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Bright streamers of freshly dyed cotton are stretched out to be tested before the great sandstone wall of the Red Fort.

Bright streamers of freshly dyed cotton are stretched out to be tested before the great sandstone wall of the Red Fort.

       The scene described takes place in front of the majestic Red Fort, a historical fortress in Delhi, India. Vividly colored streamers of newly dyed cotton are being stretched, creating a vibrant display against the backdrop of the fort's great sandstone wall. The Red Fort was completed in 1648 by Shah Jahan, who was the great-great-grandson of Babur and is most renowned for constructing the Taj Mahal. During the construction of the Red Fort, Shah Jahan also built Shahjahanabad, which is the present-day Old Delhi.

       The wall of the Red Fort is described as having an Indian-style design, which means it incorporates architectural elements that are characteristic of India's rich cultural heritage. The wall stands in stark contrast to the exquisite Mogul architecture found within the fort. The term "Mogul" refers to the Mughal Empire, which was known for its grand architectural achievements. Inside the Red Fort, visitors can witness the splendor of Mogul architecture, which is characterized by intricate details, ornate carvings, and decorative patterns.

      One notable feature mentioned is the half of the private audience, also known as the Diwan-i-Khas. This section of the fort served as a grand hall where the emperor would receive ambassadors and other esteemed guests. The hall would have been a sight to behold, with its intricate architectural details and opulent decorations. It was here that the emperor would hold important diplomatic meetings and conduct affairs of state.

       One of the most famous symbols of Mughal opulence mentioned is the Peacock Throne. Made of gold and adorned with precious jewels, the Peacock Throne was a remarkable piece of craftsmanship. The emperor would sit on this extravagant throne during special occasions, while receiving ambassadors and dignitaries. The throne was designed to resemble a peacock, with its intricate details representing the bird's feathers.

       In summary, the passage depicts a vibrant scene outside the Red Fort, with vividly colored cotton streamers stretched against the backdrop of its impressive sandstone wall. Inside the fort, visitors can marvel at the exquisite Mogul architecture, including the private audience hall where the emperor received important guests. The opulent Peacock Throne adds to the grandeur and historical significance of the Red Fort.

NCERT modifies syllabus, chapters on Mughal Empire from Class 12 History book removed

NCERT modifies syllabus, chapters on Mughal Empire from Class 12 History book removed

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has revised its textbooks for various classes, including Class 12 History, Hindi, and Civics books in India. Chapters on the Mughal empire, American Hegemony in World Politics, The Cold War Era, Rise of Popular Movements, Era of One Party Dominance, Democracy and Diversity, Popular Struggles and Movements, Challenges of Democracy, Central Islamic Lands, Clash of Cultures, and Industrial Revolution have been removed from these textbooks. These changes are effective from the current academic session 2023-2024 and are being implemented in schools nationwide. This information was confirmed by senior officials from NCERT. So essentially, NCERT has made significant revisions to its syllabus and textbooks for various classes, removing several chapters from different subjects. These changes are now being implemented in schools across the country.

The Mughal Empire was a historically significant period in Indian history that lasted for several centuries and left a lasting impact on Indian culture, architecture, art, and governance. The Mughals ruled over a vast territory in South Asia, and their legacy is an important part of India's rich and diverse history.

The removal of chapters related to the Mughals from the curriculum could potentially lead to a gap in students' understanding of this historical period and its significance. It is important for educational institutions to ensure that history is taught in a balanced and unbiased manner, encompassing various perspectives and providing a holistic understanding of the past.

However, the removal of chapters related to the Mughal Empire from history textbooks may raise concerns about the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the education being provided to students. The Mughal Empire was a crucial period in Indian history, and its influence on Indian culture, politics, and society cannot be ignored. The exclusion of such important historical chapters may lead to a knowledge gap and an incomplete understanding of India's past.

It is important for educational institutions, including the NCERT, to ensure that any changes made to the curriculum are done with careful consideration and adhere to the principles of inclusivity, objectivity, and balance. History should be presented in a manner that allows students to critically analyze and interpret historical events for themselves, without any biased omissions. It is essential to promote historical literacy, critical thinking, and a holistic understanding of the past among students.

As students, educators, and policymakers, it is important to engage in open-minded discussions, seek information from multiple sources, and advocate for a comprehensive and inclusive education that provides a nuanced understanding of history. Historical events, including those related to the Mughal Empire, should be presented in a balanced and unbiased manner, allowing students to develop a well-rounded understanding of their country's history and heritage.

It is also crucial for educational institutions to ensure that changes in the curriculum are communicated effectively to students, teachers, and parents, and that necessary support and resources are provided to facilitate the transition. The goal should be to foster a well-informed and engaged citizenry that appreciates the diversity and richness of human history and can critically analyze and interpret historical events in an informed manner.

In conclusion, while changes in educational curricula are not uncommon, it is important to approach them with a commitment to inclusivity, accuracy, and balance.

The removal of chapters related to the Mughal Empire from history textbooks by the NCERT may raise concerns about the comprehensiveness of education being provided to students. It is important for all stakeholders to ensure that students receive a comprehensive and accurate understanding of history, including diverse perspectives and interpretations of historical events, to promote historical literacy, critical thinking, and a holistic understanding of the past. History should be studied with an open mind, recognizing the complexities and diversity of human history, and fostering an appreciation for the contributions of different cultures and civilizations. It is important to strive for a balanced and comprehensive education that provides students with a nuanced understanding of their country's past and promotes a well-informed and engaged citizenry. As an informed citizen, it is always advisable to seek information from multiple sources, engage in open-minded discussions, and advocate for a comprehensive and inclusive education that promotes historical literacy and critical thinking. It is important to recognize the importance of historical understanding in shaping our present and future, and to strive for an education that fosters a comprehensive and inclusive understanding of history. Education plays a crucial role in shaping the worldview of future generations, and it is important to ensure that it is based on accurate, balanced, and inclusive information. In conclusion, it is important for educational institutions, including the NCERT, to ensure that changes in the curriculum are done with careful consideration and adhere to the principles of inclusivity, accuracy, and balance, to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of history and foster a well-informed and engaged citizenry. History should be studied with an open mind, critical thinking, and a commitment

NCERT chief denies dropping chapters on Mughals, says ‘rationalisation…’

NCERT chief denies dropping chapters on Mughals, says ‘rationalisation…’

The NCERT has removed chapters and topics related to ‘Kings and Chronicles: The Mughal courts’ from Class 12 history book to be taught from this session.

After the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) decision to drop chapters on Mughal history sparked controversy, the education body's chief has now issued a clarification.

Speaking to ANI, NCERT director Dinesh Prasad Saklani said the chapters on Mughals have not been dropped. “It's a lie. (Chapters on) Mughals have not been dropped. There was a rationalisation process last year because due to COVID, there was pressure on students everywhere”, he said.

Calling the debate unnecessary, the NCERT director said the expert committee recommended that if the chapter was dropped, it will not affect the knowledge of the children and an ‘unnecessary burden’ can be removed. “The debate is unnecessary. Those who don't know, can check the textbooks...”, Saklani added.

Rashtrapati Bhavan's Mughal Gardens renamed as Amrit Udyan

Rashtrapati Bhavan's Mughal Gardens renamed as Amrit Udyan

The iconic Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President's House, will now be known as 'Amrit Udyan' to commemorate 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', 75 years of Independence. The 'Mughal Gardens' signage was removed, thrown into a bulldozer, and replaced with the one that read 'Amrit Udyan' on Saturday afternoon.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan statement credited President Droupadi Murmu for renaming the lawns. However, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra hailed it as "yet another historic decision of the Narendra Modi government to break the shackles of mental slavery." Others pointed out that the parks were so named since the Mughal style of gardens had inspired it.

At least until Saturday evening, the Rashtrapati Bhavan website acknowledged the origins of the Mughal Gardens. "The Amrit Udyan draws its inspiration from the Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir, the gardens around the Taj Mahal and even miniature paintings of India and Persia," it stated. It credited Sir Edwin Lutyens for bringing together two different horticulture traditions together for the gardens, the Indian and Western, that is the Mughal style and the English flower garden. "Mughal canals, terraces and flowering shrubs are beautifully blended with European flowerbeds, lawns and private hedges," it states.

President Murmu will grace the opening of the gardens, Udyan Utsav 2023, on Sunday. "On the occasion of the celebrations of 75 years of Independence as 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', the President of India is pleased to give a common name to the Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens as 'Amrit Udyan'," Navika Gupta, Deputy Press Secretary to the President, said in the statement. While the several gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan will now collectively be called 'Amrit Udyan', It wasn't clear whether the name 'Mughal Gardens' might survive as that of a specific garden.

The government had last year renamed Delhi's iconic Rajpath as 'Kartavya Path'. The renaming of the stretch and other institutions is in line with the Centre's effort to remove any trace of the colonial mindset, or so it has maintained. "Rashtrapati Bhavan is home to a rich variety of gardens. Originally, they included East Lawn, Central Lawn, Long Garden and Circular Garden. "During the term of former Presidents Dr A P J Abdul Kalam and Shri Ram Nath Kovind, more gardens were developed, namely Herbal-I, Herbal-II, Tactile Garden, Bonsai Garden and Arogya Vanam," the statement issued on Saturday said.

This time the gardens (Herbal Garden, Bonsai Garden, Central Lawn, Long Garden and Circular Garden) will be open for about two months from January 31, 2023.

India’s NCERT revises history textbooks, removes all mentions of ‘Mughals’

India’s NCERT revises history textbooks, removes all mentions of ‘Mughals’

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has revised its textbooks, which includes the 12th grade History book, by removing the chapters on the Mughal empire.

The change will apply to all schools that follow NCERT across India, according to local reports.

NCERT revises history, hindi and civics textbooks

The NCERT has removed chapters related to ‘Kings and Chronicles; the Mughal Courts (C. 16th and 17th centuries)’ from the History book ‘Themes of Indian History-Part 2’.

In the same way, NCERT will also remove poems and paragraphs mentioning the Mughal empire from Hindi textbooks.

The changes will be implemented for the current academic session (2023-2024). Aside from the 12th grade Civics book has also been revised, removing two chapters titled ‘American Hegemony in World Politics’ and ‘The Cold War Era.’

Continuing with the changes, NCERT has removed two chapters, namely ‘Rise of Popular Movements’ and ‘Era of One Party Dominance,’ from the grade 12 textbook ‘Indian Politics after Independence.’

NCERT has also revised Class 10th and 11th textbooks. Chapters on ‘Democracy and Diversity,’ ‘Popular Struggles and Movements,’ and ‘Challenges of Democracy’ have been removed from the Class 10th book ‘Democratic Politics-2’.

Additionally, chapters such as ‘Central Islamic Lands,’ ‘Clash of Cultures,’ and ‘Industrial Revolution’ have been dropped from the grade 11 textbook ‘Themes in World History’.

Senior officials confirmed that the new syllabus and textbooks have been updated from this year and are being implemented in various schools.

Who are India’s Mughals?

The Mughal Empire was a powerful Islamic empire that ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th century to the mid-19th century. It was founded by Babur, a Turkic-Mongol prince who claimed descent from both Genghis Khan and Tamerlane.

Under the rule of Babur and his successors, the Mughal Empire became one of the wealthiest and most powerful empires in the world. It was known for its rich culture, art, and architecture, as well as its military prowess. The empire was characterised by a strong centralised government, a sophisticated administrative system, and a policy of religious tolerance.

Some of the most famous Mughal emperors include Akbar the Great, who expanded the empire to its greatest extent and implemented a policy of religious tolerance; Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal as a mausoleum for his wife; and Aurangzeb, who expanded the empire but also faced challenges due to his strict religious policies.

The Mughal Empire declined in the 18th century due to a combination of internal strife, economic difficulties, and pressure from European colonial powers. The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was deposed by the British in 1858, marking the end of the Mughal Empire. Despite its decline, the Mughal Empire had a lasting impact on India’s culture, language, and history.

Shahjahanabad (Delhi) — Territory under the control of Mughals,

Shahjahanabad (Delhi) — Territory under the control of Mughals,

Shahjahanabad was the capital city of the Mughal Empire in India, established by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638. The city was named after him and was located in present-day Old Delhi.

Shahjahanabad was a major political, cultural, and commercial center during the Mughal period, and it continued to be so even after the decline of the Mughal Empire. The city was home to some of the most magnificent buildings and monuments of the Mughal era, including the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, and Chandni Chowk.

The Mughal Emperors ruled over Shahjahanabad and the surrounding territories for centuries, until the British East India Company took control of Delhi in 1803. Even after the British took over, Shahjahanabad continued to be an important city, and the British made significant additions and changes to the city’s architecture and infrastructure.

Today, Shahjahanabad remains an important cultural and historical site in India, attracting millions of tourists each year to explore its rich Mughal heritage and experience its vibrant markets, temples, and mosques.

The Epic Saga of the Nabobs: Wealth, Power, and Scandal in the East

The Epic Saga of the Nabobs: Wealth, Power, and Scandal in the East

The Epic Saga of the Nabobs: Wealth, Power, and Scandal in the East 🌏💰

Have you ever heard of the nabobs? These were the wealthy individuals who accumulated massive fortunes in the East, like Robert Clive, the archetypal 'nabob' 💼🤑. The term comes from the Persian word 'nawab,' referring to an East India Company merchant or officer who struck it rich overseas. Clive left England as a teen and returned 22 years later a multi-millionaire .

But not everyone was impressed. The Georgian aristocracy, including the King, saw the nabobs as nouveau riche, resenting that so few people controlled so much wealth - similar to how some view investment bankers today 🏦💼. The nabobs also faced accusations of immorality, abuse of power in India, and bribery back in London 🌍🔥.

Things came to a head when the Company took over Bengal and raised taxes during a severe drought. This led to a catastrophic famine, killing around 10 million people 😢🌾. As the Company's finances crumbled, a global financial crisis ensued, and the British government had to decide whether to let the East India Company collapse 🌏💣.

In 1772, Clive was summoned before Parliament, claiming he was never corrupt and only motivated by duty 🎩📜. With many MPs holding shares in the Company, a government bailout was granted in 1773, saving the Company with public money 💸🤝. This led to the Regulating Act, which reorganized the Company's administration, and Warren Hastings was appointed the first Governor-General of Bengal 🌏👑.

However, scandals persisted. Hastings faced allegations of misconduct and financial mismanagement, and the King demanded his removal 🤔📰. After a defeat in the First Anglo-Maratha War, Charles James Fox tried to nationalize the Company in his 1783 India Bill, but it was defeated, and his administration collapsed 🌪️🏛️. In 1784, William Pitt the Younger introduced the India Act, placing the Company under Crown administration and establishing a Board of Control to oversee its operations 🌐👥.

So, why does this story matter to today's youth? The rise of the nabobs shows us how wealth, power, and corruption can collide in history, with far-reaching consequences for millions of people 🌏💥. It's a tale of ambition, scandal, and the struggle for control - a gripping saga that still echoes through the modern world 🎬🍿.

Warren Hastings (1732–1818) (fig. 15) was appointed the first Governor-General of Bengal to oversee the Company’s reform. Yet the scandal of corruption did not go away and soon he too became the object of allegations of misconduct and financial mismanagement. In 1779, the King wrote that ‘the Company is ruined and Parliament turned to ridicule unless Mr. Hastings is instantly removed from his situation’.[15] Following a painful defeat in the First Anglo-Maratha War (1775–82), Charles James Fox attempted to nationalise the Company in his 1783 India Bill, proposing to place its management under a group of parliamentary-appointed commissioners. Owing to the intervention of George III, the bill was defeated and Fox’s coalition administration fell. The following year William Pitt the Younger introduced his India Act to bring the Company under Crown administration. The act established a Board of Control made up of six members of the King’s Privy Council ‘to check, superintend and control all acts, operations and concerns which in any wise related to the civil and military Government, or revenues of the territories and possessions of the East India Company

It was equal parts business, war machine, monopoly, and colonizer. The company traded and taxed, persuaded and extorted, enriched and looted. How it survived a quarter millennium (1600-1858) to become, in Edmund Burke’s immortal words, “a state in the disguise of a merchant” says much about bad economics and government policy.

This government created monopoly grew out of a faulty economic theory, mercantilism. This idea had two foundational premises: economic activity is zero-sum and wealth equates to how much bullion a country possesses. Accordingly, European governments enacted trade restrictions and controls to achieve positive balances of trade by completely dominating domestic and colonial markets. Tariffs, corporate favoritism, and autarky are all mercantilist policies.

But its biggest legacy is bloodshed. Belief in economic gain as occurring at someone’s expense encouraged the annihilation of competitors. France and Britain, assisted by their joint-stock companies, regularly fought for economic supremacy abroad throughout the 18th Century. The assumption of wealth as fixed incentivized the proactive use of force, whether against other Europeans or natives, to obtain riches.

Indeed, the axiom that individuals respond to incentives requires fleshing out a corollary: perverse inducements also matter. The East India Company waged war because victory carried rewards. Company officers received annuities and kickbacks from allied princes or puppets installed on the thrones of previously incompliant rulers. Consequently, men of modest backgrounds, Robert Clive notably, returned home very wealthy. Enlisted men also had cause to fight, the allure of enrichment from military prize money or looting.

But graft, prize money, and loot did not cover military expenditures, as wars grew larger and costlier. So the company took the next logical step, tax. At the barrel of a gun, both prince and peasant filled company coffers with tax revenues. Taxation slowed the export of bullion abroad, a major plus in mercantilist thought, and kept the balance sheets in the black. This money also lubricated a lobbying effort to protect the company’s monopoly. A mid-century loan of £1 million to finance British debt was worth paying to keep competitors out the subcontinent.

But success through belligerence is a shaky proposition. And after the Seven Years War (1756-1763), a series of inconclusive conflicts drained the coffers. The 1770 famine in Bengal (Eastern India), which killed ten million people, made financial problems dire. The stock price cratered as investors pulled their money out, and by 1772 the company was insolvent, facing dissolution, and begging Parliament for relief.

The famine brought public anxieties about corruption and despotism in India beneath Britain’s flag to a boil. Lord Rockingham, leader of the opposition Whig Party, lit into the company for its “rapine and oppression” in Bengal. Indeed, the decision to raise taxes during the famine reeked of tyranny. Moreover, earlier mandates to plant certain crops and regulations against hoarding turned a crisis into a catastrophe.

Company lobbyists responded with an imperialist version of too big to fail. Bankruptcy meant terminating hard won British preeminence in the subcontinent. Despite the difficulty of France overcoming the Royal Navy’s dominance at sea to reclaim Indian possessions, the argument stuck. The Regulating Act of 1773 provided a £1.5 million loan and capped dividends. It also banned employees from accepting bribes and kickbacks, and appointed a Governor General of Bengal to enforce the regulations.

The problem was Parliament chose a compromise, regulating rather than liquidating the company or leaving it alone, which proved unenforceable. How could politicians in London, let alone one man in Calcutta, compel a vast corporate machine to comply with government regulations?

Fifteen more years of corruption and war answered that question. After passing additional legislation in 1784, Parliament lost its patience and took serious action. It impeached Warren Hastings, the appointed Governor General from 1773. And none other than the father of conservatism, Edmund Burke, served as chief prosecutor. His grandstanding on February 13, 1788 would make any Congressmen blush, and is worth quoting at some length.

“Mr. Hastings’s government was one whole system of oppression, of robbery of individuals, of spoliation of the public, and of suppression of the whole system of the English government, in order to vest in the worst of the natives all the power that could possibly exist in any government; in order to defeat the ends which all governments ought, in common, to have in view…

I impeach Warren Hastings of high crimes and misdemeanors…in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, whose national character he has dishonored. I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights, and liberties he has subverted…whose property he has destroyed, whose country he has laid waste and desolate. I impeach him in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violated.”

After this thunderous opening, the trial dragged on for years and descended to bizarre depths. Burke prosecuted a civil servant appointed to overhaul a government created monopoly six thousand miles from oversight. The monopoly defended itself on the grounds of property rights, or “sacred charter.” The government responded that the company was chartered to trade, not rule, despite failing to enforce this until 1773. And to cap it off, Parliament renewed the company’s charter for another twenty years in 1793 and acquitted Hastings two years later. The result, predictably, was more of the same.

Continued wars in the19th Century, namely the conquest of the Northwest Territories and Punjab, again strained finances and setup further intervention from Parliament. In 1813 the company lost its monopoly over everything except tea and trade with China, and ceased all commercial function 1833. Only the administrative machinery, the foundation of crown rule, saved it from dissolution until the Mutiny of 1857. A century after Clive’s triumph at the Battle of Plassey inaugurated British ascendance, the East India Company fell and mercantilism passed away.

Or did it? Observers of the TARP theatrics will notice parallels. Wall Street banks, like the East India Company, nearly paid for their mistakes with bankruptcy. But thanks to a powerful lobbying effort, each wrangled a bailout by prophesizing doom: the collapse of the world economy or the end of British dominance in India.

The behavior of government in both cases was appalling. Parliament tried to exercise oversight without direct control, only to end up venting its anger about continuing company misbehavior by impeaching its chief regulator. Likewise, Congressmen grandstanded about imposing reforms on banks in exchange for TARP money. Consequently, the banks got their bailout, Congressmen received publicity and rescuing the economy and passing Dodd-Frank, and taxpayers got handed the bill.

Both the East India Company and TARP were flagrant examples of corporate collusion with government. Concerned persons rightly fear such behavior. However, the best prevention is greater economic freedom rather than state control. The government cannot create wealth anymore than business can, or should, rule. Central planners and social engineers cannot, and will never, create more prosperity than free individuals.

Tim Reuter writes on books for, and is a frequent contributor to RealClearSports.

Chandni Chowk is a historic market in Old Delhi, India.

Chandni Chowk is a historic market in Old Delhi, India.

Chandni Chowk is a historic market in Old Delhi, India. It is one of the oldest and busiest markets in the country, dating back to the 17th century when it was established by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The market was designed by his daughter Jahanara Begum and was originally called Chandni Chowk (Moonlit Square) because of its silver-shining streets.

Over the centuries, Chandni Chowk has grown and evolved, but it remains one of the most important commercial and cultural centers in Delhi. It is famous for its narrow lanes, vibrant bazaars, and bustling atmosphere, and is home to a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and historical landmarks, such as the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, and Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib.

Jahanara Begum was the daughter of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, who is famous for building the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Jahanara Begum was a well-educated and talented woman who played an important role in the cultural and political life of the Mughal Empire.

One of Jahanara's significant contributions was the design and construction of the famous market of Chandni Chowk in Delhi. It is said that Jahanara Begum was an accomplished architect and urban planner, and she was responsible for designing the layout of the market and its surrounding area. Chandni Chowk was built in the mid-17th century during the reign of Shah Jahan, and it became one of the busiest and most vibrant markets in Delhi.

Jahanara Begum's contribution to the construction of Chandni Chowk is still remembered today, and she is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in Delhi's cultural history. Her legacy can be seen in the beautiful architecture and bustling markets of Old Delhi, which continue to attract visitors from all over the world.

Jahanara Begum was not only an accomplished architect and urban planner, but she was also a writer and a patron of the arts. She was a well-educated woman who was fluent in several languages, including Persian, Turkish, and Arabic, and she wrote several works in these languages.

Jahanara Begum was also known for her philanthropic work, and she spent a significant amount of her wealth on charity and helping the poor. She established several charitable institutions in Delhi, including a hospital and a school for girls, and she was known for her generosity towards the less fortunate.

Jahanara Begum's contributions to the cultural and architectural heritage of Delhi are still celebrated today, and she is remembered as one of the most influential and visionary women of her time. Her legacy continues to inspire generations of architects, writers, and artists, and her contributions to the development of Chandni Chowk remain an important part of Delhi's cultural history.

Mughal artillery: How the empire used gunpowder firearms and revolutionised mode of warfare in India

Mughal artillery: How the empire used gunpowder firearms and revolutionised mode of warfare in India

The Mughal Army, which played a crucial role in the expansion, had its origins in the cavalry-based armies of central Asia, but its essential form and structure were established by the empire's third emperor, Akbar.

New Delhi: The Mughal Empire, among many other things in the Indian subcontinent, revolutionised the way war was fought in this land. It was one of the three Islamic gunpowder empires, along with the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia. Babur was one of those early rulers of India who realised the potential of gunpowder firearms and used them to build the foundations of his empire. The Mughal Army, which played a crucial role in the expansion, had its origins in the cavalry-based armies of central Asia, but its essential form and structure was established by the empire's third emperor, Akbar.


The use of firepower

By the time Babur was invited by the Lodi governor of Lahore, Daulat Khan, to support his rebellion against Lodi Sultan Ibrahim Khan, the founder of the Mughal Empire was well acquainted with gunpowder firearms and field artillery, and a method for deploying them. He employed Ottoman expert Ustad Ali Quli, who showed him the standard Ottoman formation, artillery and firearm-equipped infantry protected by wagons in the centre and the mounted archers on both wings. He used this formation at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, where the Afghan and Rajput forces loyal to the Delhi Sultanate, though superior in numbers but without the gunpowder weapons, were defeated. It was one of the reasons why opponents rarely met Mughal forces in pitched battles over the course of the empire's history. Fathullah Shirazi, a Persian polymath and mechanical engineer who worked for Akbar, developed an early multigun shot. As opposed to the polybolos and repeating crossbows used earlier in ancient Greece and China, respectively, Shirazi's rapid-firing gun had multiple gun barrels that fired hand cannons loaded with gunpowder. It may be considered a version of a volley gun.

The usage of rockets


Akbar, in the 16th century, was the first to initiate and use metal cylinder rockets known as bans, particularly against war elephants, during the Battle of Sanbal. In 1657, the Mughal army used rockets during the Siege of Bidar. The forces of Aurangzeb, who was still a prince at that time, discharged rockets and grenades while scaling the walls. Sidi Marjan was mortally wounded when a rocket struck his large gunpowder depot, and after 27 days of hard fighting, Bidar was captured by the Mughals.

The artillery of the Mughal Empire Mughal artillery included a variety of cannons, rockets, and mines employed by the Mughal Empire. This gunpowder technology played an important role in the formation and expansion of the empire. Artillery remained an important part of the Mughal military, in both field deployment and incorporation into defensive forts. However, transportation of extremely heavy guns remained problematic, even as weapon technology improved during the reign of Akbar. Later emperors paid less attention to the technical aspects of artillery, allowing the Mughal Empire to gradually fall behind in weapon technology, although the degree to which this decline affected military operations is debated. By the 18th century, the bronze guns of the declining empire were unable to compete with the standardised production of European cast-iron weapons and performed poorly against colonial forces, such as Jean Law de Lauriston's French troops.


The army of the Mughal Empire


The army had no regimental structure and the soldiers were not directly recruited by the emperor. Instead, individuals, such as nobles or local leaders, would recruit their own troops, referred to as mansab, and contribute them to the army. The Mughal emperors maintained small standing armies. The emperor's own household troops were called Ahadis. They were directly recruited by the Mughal emperor himself, mainly from the emperor's own blood relatives and tribesmen. The Walashahis or royal bodyguards were regarded as the most trusted and faithful part of the troops, being directly in the pay of the Emperor. They were chiefly, if not entirely, men who had been attached to the Emperor from his youth and had served him while he was only a prince and were thus marked out in a special manner as his personal attendants and household troops. There were four branches of the Mughal army: The cavalry (Aswaran), the infantry (Paidgan), the artillery (Topkhana) and the navy. These were not divisions with their own commanders, instead, they were branches or classes that were distributed individually amongst the Mansabdars, each of whom had some of each of these divisions. The exception to this rule was the artillery, which was a specialized corps with its own designated commander, and was not part of the mansabdari troops.


Lahore: How the famous city in Pakistan prospered under Mughal Empire and became imperial capital during Akbar's reign

Lahore: How the famous city in Pakistan prospered under Mughal Empire and became imperial capital during Akbar's reign

Akbar built the fort in 1575 to quell rebellions on his empire's northwest frontier, making Lahore his capital a decade later. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

If one questions why Lahore, once the heartbeat of one of the most powerful empires in history, is generally overlooked, then it can be answered that the exploits of the Mughals were mainly centred around India.

New Delhi: The city of Lahore in Pakistan bears the legacy of the Mughal Empire in the Indian subcontinent, quietly like a serene river. If one questions why Lahore, once the heartbeat of one of the most powerful empires in history, is generally overlooked, then it can be said that the exploits of the Mughals were mainly centred around India. And that has made us largely forget that Lahore has a grand history. By the 17th century, it was one of the world's most populous and cultured cities. And there was a time, when the Mughal Emperor Akbar, possibly the greatest ruler of the dynasty, made the city his capital.



The evolution of Lahore Until the early 11th century, Lahore was part of the early Hindu kingdoms, which had become tributaries to the Muslim rulers of the Indian subcontinent in the 10th century. In the late 12th century, Lahore came under the control of the Muhammad of Ghor, who established his dominance on the Indian subcontinent and made the entire region a part of his kingdom. Later, Lahore served as an important urban and commercial centre under the successive Turco–Afghan Muslim rulers of the Delhi Sultanate. Finally, in 1526, Lahore was conquered by the invading armies of a Central Asian invader, the founder of the Mughal dynasty and one who would change the course of the subcontinent's history, Babur. But it was during the reign of his grandson and the third Mughal Emperor Akbar, that Lahore began to flourish in the truest sense and become a hotbed of trade, commerce and culture.



Why did Akbar make Lahore his capital? A young Akbar was still trying to consolidate his empire with the aid of Bairam Khan when he had to face the challenge of Sikander Shah Suri, the last of the six Suri rulers, who was trying to recapture Lahore. Sikander Shah managed to fend off the Mughal forces under Mughal general Khizr-Khawaja Khan just outside Lahore. The city had already been captured in February 1555 by Humayun. Khan retreated to the city and sought help from an already besieged Akbar outside Delhi. There, the emperor was fighting Hemu, who is also known as Hemchandra Vikramaditya, a Suri general who had captured Delhi and Agra and declared himself the ruler of India. Hemu believed that the capture of Lahore was critical for a greater Indian empire. Apart from these two opponents, Akbar had to also deal with his ambitious cousins in Kabul descending towards Lahore. Bairam Khan and Akbar defeated Hemu and he was beheaded. Sikander Shah was also defeated and captured, but the sensitive Akbar allowed him to leave for Bengal where he died. According to Abul Fazl's 'Akbarnama', the image of Bairam Khan in Lahore became one of a man who was exceeding the limits of liberty that the Mughal emperor considered 'permissible'. After he beheaded Tardi Beg Khan, the governor of Delhi, Akbar decided to strip him of most of his powers. Also, the beheading of innocent elephant drivers on the smallest whims shows the emperor that Bairam Khan was getting out of hand. Akbar also moved to replace Mullah Pir Muhammad, from whom Bairam sought religious sanction, and it infuriated the latter, who collected a force on the pretext of fighting the Afghans of Bengal, but only to change track and move towards Lahore.


Was Lahore that important? Yes. Apparently, Bairam Khan had established excellent contacts among Lahore's business community, which it seems had been influential in the affairs of Lahore's politics. As the Mughals were preparing to tackle troubles to the west, Lahore was seen as the place to plan it from. Akbar sent a message to Bairam stamping his own authority and his mentor should go to Mecca and spend his life in prayers. A number of merchants in Lahore known to be close to Bairam Khan were arrested. He was later killed on his way to Mecca by an Afghan and Akbar became his own master at the age of 18. But the influence of Bairam Khan, who had earlier, without doubt, contributed considerably to Mughal fortunes, lived on, and a slave of one of his followers shot an arrow at Akbar. He was wounded and the shooter was put to death.



Lahore became the capital of the Mughal Empire After the fall of Bairam Khan, the emperor's own half-brother Hakim Mirza, marched from Kabul to capture Lahore. Akbar rushed to Lahore and surrounded the entire city and the far-flung areas with a huge army. Hakim Mirza's army panicked and headed home. Lahore became peaceful once again, but constant trouble from Kabul kept the city busy. In the end, Akbar collected a force at Lahore and headed towards Kabul. On March 11, 1579, Akbar entered Kabul and appointed a Rajput as its governor. On his way back to Lahore he made several other expeditions, all the time expanding his empire. Due to troubles from Kabul and the areas to its east, it was ultimately decided to move the imperial capital to Lahore. Abul Fazl writes, "So it was that Akbar the Great moved his capital from Fatehpur Sikri to Lahore with the procession having 5,000 elephants to the rear and the same amount in the front and on the sides, with each elephant with iron plates to protect against arrows or gunfire. The elephant tusks had huge sharp daggers mounted on them". The Portuguese priests who went with him described Lahore as the most 'delightful city' in the world. The first residence prepared for Akbar was "on an island in the River Ravi". No sooner had the emperor settled down that tragedy struck. The entire countryside was hit by a massive three-year famine. The famine started a new era in the history of Lahore, with the emperor holding public audiences for the poor and the influential inside the newly rebuilt fort at the Diwan-e-Aam and the Diwan-e-Khaas. At Lahore, the Mughal Empire under Akbar and Shah Jahan were to reach its zenith.


Lahore Fort Akbar built the fort in 1575 to quell rebellions on his empire's northwest frontier, making Lahore his capital a decade later. It became the hallmark of Mughal culture, a fusion of Hindu and Islamic traditions, which reached its zenith in the Taj Mahal. Akbar's son, Jahangir, and grandson, Shah Jahan, lavishly developed his architectural idiom, adding palaces, towers and gardens to the fort's 20 hectares. Their contributions have made the fort a trove of some of the Mughal world's most outstanding designs.

Badshahi Mosque The massive pink-red Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan's most iconic building, is located near the fort. One has to climb the high steps up to a grand vaulted gatehouse to enter it, which leads into a vast arcaded courtyard, built to accommodate 60,000 worshippers. Surrounded by merlon-capped walls embellished with stone carvings and marble inlay, the prayer hall lies across the courtyard floor under bulbous domes. Emperor Aurangzeb built the mosque in 1674, to commemorate great victories in the south of his empire. For centuries it was the world's largest mosque. Today, it's a monument to Mughal genius.


Mughal AI art shared by fake user on Twitter leaves netizens amused

Mughal AI art shared by fake user on Twitter leaves netizens amused

Hyderabad: Social media has surely changed the paradigm of information production and consumption, with people staying up to date with news and current affairs on Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. However, the misinformation and fake news that comes with the misuse of digital media and tools is tedious to contain.


Recently, a historian named Benjamin Sigel on Twitter had posted a few images of people in the court of Emperor Akbar having pizzas. “Presentation of pizza by Italian ambassadors to the court of Emperor Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri, Govardhan(?), c. 1600, private collection (sic),” the tweet read.


However, a close glance at the username of the account, ‘@fakebensiegel’ reveals that it is a fake profile and the user is just impersonating historian Benjamin Sigel.

Soon the pictures were posted on the micro-blogging site, the post went insanely viral with over 17k likes. While many people on Twitter were dumb-founded looking at the pictures and pointed out that these images were extracted using techniques of Artificial Intelligence (AI), others were confused why a renowned historian posted these pictures online.


Some even believed the pictures to be true, and a few others posted some hilarious jokes and memes on the pictures.


“How is a historian sharing this??? You don’t even need to be an expert to know this is fake,” said a user. “Best use of AI art I’ve seen till date – to spread misinformation Jk jk I actually love how it turned out (sic),” wrote another user. “Wait this real ? Why haven’t I seen this before (sic),” said third user.


Centuries-old mosque glorifies Mughal architectural excellence

Centuries-old mosque glorifies Mughal architectural excellence

TAXILA: In a lush green valley surrounded by gardens and sparkling springs, a finely intact Mughal-era mosque is testimony to the ecological reverence observed by architects of the time as they designed their structures.

The Potohar region is filled with similarly unique historical places that trace back to Buddhist, Mughal, Sikh, Hindu and Muslim culture. The mosque, located in Wah village, was erected upon a three-domed structure, flanked by four minarets which appear to have been added much later. This mosque has a unique and un-matched architectural significance as its interior is decorated with stucco, murals and calligraphy. Three arched entrances lead to the main prayer hall.


The arch entrances are adorned with Quranic verses. The mosque’s domed ceiling bears haft rang (seven colours) patterns which were a known peculiar style of Mughal painters. This style was introduced in the region by artists who came from Persia at that time. Later on, it was also used in tile mosaics.

The interior wall depicts floral and geometric designs. On some patterns, glass pieces were added to make the design more perceptible.


Residents of the area restored the decoration inside the mosque and old patterns were filled with fresh colours. Masons were brought from various parts of the country especially South Punjab, who repaired the mosque and repainted the same designs by reproducing old patterns on tracing papers.

“The Wah village, where the mosque was built, belongs to the warrior clan of Khattars, who accompanied Sultan Mehmood Ghauri in his successful invasion of India from Central Asia,” said Raja Noor Mohammad Nizami, a historian.


He said this most notable and magnificent mosque was built during the reign of Emperor Akbar. He was of the view that as per the available historical evidence, this mosque was believed to have been built by Akbar (1556-1605) and later renovated by Emperor Jehangir (1605-1627).

A.G. Lone, an archaeologist and former curator of Taxila Museum, said many mosques built during the Mughal-era have lost their original architecture due to constant repairs.


While commenting on the significance and importance of the Wah mosque’s interior, he said although there are various domed mosques in Potohar, decorated with beautiful murals and stucco decoration, they were all built during the Sikh and British periods.


According to Qari Mohammad Sajid, maintenance work on the structure was carried out so that facilities could be improved but originality of the design was kept intact. He said worshippers perform ablution in the mosque with spring water passing through it, where water is said to be chilly during summer and normal during winter.

It is high time that the authorities concerned enlisted it as a historical monument, keeping in view its significance and importance.



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