Source: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, A'IN-I AKBARI (3 vols.). Vol. 1 trans. H. Blochmann, 1927. Vol. 1, pp. 52-54. Ed. *ZDJ*

Book 1, Chapter 19: The Ensigns of Royalty

The Shamsa of the arch of royalty is a divine light, which God directly transfers to kings, without the assistance of men; and kings are fond of external splendor, because they consider it an image of the Divine glory. I shall mention some of the insignia used at present.

1. The Awrang, or throne, is made of several forms; some are inlaid with precious stones, and others are made of gold, silver, etc. 2. The Chatr, or umbrella, is adorned with the most precious jewels, of which there are never less than seven. 3. The Saya-ban is of an oval form, a yard in length, and its handle, like that of the umbrella, is covered with brocade and ornamented with precious stones. One of the attendants holds it, to keep off the rays of the sun. It is also called Aftabgir. 4. The Kawkaba of which several are hung up before the assembly hall.

These four insignia are used by kings only.

5. The Alam, or standard. When the king rides out, not less than five of these are carried along with the Qur, wrapped up in scarlet cloth bags. On days of festivity, and in battle, they are unfurled. 6. The Chatrtoq, a kind of Alam, but smaller than it, is adorned with the tails of Tibetan yaks. 7. The Tumantoq is like the Chatroq, but longer. Both insignia are flags of the highest dignity, and the latter is bestowed upon great nobles only. 8. The Jhanda is an Indian flag. The Quri necessarily contains a flag of each kind; but on great occasions many are displayed.

Of musical instruments used in the Naqarahkhana, I may mention, 1. the Kuwarga, commonly called damama; there are eighteen pair of them more or less; and they give a deep sound. 2. The naqara, twenty pair, more or less. 3. The duhul, which of four are used. 4. The Karna is made of gold, silver, brass, and other metals, and they never blow fewer than four. 5. The surna of the Persian and Indian kinds; they blow nine together. 6. The nafir, of the Persian, European, and Indian kinds; they blow some of each kind. 7. The sing is of brass and made in the form of a cow’s horn; they blow two together. 8. The sanj, or cymbal, of which three pair are used.

Formerly the band played four gharis before the commencement of the night, and likewise four gharis before daybreak; now they play first at midnight, when the sun commences his ascent, and the second time at dawn. One ghari before sunrise, the musicians commence to blow the surna, and wake up those that are asleep; and one ghari after sunrise, they play a short prelude, when they beat the kuwarga a little, whereupon they blow the karna, the nafir, and the other instruments, without however, making use of the naqara; after a little pause the surnas are blown again, the time of the music being indicated by the nafirs. One hour later the naqaras commence, when all musicians raise “the auspicious strain.” After this they go though the following seven performances. 1. The Mursali, which is the name of a tune played by the mursil; and afterwards the bardasht, which consists likewise of certain tunes, played by the whole band.  This is followed by a pianissimo, and a crescendo passing over into a diminuendo; 2. The playing of the four tunes, called ikhlati, ibtida’I, shirazi, qalandari nigar qatra, or nukhud qatra, which occupies an hour. 3. The playing of the old Khwarizmite tunes.  Of these his Majesty has composed more than two hundred, which are the delight of young and old, especially the tunes Jalalshahi, Mahamirkarkat¸ and the Nawrozi 4. the swelling play of the cymbals. 5. the playing of Ba miyan dawr. 6. The passing into the tunes azfar, also called rah-I bala, after which comes a pianissimo. 7. The Khwarizmite tunes, played by the Mursil, after which he passes into the mursali; he then pauses, and commences the blessings of his Majesty, when the whole band strikes up a pianissimo. Then follows the reading of beautiful sentences and poems. This also lasts for an hour. Afterwards the surna-players perform for another hour, when the whole comes to a proper conclusion.

His Majesty has such a knowledge of the science of music as trained musicians do not possess; and he is likewise an excellent hand in per­forming, especially on the naqara.

Mansabdars, Ahadis, and other troops are employed in this depart­ment. The monthly pay of a foot-soldier does not exceed 340 and is not less than 74 dams.

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