The establishment of the Delhi Sultanate led to the beginning of a new phase in the cultural development of the country. The assimilation of the Turkish, Arabic and Persian cultures with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism led to the development of a new culture known as the Indo-Islamic culture. This culture was neither purely Muslim nor completely Hindu but was a fusion of both religions. The Mughal Period marked the consolidation of the composite culture in India.
Causes for the evolution of the composite culture in India
- The rich cultural traditions of the Mughals and the centuries-old glorious cultural traditions of the Hindus created an atmosphere of religious tolerance. This marked the growth and consolidation of the composite culture imbibing the main features of Hinduism and Islam.
- Because the Mughal kings had immense wealth, they were able to provide patronage to various writers, poets, and other works of fine arts and literature.
- The Mughals built various monuments and buildings incorporating the features of Hindu and Islamic art. This further consolidated the composite culture of the country.
- The long and settled period of peace and productivity which prevailed during the Mughal rule paved the way for kings and nobles for undertaking extensive works of art.
Impact of the Composite Culture
- Various dresses, social amenities, and festivals that were introduced by the Mughals in India were accepted by the people and became a part of the Indo-Islamic culture.
- The Turks not only brought new musical instruments such as the ‘rabab’ and ‘sarangi’ with them but also introduced new musical modes. Amir Khusro introduced many Persian and Arabic ragas. He also developed the style of ‘qawwalis’ and ‘khayals’.
- There was a fusion of Persian and Indian styles of painting during the reign of Akbar. Of 17 painters appointed by Akbar, 13 were Hindus. The most important work in a painting produced during the Mughal period is ‘Dastan-i-Amir Hamza’ which contains about 1200 paintings. During the reign of Jahangir, the Persian influence in the paintings began to decline.
- The Architecture was deeply influenced by the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Some of its features were
- The Islamic features introduced the concept of spaciousness, massiveness and width to Indian architectural designs.
- The Turks did not carve any human and animal figures on the walls of the structures but instead used geometrical and floral designs. Verses from the Quran were also engraved on the walls of the structures. The Turks and the Mughals borrowed Indian motifs such as swastika, bell and lotus.
- The design of the golden ‘kalash’ at the top of the temple was adopted by the Muslims. They placed a stone ‘kalash’ on the domes of mosques and tombs.
- The Indian style of architecture was profoundly impacted by the Turkish and the Mughal style. For example, many temples of Vrindavan assimilated the Mughal style of architecture.
- The Turkish and the Mughal style of architecture influenced the palaces and forts built by many local rulers.
- The local languages and literature were also influenced by the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Persian was the official language of the Mughals. This enabled the country to develop close cultural contact with Persia.
- One of the greatest developments in language was the origin of Urdu. Urdu developed as a mixture of Persian, Arabic, Hindi and other regional languages. It was known as ‘Zaban-e-Hindavi’ as it was similar to that of Hindi. It developed rapidly during the Mughal rule.
- Many Sanskrit books were translated into Persian and Urdu. Some great Urdu poets were Amir Khusro and Mirza Ghalib.
Emergence of Composite Culture