MUGHALS – this word strikes different chords with different people. Well, according to us, you could even use this as a rapid fire question. It tells you what is the one thing that really interests a person!
It is unsurprising that in medieval history, the rulers, their lifestyle and their culture deeply affected the society. Moreover if it is the Mughal era that we are talking about, there is surely a lot which the Mughals have contributed towards the Indian society.
In decades of ruling over India, it would be surreal if the Mughals did not leave an indelible mark on Indian society and way of life. You could consider the extremely subjects-interactive Akbar, or their grandeur as the reason behind this impact, but it surely has made India more colorful and diverse than it already was. Even though Mughals derive directs descent from both Timur and Chengiz Khan, the Mughal rule began in India with the victory of Babur over Ibrahim Lodi, the last ruler of Delhi Sultanate, in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. It was briefly interrupted by the Suri dynasty when Sher Shah Suri came to power between Humayun and Akbar, but it continued to be the stable Delhi empire till 1858 when the British Crown overtook complete direct power of India. The power of the Mughals can be estimated by the fact that all rebels of the British Empire decided to declare Bahadur Shah Zafar, the then Mughal descendant, as the emperor of India, despite his old age and dearth of power, over the other more powerful empire of Rajputs or Marathas.
So what all did Mughals give to India, well, pretty much a lot! From those tempting food cuisines to splendid jewelry, Mughals had it all. As different parts of the country decided to adopt different things from the Mughal era, we can surely say that Mughals have imperviated our lives deep down to the grassroot of Indian society.
Here we bring to you the list of top 10 things that the Mughals have given to India in their rule of over 300 years.
With the declaration of another updated list of 7 wonders of the world, India maintains its place in the list with the ever splendid Taj Mahal. What would be a better way to start this list than the Taj? Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor, is the pivotal reason behind India’s place in the 7 wonders with this monument that he built for his loving wife Mumtaz Mahal. There are innumerable stories around the Taj, some of which state that the emperor had all his workers’ arms amputated after the monument was completed so that no one could build another Taj like this one. Well, no body surely can replicate the unimaginable beauty of the Taj. Apart from Taj Mahal, the Mughal era has contributed immensely to Indian architecture in terms of both structures and style. Other famous monuments include the City of Fathepur Sikri, Humayun’s tomb, Buland Darwaza and Shalimar Gardens among other structures.
Do we not absolutely fall in love with those sumptuous Biryani bites which spread their fragrance so far and wide! Well guess who you must thank for introducing them to your table? Mughals! The Mughlai food epitomized their way of life – it is not best if it is not grand! The most popular dishes include Kebabs, Kofta, Pulao, Biryani, Mughlai Paratha, Murg Tandoor, Shahi Chicken Korma, Shahjehani Murg Masala, Kofta Shorba among others. Even if most dishes are non-vegetarian in nature, the vegetarians sure could not keep their hands off them and most dishes have been adapted to their vegetarian versions. Paneer Pasanda, Veg Biryani, Navratan Korma, Nargisi Kofta are some vegetarian versions of delectable Mughal seasonings. Desserts also did not remain untouched by the Mughal effect. Shahi tukda, Kalakand, Barfi, Falooda, Kheer, Firni, Sheer Korma and even Kulfi are derived from the Mughal rule. Yes, you need to order some of this right away, so do we!
As suitably expressed in the movie Jodhaa Akbar, the Mughal language was very similar to Hindi, but is popularly known as the highly etiquette laden version of Hindi. Although Persian was the official language of the empire, the rulers and ministers later resorted to Urdu – highly Persianized, with a tinge of Arabic and Turkish. The language was written in the Perso-Arabic script called Nastaliq, and was quickly adopted by people in India. Most famous literary works are in Urdu, and how can we forget great Shayars like Ghalib and others who used Urdu to touch our hearts. Most Bollywood songs, till date, use at least one word from Urdu. Today, Urdu is one of the official languages of India and you could still see boards in Delhi written in Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu.
India is referred to as a basket of all arts, how could the Mughals leave music behind then? The Mughal emperors were not only patrons of music, but many of them wrote poetry themselves. Humayun had fixed Mondays and Thursdays for musicians, he also saved the life of one of his prisoners from massacre only because he was a musician. But he was not the only Mughal music lover. According to Abul Fazal. “Akbar was the master of such knowledge of the science of music as trained musicians do not possess; and he had likewise an excellent hand at performing especially on the Sakarah (kettle-drum).” How can we forget one of Akbar’s navratnas – Tansen. Mughal dynasty has most certainly contribute dto music in the form of Qawwalis, Ghazal and Shayari apart from other musical instruments.
Did we girls not fall in love with Deepika Padukone’s dress in the song Mastani? Well, any girl would look like a princess in dresses like those. Mughal era considerably changed the dressing pattern of Indians, but what is most striking is, till today, around 500 years later, Mughal dresses have more fans than any other form of clothing. Dresses made out of finest muslin, velvet and brocade were not only expensive but splendid in their look. We cant blame them. Do we no love those Anarkalis with huge “gher”? Thank the Mughals for making you feel like a princess in 2016!
As vividly displayed in Mughal-e-azam and Jodha Akbar, Mughal jewelry was as beautiful, if not more, than Mughal architecture. The jewelry was always heavy and all women were clad with it from head to toe. Ornaments are worn not only for the purpose of attracting the attention of others around but also as a distinctive mark of status, rank and dignity. Most of the traveler agree that ornaments were the very joy of the hearts of Mughal women. Different types of head ornaments, ear ornaments, nose ornaments, necklaces, hand ornaments, waist belts and ankle/foot ornaments were used in the Mughal Empire. Do we not absolutely adore those lovely Tikkas and Jhumars?
The Mughal warfare was the major reason behind establishment and success of Mughal rule in India. When the Mughals invaded India in the 11th and 12th century, they recorded victory despite having a small army, due to their art of warfare. They introduced those equipment and techniques which were unheard of in Indian subcontinent. Their soldiers were shielded from head to toe and hence were invincible towards any physical damage. The Mughals introduced daggers made of superior alloys and introduced gun fire in Indian battles. After all, music and dance weren’t the only art they were good at!
We all have heard those figures of speech when somebody refers to a lavish, extravagant as a “Mughal king”. Mughals undoubtedly introduced extravagance and luxury to the Indian society. From expansive gardens, sumptuous food, expensive clothing and priceless jewels, Mughals exuded grandeur in each of their aspect. The Koh-i-noor and the famous Peacock throne of Shahjahan, are all contributions of the Mughal era. Those larger than life palaces, studded with pearls are an epitome of Mughal splendor.
2) Love stories
Mughals were not only courageous warriors, but also intense lovers. Undoubtedly it was not a time when love was openly accepted or talked about, but surely did not stop them from establishing stories of love. From Salim-Anarkali, Jodha-Akbar or Bajirao-Mastani, the Mughals never let caste or societal stature act as an obstacle in love. How can we forget the monument of love – the Taj Mahal, which Shajahan built in memory of the wife he loved the most? It is said that wen Aurangzeb imprisoned his father Shahjahan, he would look through the window from which the Taj was visible in all its glory and that is where he later died in peace. The Mughals surely taught us how to love!
If contributions to music, food and clothing weren’t enough, the Mughals beautified the future generations as well. The Mughals, descendants of Persians, Turks and Mongols, were famous for their extremely beautiful women. They not only established those women in history but also mixed with the Indian population to rear a mixed generation. Apart from the famous kings who married Hindu princesses and bore Hindu-Mughal heirs, even the ministers and courtesans engaged in marriage alliance in India, leading to their contribution in human beauty, combining the Persian and Indian features.
The Mughals surely can never be talked about enough. We see their impression in most things around us. We are sure you would see that impact around you each day. From mutton rogan josh to anarkalis, the Mughals do not seem 500 years old! They have indeed made our society more grand and diverse! Here is a shout out to India, a land open to the best of all cultures since ancient time.