113, 131, 136, 149, 169-70, 
173, 182-83, 271, 294, 298, 303-04 
Betting, 58, 66 

Bhagwan Das, Raja, 42, 184, 222 
Bharaij, 33 
Bharoach, 304 

Bhattacharya, Gadadhar, 137 
Bhattoji Dikshit, 176-77 
Bihar, 17, 43, 149, 294 
Bijagarh, 294 
Bijbehara, 257 
Bikaner, 66, 258, 264, 294 
Birbal, 70, 263, 390 
Bir Singh Deo, 259 
Birthday Anniversaries* 174 
Bisar, 9 
Bismillah (initiation) 

Ceremony, 172, 174 
Bisnagar, 137 
Boats (and rafts), 298 
Boats, size of, 298 

varieties of, 298-99 

pleasure boats, 299 
Books, availability of, 151-52 

classification of, 153 

decoration and binding of, 151 

price of, 152 

printing of, 150 

style of writing, 150-51 
Bostan, 173 
Bullock-cart, 292 
Burhanpore, 71, 304 

Cairo, 143 

Calicut, 6, 146, 150, 272 

Calligraphy, 133, 150-51 


Cambay, 17,241, 263,271,298 
Cambodia, 17 
Celibacy, 113, 175 
Ceremonies, Birth (of Hindus) : 
Annaprasana, 170 
Jatakarma, 169 
Nandimukh Sradha, 170 
Ceremonies, Birth "(of Muslims) : 
Aqiqah, 172, 174 
Bismillah, 172, 174 
Chhathi, 174 
Cord-cutting, 172 
Ceremonies, (of Hindus) : 
mundan, 170 
namakarna, 169-70 
upanayana, 131, 169-71, 175 
Ceremonies, (of Muslims) : 
maktab, 174-75 
naming, 172-73 
sunnat, 172, 175 
Chahellum, 96 
Chairs, use of, 268, 272 
Chaitanya, 109, 136, 178-79, 184 
Chambal, 40 
Chand Bibi, 121-22 
Chanderi, 294 

Chandra Bhan Brahman, 143 
Chariots, 292-94 

Abul Fazl's views on, 240 
Alberuni's, 240 
Aurangzeb's, 241 
Guru Nanak's, 240 
liberality of Hindus, 240 
Charity, its kinds, 241 
to birds and beasts, 243 
baolis, 241 
bulghar-khanas, 242 
distribution of money and 
commodities, 240-41 
on festival days, 240 
funds of stale, 243-44 
ghawar- khanas, 242 
in holy places, 244 
rest-houses, 241-42 
zakat 241 
Chaupar, 245 
Chhabildas Brahman, 182 



China, 85, 147, 269 

Shaikh Muin-ud-Din, 111, 172 
Chittor, 122 

(hair-cutting ceremony), 169 
Circumcision, 172, 175 
Cochin, 267 
Constantinople, 85 
Coromandel Coast, 43, 299 
Cowdung, use of, 267-68 
Cremation rites, 186-87 
Curtains, 271 


Dacca, 141 
Dadu, 175, 224 
Dak-Chaukis, 303 
Damani 262 
Damascus, 143 
Daniyal, 175 

Dara Shikoh, 179, 183, 342-43 
Darogah-i-dak-chauki, 305 
Datia, 258-59 
Death anniversaries, 

celebration of, 191-92 
Deccan, 4, 6, 40, 121, 243, 256, 258 
Dehalvi, Shaikh Gadai, 140 
Delhi, 32-34, 42-43, 67, 138-39, 184, 

241, 303, 308 
Delhi Fort, 57 

bread (chappatis), 
its kinds, 35-36 

of Bajra, 35 

of Jawar, 35 

of Khushka, 35 

luchis, 35 

puris roghhni, 35 

breakfast expenses of nobles, 33- 

chauka (Kitchen), 37 

cooking, mode of, 38 

crockery, 36-37 
dastarkhwan, 38 

of AbulFazl,33 

of common people, 34-35 

of Gujaratis, 34 

of Kashmiris, 34 

of middle classes, 35-36 

of upper classes, 35-36 
Dilawar Khan, 224 
Din-i-Ilahi, 228 
Dishes : 

achars, 34-35 

beef, 32-35 

cheese, 33, 35 

comfits, 36 

conserves, variety of, 36 

curd, 34-35, 37 

faluda, 36 

fish, 35 

halwa, 36 

karam, 34 

khichari, 34, 36 

khir, 35 

meat, 32-33, 36 

pulaos, 36 

pulses, 35-36 

rishta-i-khatai 36 

sweetmeats, 33 

swine-flesh, 32 

meals, number of, 35 

meals, timings of, 35 

napkins, 38 

pattal, 37 

rice, varieties of, 33-34 

table manners, 37-38 

utensils, 36-37 
Diwan Khana, 222, 271-72 
Dola, a kind of palanquin, 296 
Doli, a kind of palanquin, 2S6 
Dowry, 184 
Dress of men, appreciation of, 1 

of Akbar, 2 

of darbaris, 1-2 

of Jahangir, 2-3 

of ulemas, 2 

alparcas, 6 

bandhi, 4 

bazugiriban, 3 

breeches, 3 

caps, 3, 5 

chakman, 3 

chera, 3 

coats (quilted), 4 



dhoti, 1-2 

fargi, 3 

fargui, 3 

gadar, 3 

katari (dagger), 4 

kulhas* 5 

langota, 4 

inozas, 5 

nadiri, 3 

peshwaj, 3 

pyjama, 2 

qaba, 2-4 

scarf, 2, 4 

shah-ajidah, 3 

shalwars, 3 

shawls, 4 

shirts, 3 

shoes, 5-6 

slippers, 6 

stockings, 5 

takauchiyah, 3 

turban, 1-2,4-5,11,17 

ulbagcha, 2 
Dress of Women : 

angiya, ft-7 

badlah, 7 

breecfies, 7-8 

burqa.S, MO 

dopatia, 7, 111 

farsh-i-chandni, 7 

ghagra, 7 

her-dudamij 7 

kamari, 7 

lachaq, 8 

nur-rruihali, 7 

panchaiolia, 7 

petticoat, 7 

qaba, 7 

sari, 6-7 

shalwar, 7 

shawl., 7 

shirt, 7 

silken strings, 7 

slippers, 8 

smock, 7 

trousers, 7 

turban, 8 
Drinks : 

coffee, 43 
Ganges water, 34 
lemon juice, 34 
lemon tea, 33 
rose-water, 34 
sharbat, 34 
tea, 43 
Durgavati, Rani, 121-22, 148, 

Education : 
alchemy, 147 
Arabic, 147, '-53 
astrology, 137, 141, 144,146 
astronomy, 137, 141, 144, 146 
biology, 145 

books, availability of, 151 
books, cost of, 151-52 
certifiuaieSj grant of, 141-42 
chemistry, 45, !47 
convocation, 142 
courses of study, 133-34, 141, 


cumculum, !3i~32, 144-46 
degrees, grant of, 141-42 
duration of courses, 14J 
examinations, 141-42 
fee, 134 

gco^K'p^y, '47-48 
geometry, :-44 
grammar, 133, 143-45 
Hindi, 133. 149, 153 
hisiory, 547 
inJ;s, kind'i of, 150-51 
jurisprudence, J44 
law, 134 
io^ic, 134, 145 
libraries, public, 152-53 
libraries, private, 153-55 
maktabs, 132-33, 140 
madrasas, 133-41, 146,152 
mathematics, 137, 144-47 
medicine, 137, 141, 146-47 
metaphysics, 144 
meteorology, 147 
mixed schools, 141 
paper, kinds of, 1 50 
pathshaias, 131-33 


pens for writing, 150-51 
Persian, 14 1, 149, 153 
philology, 137 
philosophy, 136, 145, 147 
physics, 145, 147 
poetry, 134, 147 
politics, 147 

post-collegiate studies, 143 
primary studies, 131-33 
princesses, education of, 149 
punishment in schools, 134-35 
rhetoric, 144-45 

Sanskrit, 135, 141-42,145, 148-49 
seats of learning, 135-41 
seats of learning abroad, 143 
subjects of study, 133-34, 137-38, 


surgery, 144-146 
sutras, 145 
teachers, appointment of, 137, 


teachers, standard of, 137, 147-48 
theology, 137, 143-44 
veterinary science, i47 
women, education of, 148-50 
writing paper, 150 
writing, modes of (in school), 150 
writing, styles of, 133, 150-51 * 
zoology, 145 
Egyptians, 189 
Elephant-litters, 297-98 
England, 64 

Etiquette, Assembly, 226 
decorum, 226 

mode of conversation, 224-26 
Etiquette, darbar, 225 
Etiquette : 

elders, reception of, 221 
formalities for receiving guests, 


noble's mode of receiving visi- 
tors, 222 
Etiquette : 

King's visits, 223 
visit to Mughal King, 222 
Eunuchs, 109, 301 
Europe, 226, 262 
Europeans, 223, 261 



Fairs, 96-97 
Fans, 273-74 

chowries, 273 

lakeer biyani, 273 

swinging, 274 
Farhangi Mahal, 141 
Farid Kuriuza Khan, 242 
Fasting, 52 
Fasts, among Hindus, 244-45 

among Muslims, 245-46 

RS^Sikri,57, 59, 62, 67, 141, 

Fatta, H9, 122 
Festivals : 

Ab-i-Pashan, 89 

Akhiri Chahar Shamba, 96 

Bara Wafat, 96 

Bera, 96 

Birthday celebrations (of monar- 

Chahellum, 96 
Dasehra (Vijaya Dashami), 69,84, 

Diwali, 91 
Ganesh, 83 
Gaur, 83 

Goverdhan Puja 91 
Holi, 83-84, 89-90 
Id-i-Gulabi, 89 
Id-i-Milad, 93 
Id-ul-Fitr, 94-95 

Id-ul-Saghir, 94 
Id-ul-Zuha, 95 

Janmashtami, 83, 92 

Min.a Bazar, 88 

Muharram, 92-93 

Nauroz, 84, 87, 89 

Nighadasht, 90 

Rakshabandhan, 90 

Ramnavami, 83, 92 

Shab-i-Barat, 94, 96 

Shivaratri, 92 

Tula-dan, 8 3 

Vasant Panchmi, 83-84, 89 
Food, see Diet 
France, 292 



Fruits, 32 

consumption of, 34 
from abroad, 33-34 
Funeral ceremonies, Hindu 
prescribed by scriptures, 185 
lighting of diya by bedside, 186 
antarjali, 186 

abhisinchana ceremony, 186 
procession, 186-87 
udakakarma, 187 
asaucha period, 187 
sanchayana or collection of bones 

and ashes, 187-88 
pitramedha, 188 
shraddha, 188 

Funeral ceremonies, Muslim: 
belief in fal, 189 
reciting of Quran, 189 
against embalming of dead bo- 
dies, 189 

carrying of bier, 189-90 
internment rites, 190 
mourning period of, 190-91 
reciting of fatihe, 191 
death anniversaries, 191-92 
Furniture : 

Bedsteads (khatta), 268, 270 
of cords of cotton or silk, 270 
of ivory, 270 
of gilt, 270 
lacquered, 270 
cradles, 270 
Carpets, 271 
of Bengal, 271 
of Goshkan, 271 
of Kashmir, 271 
of Kirman, 271 
of Persia, 271 
of Sabzwar, 271 
of Turkish leather, 271 
Rugs and Spreads, 272 
of Srinagar, 272 
of Masulipatam, 272 
jajams, 272 
shatrinjis, 272 
baluchis, 272 
cushions, 272 
takyanamdas, 272 

Matresses, 270-71 

sitalpatis, 271 
Curtains, 272 

Banarsi, 272 

Gujarati, 272 
' of leather in Sind, 272 

chandua, 271 

mosquito, 271 
chairs, 268-69 
mundas, 269 
pidis, 269 
pithamasana, 268 
pitha, 268 
stools, 269 
protha (coach), 268 
Fans, its kinds, khatta, 273 

of ivory, 273 

of peacock feathers, 273 

of stiff leather, 273 

lakeer biyani, 273 

chowries, 273 

swinging, 274 

tents, its different types, 274 
thrones, 269-70 

Gadai Kamlu, Shaikh, 228 

GagaBhatt, 145 

Games and Sports : 
(See also pastime) 
acrobatics, 67-68 
animal rights, 55, 66 
ape tricks, 68 
archery, 63, 88 
betting, 58-59, 66 
bagh bandi, 60 
bagh chakar, 60 
baghchal, 55, 60 
bheri-bakri, 61 
bisat-i-nishat, 59 
blind man's bluff, 55 
boxing, 63 

cards, playing, 55-56 
chakrachal, 60 
chandal mandal, 58 
changam, 55, 61-62 
chaupar, 55, 57-58 
chess, 55, 57 


climbing of trees, 55 

geru, 62 

golekuish, 61 

gutis, various games of, 55, 59- 

hockey, 62 

hunting, 55, 63-65 

ishq-bazi, 55, 67 

kabaddi, 55 

lam turki, 60 

matches, 57, 63 

mughal pathan, 60 

nard, 59 

pachisi, 57, 59 

races, 63 

shooting, 65 

stone-throwing, 63 

swordsmanship, 63 

wrestling, 55, 62-63 
-Gandharab Sen, 176 
Garhmukteshwar, 97 
Gawan, Mahmud, 154 
Gaya, 97 - 

Ghawar Khanas, 242 
Ghee, 33, 35 
*Ghiasuddin, Mir, 62 
Glass, 9 

^Goa, 3, 36, 298, 306 
Gokaranhad, 137 
Gokra, 9 
Golkunda, 4, 6 
Gondwana, 121 
Gopalpara, 136 

-Gujarat, 5, 9,32,66,70,85,94, 

152, 243, 257, 264-65, 293-94, 

Gulbadan Begum (orBegam), 


Gulbarga, 71 
Gulistan, 133 
Gurgaon, 294 
Gwalior, 33, 139, 141 


Hafiz Sherazi, 189 
Haji Begam, 242 
Haji Kasim of Balkh, 304 
HamidaBanu, 116, 180,183 
Hamid-ud-Dm Khan Bahadur, 
Governor of Ahmadnagar, 


Hardwar, 92, 96-97 
Harkara, 305 
Harsha, 145 

.60 Hati Vidyalankara, 149 
Hijaz, 142-43 
Hindal, 172-183 
Hindi Poetry : 

Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, 

383, 394-95, 398 
Akbar, 381,383, 388 
Akshar Ananya, 384 
Alam, 403 

Balbhadra Misra, 393-94 
Banarsi Das, 399 
Banwari, 399 
Beni Madhava Das, 394 
Bhushan, 402 
Bihari, 386, 398, 400-02 
Bilgrami, Shaikh. Abdul Wahid, 


Birbal, 388, 390 
Chaturbhuj Das, 382, 388 
Chhit Swami, 382 
Chintamaai, 383, 400 
Dadu Dayal, 383-84, 393 
Deva Datta, 399, 404 
Dharam Das, 384 
Dhruva Das, 399 
Gadai Dehalvi, Shaikh, 386 
Ganga Kavi, 392, 394-95 
Gop Kavi, 388 
Govind Singh, Guru, 403 
140, Govind Swami, 382 
303 Haridas, Swami, 389 
121, Hit Hari Vans, 392 
Hriday Ram, 398 
Jaswant Singh, 403 
Jayasi, Malik Muhammad, 381, 


Kabir, 383-84 
Kalidas Tripathi, 383 
Kashi Ram, Kavi, 399 
Keshavadas, 382-83, 390, 393 

Kirpa Ram, 386 
Krishna Das, 382, 386 
Kumbhan Das, 382, 388 
Lai Das, 385 
190 Lai Kavi, 403 



Mahik Das, 384 

Manohar, 390 

Mat! Ram, 402 

Maufana Ja^ali "Hiadi", 386 

Meera Bai, 334 

Mohan Lai Misra, 388 

Nabha Das, 382, 394, 399 

Nanak, Guru, 383 

Nand Das, 382, 399 

Narahari Bandijana, 387 

Narottam Das, 387 

Parrnariand Das, 382, 386-87 

Puhkara Kavi, 398 

Raidas, 384 

Raskhan, 394 

Sabal Singh Chouhan, 399 

Senapati, 399, 400 

Shri Bhatt, 387 

Sukh Dev Misr, 403 

Sundarof Gwalior, 399 

Sundar Das, 384, 398 

Surdas, 38 1-32, 389-93 


Tulsidas, 381-82, 389-90, 392-98 

Vyasji, 388 
Hoshangabad, 294 
Hospitals for public, 243 
Houses, arrangement of, 264-65 

division into two wings, 261-62 

an ideal house, 26! 
Houses at : 

Agra, 263 

Ahmedabad, 265 

Ajmer, 264 

Banaras, 264 

Bikaner, 264 

Cambay, 263 

Delhi, 263 

Gujarat, 265 

Jodhpur, 264 

Kashmir, 262-63, 265 

Kathiawar, 265 

Lashkar, 264 

Malabar, 263 

Sind, 263 

Surat, 262 
Houses of upper classes, 260-61 

of merchants, 262 

of middle classes, 264 

of poor, 265-67 
Humayun,2, 32, 40-4 J, 57, 59, 61, 

69-70, S3. 87-88; 12U 139-40, 148, 

155, 174, ISO, 183, 246, 299-390,, 

Hundi s 307 
Husain All Khan, 242 
Hots of poor : 

Ajmer, 2^6 

Cochin, 267 

Kashmir, 266 

Khandesh, 266 

Malabar, 266 

Multan, 266 

Orissa, 266 

Surat, 266 

Varanasi (Banaras), 266 

Vijayanagar, 266 


Ibadat Khana, 112, 178 

Ibn Eatula, 302 

Ibrahim Khan, Governor of Bengal t , 

Ice, 34 
Ids, 240 

[man, a kind of litter, 297 
Intoxicants : 

betel, 10, 12-13, 35,43,7! 

bhang, 41-42 

buza, 42 

jagre, 40 

madhava-ra-pcala, 4! 

nira 40 

opium, 40-42 

tari, 40 

tobacco, 42 

tobacco duly in Delhi, 42 

toddy, 40 

wine, prohibition of, 38-39 
Iran, 67, 84, 293 
Iraq, 140 
Iraq-i-Ajam, 295 
Iraq-i-Arab, 295 
Italy, 292 
!timad-ud-Daulah, 86 



Jagan Mohan. !4S 

Jahanara, 119, 121, 143 

Jahangir, 2, 3, 9, 17, 32, 34, 36, 39- 

42 S 57, 62, 64-65, 6S-69 ? 71,84, 
86-87, 89-92., 94-95, 115 9 118, 119, 
123, 171, 175, 183, 191, 274; 228, 
241-43, 264, 2,73, 293, 303-04, 307 5 
332-34.. 381-32 
Jahangir Mandir, 259 

Jahanzeb Banu Begum, "91 

Jaimal, 114 

Jaisalmir, 253, 294 

lai Singh, Raja, 116, 136 ' . 

Jajams, 272 

Jala! Khan, 70 

Jafai-ud-Dm Qazi. 138 

Jan Begum, 121 

Jani Beg, 222 

Jarrahs, 146 

Jaswant Singh, 116 

Jata Karma, 169 

Jauhar, 123 

Jaunpur, 138, 140, 243 

Jayadeva, 142 

Jayasi, Malik Muhammad, 12, 57, 
109,123, 133, 170, 176, 180-82, 

Jharkhand, 294 

Jharoka-i-darshan, 94 

Jodhpur, 41, 66 

Jotika Rai, 146 


Kabir, 136,383-84 
Kabul, 34, 57, 64, 110, 122, 272, 303 
Kalim, Mirza Abu Talib, 140 
Kambhalmir, 242 
Kambal (blankets), 271 
Kanjar Beg, 146 
Kanyadana, 181 
Karamdevi, 114 
Karbala, 92 
Karez, 34, 303 
Kashi, 92 
Kashmir, 5, 7, 33-34, 155, 257, 262, 

265-66, 271, 295, 298, 306 
Kathiawar, 265 

KenaBsi, 121 
Khafi Khan, 147 
Khairabad, 142 
Khandesh, 266 
Khan-i-Khansn, 57, 121 
Khan M;rza, 119 
Khastatlis. use of, 272, 297 
Khat-i-Bfvburi, 151 
Khatta (bedstead), 268, 270 
Khirafas, 306 
Khurram, 183,, 224 
Khusrau Sultan, 223 
Khwaja Muazzam, 116 
Kirki, 242 
Kirman, 272 
Koka, Mirza Aziz, 112 
Kornish, 118, 228 
Kotah, 116 
Kufa, 143 
Kurnbh, 97 
Kunwari Masjid, 184 
Kuruksheira, 97 


Lahore, 9 S 32-34, 94, 139, 241, 257,. 

263, 298, 335 
Lakshmi Devi, 179 
Lari, Maulana Ala-ud-Din, 138 
Lashkar, 264 

Lashkar Khan, Mir Bakshi. 225, 244 
Letters, classes of official letters, 305 

despatch of abroad, 306 

king's mail, 302-03 

private, 306 
Libraries, 152-5.5 
London, 222, 256 
Lucknow, 141 


MadhurvanL 121 
Madhya Pradesh, 59 
Madras, 141, 260 
Madura, 71, 133, 135, 137 
Mahabat Khan, 122, 179 
Maham Anaga, 121, 190 
Maharashtra, 32, 122 
Mahdism, 227 
Mahila-mriduvani, 148 



Makhdum-ul-Mulk, 241 

Makhduma-o-Jahan, 121 

Malabar, 110, 185, 187, 264, 266 

Malwa, 294 

Man Bai, 184 

Mandu (Maiwa), 304 

Man Singh, 39, 175, 260 

Mann, 118, 134 

Map, 148 

Marriage (General) : 

age for, 113,177-78 

Akbar's orders regarding, 114 

custom for early marriages, 175- 

dowry, 113, 184 

divorce, 111, 114, 117 

expenses of, 179 

intercaste, 177 

liberty among Rajputs, 117 

mahr, 120 

monogamy, 112, 117, 178 

mutah marriages, 132, 178 

negotiations for, 178-79 

polygamy, 108, 112, 178 

Re-marraiges, 117-18 
Marriage (Hindu) : 

forms of, 180 

procession, 180-81 

kanyadana, 181 

panigrahana, 181 

tali, 182 

tamo!, 182 
Marriage (Muslim) : 

sachaq, 183 

hennabandi, 183 

nikah, 178, 183 

maash, 183 

Masti of Samarqand, 304 
Masulipatam, 39, 86, 272 
Mathura, 73,96 
Mathuranatha, 136 
Mecca, 143, 190, 244 
Medicine, 137, 141, 144, 146-47 
Meshad, 244 
Mewar, 114-15, 121 
Mihr-un-Nissa, 179 
Mina Bazar, 88-89 
Mir Abiil Baqa, 180 

MirHabibuIIah, 243 

Mir Jumla, 242 

Mir Kalan Hariwi, 138 

MiraBai, 121,384-85 

Mirza Askari, 174 

Mirza Haider, 70 

Mithila, 135, 137,142, 144 

Mohammad Akhlas, 189 

Monogamy, 112, 117, 178 

Multan, 42, 135, 137, 246, 293, 298 

Mumtaz Mahal, 119, 183,191 

Murshidabad, 94 

Music, 68-70 

Muzaffar Husain, 183 


Nadhr Khan, 223 
Nadia, 135-37, 142 
Nagarkot, 97 
Nagor, 293 

Naharwara Pattan, 140 
Nakha-Shikha, 382 
Nalanda, 136 
Namakarna (name-giving ceremony) 

Nanak, Guru, 9, 136, 186, 227, 239- 

40, 383 

Nandimukh Sraddha. 170 
Narnaul, 141 
Narwar, 270, 294 
Nasik, 71 
Nauroz, 240 
Navadvipa, 136 
Nawazi sh Khan, 242 
Nazarana, 223-24 
Nigar Khanum, 224 
Nikayas, 10 
Nisar, 225 

Nizamuddin Auliya, 71, 97 
NurJahan, 7, 9, 110, 119, 121-22, 

Nyaya Darshan, 134 


Opium, 306 
Orchha, 258-59 
Orissa, 43 



Ornaments : 
anklets, 12, 14 
anwat, 16 

armlets, 2, 12, 16-17 
arsi, 16 
bahu, 16 
bali (vali), 15 
bazuband, 16 
besar, 15 
bhank, 16 
bichhwah, 16 
binduli, 15 
bodkin, 15 

bracelets, 4, 11, 16-17 
champakali, 15 
chaodraman, 15 
chauk, 14 

chhudr khantika, 16 
children's, 14 
churls, 16-17 
ear-rings, 12-13, 15-16 
finger- rings, 16-17 
gajrah, 16 
gluing ru, 16 
girdle, 12 

goldsmiths, their fee, 11 
guluband, 16 
haar, 15 
jawe, 16 
jehar, 16 
kangan, 16 
karnphul, 15 
katari (dagger), 4 
kati mekhala, 16 
khal-khal, 16 
kotbiladar, 15 
laung, 15 
mang, 14 
manillas, 17 

material used for, 15-17 
mor Bhanwar, 15 
nath, 15 

necklaces, 12, 15, 17 
nose-ornaments, 12, 13, 1 
payal, 16 
pipal patti, 15 
sekra (shikhara), 15 
sisphul, 14 

tad, 16 

women's love for, 13-14 

Palaces, of Mughal Kings, 256-58 

of Rajas, 258-60 

in South, 260 
Palanquins, 109-10, 296-298 

camel-litter, 297 

chandol, 296-97 

doli, 296 

sukhpal, 296 
Panigrahana, 181 
Panini, 145 
Panipat, 97 
Panna, 294 
Paris, 256, 308 
Pastimes : 

boating, 65 

buffoons, 70 

dances, 68, 70 

dancing snakes, 68 

dog-racing, 63 

fairs, visiting, 71 

fishes, stocking of canals with, 65 

fishing, 65 

gambling, 84, 87, 91 

gardening, 71 

hawking, 65 

horse-racing, 63 

jashans, 70 

jugglers, 55, 67-68 

kite-flying, 55 

magicians, 55, 67 

mock fights, 55 

mushairas, 70 

music, 68-70 

nautch-girls, 85 

riding, 66 

riddle-solving, 70 

smoking, 42, 71 

story-telling, 70 

staffing, 71 

theatrical performances, 69-70 

wit and jokes, 70 
Pater Dola, a variety of palanquin, 

Patna, 242, 266, 292, 299 


Persia, 34, 41, 57,85,140, 184- 

Persian Poetry : 

Abdor RahSia Khan-i-Khanan, 


Akbar, 325-26 
All Na-^l 3 3 
Anwari, 3 : 9 
Aurangzeb, 343 
Ayub, Knwaja, 324 
Babar, 3 1 9-20 
Bairarn Khan, 325 
Baqai, Maulaaii s 32I 
Bedii, Mirza Abdul Qadir, 343-4*, 
Chandra Bhaa Brahman, 341-42 
DaraShikoh, 342-43 
Faizi, Shaikh Abul, 316, 318, 327- 


Fighani, Baba, 326-27 
Ghazali, 3 16,326-27 
Ghaznavi, 316 
Guibadan Begam, 322 
Hakim Shafai, 318 

Humayun, 321-23 
Jahanara, 343 
Jahangir, 332-34 
Jami, 318-19,327 
Janubi, Maulana, 324 
Jaswant Rai, 347 

Kalim, Abu Talib, 31648, 331, 


Karnran, 322 
Kunjahi, Ghanimat, 344 
Muhammad Jan, 319 
Mumtaz Mahal, 336-37 
NaziriNishapuri, 318-19, 331-32 

Naziri Samarqandi, 325 
Nemat Khan, 346 
Nizami, 319, 327-29 
Nurjahan, 332-33 
Nuruddin Muhammad Ali, 
Mirza, 345 

Qandhari, Atashi, 320 

Qudsi, Haji Mohd- Jan, 319, 337- 

Qummi, Mulia, 331 

Saadi, 319, 323 


Saib, Mirza Muhammad AH, 317- 

IS 3 327, 340 
Sarmad, 3i9 
Shahjahan, 33f>37 
Shaikh AbdyiWsjId, 324 

Shibli Nii^i"n---'P-^ 32c--7 
Shihab-ud-Dir., Mulla, 321 
Siv-P-? Mi^*. Bhistul 30 

Olii- C4.iJ5 -" 

Tahir, 324 

Talib Aniull, 318-19, 334-3b 

Tek Chand Bahar, 346 

Uifi, Jamal-ud-Din Muhammad,- 

SiS- 19, 328-29 
Waiai, Zaia-udOin. 320-21 
Wahid-ud-Din Abu Wajid, 

Maulana, 322 
Wats, Baewali Das, 345 
W ami q Khalri, 34-7 
Zaya Khan, 316 
Zeb-un-Nisa, 344-45 
Zuhuri, Muila Nur-ud-Din, 318, 


Persian Prose Literature : 
Biographies, 353-55 
Dictionaries, 356-57 
Encyclopaedias, 354, 358 
Histories, 36 1-72 
Leuers, collection of, 359-61 
Muslim Law, 358 
Religion, 356 

Pigeons as letter-carriers, 304 
Polygamy* 178 
Porcelain, Chinese, 273 
Portuguese, 42, 147 
Post-system under Mughals, 302-08 
Despatch of money, 306-7 
Despatch of Royal Treasury, 306* 
Horses, use of, 303 
Mail abroad, 30(> 
Private post, 306 
Pigeons as leiler-carriers, 304 
Sarais, use of, 307-08 
Prayag, 92, 96, 97 
Prithvi Raj, 114 
Prostitution, 120 
Punjab, 5,32, 59,131 
Purdah, 221 



Purl, 92, 97 

Purhitanis (female match-makers,) 


Qasim-i-A!i s 41 

Quli All of Bhukhara, 304 

Rafi-ud-Din Safawi, Sayyid, 138 

Raghunatha, 135., 142-44 

Rai Gaurdhan, 24 1, 243 

Rai, Rnghunandandasa, 137 

Rajasihan, 17, 70, 293 

Raj garb, 17 

Rajori, 33 

Rajputs, 16, 32, 41, 89, 110-11, 114, 

116, 119, 122 
Raj Singh of Mewar, 114 
Ramabhad ra, 137,143 
Ramabhadramba, 121 
Ramarudra Vidyanidhi, 137 
Ram Das, 69 
Ramdas Swami, 121 
Rameshwaram, 97 
Ram Singh, Raja s 225 
Ramzan, 245 
Rawalpindi, 295 
Reporters, classes of, 304-05 

Sawanih Nigar, 305 

Waqainavis, 304-05 
Roe, Thomas, 2, 17, 33, 36, 57, 148 
Roshanara Begatn, 294, 300 
Ruhullah Khan, 177 
Uupmati, 148 
Rupnagar, 114 

Sachaq, 183 
Sadullah, Shaikh, 141 
Safi, Shaikh, 142 
Sahibji, 121, 148,244 
Salgirah, 240 
Salim, 173, 184 
Salim Khan, 227, 242 
Salima Sultana, 119, 121, 14S 
Salutations, of Hindus, 226-27 

Salutations, of Muslims, 227-29 

Samarkand, 34 

Sangaldip, 176 

Sangram Singh II of Mewar, 119 

Santikarma, 185 

Santipura, 136 

Sapindikaran, 185 

Sarais, 303, 307-08 

Satara, Hi 

Sa\vaaih Nigar, 305 

Say y id Abdullah, 141 

Sayyid Ali Shirazi, 174 

Sayyid Yasin, 142 

SIiab-i-Barat, 240 

Shah Alam, 224 

Shahaji of Tanjore, 271 

Shahjahan, 2-3 3 40, 69-71, 84, 86-87, 

89, 93-9;% 119, 133-40,146,183, 

191, 22'v, 240, 245, 257, 294, 308, 


Shah Shaft of Persia, 57 
Shah Waliuliah, 139 
Shahzadpur, 150 
Shaikh Ali, 2:7 
Shaikh 3ina, 147 
Shalsia Khan, 141,225 
Shatrinjis, 272 

Sher Shah, !4! 9 242, 29!, 303 
Ships (and Boats;, 298 
Shirwan, 295 
Shraddha, 188 
Siadat Khan, ! 77 
Sialkot, 138, 141,150 
Sidi Ali Reis, 300 
Sijdah, l'.S,228 
Sikandar Chela, 304 
SIkandar Lodi, 302 
Sind, 179, 228, 263, 266, 269, 272, 


Sirhind, 97, 135, 137 
Sital Paris, 271 
Siti-un-Nisa, 121 
Srinagar, 272 
Stools, 268-69 
Sukhpal (Palanquin), 296 . 
Sunnat, 172, 175 
Surat/120, 148, 222, 241, 262, 266, 

268, 306 



Surdas, 10, 141, 169-71, 184, 381-82, 

Surthan, Rao, 1 14 

Takht-i-Rawan, 299 
Tamol, 182 
Tan Sen, 69 
TaraBai, 114, 122, 148 
Tartars, 301 
Taslim, 227-28 
Tents, 274 
Thatta, 135, 137 
Thrones, varieties of, 269 
Tibet, 148, 295 
Tirhut, 135, 137, 154 
Tirumalarnba, 121 
Tod, Col, 41, 114, 116 
Todah, 114 
Todar Mai, Raja, 182 
Toilet (mens), 9-12 
Toilet (women's), 12-13 

soaps, 8-9 

spangle on forehead, 12 

staining of hands, 12 

tilak, 12 
Transport, Means of : 

boats, 298-99 

bullock-cart, 292 

camels, 292-93 

chariots, 292-94 

elephants, 294-95 

horses, 295-96 

mules, 295 

palanquins, 109-10, 296 

chandol, 296-97 

doli, 296 

dola, 296 

elephant-litters, 297-98 

palerdola, 296 

sukhpal, 296 

sukhasan, 296 

trappings of elephants, 294-95 

horses, 296 

mules, 295 
Travelling, Mode of, 299-302 

ambassador's, 302 

nobles' 299-300 

princeases', 300-302 
Tukaram, 178, 184, 188, 240 
Tulsidas, 133, 136, 169, 180-82, 184, 


Turan, 67, 293 
Turkestan, 295 
Turkey, 271, 295 
Turkish, 5, 6, 174, 271 


Udaipur, 258 
Udakakarma, 185, 187 
Ujjain, 97 

Upanayana, 131, 169-71, 175 
Upanishad, 133, 137 
Uttar Pradesh, 5, 109 
Uzbekistan, 308 

, ! 

Varadraja, 176-77 

Varanasi (see also Banaras), 266 

Vasudeva Sarvabhauma, 136-142 

Vankatanath, 143 

Vijayanagar, 63, 91, 260, 266, 269-71, 

292-93, 299 
Vikramasila, 136 


Waman Pandit, 341 
WajIh-ud-Din, 140 
Wine, 38-41 
Wine parties, 88 
Wives, number of, 178 
Women : 

administrators, 121-22 

character of, 123 

daughters inauspicious, 111 

domestic training of, 115 

education of, 120-21, 148-50 

heroism of, 121-22 

infanticide, 111 

literary figures, 121-22 

marriages of, 112-14 

mediators, 119 

monogamy, 112, 117 

occupations of, 120-21 

poetesses, 121 

position of, in family, 114-16 


position of, as mother, 118-119 
position of, in Vedic Age, 108 
position of, as widow, 14, 108, 


position of, as wife, 108, 114-16 
purdah, 85, 108-11, 121 
sati, custom among, 114, 117, 123 
share of, in inheritance, 119-20 

Yakub, Shaikh, 143 
Yakub of Kashmir, 306 


Yazd, 34 
Yeman, 143 

Zakat, 239, 241 
Zaminbos, 229, 274 
Zeb-un-Nisa, 148, 149, 184, 242 
Zenana, 222 
Zich-i-Shahjahani, 146 
Zinat-un-Nisa, 148-49, 184, 242 
Zubdat-un-Nisa, 179 
Zulfiqar Khan, 229