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Old NCERT Gist (Satish Chandra): Summary of Cultural Development in India (13th To 15th Century) - History for UPSC CSE

(i) 13TH century marked the new phase of cultural development because of Turkish invasions.
(ii) The Arabo-Persian Culture was at its heights and had led to well defined faith in the Islam and also defined ideas of government, art and architecture etc.
(iii) Equally strong beliefs and ideas in different fields were of Indians. Thus, interaction between them led to new enriched culture.
(iv) Though there were misunderstanding and strife when there are two sides with strongly held views. But most of the time efforts were made at mutual understanding which ultimately led to the process of convergence and assimilation in different fields of art, architecture, music, literature etc.

(i) First requirement of new rulers: place to live and worship. They first converted existing buildings & temples to mosques.
E.g. Jain temple into Quwwat-ul-lslam mosque(Delhi),
A monastery into Arhai din ka jhopra (Ajmer)
(ii) Soon they started building their own buildings.

New element:
(i) No human/animal figures. Instead flowers and stylized panel quranic verses called Arbesque
(ii) Earlier Indian craftsmen who were famed for their skill were used. Later on, master Architects were called from West Asia
(iii) Arch and dome (both were borrowed from Rome through Byzantine Empire) made pillars redundant. Therefore, large halls with a clear view.
(iv) Domes got higher and buildings lofty.
(v) Arch and Domes needed strong cement to support the structure. Thus, fine quality mortar was used.
(vi) Indian slab and Beam method was also used. Turks built Qutub Minar, Alaudin built his capital city at Siri. Added door to the qutab Minar called Alai Darwaza

Ghiyasuddin and Muhammad Tughlaq built palace-fortress Tughlagabad.
(i) Striking feature was sloping walls called Batter. This was missing in buildings of firuz Shah Tughlaq
(ii) Attempt to combine Arch and Lintel and beam at Hauz khas, fort kotla
(iii) Didn't use costly Red sandstone but the cheaper and easily available Greystone.
(iv) The decorative device found in all of the buildings of Firoz is the Lotus.
(v) Balconies and kiosks of Rajasthani-Gujarati style was also used.
(vi) combined Arch and Lintel and beam
(vii) Tombs on a high platform with better skyline and in midst of a garden. E.g. Lodi Garden.
(viii) With the breakup of the delhi Sultanate, individual regional styles emerged in various kingdoms- Bengal, Gujarat, Malwa, the Deccan etc.

(i) Islam was not as stranger in India when Turks came.
(ii) Established in Sindh and Punjab from 8th century and Arab Travellers in Kerala between 8th -10th century.
(iii) Similarly, the Hindu ideas and Buddhist influence in the earlier times may have resulted into the formation of Sufi movement in west Asia which travelled to India after 12th century.
(iv) These ideas and subsequent movements was essential background to Akbar's ideas and his concent of tauhid (unitv of all religions)

10th century: Rise of Turks>fall of Abbasid Caliphate>end of Mu'tazila/rationalist philosophy dominance>rise of orthodox schools based on Quran and Hadis and of Sufi mystic orders.
(i) "Traditionalists" had 4 schools of Islamic law. Of which the most liberal is Hanafi School adopted by turks who came to India.
(ii) Early Sufis: woman mystic Rabia and Mansur bin Hallaj - laid great emphasis on love between soul and God. They were in conflict with the orthodox elements. Al- Ghazzali tried to reconcile mysticism with Islamic orthodoxy.
(iii) Sufis were organised into 12 orders/ silsilahs.
(iv) Each silsilah was led by a prominent mystic lived in a Khanqah along with his disciples.
(v) Pir(teacher)-murid(disciples) link was vital.
(vi) Every Pir would nominate a wali/ successor to lead the disciples
(vii) These sufi orders were broadly divided into Bashara (following Islamic laws) and Beshara (not bound by laws).

Shaikh Ismail
(i) Shaikh Ismail of Lahore was the first Sufi Saint who started preaching his ideas.

Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti
(i) He was one of the most famous Sufi Saints who settled in Ajmer which became the centre of his activities.
(ii) He had a number of disciples who are called Sufis of the Chishti Order.
(iii) Bakhtiyar Kaki and his disciple farid-ud-din Ganj-e-shakar wrote verses in AdiGranth

Nizamuddin Auliya
(i) He belonged to the Chishti Order who is regarded to be a mighty spiritual force.
(ii) Along with Nassiruddin Chiragh-i-Delhi popularised musical recitations called Sama to create a mood to connect with the God.

(i) Well known saints: Shaikh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi and Hamid-ud-Din Nagori. Bahauddin Zakariya
(ii) He is another renowned Sufi Saint who was influenced by Shihabuddin Suhrawardi another famous mystic.
(iii) He founded the Sufis of the Suhrawardi Order.
Unlike Chisti Order, Suhrawardi Order did not believe in leading a life of poverty.
They accepted the Service of state
However, thev both helped in creatine environment of peace and harmony.

The Bhakti Movement originated in the seventh-century in Tamil, South India (now parts of Tami Nadu and Kerala), and spread northwards. It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reached its peak between the 15th and 17th century CE. Many saints and scholars carriec ideas of Bhakti to the north. Among these mention can be made of:

(i) She was a great devotee of Krishna.
(ii) She became popular in Rajasthan for her bhajans.

(i) He was a worshipper of Rama.
(ii) He composed the famous Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi version of Ramayana.

(i) He was born at Allahabad.
(ii) Initially he was a follower of Ramanuja.
(iii) Later he founded his own sect and preached his principles in Hindi at Banaras and Agra.
(iv) Ramananda was the first to employ the vernacular medium to spread his ideas.
(v) He opposed the caste system and chose his disciples from all sections of society irrespective of caste.

Ramananda's disciples were:

  1. Kabir
  2. Raidasa, he was a cobbler
  3. Sena, he was a barber
  4. Sadhana
  5. Dhanna, he was from a Jat farmer
  6. Naraharai, he was a goldsmith
  7. Pipa, he was a Rajput prince

(i) Kabir was the most famous disciple of Ramananda.
(ii) He was brought up by a Muslim couple who were weavers by profession.
(iii) He had a curious mind in learning new things and he learnt much about Hinduism in Benares.
(iv) Kabir's aim was to reunite Hindus and Muslims and form harmony between them.
(v) He is regarded as the greatest of the mystic saints.
(vi) His followers are called Kabirpanthis.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, Ramananda, Kabir and Nanak remained the great apostles of the Bhakti cult. They aided the common people to shed age-old superstitions and attain salvation through Bhakti or pure devotion. Criticized all forms of worship of idols.

Guru Nanak
(i) Guru Nanak was born in Talwandi( now called Nankana) near Lahore.
(ii) He was a disciple of Kabir.
(iii) He was founder of the Sikh Religion.
(iv) He condemned caste difference and rituals like bathing in holy rivers.
(v) He established a centre at Kartarpur named Dera Baba Nanak on the river Ravi. His idea of religion was highly practical and strictly moral.
(vi) His one of the famous sayings was "Abide pure amidst the impurities of the world".

Guru Angad
(i) Guru Angad also known as Lehna was appointed by Guru before his death.
(ii) Guru Angad compiled the compositions of Guru Nanak in a new script known as Gurmukhi and added his own compositions as well.

Guru Arjan
(i) He was the 5th Guru.
(ii) He compiled the writings of the three successors of Guru Angad who wrote under the name of "Nana".
(iii) He was executed by Jehangir in 1604.

Guru Gobind Singh
(i) He was the 9th Guru.
(ii) In 1706, he authenticated the compilation which was added with the writings of other figures like Shaikh Farid, Sant Kabir, Bhagat Namdev and Guru Tegh Bahadur, which is now known as Guru Granth Sahib.

The town of Ramdaspur (Amritsar) had developed around the central Gurdwara called Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) by the beginning of the 17th century. It was almost self-governing and also referred as 'a state within the state' community.

(i) He was the founder of the Bhakti Movement in Maharashtra in the 13th
(ii) It was called as Maharashtra dharma.
(iii) He wrote Gnaneswari a commentary of Bhagavad Gita.

(i) In the 16th Century, Namadeva preached the gospel of love.
(ii) He opposed idol worship and the dominance of priests.
(iii) He criticized the Caste System.

(i) He was a prominent Marathi Sant, a scholar and religious poet of the Varkari Sampradaya.
(ii) He opposed caste differences and was kind towards the lower castes.
(iii) He is known as a bridge between his predecessors Dnyaneshwar and Namdev and the later Tukaram and Ramdas.

(i) Tukaram was another Bhakti saint of Maharashtra and was a contemporary of Sivaji.
(ii) Tukaram also referred to as Sant Tukaram, Bhakta Tukaram, Tukaram Maharaj, Tukobaanc Tukobaraya.
(iii) He was a 17th-century poet-saint of the Bhakti movement in Maharashtra
(iv) Tukaram is best known for his Abhanga- devotional poetry and kirtans - community-orientec worship with spiritual songs.
(v) His poetry was devoted to Vitthala or Vithoba, an avatar of Hindu god Vishnu.
(vi) Responsible for creating a background for Maratha nationalism

Nathpanthis, Siddhas, and Yogis
(i) They condemned the ritual and other aspects of orthodox religion and the social order, using simple, logical arguments.
(ii) They encouraged the renunciation of the world.
(iii) To them, the path to salvation lay in meditation and to achieve this they advocated intense
training of the mind and body through practices like yogasanas, breathing exercises anc meditation.
(iv) These groups became particularly popular among "low" castes.

(i) Chaitanya was another renowned saint and reformer of Bengal who popularised the Krishna cult.
(ii) He believed that a devotee can feel the presence of God through song and dance and love anc devotion.

(i) He was the disciple of Vallabhacharya
(ii) He popularized Krishna cult in the Northern part of India.

(i) Sanskrit continued to be a vehicle for higher thought and medium of literature.
(ii) Works in Religious field by sankara, Madhava, Vallabha
(iii) Networks of Specialized schools and academics
(iv) Commentaries on hindu laws mostly in Sanskrit. E.g. Mitakshara by Vijnaneshwar.
(v) Most of the works produced in south.
(vi) Jains contributed too. E.g Hemchandra Suri
(vii) No attempt to translate Islamic or Persian works. Possible exception of love story of Yusuf & Zulaikha.

(i) It was the language of prophet and hence large amount of works was produced by the Muslims.
(ii) But in India it was limited to closed circles of Islamic scholars and philosophers, as Turks were influenced by Persian language
(iii) Lahore emerged as centre of Persian language

  1. Most notable writer= Amir khusrau
  2. Experimental poet created new style = sabaq-i-hindi or style of India.
  3. Hindi verses and Hindi work Khaliq Bari
  4. Took part in religious musical gathering Sama.
  5. Rajatranjini and Mahabharata transacted into Persian

(i) Literary works of high quality were produced in Regional languages
(ii) Origin of regional languages took place in the 8th century or so- Hindi, Bengali and Marathi
(iii) Commonly used by bhakti saints.
(iv) Regional languages used for administrative purposes in addition to Sanskrit.
(a) Telugu in Vijaynagara empire
(b) Marathi in Bahmani & Bijapur

(i) Turks brought no. of new musical instruments= rabab and sarangi
(ii) New musical modes and regulations
(iii) Indian music and Indian musicians at the court of the Caliphs at Baghdad
(iv) Amir Khusrau introduced many Perso-Arabic airs (ragas) such as aiman, ghora, sanam, etc. Invented sitar
(v) Musical gatherings became more popular due to Sufis
(vi) Pir Bodhan=sufi saintis supposed to have been the 2nd best musician of the age.
(vii) Music enthusiast:
(a) Firuz Tughlaq - Ragadarpan translated into persian
(b) Raja Man Singh of Gwalior - Man Kautahal book on new modes
(c) Sikandar Lodi - patronized music lavishly

The document Old NCERT Gist (Satish Chandra): Summary of Cultural Development in India (13th To 15th Century) | History for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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FAQs on Old NCERT Gist (Satish Chandra): Summary of Cultural Development in India (13th To 15th Century) - History for UPSC CSE

1. What were the major cultural developments in India during the 13th to 15th century?
Ans. During the 13th to 15th century, India witnessed significant cultural developments. Some of the major developments include the rise of regional languages and literature, the spread of Bhakti and Sufi movements, the flourishing of architecture and art, and the patronage of rulers towards cultural activities.
2. How did the rise of regional languages and literature contribute to cultural development in India during the 13th to 15th century?
Ans. The rise of regional languages and literature played a crucial role in the cultural development of India during the 13th to 15th century. It led to the democratization of knowledge as literature became accessible to a wider audience. It also helped in the preservation and promotion of regional cultures, traditions, and values. This period saw the composition of important literary works in languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali.
3. What were the key characteristics of the Bhakti and Sufi movements during the 13th to 15th century in India?
Ans. The Bhakti and Sufi movements were significant cultural developments during the 13th to 15th century in India. The Bhakti movement emphasized the importance of personal devotion and love for God, cutting across caste and gender barriers. The Sufi movement, on the other hand, focused on mysticism and spiritual experiences. Both movements played a vital role in promoting religious harmony, social inclusivity, and cultural exchange.
4. How did architecture contribute to the cultural development of India during the 13th to 15th century?
Ans. Architecture played a crucial role in the cultural development of India during the 13th to 15th century. The period witnessed the construction of magnificent temples, mosques, forts, and palaces. These architectural marvels not only showcased the engineering skills and artistic vision of the builders but also became symbols of power and grandeur. The fusion of different architectural styles and the use of intricate designs reflected the cultural diversity and artistic brilliance of the era.
5. How did the patronage of rulers contribute to the cultural development of India during the 13th to 15th century?
Ans. The patronage of rulers played a significant role in the cultural development of India during the 13th to 15th century. Rulers like the Delhi Sultanate, the Vijayanagara Empire, and the Bahmani Kingdom extended their support to artists, scholars, and poets. They provided financial assistance, land grants, and other resources to promote cultural activities. This patronage not only encouraged the growth of art, literature, and architecture but also created an environment conducive to intellectual and cultural exchange.
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