State of Agriculture, Architecture and Painting
State of Agriculture
- It was carried on in the same way as in the ancient times, there being little change in the methods of cultivation and agricultural implements.
- Despite the expansion in the area under cultivation, the growth in agricultural production was quite slow, i.e., it was not able to keep in pace with the growning the need of the people as well the state.
- This slow-growth or near stagnation in agricultural production was due to certain factors:
(i) Lack of any new methods of cultivation to counter the trend of declining productivity of the soil;
(ii) Increased amount of land revenue;
(iii) Social and economic factors-the attempts of the Zamindars and the upper caste and rich peasants to prevent the lower castes and the rural poor from settling new villages and thus acquiring proprietory rights in land; and
(iv) ‘Jajmani System’—a reciprocal system that existed in rural India, increased production mainly meant for local consumption and not for the market.
Trade and Commerce
- Professional specialisation - wholesale traders, retail traders, banjaras or those specialised in the carrying trade, shroffs or those specialised in banking, etc. The shroffs developed the institution of ‘Hundis’ or bills of exchange.
Causes for Growth of Trade and Commerce:
(i) Political and economic unification of the country under Mughal rule and the establishment of law and order over extensive areas.
(ii) Improvement of transport and communications by the Mughals.
(iii) Encouragement given by the Mughals to the commercialisation of the economy or the growth of money economy.
(iv) Arrival of the European traders from the beginning of the 17th century onwards and the growth of European trade.
- Textiles, especially various kinds of cotton fabrics, indigo, raw silk, sugar, salt petre, pepper, opium and various kinds of drugs and miscellaneous goods.
- Bullion, horses, metals, perfumes, drugs, China goods especially porcelain, China silk, African slaves and European wines.
- Combination of the Persian elements of grandeur and originality with the grace and decoration of Indian or Hindu architecture.
- Uniformity in the architectural character and structural principles all over the empire.
- Construction of mausoleums in the centre of large park-like enclosures.
- Construction of a double dome, the outer and the inner one, the latter forming the vaulted ceiling of the mortuary chamber underneath.
- Other features like the cupolas at the corners standing on slender pillars, magnificient palace halls and the lofty vaulted gateway.
- The first to undertake construction on a large scale. Construction of a series of forts, the most important being the Agra fort, built in red sandstone.
- Other forts at Lahore and Allahabad.
- Climax of fort-building seen in the Red Fort at Delhi (Main buildings within it: Rang Mahal, Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas etc.)
- Palace-cum fort at Fatehpur Sikri;many buildings in the style of Gujarat and Bengal; Gujarat style buildings for Rajput wives.
- Persian influence seen in glazed blue tiles; most magnificient building in it is the mosque (Jami-Masjid) and its gateway (Buland Darwaza) which stands 176 feet in height.
- Other important buildings at Fatehpur Sikri are: (i) Jodha Bai’s Palace (Influence of Hindu style), (ii) Palaces of Mariam and Sultana, (iii) Birbal’s House, (iv) Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas, and (v) Panch Mahal (a pyramidical structure in five storeys influence of Buddhist vihara).
Building of Tombs or
- Humayun's tomb at Delhi was the first Mughal tomb to be placed in the centre of a large park-like enclosure and it also marked the beginning of the use of white marble by the Mughals.
- Tomb of Salim Chisti at Fatehpur Sikri.
- Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra near Agra was started by Akbar himself, but completed by his son.
- Influence of Buddhist vihara could be seen in it.
- Tomb of Itimad-ud-daula at Agra, built by Nurjahan for her father, was constructed wholly of white marble with ‘pietra-dura'.
- Beginning of the practice of putting up buildings entirely of marble, and a new method of decoration, viz., ‘Pietra-dura’ (decoration of walls with floral designs made of semi-precious stones).
- Large scale use of ‘pietra-dura’ in his buildings, especially Taj Mahal, which is considered as the jewel of a builder’s art and which portrayed all Mughal architectural features.
- It was built at the cost of Rs. 50 lakhs at that time.
Building of Mosques or Masjids
- Three mosques, one each at Sambhal, Panipat (in Kabul Bagh), and Agra (old fort).
- Jami-Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri. It is one of the most magnificant buildings.
- Climax seen in Moti Masjid at Agra (built entirely in white marble) and Jama Masjid at Delhi (built in red sand stone).
- Continuation of Mughal architectural traditions into the 18th and early 19th centuries.
- Their influence in provincial and regional kingdoms.
- Many features of Mughal tradition in the Golden Temple at Amritsar.
- Revival of the old Indian tradition of painting and the introduction of new themes, new colours, and new forms.
- Organisation of painting in the imperial Karkhana under the leadership of two Persian master-painters who came to India with Humayun (Sayyid Ali Tabrezi and Khwaz Abdus Samad).
- Participation of both Hindus and Muslims in the work. Other painters: Muslim: Farukh Beg and Tamshad. Hindu: Sanwaldas, Lakesu, Mukund, Haribans, Daswant, Baswan, etc. Out of 17 leading painters, 13 were Hindus.
- Illustration of Persian book of fables, Akbarnama, Mahabharata and other Indian themes.
- Use of Indian colours and the replacement of the flat effect of Persian style by the roundedness of Indian style.
- Introduction of European painting by the Portuguese priests.
- Climax of painting due to his keen interest as well as his own versality.
- Special progress in portrait-painting and painting of animals. Muslim painters: Muhammad Nadir, Muhammad Murad, Aqa Raija, Ustad Mansur, etc. Hindu: Bishan Das, Keshava Manohar, Madhav, etc.
- Continuation of the tradition under Shahjahan.
- But Aurangzeb’s lack of interest in it led to the dispersal of the artists to different places and its development in other states like Rajasthan, Punjab etc.
Salient Features of Mughal School
- The Mughal pictures were small in size, and hence are known as ‘miniature paintings'
- Though the Mughal art absorbed the Indian atmosphere, it neither represented the Indian emotions, nor the scenes from the daily life of the Indians.
- It was mostly courtly and aristocratic.
- A keen appreciation of nature was another characteristic of the Mughal school.
- Remarkable excellence achieved by the Mughal school in portrait-painting.
- Excellence of the Mughal artists in colour composition.
Differences between Mughal School and Rajput School:
- The Mughal school was aristocratic and genuinely realistic, while the Rajput school was democratic and chiefly mystic.
- The latter, being mainly a folk art, mirrored the life of simple Indian villager, his religion and ceremonies, his pursuits and positions.
- The former dealt with the materialistic aspect of the animal life, while the latter dignified these creatures by giving them external forms of Hindu deities.
- If the former was more realisitic, the latter was spiritual. One aimed at the entertainment, the other at reflecting the serenity of Indian life and illustrating the religious beliefs of the people.
- Historical Works: Ain-i-Akbari and Akbar Namah by Abul Fazl; Muntakhab-ul-Tawarikh by Badauni; Tarikh-i-Alfi by Mulla Daud; Tabaqat-i-Akbari by Nizamuddin Ahmed, etc.
- Translations: Translation of different sections of the Mahabharata into Persian by many scholars under the title of Razm-Namah; the Ramayana by Badauni, Atharva Veda by Sarhindi; Lilawati ( a work in Mathematics) by Faizi; Rajatarangani by Shahabadi. Translation of some Greek and Arabic works also into Persian.
- Poetry : Gizali, Faizi, Muhammad Hussain Naziri, Sayyid Jamaluddin Urfi, Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, etc., were the famous poets.
- Wrote his autobiography, “Tuzur-i-Jahangiri”, famous for its style, fankness and sincerity of views.
- Patronised many scholars and learned men like Ghiyas Beg, Naqib Khan, Niamatullah, etc.
- Patronised many writers and historians like Abdul Hamid Lahori (Pad-shah Namah), Inayat Khan (Shahjahan Namah), etc,
- His son, Dara Shikoh, besides writing a treatise on the technical terms of Hindu pantheon, wrote a biography of the Muslim saints and got the Hindu scriptures like the Gita, Upanishads, etc., translated into Persian.
- He was a great scholar of Islamic theology and jurisprudence.
- Many important historical works were also written, Muntakhab-ul-Lubab by Khafi Khan; Alamgir Namah by Mirza Muhammad Kazim; Masir-i-Alamgiri by Muhammad Sagi, Futuhat-l-Alamgiri by Iswar Das, etc.
- In fact, Persian language and literature was so developed and widespread that Akbar dispensed with the practice of keeping revenue records in the local languages in addition to Persian.