VIII. Society and Culture under the Sultanate

*Industry and Trade* == *Learning, Literature, and the Arts*

        [[107]] WHILE the historians of the Delhi Sultanate have left full accounts that make possible a reconstruction of military and political affairs, unfortunately no such records exist for social and economic history. Scattered comments in the histories, however, as well as such works as the Travels of Ibn Battuta, the narrative poems of Amir Khusrau, and the table talk of Hazrat Nizam-ud-din, illuminate the social life of the time.

        Muslim society during the period was dominated by the Turkish rulers and nobles who sought to maintain their position not only against non-Muslims or the Muslims of indigenous origin, but also against other non-Turkish immigrants, or over other Turks whose long separation from the Turkish homeland marked them off themselves. It can be argued that most of the sultans and nobles were ultimately Turkish in origin, even though they bear different designations, but the first hundred years of the Delhi Sultanate was clearly a period of Turkish supremacy: rule by groups that regarded themselves as Turks, and heirs of a definite cultural and historical tradition. During this time they produced not only three great rulers, Iltutmish, Ala-ud-din Khalji, and Balban, but also a great poet—Amir Khusrau.

        One of the most interesting features of Islamic society during the sultanate is the long struggle of Indian Muslims—Hindu and Buddhist converts or their descendants—to assert themselves. They tried to gain power in the middle of the thirteenth century, but Balban and other Turkish nobles were too powerful for them. Their position gradually improved under the Khaljis, and under the Tughluqs a distinct change can be seen. Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq had an Indian mother, Muhammed Tughluq appointed a Hindu as the governor of Upper Sind, and the dominant personality of the reign of Firuz Tughluq was Khan-i-Jahan, a Hindu convert from Telingana.

        Although it took a long time for the Indo-Muslims to reach positions [[108]] of power, local usages and customs influenced social life and behavior at an early period. The Indian pan (betel leaf) soon became popular among the Muslims; the use of spices for seasoning food became common; and standard Muslim dishes such as pilau were transformed. The newcomers also adopted Indian headgear; but, more significantly, religious ceremonies, especially those related to marriage and death, showed a definite Indian influence. The popularity of music, as well as its forms, reflected the local atmosphere.

        The lives of the Muslim upper classes, especially in Delhi, were modeled on those of their Turkish and Persian counterparts, with the sports of a society that valued the horse—polo, riding, racing—being the chief outdoor amusements; these were the prerogatives of the rich. All classes enjoyed chess and backgammon, although the more orthodox regarded them with disapproval. Most of the Muslims, at least during the earliest period of the sultanate, were city dwellers, many of them attached to the garrisons. For this reason there was a good deal of communal life among the ordinary people. There were, for example, bakeries instead of individual kitchens, and hammams (Turkish baths) in the larger towns.

        As for the Hindus, their social life was relatively unchanged, although during military operations they suffered losses in property and life. Even when the harsh laws of war gave place to peace, the Hindus were burdened by certain handicaps. The loss of sovereignty itself was a major loss, especially in the case of the Brahmans and the Kshatriyas. The sultanate period was more difficult for them than any other period of Muslim rule. The liberal and conciliatory policy adopted by Muhammad ibn Qasim had given place to a new relationship, and the integration of the Hindu population into the political and administrative structure was not to come about until later. Muslim conquest of Sind and Multan and even of Lahore and Peshawar had not led to the same tensions and conflicts which followed their domination over the heart of Aryavarta. Even the indirect effect of the Mongol invasion of Muslim lands led to a stiffening of attitude, as the Muslim refugees, who had suffered so much at the hands of the pagan Mongols, were not disposed to be friendly towards the non-Muslims of India.

        [[109]] All these factors make the sultanate a period of tensions and conflicts. The theory of Turkish racial superiority which held sway during the rule of early Slave kings was not favorable to the employment of Hindus—or even indigenous Muslims—in high civil and military appointments, as was the case under the Arabs in Sind or even under the Ghaznavids. It would, however, be wrong to think that the Hindus were completely excluded from service. In rural areas the Hindu landed aristocracy still occupied a position of prestige and power, and the muqaddams, the chaudharis, and the khuts had important roles in the administration. The land system was not altered, and the Hindu peasant must have led much the same kind of life as he did before the coming of the Muslims. Trade and commerce also remained in Hindu control, for to the Muslim invader from Central Asia, the complex Hindu banking system would be unfamiliar and unworkable. The Hindu merchant might be heavily assessed, or, during a war have his movable goods confiscated, but he was too much a part of the intricate commercial structure to be easily replaced. The money-lender thrived under the new, as under the old, dispensation. We hear, for example, about the large incomes of the Muslim grandees and the splendor of their households, but Barani leaves us in no doubt that most, if not all, borrowed from the Hindu money lenders. "The maliks and the khans and the nobles of those days were constantly in debt, owing to their excessive generosity, expenditures, and beneficence. Except in their public halls no gold or silver could be found, and they had no savings on account of their excessive liberality. The wealth and riches of the Multani merchants and the shahs [money lenders] were from the interest realized from the old maliks and nobles of Delhi, who borrowed money from them to the maximum limit, and repaid their debts along with additional gifts from their [lands]. Whenever a malik or a khan held a banquet and invited notables, his agents would rush to the Multanis and shahs, sign documents, and borrow money with interest."/1/ That the money lenders recovered their money along with interest (forbidden under Islamic law), is an [[110]] indication of how vital they were to the system. Even the powerful Ala-ud-din Khalji who, seeing the danger to his government from the power of the Hindu rural chiefs, made a determined attempt to curb their power and reduce their wealth, found it necessary to make Hindu traders the main instrument of his price control measures./2/

Industry and Trade

        Hindus occupied an important role in foreign, as in domestic, trade, although foreign Muslim merchants, known as khurasani, also had a large share of it. The rulers of the coastal kingdoms in the Deccan accorded to foreign merchants certain extra-territorial rights and special concessions, in consideration of the heavy taxes which they paid to the treasury. An organized class of brokers handled the business on the coast and inside the country. The imports consisted mainly of certain luxury items for the upper classes, and a general supply of all kinds of horses and mules, in which India was deficient. Hindus had never attached any importance to cavalry, but seeing the success of the Muslim horsemen, they started to substitute horses for elephants. The exports included large quantities of food-grains and cloth. Among the agricultural products were wheat, millet, rice, pulses, oilseeds, scents, medicinal herbs, and sugar. Some of the countries around the Persian Gulf depended on the subcontinent for their entire food supply. Cotton cloth and other textiles were especially important items of export, particularly to Southeast Asia and East Africa, although some reached Europe. They were carried by the Arabs to the Red Sea and from there found their way to Damascus and Alexandria, from where they were distributed to the Mediterranean countries and beyond.

        Many industries of considerable size and importance developed during this period, the most important of which were textiles, various items of metal work, sugar, indigo, and in certain localities, paper. The Indian textile industry is very old, but the variety of cloth produced was originally limited. Taking advantage of the local talent, the [[111]] Muslims introduced a number of fine varieties of textiles, most of which had Persian or Arabic origin. Bengal was the main center of this industry, but Gujarat rivaled it as a supplier of the export trade during the sultanate period.

        Next in importance were a number of industries connected with metal work: the manufacture of swords, guns, and knives, as well as household needs such as trays and basins. Manufacture of sugar was also carried on on a fairly large scale, and in Bengal enough was produced to leave a surplus for export after meeting the local demand. Paper-making was a minor industry, of which little is known except that Delhi was the center of a considerable market.

        These industries were mainly privately owned, but the government equipped and managed large-scale karkhanas, or factories, for supplying its requirements. The royal factories at Delhi sometimes employed as many as four thousand weavers for silk alone. The example of the sultan of Delhi was followed by the rulers of the regional kingdoms, and the contribution of the state to the development of the industry was not a minor one.

        In certain aspects of social life, the Hindus had virtual autonomy during the sultanate. This was in accordance with the established axiom of Islamic law that while Muslims are governed by the Shariat, non-Muslim zimmis are subject to their own laws and social organization, but it was also a product of the Indian situation. The Muslim rulers from the days of the Arab occupation of Sind accepted the right of the village and caste panchayats to settle the affairs of their community. This meant that the Hindu villages remained small autonomous republics, as they had been since ancient times, and in commerce and industry the Hindu guilds were supreme. This position continued throughout the Muslim rule, but during the sultanate, when the provincial administration had not been properly organized, Hindu autonomy outside the principal towns was particularly effective.

        It is often forgotten—and Muslim court chroniclers were not anxious to mention it—that a large number of independent or quasi-independent Hindu chiefs remained after the establishment of the sultanate. Some of them were rajas, or kings; others were only petty chieftains, controlling a few villages. Many of them belonged to old [[112]] families, but new principalities grew up even after the establishment of Muslim power at Delhi. Rajputs often found new kingdoms for themselves in remote, easily defended areas in Rajputana and the Himalayas. From such movements during the sultanate come also some of the large landed estates still held by Rajputs in Oudh and in Bihar. In these predominantly Hindu areas the old religion was fostered, and its cultural expressions kept alive even in the periods of greatest Islamic power.

Learning, Literature, and the Arts

        After the sack of Baghdad in 1258, Delhi was perhaps the most important cultural center in the Muslim East. Heir to the traditions of Ghazni and Lahore, its importance increased when the Mongols destroyed the cultural centers of Central and Western Asia, and the poets, scholars and men of letters from these areas took refuge in Muslim India. Balban, who gave high offices of the state only to persons of good families, welcomed these distinguished refugees, and many illustrious families of Muslim India trace their origin to this period. This influx bore fruit in a large number of works, many of which are lost, but the contemporary historians attest to their worth. During the reign (1296–1316) of Ala-ud-din Khalji the general prosperity engendered by his conquests enabled the nobles, and not just the sultan, to become literary patrons. This probably explains why Barani could devote fourteen pages to an account of the scholars, poets, preachers, philosophers, physicians, astronomers, and historians who thronged Delhi in the days of Ala-ud-din Khalji. If the surviving poetry of Khusrau, the historical works of Barani, and the table talk of Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya are any indication of the cultural vitality and richness of the age, one can well understand why Amir Khusrau and others felt that Delhi was the metropolis of the Muslim East.

        Yet despite the cultural eminence of the capital, it cannot be claimed that the sultanate is a period marked by that solid scholarship and study of sciences which distinguished Baghdad and Cordova. The reason is obvious. Learned and gifted men had come to India, but [[113]] without their libraries. Those who were escaping with their lives could not be expected to carry heavy loads of books over long distances. We get a glimpse of this in the case of Fakhr-i-Mudabbir, who fled from Ghazni without even his family papers, and had to wait for an opportunity to go back to reclaim them. The result was that only those cultural activities gained prominence which, like poetry, belles-lettres, local history, architecture, and music, were not dependent on accumulated stores of knowledge.

        Probably for the same reason—the lack of libraries—great educational institutions of the kind found in Baghdad and Cairo did not develop in India. There were, however, schools and colleges in Delhi and all the important provincial capitals.

        In Muslim society, teaching and the promotion of educational enterprises are regarded as necessary marks of religious vocation, and the Muslim state is expected to facilitate this by providing teachers with ample means of subsistence. This was the procedure generally adopted during Muslim rule in India, and the official in charge of religious endowments, the sadr-i-jahan, arranged for the grant of tax-free lands to imams, qazis, and other religious groups who provided education, particularly in Islamic subjects. This education was usually on the elementary level, but the system also provided for the maintenance of scholars who had specialized in different branches of learning. We find even nobles and distinguished men of affairs teaching subjects in which they had become proficient. Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya, for example, studied under Shams-ul-Mulk, who became the wazir of Balban. The children of nobles were taught at their own residences by private tutors, whose guidance was often available for other students also.

        For advanced students madrasas, or colleges, were set up by pious and public-spirited rulers, and this activity received special attention during the early period. Two major madrasas called Muizziya and Nasiriya were established during the beginning of Muslim rule at Delhi. Details about these madrasas are lacking, but probably one of them was the college built by Iltutmish and repaired a century later by Firuz Tughluq. Similar steps to establish educational institutions were taken by Muslim rulers in the distant provinces, and we read [[114]] of Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji setting up madrasas at Devkot and other places in Bengal. Firuz Tughluq was unusual in that he looked after the institutions established by his predecessors; probably most of these establishments fell into decay when the original founders passed away, and the grants made for the madrasas were diverted to other purposes.

        Historians give little information about the staff or the curriculum of madrasas, but some details are available for one founded by Firuz Tughluq near Hauz-i-Alai in Delhi. Barani has given a lengthy account of the beautiful building and gardens which provided a center around which people built their houses. Both Barani and Mutahar, a well-known poet, praise the comprehensive knowledge of Maulana Jala-ud-din Rumi, the head of the institution. The main subjects taught seem to have been religious—tafsir (interpretation of the Quran), hadith (tradition), and fiqh (jurisprudence).

        The intellectual activity of the schools owed much to the refugee scholars from Central Asia, Persia, and Iraq who came to Delhi in the thirteenth century. After this influx had ceased and the Mongols had established their rule in the northwestern borderland, communication between Central Asia and northern India became difficult. It appears that in the Deccan, where contact was maintained with Iran by the sea route, intellectual activity during the later centuries encompassed a wider range than was the position in the north. In northern India, apart from religious subjects, literature, history, mysticism, and ethics were the principal subjects studied. In the Deccan, scientific subjects also received attention. The great Bahmani king, Firuz (1397–1422), for example, encouraged botany, geometry, and logic. He was interested also in astronomy, and in 1407 started work on an observatory near Daulatabad. The untimely death of Hakim Hashim Gilani, the astronomer who was to supervise the observatory, put an end to the project. When Sayyid Gisu Daraz, who has left a large number of books on mysticism and who was famous for his knowledge of religious subjects, reached the Deccan, Firuz went to meet him. The historian Firishta records that the sultan found the saint lacking in solid scholarship, and made no secret of his disappointment. The fact that Firuz was not alone in intellectual pursuits is evident from the [[115]] account of a prince who used to teach students mathematics (including Euclid), theology, and rhetoric./3/ Promotion of learning in the Deccan was largely the work of Persian statesmen and scholars whom the rulers had attracted from Iran, and an interesting monument to the age is the ruined college of the Bahmani minister, Mahmud Gawan, in Bidar. It was a magnificent building, as can be seen from its beautiful minarets and facade, but it was badly damaged during the wars of the Deccan kings with Aurangzeb.

        The one scientific subject that received considerable attention in the schools was medicine. The earliest work on medicine, of which an imperfect manuscript copy has survived, was written about 1329 in the reign of Muhammad bin Tughluq. Its author, Zia Muhammad, went to the Deccan under the orders of the sultan. His book, Majmua-i-ziai, based on Arabic and Indian sources, gives local counterparts for Arabian medicines as well as the prescriptions of Hindu physicians. Following this work, other writers combined Greek and Indian works. The history of Indo-Islamic medicine has not yet been carefully studied, but it is reasonably certain that in the books written in India during the sultanate one sees the blending of the three streams of Greek, Arabic, and Hindu medical knowledge. The most famous of these works is the Tibb-i-Sikandari, written by the court physician Mian Bhuwa about 1512. It draws freely on the classical Sanskrit writers, and it long remained a standard textbook for followers of the indigenous medical systems.

        Of the purely literary works of the early period, very few have survived. This is especially true of poetry, for barring the works of major poets like Amir Khusrau and Hasan, only those poems have been preserved which, because of their topical nature, were included in general histories. Examples are the poems of Sangreza on the arrival of Iltutmish's patent of sovereignty from the Abbasid caliphate and his verses on the accession of Iltutmish's son or Ruhani's poem on Iltutmish's conquest of Ranthambhor. While these poems have the usual limitations of occasional poetry, they indicate high poetic skill.

        The early men of letters represented a trans-Indus tradition. Most [[116]] of them had received their education beyond the border, and although they had settled down in Islamic India, an indigenous literary tradition was slow in developing. The two most important representatives of the early tradition were Muhammad Aufi and Muhammad bin Mansur Qureshi, generally known as Fakhr-i-Mudabbir. Aufi (c.1172–1242), a native of Bukhara who lived in Lahore and Delhi, was the author of the earliest extant collection of biographies of Persian poets, Lubabul-Albab. He also completed the voluminous encyclopedia of anecdotes, Jawami-al-Hikayat, which, apart from its literary interest, is a mine of curious and interesting information relating to this and earlier periods. The major work of Fakhr-i-Mudabbir, who lived in Lahore at the beginning of the thirteenth century, was a study of statecraft; this has already been discussed in Chapter VII.

        The first Persian poet of eminence who was born in India was Reza, or, as he was sometimes known, Sangreza. He was Iltutmish's secretary. The most distinguished writer of the early sultanate, however, was Amir Khusrau (c.1253–1325). His father, a junior Turkish officer under Iltutmish, had married a daughter of Rawat-i-Arz, Balban's famous minister. Khusrau showed literary promise at an early age, and, after spending some time at the provincial court of Oudh, became attached at first to Prince Bughra Khan, the governor of Samana and later of Bengal, and subsequently to Prince Muhammad, the heir-designate of Balban, who maintained a magnificent court at Multan. The prince lost his life in a skirmish with the Mongols in 1285, and the poet went to Delhi. Balban's successor, Kaiqubad, was Khusrau's first royal patron. In all, seven rulers were to be his patrons, but it is doubtful whether he was greatly concerned by the kaleidoscopic changes of royalty.

        Apart from lyrics, Khusrau wrote poems relating to contemporary events. Qiran-us-Saadain, completed in 1289, gives an account of the historic meeting of Bughra Khan and Kaiqubad on the banks of the river Sarju, and contains an interesting description of the Delhi of those days. Miftah-ul-Futuh (1291) is a versified account of the exploits of Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khalji; in Ashiqa (1315) is an account of the romance of the Gujarati princess Deval Devi and Prince Khizr Khan, son of Ala-ud-din Khalji. The latter's conquests are the subject [[117]] matter of Khazain-ul-Futuh (1311), an ornate prose work, while Nuh Sipihr, completed in 1318, celebrates the reign of Qutb-ud-din Mubarik Shah. In this book Amir Khusrau challenged the poets of Iran and sang of his native land, its hoary past, its love of learning, its flowers, and its fair, intelligent people. Tughlaq Nama describes the successful expedition of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq against the usurper Khusrau Khan. Khusrau was also among the earliest writers of Hindi poetry, and though the origins of the Hindi poems attributed to him are doubtful, he referred to his Hindi verses in the introduction to one of his Persian diwans. He also played a major role in the development of Indian music, as noted below.

        The work of Hasan (c.1252–1337), a friend of Khusrau, was praised by Jami, the great Persian poet, a rare distinction for an Indian writer. He wrote prose as well as verse, and his Fawaid-ul-Fuad, a record of the table-talk of his spiritual guide, Nizam-ud-din Auliya, is a literary classic. Equally interesting, though not so well known, was Ziya Nakhshabi (d.1350), who was a master of simple and eloquent prose. His Tuti Nama (The Book of the Parrot) was based on a Sanskrit original. It has been translated into Turkish, German, English, and many Indian languages. His other translations include the Kok Shastra, a Sanskrit text on erotics.

        While there were many distinguished names in poetry, perhaps the most important literary contribution during the sultanate was in the field of history. Since classical Hindu culture produced almost no historical literature, the Muslim works are of special significance for Indian historiography. Written by contemporaries who had taken part in the events they describe, these histories are of enormous value for an understanding of the period. They are marred, however, by certain defects which their very excellence tends to conceal. One is that many of the chronicles were written specifically for certain rulers and nobles whom the historians glorified at the expense of rivals; another is the tendency to picture the conquerors as actuated by unselfish and religious motives. These peculiarities of method can generally be discounted, however, and the historians do not seem to have falsified historical facts even when they were writing panegyrics.

        The number of historical works of the sultanate period which have [[118]] reached us is not large, but the works possess rich variety. The historians of the period, many of whom have already been mentioned, include Barani, Fakhr-i-Mudabbir, Hasan Nizami, Minhaj-us-Siraj, Aufi, Khusrau, Yahya, and Isami. Most of them occupied high official positions and wrote from personal knowledge. Barani is the most interesting, but he is not very particular about dates (normally the strong point of the Muslim historians), and this detracts from the value of his book, Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi. But he wrote history as an artist, selecting and carefully arranging his material so that his book, instead of being a chronicle of events, emphasized the characteristics of various rulers and different reigns. He does not confine himself to the kings, but gives details about the political philosophies of different monarchs and leading men of the times, the literary and the religious history, the prices in the market, and other matters of concern to the ordinary people. Even more interesting is the gallery of portraits which he has brought to life by a skillful analysis of personalities and by providing those significant small details which most Indian historians omit.

        As already noted, the rise of regional kingdoms in the fifteenth century played an extremely important role in the dissemination of Islamic culture./4/ One significant feature of this disintegration of the central authority, with its dependence on Persian as the official language, was the rise of regional languages. Hindu kings had given their patronage to Sanskrit as the language of religion and the classics; Muslim rulers felt no such compulsion, and supported the common languages of the people. It was Muslim rulers, therefore, who were responsible for many of the first translations of the Sanskrit classics into the provincial languages. The Muslim rulers of Bengal engaged scholars to translate the Ramayana and the Mahabharata into Bengali. Maladhar Vasu translated the Bhagavata Purana into Bengali under the patronage of Sultan Husain Shah (r. 1493–1518), and Chuti Khan, governor of Chittagong, employed Srikara Nadi to translate parts of the Asvamedha Parva of the Mahabharata into Bengali. In Kashmir, Hindu literature and philosophy were studied enthusiastically at the court of Zain-ul-Abidin (1420–1470). Rajatarangini, one of [[119]] the few histories written in Sanskrit, was translated into Persian, with a supplement to bring the account up to date. Other works on music and mathematics were composed by Hindu scholars at the Kashmir court. In the south the Muslim rulers of Golkunda and Bijapur employed Hindus as ministers, and maintained the state records in the Marathi language. Cultural histories of the various provincial governments are yet to be written, but a similar process was at work at all places.

        Among the nonliterary arts, music, rather than painting or sculpture, underwent important developments during the period of the sultanate. As already noted, Indian music had made an impact on the Arab systems as early as the conquest of Sind, and the interchange between the two forms was even more fruitful when the rich heritage of Persia and Central Asia was added. The result was the creation in North India of a new type of music, quite different from traditional Indian music which maintained its hold in South India.

        Credit for this important work of synthesis is given to the poet Amir Khusrau, whose fame helped to give prestige to the new music, which had as its rival in the Delhi court the musical modes favored by the Turkish rulers. The interest of the Chishti Sufis in "Hindustani" music and its practical cultivation by them further ensured its popularity. The next stage was reached during the establishment of the independent Muslim kingdom at Jaunpur, not far from Benares, and Kanauj, the old centers of Hindu arts. Here music received special attention, both at the royal court and in the Sufi monasteries. The two most important Indian Muslim musicians of the day were Sultan Husain Sharqi, the last king of Jaunpur, and the contemporary saint, Pir Bodhan of Barnawa. The saint's dwelling became a rendezvous for musicians from Delhi, the Deccan, and Jaunpur. The contribution of Sultan Husain to the development of Indian music was much more specific. He is regarded as the original founder of the khiyal (or romantic) school of music, which slowly matured and took its final shape in the days of the later Mughals, particularly under Muhammad Shah. Related to a Hindu devotional form that dealt with the love of Krishna for the milkmaids, the khiyal transformed the devotional theme to thinly veiled invocations of human love and romance.

        [[120]] Another regional kingdom where music was highly cultivated after the breakdown of the sultanate was Gwalior. Here the ruler, Raja Man Singh (r.1486–1516), was a Hindu, but the chief musician at his court, Nayak Mahmud, was a Muslim. Under his leadership a band of musicians systematized Indian music in the light of the changes it had undergone since the advent of the Muslims. This resulted in the compilation of Man Kautuhal, which contains almost all the airs introduced by the Muslim musicians./5/

        Probably the greatest artistic achievement of the sultanate was neither literature nor music, but architecture. As with the musicians, the creativity of the Muslim architects was nourished by the mature styles of both the existing Islamic and Hindu traditions. The Muslims brought to India the experience gained in the great buildings of Cairo, Baghdad, Cordova, and Damascus, and they were able to draw upon the skill of Indian stonemasons. The result was a profusion of mosques, palaces, and tombs unmatched in any other Islamic country.

        In the same year in which Delhi was occupied, the foundation of the mosque of Quwwat-ul-Islam was laid by Qutb-ud-din Aibak to commemorate the capture of Delhi and, as the name implies, to glorify the power of Islam. Aibak however spent most of his brief reign at Lahore, and adornment of the new Muslim capital was essentially the work of his successor, Iltutmish. He more than doubled the size of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, built the Qutb Minar, one of the world's loveliest towers, erected the buildings for Nasiriya Madrasa, and, to meet the needs of the growing population of Delhi for water, excavated the great water reservoir, the Hauz-i-Shamsi. He also changed architectural methods. Previously material from Hindu buildings had been used for constructing mosques, but in 1230, when he extended the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, he used stone especially quarried for the purpose. This gave the addition a more Islamic appearance.

        In architecture, as in other spheres of culture, the Indo-Islamic society was enriched by the dislocation in Central Asia and Persia caused by the Mongol invasion. Not only scholars but artisans as well came to Delhi as refugees, and they found a ready market for their [[121]] skills in the expanding Muslim state. One important result was that the indigenous Indian artistic element ceased to be dominant in Delhi during this period. By the time of Ala-ud-din Khalji, Muslim traditions had become firmly established on Indian soil, with the result that methods of construction were revolutionized and ornament became an integral part of the scheme, rather than a quasi-independent accessory, as was the case in the earlier buildings. The Jama'at Khana mosque, constructed in the reign of Ala-ud-din, is the earliest surviving example in India of a mosque built wholly in accordance with Muslim ideas.

        In the provincial capitals, however, the influence of the refugee artisans was slight, and the indigenous styles remained important. In Bengal the Muslim rulers decorated their buildings with carving which is obviously the work of Hindu craftsmen, and in Gujarat they adapted the local style to Muslim needs to create some of India's most beautiful buildings. Yet even where most was owed to native Indian skills and tradition, the peculiar Muslim architectural characteristics of spaciousness and graceful forms are present. Furthermore, the Muslims made full use of concrete and mortar, which were known but scarcely used before their arrival in India. "Thanks to the strength of their binding properties, it was possible for the Muslim rulers to span wide spaces with their arches, to roof immense areas with their domes, and in other ways to achieve effects of grandeur such as the Indians had never dreamt of."/6/

        The Tughluqs in the fourteenth century introduced a new and austere phase in architecture. Muhammad Tughluq, who shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, had no interest in the old city. The many buildings erected in Delhi during the reign of his successor Firuz show a severe simplicity, possibly due as much to the need for economy as Firuz's own strict orthodoxy. Hindu influences were reduced to the minimum, and Tughluq buildings are lacking in elegance and refinement. Under the Lodis there reemerged a vigorous and catholic spirit of design, replete with creative energy and imagination. [[122]] The explanation is probably that with the conversion of the Mongols to Islam and the reduction of chaos in Central Asia, inspiration from Persia was now available in architecture as in literature. The Lodis were soon replaced by the Mughals, under whom Persian influences became even more dominant.


/1/ Ziya-ud-din Barani, Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, edited by S. A. Khan (Calcutta, 1862), pp. 210. For a general discussion of social life, see K. M. Asraf, Life and Condition of the People of Hindustan (Delhi, 1959).
/2/ I. H. Qureshi, The Administration of the Sultanate of Delhi (Karachi, 1958), p. 226.
/3/ N. N. Law, Promotion of Learning in India during Muhammadan Rule (London, 1916), p. 181, n. 1.
/4/ See p. 79, in *Chapter VI*.
/5/ S. A. Halim, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Pakistan, vol. I (1956).
/6/ Sir John Marshall, Cambridge History of India (Cambridge, 1928), III, 573.

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