Cultural & Religious Life During Mughals

  • This phase can be called the second classical phase of northern India after the Gupta period. Here, Indian traditions were amalgamated with the Turko-Iranian culture brought by the Mughals.
  • Liberalism: Due to assimilation of Bhakti and Sufism in the society, liberal and humane ideals began penetrating among the people. Regions such as Marathi speakers began questioning the ideas of orthodox Hindu practices. Even at the royalty stage, rulers like Akbar and Sikh leaders showed the righteous path of equality and brotherhood (Akbar abolished the jizya and Guru Nanak began community dining (langer). 

Architecture During Mughal Times

  • Created a synthesis of pre-Turkish technique, i.e., trabeated with arcuate resulting into a blending and emergence of a distinct style of their own.
  • Revival of temple building activity in different regions
  • Proliferation of two important public buildings, sarais & bridges, facilitating travel and trade across the country.
  • They built magnificent forts, palaces, gates, public buildings, mosques, baolis (water tank or well) etc.
  • Use of running water even in their palaces and pleasure resorts was a special feature of the Mughal.
  • Babur was very fond of gardens and laid out in Nishat Bagh in Kashmir, Shalimar at Lahore etc.
  • Some temples were selectively rampaged and converted into mosques and thrived again with the end of zealot.

Painting During Mughal Times

  • The Mughals took a keen interest in paintings and patronized various painters, which reflected Indo-Persian synthesis. Originating from the time of Babur, the art of Mughal painting flourished with the time.
  • Paintings of the Mughal Era depict various themes ranging from fables of Persian literature to Hindu Mythology, like portraits of the royalty, details of the court life, wildlife, hunting scenes, and battle illustrations. Many of the paintings produced are now housed at various museums around the world.

Language and Literature During Mughal Times

  • Babar’s reign: Babur whose mother-tongue was Turkish wrote his ‘Tuzuk-i-Baburi’ (Memories of Babur) in Turki. During the reign of Akbar, it was translated into Persian.
  • Humayun’s reign: During his time, his sister Gulabadan Begum wrote ‘Humayunama’. Humayun also constructed a big library.
  • Akbar’s reign: period saw the production of a lot of literature of a very high standard. Most of his ‘Navratans’ (Nine Jewels) were great literary figures. Abul Fazal was a great historian, philosopher and scholar of the period. He is famous for two important works ‘Akbarnama’ and ‘Ain-i-Akbari’.
  • Badauni, a historian of fame wrote, ‘Muntakhab-ul-Tawarikh’. Another noted historian Nizam-ud-Din wrote ‘Tabaqat-i-Akbari’ the Arthava Veda, the Ramayana and the Mahabharat.
  • Sur, Das, a blind band of Agra wrote Sursagar’ in Brij Bhasha.
  • Sant Tulsi Das produced the immortal Ramcharitmanas’ in Awadhi, the eastern Hindi dialect.
  • Jahangir’s reign: Jahangir himself wrote his autobiography ‘Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri’. Other important literary and historical works were ‘lqbalanam-i-Jahangir and ‘Masir-i-Jahangir’.
  • Shahjahan’s reign: Shah Jahan’s courtier Abul Hamid Lahori wrote ‘Padshanama’. Prince Dara Shikoh was a great scholar of Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit. Because of his patronage, the ‘Upanishads’, the Bhagavad-Gita’, the ‘Yoga Vashista’ and the ‘Ramayana’ were translated in Persian.
  • Aurangzeb’s reign: The most important work during the period was ‘Fatwa-i-Alamgiri’—a digest of Muslim law. Other works were ‘Muntakhab-ul ‘-a famous history by Khafi Khan and ‘Nuskho-i- Dilkusha’ by Bhimsen.

Music During Mughal Times

  • The real credit of music development goes to the Bhakti movement of Medieval India. These Bhakti saints brought new musical instruments and Ragas (Compositions). Best example could be Amir Khusrau.
  • When Mughals came to power, they patronised music and its exponents. Rulers like Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan were top preserver of music under Mughal rule.
  • Ain-e-Akbari (by Abul Fazl) gave insights about 36 court musicians during Akbar rule. It included Shihab Khan and Purbin Khan. Akbar also took the service of Tan Sen (invented Raga Depok/Deepak) from Raja Man Singh.
  • Shahjahan was himself a singer and patronised classical Hindustani music in the Mughal court.
  • Aurangzeb was himself a veena players but later discontinued his court poets due to economic reasons.
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