Page 193

Chapter 2 – Internal State of India

Internal state of the Mahometan empire The king’s power

Of the internal state of the Mahometan empire in India we have no means of obtaining more than a slight view.

By the theory of the Mahometan law, the ruler of the faithful should be elected by the congregation, and might be deposed for any flagrant violation of the precepts of the Koran; but, in practice, the king’s office was hereditary, and his power absolute. He was considered as bound to observe the Mahometan law; but neither the Ulema nor any other public body had the means of enforcing his obedience to it: the municipal institutions of villages, some local jurisdictions which will be mentioned, and some other means of passive resistance, obstructed his will on ordinary occasions; but when he was determined to persevere, there was no remedy short of rebellion.

His ministers

The duties of vizir, or prime minister, varied according to the abilities of the individual and the activity of the king. In some cases he was an uncontrolled vicegerent; in others, only the chief among the ministers. The others had their departments, but not very strictly defined.

The kings were easy of access: they inquired into petitions, and transacted a great deal of business

Page 194

in the daily assemblies of their court; which, although it must have caused some confusion and loss of time, afforded them the advantage of information from many quarters, besides giving publicity to their decisions and their principles of government.


The governors of provinces exercised, each within his jurisdiction, all the executive powers of the state. Several of the subordinate officers were appointed by the king, but all were under the orders of the governor. In most provinces there were Hindu chiefs who retained a hereditary jurisdiction; the most submissive of this class paid their revenue and furnished the aid of their troops and militia to the governor, and were subject to his control in cases where he thought it necessary, but were not interfered with in the ordinary course of their administration: the most independent only yielded a general obedience to the government, and afforded their aid to keep the peace; but these last were confined to strong countries, or large tracts bordering on a province88.


Part of the army were men hired singly by the

Page 195

king, and mounted on his horses, but the greater number probably brought their own horses and arms; and these last would often come in parties, large or small, under leaders of their own. There was no feudal authority under the kings of Delhi. Firuz Shah Toghlak is said to have been the first that assigned land in lieu of pay; and Ala u din is said to have been extremely on his guard against all grants, as tending to the independence of his officers89.

Most governors had under them some portion of the regular army, in addition to their local troops; and in case of disturbance, reinforcements were sent under separate commanders, who, when the force was considerable, were nearly on an equality with the governor.

At other times governors were summoned to contribute to the formation of armies, and on those occasions they collected the contingents of their zemindars, took away as many as could be spared of the troops of the province, and, if their situation was favourable, recruited new ones for the occasion.


By the original theory of Mahometan government the law was independent of the state, or, rather, the state was dependent on the law. The calif was not excluded from a control over the administration of justice; but in that, and even in his military and political transactions, he was to be

Page 196

guided by the rules of the Koran, and the decisions and practice of the Prophet, and of his own predecessors. Before long, the accumulation of decisions and the writings of learned lawyers contributed to form a great body of jurisprudence, the interpretation of which required a distinct profession. At the same time the extension of the Mussulman conquests gave rise to a sort of common law; not derived from the Koran, but from the custom of the country and the discretion of the kings. From these separate sources arose two distinct classes of tribunals: those of the cazis, which recognised the Mahometan law alone, and which only acted on application, and by fixed rules of procedure; and those of the officers of government, whose authority was arbitrary and undefined.

Civil trials, about marriage, adoption, inheritance, and, generally speaking, all questions regarding private property, ought properly to come before the cazi; who ought also to try all offences that did not threaten the safety of the state or the public tranquillity.

The jurisdiction of the king’s officers was not so well defined. We may presume that their interference in civil cases would be rightly exercised in causes between servants of the government, and where there were parties of such power as to be beyond the reach of the cazi; they might reasonably be expected also to supply the defects of the Mahometan law in the case of Hindus; and the revenue officers would be natural umpires in many

Page 197

disputes about land. In criminal cases, rebels, conspirators, and highway robbers, as well as persons embezzling public money, or otherwise offending directly against the state, fell under the lawful jurisdiction of the same functionaries. In general, however, the governors and their officers were not scrupulous in confining themselves to those classes of trials. They received all complaints that were made to them, giving summary decisions in many cases, and referring those that turned on points of Mahometan law to the cazi, to whom also all causes that did not excite interest or promise profit would be left. The power of the cazis varied in different reigns. At some times we see the office, even in provincial courts, filled by men of celebrity; and at those times, we must conclude, their authority was respected, as appeared likewise from the occasional resistance of the cazis to the governors: at others it probably sunk nearly to its present level, when the duty is reduced to performing marriages, registering and authenticating deeds, and similar unimportant functions.


There was no church establishment, or, rather, no church government: every man, king or subject, who founded a mosque, left funds to maintain the priest (imam) and other persons required for public worship. Assignments were also made to holy men and their successors, and even to their tombs.

There was in each district an officer called sadr, whose business it was to see that the objects of all

Page 198

these grants, or at least those made by the crown, were carried into effect; and there was a sadr u sadur at the head of all the sadrs: their jurisdiction was only over the application of the funds; the succession was settled by the original grantor, and generally depended on the choice of the incumbent, regulated by the opinion of the learned of the neighbourhood.


Though there was no organised body of clergy, there was a class (called moulavis or mullahs) from which judges, lawyers, and ministers of religion were generally or always taken. But these were rather graduates in law and divinity than ecclesiastics. The degree was conferred by a meeting of some of the recognised members of the class, who were supposed to ascertain the learning and fitness of an individual, and who formally invested him with his new character, by tying on a peculiar kind of turban. He was bound by no vows, and was subject to no superior, but was controlled by public opinion and the hopes of preferment alone.


Distinct from the ministers of religion was a numerous class of monkish devotees, called dervises in Persia, but in India more frequently fakirs. This is an excrescence on the Mahometan system, originating in the sanctity of particular persons. At first there were no saints, and the earliest instances of elevation to that character were in the case of martyrs, or of distinguished champions of the faith who fell in battle. By degrees, austere and religious lives led to this sort of canonisation

Page 199

which was conferred by public opinion, and generally on living men. These saints were followed by disciples, who, by degrees, formed orders, always distinguished by some watchword and some form of initiation, and sometimes by peculiarities of dress or observances. Many of these became early extinct, while others branched out into new orders. Small numbers of fakirs lived with their chiefs, and others were drawn together by charitable distributions, &c.; but they had no monasteries like the Hindus.

The most eminent among the saints were not impostors, although their followers might magnify the prophetic character of their predictions and the miraculous effects of their prayers: in later times, however, there was a lower class of fakirs, who supported their claims to supernatural powers by tricks with magnets, phosphorus, &c., and by legerdemain. Of the higher description many were treated with the utmost reverence even by kings; and, although professing poverty and abstinence, were accustomed to live in great splendour, or at least to distribute vast sums in charity90: and they often acquired such influence as to excite the jealousy of the government. Several instances occur of men of great sanctity being put to death for real or suspected plots against the state91.

Page 200

The most flourishing period for these holy men was the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth centuries. Many saints of those and later times are still revered, and are the objects of vows and pilgrimages; but the fakirs, their followers, though perhaps respected at first, have long lost their influence.


Many of the superstitions of the age were unconnected with, and even opposed to, religion. Not only was the faith unbounded in astrology, divination, magic, and other arts discouraged by Mahomet; but even practices of the Hindus, and prejudices originating in their religion, began to gain ground. The miracles of their jogis are related by orthodox writers with as perfect a conviction as could have been given to those in the Koran; witchcraft was universally believed; omens and dreams were paid the greatest attention to; and this credulity was not influenced by the prevalence of scepticism in religion; it was admitted even by Akber, and exercised absolute sway over his son, while it was by no one treated so contemptuously

Page 201

as by the bigoted Aurangzib.


The Shia religion never made any progress in Hindostan, as it did in the Deckan: there were no sectarian animosities, and, altogether, there was more superstition than fanaticism.


The Hindus were regarded with some contempt, but with no hostility. They were liable to a capitation tax (jezia) and some other invidious distinctions, but were not molested in the exercise of their religion. The Hindus who are mentioned as military commanders may perhaps have been zemindars, heading their contingents, and not officers appointed by the crown: there is no doubt, however, that many were employed in civil offices, especially of revenue and accounts92; and we have seen that Hemu and Medni Rai were intrusted with all the powers of their respective governments, and that under Mobarik Khilji the whole spirit of the court and administration was Hindu.


It is difficult to form an opinion as to the period when the conversions of Hindus were chiefly accomplished, or in what circumstances they were brought about. The actual state of the population affords us little light. The largest proportion of Mussulmans to Hindus is probably in the remote districts in the east of Bengal; while about the Mahometan capitals of Delhi and Agra it is much less considerable93.

Page 202

The terror of the arms of the Mahometans, and the novelty of their doctrines, led many to change their religion at first; but when these were succeeded by controversial discussion and more moderate intolerance, a spirit opposed to conversion would naturally arise.

The whole of the Mussulmans in India at the present moment do not exceed one eighth of the population; and, after allowing for the great and long-continued immigration, and for the natural increase, during eight centuries, of a favoured class whose circumstances gave great facility in rearing families, the number left for converts would not be very great. Even if the whole eighth part of the population were converts, the proportion would be surprisingly small compared to other Mahometan countries94.


The revenue system was probably the same as now exists, and as existed under the Hindus; for the alterations attempted by Shir Shah, and accomplished by Akber, were not designed to change the system, but to render it more perfect. The confusion of new conquests, and the ignorance of

Page 203

foreign rulers, must, however, have led to many abuses and exactions.

Condition of the people

The condition of the people in ordinary times does not appear to have borne the marks of oppression. The historian of Firuz Shah (1351 to 1394) expatiates on the happy state of the ryots, the goodness of their houses and furniture, and the general use of gold and silver ornaments by their women. He is a panegyrical writer, and not much to be trusted; but he says, among other things, that every ryot had a good bedstead and a neat garden; and the mere mention of such circumstances shows a more minute attention to the comforts of the people than would be met with in a modern author.

State of the country

The general state of the country must, no doubt, have been flourishing.

Towns and Commerce

Nicolo di Conti, who travelled about 142095, speaks highly of what he saw about Guzerat, and found the banks of the Ganges (or perhaps the Megna) covered with towns, amidst beautiful gardens and orchards, and passed four famous cities before he reached Maarazia, which he describes as a powerful city filled with gold, silver, and precious stones. Barbosa and Bartema, who travelled in the first years of the sixteenth century, corroborate those accounts. The former, in particular, describes Cambay as a remarkably well-built city, in a beautiful and fertile country, filled with merchants of all nations, and

Page 204

with artisans and manufacturers like those of Flanders96. Even Ibn Batuta, who travelled during the anarchy and oppression of Mohammed Toghlak’s reign (about 1440 or 1450), though insurrections were raging in most parts through which he passed, enumerates many large and populous towns and cities, and gives a high impression of the state in which the country must have been before it fell into disorder.

Baber, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, although he regards Hindostan with the same dislike that Europeans still feel, speaks of it as a rich and noble country, abounding in gold and silver97; and expresses his astonishment at the swarming population, and the innumerable workmen in every trade and profession.98

Page 205

The part of India still retained by the Hindus was nowise inferior to that possessed by the Mahometans. Besides the writers already mentioned, Abdurizak, an ambassador from the grandson of Tamerlane, visited the south of India in 144299; and all concur in giving the impression of a prosperous country.

Those of them who visited Bijayanagar are unbounded in their admiration of the extent and grandeur of that city; their descriptions of which, and of the wealth of the inhabitants and the pomp of the raja, are equal to those given by others of Delhi and Canouj100.

Other populous towns are mentioned; and Ibn Batuta speaks of Madura, at the extremity of the peninsula (then recently conquered by the Mahometans)

Page 206

as a city like Delhi. The same author says, that through the whole of Malabar, for two month’s journey, there was not a span free from cultivation: every body had a garden, with his house placed in the middle of it, and a wooden fence round the whole101.

The sea ports, above all, seem to have attracted admiration. Those on both coasts are described as large cities, the resort and habitation of merchants from every part of the world, and carrying on trade with Africa, Arabia, Persia, and China102. A great home trade was likewise carried on along the coast, and into the interior.

The adulation of the historians of later kings has had a tendency to depreciate the state of improvement attained under the early dynasties. One claims the institution of posts for his hero, another the establishment of highways with caravanserais and rows of trees; and Abul Fazl has been the occasion of most of the useful inventions in India being ascribed to Akber. But we have seen from Ibn Batuta that regular horse as well as foot posts existed under Mohammed Toghlak; and foot posts, to a certain extent, must be coeval with village establishments103. The roads may have been improved

Page 207

by Shir Shah; but Ibn Batuta, 200 years before his time, found the highways shaded by trees, with resting-houses and wells at regular intervals along a great part of the coast of Malabar, then under the Hindus; and in an inscription lately discovered104, which there is every reason to think is of the third century before Christ, there is an especial order by the king for digging wells and planting trees along the public highways.


It has been said (though not by Abul Fazl) that Akber first coined silver or gold money. The assertion is inconsistent with all history: if the Hindus had not a coinage in those metals earlier, they at least adopted it from the Bactrian Greeks105 about the beginning of the Christian aera. The Ghaznavites could not have dropped a practice observed by the Samanis and the califs; and the second coin in Mr. Marsden’s collection, belonging to the Delhi kings, is a silver one of Altamsh, who died in 1235106.

If the value of the coins at different periods can be fixed at all, it can only be after a long inquiry by a person accustomed to such subjects107. The

Page 208

first princes used dinars and dirhems, like the califs; these were succeeded by tankhas, divided into dams or jitals. Shir Shah changed the name of tankha to that of rupeia, or rupee, which was adopted by Akber; and the latter prince fixed the weight and relative value of money on a scale which remained unaltered till the dissolution of the Mogul empire, and is the basis of that now in use.


We are enabled, in some degree, to judge of the progress of the early Mussulmans by the specimens

Page 209

they have left of their architecture. The arches of the unfinished mosque near the Kutb Minar, besides their height and the rich ornamental inscriptions with which they are covered, deserve mention, as early instances of the pointed arch108.

The centre arch appears, by the inscription, to have been finished in AH 594, 1197. Many of the buildings of the later princes before Akber have small pointed arches, and seem to betray the incapacity of the builders to erect a dome of any size. Their mosques are composed of a collection of small cupolas, each resting on four pillars; so that the whole mosque is only a succession of alleys between ranges of pillars, with no clear space of any extent.

It is probable, however, that this form may have been retained, as that originally appropriated for mosques, by architects capable of constructing large cupolas. The Black Mosque at Delhi, for instance, is in the ancient style, though built in 1387, under Firuz Toghlak; while the tomb of Gheias u din Toghlak, who died in 1325, is covered with one cupola of considerable magnitude109.

Page 210

The domes at first are low and flat; they gradually gain elevation till the time of Jehangir, or Shah Jehan, when they take in considerably more than half of a sphere, and are raised upon a cylinder. The arches, also, are different at different times: the early ones are plain Gothic arches; the latest ones are ogee and horse-shoe arches, feathered all round. The buildings after Akber’s accession are much lighter, as well as more lofty and more splendid, than those of an earlier date; which, on the other hand, make a strong impression from their massive and austere character110.

Though the constant use of the pointed arch, the nature of the tracery, and some other particulars, create a resemblance between the Gothic and Indian architecture which strikes every one at first sight, yet the frequency and importance of domes, and the prevalence of horizontal lines in the Indian, make an essential difference between the styles. The more ancient buildings in particular, which in other respects are most like the Gothic, are marked by a bold and unbroken cornice formed of flat stones, projecting very far, and supported by deep brackets or modilions of the same material.

Page 211

Even the abundance of turrets and pinnacles does not increase the resemblance to the Gothic; for they seldom taper at all, and never much; and they always end in a dome, which sometimes bulges out beyond the circumference of the turret.


The early Mussulmans were stout and ruddy men dressed in short tunics of thick cloth, and always in boots. Those of Aurangzib’s time were generally slender, dark, and sallow, and wore long white gowns of the thinnest muslin, which spread out from the waist in innumerable folds, and scarcely showed the naked foot and embroidered slipper. It is difficult to ascertain the gradation by which this change, and a corresponding alteration in manners, were effected.

It must have begun soon after the dissolution of the connection with Ghazni and Ghor. Ibn Batuta, in the middle of the fourteenth century, mentions the use of bitel, and notices peculiarities in the cookery, and what he calls oddity in the manners; and Baber, early in the sixteenth, is shocked to find every thing so unlike what he is used to111.

Page 212

It is probable that the greatest alteration took place after the accession of the house of Teimur, when the influx of foreigners was stopped by hostile feelings towards the Uzbeks and Afghans, and by religious prejudices against the Persians112. It was the direct policy of Akber that the manners of the Mahometans should assimilate to those of the original natives.

This mixture probably softened the manners of the people from the first; but it was some time before it had any effect on the government. There were many more instances of cruelty and perfidy under the slave kings than in the time of Mahmud and his successors. Such atrocities under the succeeding dynasties were generally owing to the tyrannical disposition of an individual, or the revolts of foreign troops; and under most of the princes of the house of Teimur, the general character of the government approached to the mildness and moderation of European sovereignties.

Mahometan literature

Purely Mahometan literature flourished most in India during the period to which we are now adverting

Page 213

and fell off after the accession of Akber. Improvements in science were, doubtless, obtained from Hindu and European sources; but, I believe, there is no eminent specimen of Persian composition in India after the epoch mentioned.

The great superiority of Mahometan writers over their predecessors in Shanscrit is in history, and is derived from the Arabs. Though often verbose on ordinary topics, and silent on those of interest, deficient in critical skill and philosophical spirit, and not exempt from occasional puerility and exaggeration, their histories always present a connected narrative of the progress of events, show a knowledge of geography, a minute attention to dates, and a laudable readiness to quote authorities, which place them immeasurably above the vague fables of the Bramins.


It is surprising that so little is known of the modern language of the Indian Mahometans.

After the founding of the kingdom of Delhi, the conversation of their wives and children, as well as their continual intercourse with the natives, must have taught the conquerors to speak the language of the country, in which most of the roots were Shanscrit, but the forms and inflexions more like modern Hindostani. It is not likely that this language remained long unmixed; though the progress of its change into that now spoken has not yet been traced by any orientalist.

It is stated by a modern Mahometan writer113,

Page 214

that the language took its present form during Teimur’s invasion; and, although it cannot be supposed that an incursion which lasted less than a year, and left no traces but in blood, could affect the language of a nation, yet it is not improbable that the beginning of the fifteenth century may have formed a marked epoch in the progress of Hindostani.

It could have made little progress before the end of the twelfth century, as it is formed on the Indian dialect of Canouj, and not on that of the Panjab, the only province previously occupied114.

The use of this mixed language in composition must have been of a later date; for though Mr. Colebrooke mentions a Hindu poet who wrote at Amber (or Jeipur) about the beginning of the sixteenth century, and who sometimes borrowed words from the Persian; yet he states that even Mahometan poets at first wrote in the pure local dialect above mentioned, which, he says, was called Hindi or Hindevi; and the specimens given in a Persian book on the poets of India (written in 1752), although all composed by Mahometans, do not introduce Persian or Arabic till near the end of the series.

The earliest of the celebrated poets in modern Hindostani is Wali, who wrote in the middle of the seventeenth century. He is followed by a long train down to the present time. Their compositions

Page 215

are, in general, mere imitations of the Persians. It is probable, however, that they had the merit of introducing satires on manners and domestic life in Asia; for those of the Arabs and Persians seem to have been invectives against individuals, like Ferdousi’s against Mahmud. The best author in this branch of poetry is Souda, who lived late in the last century.

The other dialects (as those of Bengal, Guzerat, &c.), and also the languages of the Deckan, have admitted Persian and Arabic words in great numbers, but without forming a new language like the Hindostani.


88. It was to these hereditary chiefs that the term zemindar was originally applied. The pride of the Mussulmans extended it to independent princes (like those of Oudipur and Jodpur), whom they affected to consider as subordinate to their government; but it is only in comparatively modern times that it has been extended downwards, so as to include persons holding assignments of the government revenue, as well as district and village officers. – (See Mr. Stirling, Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. p. 239.)

89. History of Firuz Shah, by Shamsi Suraji.

90. Baha u din Zakariah, who died in the beginning of the fourteenth century, and is still one of the most revered saints, left enormous wealth to his heirs. (Briggs’s Ferishta, vol. i. p. 377.)

91. Ibn Batuta, in the middle of the thirteenth century, furnishes examples of all these kinds. A great fakir put to death for a conspiracy in his time has been mentioned. He met several really holy men who made no pretensions; but he also met one who pretended to live almost without nourishment, and another who professed to remember a calif who died near 100 years before. The first of these also told Ibn Batuta’s thoughts, and foretold events: another fakir had seven foxes that followed him like dogs, and a lion that lived in harmony with an antelope. For an account of the orders, the method of initiation, and the principal saints, see Herklot’s Kanuni Islam.

92. Baber informs us that when he arrived in India, “the officers of revenue, merchants, and workpeople were all Hindus.” (Erskine’s Baber, p. 232.)

93. In Bengal, east of the Ganges, they are more than one half of the population. In most parts of Bengal they are one fourth; but in the west of Behar and in Benares, not above one twentieth. See Lord Wellesley’s interrogatories, in 1801, laid before parliament. Buchanan makes the Mahometans in the west of Behar one thirteenth.

94. The proportion of one eighth is from Hamilton’s Description of Hindostan, vol. i. p. 25. He does not give his authority, but he is supported by the common opinion.

95. Ramusio, vol. i. p. 359.

96. Barbosa is in Ramusio, vol. i. p. 288., and Bartema, in the same volume, p. 147. Cesare Federici, in 1563, gives a similar account of Guzerat, Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 386. (edition of 1606), and Hackluyt, vol. ii. p. 343.

97. Erskine’s Baber, pp. 310. 333.

98. Ibid. pp. 315. 334. To all these accounts of the flourishing state of the country, it is natural to oppose the statement of Baber, that in his time elephants abounded about Calpi and in Karrah and Manikpur (Erskine’s Baber, p. 315.), and the fact of Akber’s falling in with a herd of those animals near Colaras in the east of Malwa (Briggs’s Ferishta, vol. ii. p. 216.); from which we might suppose that those places were then amidst forests which have since been cleared away. I am disposed to think, however, that the disappearance of the elephants is to be ascribed to the activity of the Mahometan hunters, and not to the improvement of the country. Ibn Batuta, who wrote near two centuries before Baber, expressly says that Karrah and Manikpur were the two most populous districts in India (Lee’s Ibn Batuta, p. 119.); small tracts of hills and jungle would be enough to shelter elephants, who would spread over the cultivated country for food; and that there is no necessary connection between the residence of such animals and the absence of population, appears from the facts that the rhinoceros is still common in the Rajmahal hills, close to the populous lands of Bengal, while in the vast forest on the east of Berar there are neither rhinoceroses nor elephants, except a few of the last, which are supposed to be tame ones which have escaped.

99. Murray’s Discoveries in Asia, vol. ii. p. 18.

100. Abdurizak’s description of Bijayanagar is so glowing, that it is scarcely surpassed by that in the story of Prince Ahmed in the “Arabian Nights,” which appears to be taken from it. Conti is so extravagant as to say that it is sixty miles in circumference. Bartema says seven miles; but adds, that it is very like Milan.

101. Lee’s Ibn Batuta, p. 166.

102. Besides ships from Persia, Arabia, and other neighbouring countries, some of the ports of Malabar were frequented by large junks from China. (Ibn Batuta, pp. 169. 172.)

103. Each village has a public messenger; and economy as well as dispatch would suggest to the head of a district to send his letters and orders by their means from village to village along the road.

104. See Vol. I. pp. 394. 265.

105. Mr. Prinsep’s Useful Tables, p. 15., and his Researches in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta.

106. Marsden’s Numismata Orientalia, p. 521.

107. Some notion of the fluctuations in this respect may be formed from the following statements:– The dinar under the califs was about equal to 10s. 8d. (Marsden’s Numismata, p. xvii.) In Ibn Batuta’s time a western dinar was to an eastern as 4 to 1, and an eastern dinar seems to have been one tenth of a tankha, which, even supposing the tankha of that day to be equal to a rupee of Akber, would be only 2¼d. (Ibn Batuta, p. 149.) A modern dinar, in Cabul, is so small, that it takes 200 to make an abassi, a coin of less value than a shilling. The tankha is said by Ferishta (vol. i. p. 360.) to have been, in Ala u din’s time, equal to fifty pals (a copper coin which some said was equal to a peisa), and in Mohammed Toghlak’s time it was so debased as to be worth no more than 16 peisas. The tankha appears to be the coin represented by the modern rupee, and perhaps, when at its proper standard, was about the same value. The rupee of Akber contained 174.5 grains of pure silver, and was divided into 40 dams or peisas of (1911 grains of copper each). The dam was divided into 25 jitals (probably a nominal coin). Queen Elizabeth’s shilling contained 8&8 grains of pure silver; Akber’s rupee, therefore, was worth 1s. 11½d. of English money of his time. Akber’s standard remained almost unaltered, all over the Mogul dominions, until the breaking up of the empire in the middle of the last century, when numerous mints sprung up and issued much debased money. The rupee that now circulates in the Company’s territories contains 176 grains of pure silver, and exchanges for 64 peisas, containing 100 grains of copper each.

108. The Kutb Minar, finished by Altamsh between 1210 and 1236, has pointed arches in the doors. By examining the ruins of old and new Delhi alone, a view of the progress of Indian architecture might be made out which would throw light on the history of the art in the East.

109. The dome was, no doubt, borrowed from the buildings of the Greek empire; but the mosques erected after it had once been fully established in India are incomparably superior in the elegance of their exterior to St. Sophia.

110. “These Patans built like giants, and finished their work like jewellers. Yet the ornaments, florid as they are in their proper places, are never thrown away, or allowed to interfere with the general severe and solemn character of their edifices.” (Bishop Heber’s Journal, vol. i. p. 565.)

111. Baber’s account is amusing, being written with all the violent prejudice still felt by persons just arrived from Cabul or from Europe. “Hindostan is a country that has few pleasures to recommend it. The people are not handsome. They have no idea of the charms of friendly society, of frankly mixing together, or of familiar intercourse. They have no genius, no comprehension of mind, no politeness of manners, no kindness, no fellow-feeling, no ingenuity or mechanical invention in planning or executing their handicraft works, no skill or knowledge in design or architecture; they have no good horses, no good flesh, no grapes or musk melons, no good fruits, no ice or cold water, no good food or bread in their bazars, no baths or colleges, no candles, no torches, not a candlestick.” He then goes on to ridicule their clumsy substitutes for the last useful articles. (Erskine’s Baber, p. 333.)

112. So complete was the separation at last, that Aurangzib treats the Persians (the original models of the Indian Mussulmans) as rude barbarians, and hardly ever mentions their name without a rhyming addition, which may be translated, “monsters of the wilds.”

113. Quoted in Dr. Gilchrist’s Hindostani Philology.

114. Mr. Colebrooke, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 220.

This collection transcribed by Chris Gage
hosted by ibiblio Support Wikipedia