PART II: 1854 to 1875 AFTERMATH OF THE INDIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
Nagpur state was annexed by Lord Dalhousie.
Max Muller becomes a full Professor.
Illustrated Handbook of Architecture, being a concise and proper account of the different styles of architecture prevailing in all ages and countries by James Fergusson was published. He begins his handbook with Indian Architecture and tells us :
BOOK I : INDIA
CHAPTER I - INTRODUCTORY
p 2 " In all the older British settlements [in India] all architectural remains have nearly disappeared; and very little has been done to elucidate those which remain."
Chapter VIII - JAINA ARCHITECTURE
p 78 " It would be a curious subject of speculation to find out whether the Buddhists ever built domes..... It still appears probable that the Buddhists never constructed, or knew of, a true dome of any sort..... no one of the caves or rock cut temples of any sort show any tendency even to this architectural form.......in no one instance, ... is there a semblance of a stone roof of any kind, nor even of an arch, either horizontally constructed or on the radiating principle; much less of a dome, which is a far more complicated thing to construct than a mere arch. I think therefore, it must be admitted that they were ignorant of the form."
pp 80-81 " In the Bengal provinces several of these Jaina temples have been converted into mosques, constituting some of the few remains of more ancient times that the bigotry of the Moslems have spared to us.....The process by which conversion of a Jaina temple to a Moslem mosque was effected will be easily understood by referring to the plan of that of Vimala Sah, on Mount Abu (woodcut 43, p. 70) .....Thus, without a single new column or carved stone being required, they obtained a mosque which, for convenience and beauty, was unsurpassed by anything they afterwards erected from their own designs."
[Note : So, conversions of Hindu temples into mosques is accepted by Fergusson. Exactly when the Muslims started to build from their own design, Fergusson does not say. How can he ? Even the 17th century European travellers have noted forcible conversions of temples into mosques.]
CHAPTER I - SOUTHERN HINDU ARCHITECTURE
pp 104-05 " This new style is found in the buildings erected under the influence of the Mahometans, and adopts, to a certain extent some of more prominent forms of their architecture [Note : From now on Fergusson is possessed by this mysterious influence of the Mahometans.]
" When the Mahometans first conquered India they imitated in their earlier mosques not only the details, but even the forms of the Hindu architects..." [This in itself implies that there were no Muslim architects] " .....In process of time a complete reaction took place and in their secular buildings at least, though scarcely ever in their temples, the Hindus began to adopt the arcades and vaults of their antagonist." [Fine. But where were the Muslim architects who would have taught the Hindu architects, how to construct arches and vaults ? There were none.] ".....In the south of India one of the most pleasing specimens of this style is a portion of the palace of Madura." [This happens to be the area which was not ruled by Muslims except for a very short period]
CHAPTER II - NORTHERN HINDU STYLES
p 107 " In Northern India, with few exceptions to be shortly noticed, there are no genuine Hindu buildings at all earlier than the time of the Mahometan conquest." [Note: Fergusson is shamelessly suggesting that Hindus started building after the Mahometan conquests. The buildings were there. But they were either destroyed in successive Muslim raids, or when the invaders decided to stay in India, they converted Hindu temples into tombs and mosques, Fergusson could not stomach this truth...Mahmud of Gazni has recorded in 1020 A.D. that he destroyed more than 1000 temples in Mathura, the greater number of them in marble. Alberuni who accompanied Mahmud of Gazni has praised Hindu Ghats, which needed knowledge of underwater construction.]
" Many of the Jains [monuments were] converted for the most part into mosques, though perfectly easy to be recognised."
MIXED HINDU STYLE
" During the existence of the earlier Pathan dynasties of India, the bigotry of the Mahometans did not admit of the Hindu erecting temples of any pretension in the great cities over which they had obtained the dominion...with the beneficent and tolerant reign of the Great Akbar (1556-1605), a new era dawned for his oppressed subjects .... while his own buildings show a strong tendency to the Hindu style, the Hindus, under his encouragement, erected edifices which display an even greater admixture of the Mahometan forms of architecture."
[But where were the Muslim Architects and what are the Mahometan forms of architecture ?]
CHAPTER IV - INDIA : SARACENIC ARCHITECTURE
p 418 Fergusson reiterates his fantastic theory of Muslims taking down Hindu temples piece by piece and re-erecting the same. He says : ".....all show the same system of taking down and rearranging the materials on a different plan.....The same is true of the domes, all which, being honestly and firmly fitted, would suffer no damage from the process of removal......"
pp 420-1 " Besides this, a roof is by no means an essential part of a mosque; a wall facing Mecca is all that is required, and frequently in India is all that is built, though sometimes an enclosure is added in front of it to protect the worshippers from interruption. Roofed colonnades are of course not only convenient but ornamental accomplishments, yet far from being indispensable."
" The history of this mosque ( near Qutb Minar ), as told in its construction, is as curious as anything about it. It seems the Afghan conquerors had a tolerably distinct idea that pointed arches were the true form of architectural openings; " [and yet on page 414 Fergusson also says... Afghanistan was a Buddhist country for so long !" So, where did they get the idea that pointed arches were the true form of architectural openings ?] " but being without science sufficient to construct them, they left the Hindu architects and builders to follow their own devices." [in other words there were no Muslim Architects.]
"...The date of all these buildings is known with sufficient exactness from the inscriptions that cover them." [This was the beginning of the great blunder. All such dates show the time of capture, conversion and beginning of misuse and not of construction.]
p 432 " the great architectural peculiarity of the Tartar or Mongolian races is their tomb-building propensity, ....Nowhere is this more forcibly illustrated than in India." [Why in India ?]
" The tombs of the Turks or Pathans [Pathans were not Turks] are less splendid than those of the Moguls; but nevertheless the whole series is singularly interesting, the tombs being far more numerous than the mosques. Generally speaking, also, they are more artistic in design, and frequently not only larger but more splendidly decorated than the buildings exclusively devoted to prayer......"
" The usual process for the erection of these structures is for the king or noble who intends to provide himself a tomb [but history tells us of no such persons !] to enclose a garden outside the city walls, generally with high crenellated walls [ Why does a tomb need high crenellated walls ?] and with one or more splendid gateways; and in the centre of this he erects a square or octagonal building, crowned by a dome, and in the more splendid examples with smaller and dome-roofed apartments on four of the sides or angles, the four being devoted to entrances..........During the lifetime of the founder the central building is called a Barrah Durrie, or festal hall, and is so used as place of recreation and feasting by him and his friends."
" At his death its destination is changed - the founder's remains are interred beneath the central dome. Sometimes his favourite wife lies beside him; but more generally his family and relations are buried beneath the collateral domes. When once used as a place of burial, its vaults never again resound with festive mirth... ...Perfect silence now takes the place of festivity and mirth."
[Note : All wild fantasy. But as Fergusson was the pioneer in the field of History of Architecture all such blunders went unquestioned. History does not support any of Fergusson's assumptions. Most of the tombs bear no names. Later day chauvinistic descendants have put up some plates. But even these simply say " Tomb of so and so." Almost all the tombs have cenotaphs and so called real grave chambers. Shiva temples are built in two stories and when these were converted into tombs there had to be two tombs. Fergusson fails to notice them.]
Taje Mahal is described on pages 436-438. He says :
p 436 " The typical example of the tombs of this race is the celebrated Taje Mahal - the tomb which Shah Jehan erected at Agra, to contain the remains of his favourite wife Moomtaza Mehal, meaning to erect a more splendid mausoleum for himself on the opposite side of the river.
But this was not carried into effect....." [Fergusson, like others, simply repeats what Tavernier wrote but does not say so.]
The North-South cross section through the central edifice is produced on page 437, but it does not show the river Yamuna [Jumna]. In the footnote we are told, " The section has been engraved to a small scale of rather more than 100 ft to 1 inch in order to bring it into the page." The section shows quite clearly that there are several chambers around the [so called] real graves [but they have been sealed up] and that there is at least one storey 17 ft deep below the [so called] real graves and extending right across the 300 ft width [but also sealed up] It is amazing that no Architect or Historian has ever wondered about this, nor asked to see what is there in those chambers.
Fergusson does not say how he obtained the cross-section. It seems that he did open up the sealed chambers, found something there which would rock the boat of the usual legend and prove the falsity of Indo-Saracenic Architecture, sealed up the chambers again and vowed never to say a word about it. But he confesses on page 438 "...When used as a Barrah Durrie, or pleasure palace, it must always have been the coolest and the loveliest of garden retreats......."
[Santhal revolt against the rule of the East India Company]
Oudh ( Ayodhya ) state was annexed by Lord Dalhousie.
Lokamanya Tilak was born. Sixty years later, the British quite rightly called him " Father of the Indian Unrest "
Universities were established at Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
India in the 15th Century by Major Richard Henry was published by the Hakluyt Society, London.
Lt Col Alexander Cunningham was posted to Burma to set up a public works department.
The Indian War of Independence against the rule of the East India Company.
Queen Victoria's proclamation. British Crown takes over the administration of India from the much hated East India Company.
The Causes of the Indian Revolt by Syed Ahmed Khan [in Urdu] was published.
A Visit to India, China and Japan by Bayard Taylor was revised and edited by G.F.Pardon. Mr Taylor describes Taje Mahal on pages 66- 74. He tells us in CHAPTER VI.
THE TAJE MAHAL
p 68 " The Taaje Mahal is esteemed the finest work of art in Hindostan. The name which signifies a mausoleum and a palace,......The Taaje Mahal was erected in the year 1719 by the Emperor Shah Jehan " King of the world " a title conferred on him by his father [Shah Jahan died in 1666!] At this period, the commencement of his reign, he had the misfortune to lose a beautiful and favourite wife. On her death-bed, he promised to perpetuate her memory by the finest tomb in the world..."
".......It is a work inspired by love and consecrated to beauty. Shah Jehan ... erected it as a mausoleum over his queen Noor Jehan - The light of the World - whom the same poet calls Noor Mahal, " The Light of the Harem " or more properly " Palace "
p 69 "....ruins of ancient palaces....The entrance is a superb gateway of sandstone, inlaid with ornaments and inscriptions from the Koran in white marble. Outside of this grand portal, however, is a spacious quadrangle of solid masonry, with an elegant structure intended as a caravansarai, on the opposite side.... Down such a vista ....rises the Taaje."
" It is an octagonal building, or rather, a square with the corners truncated, and each side precisely similar. It stands upon a lofty platform, or pedestal, with a minaret at each corner, and again, is lifted on a vast terrace of solid masonry..."
"....The Taaje is approached by a handsome road, cut through the mounds left by the ruins of ancient palaces ... The height of the building from its base to the top of the dome is 262 ft, and of the minarets about 200 ft." [Mr.Taylor does not tell how he got these dimensions. The correct dimensions are 243 1/2 ft and 162 1/4 ft respectively.] "......Bishop Heber truly said, " The Pathans designed like Titans and finished like jewellers" [This is absurd ! Shahjahan was a Mughal. Mughals and Pathans were bitter enemies of each other. The French physician, Bernier confirms this.]
p 70 " I descended to the vault where the beautiful Noor Jahan is buried. Shah-Jehan whose ashes are covered by a simple cenotaph....I have even heard it stated that the Taaje was designed by an Italian architect. One look at the Taaje ought to assure any intelligent man that this is false nay impossible, from the very nature of the thing. The Taaje is the pure Saracenic in form, proportions, and ornamental designs. If that were not sufficient, we have still the name of the Muslim architect [who ?] sculptured upon the building." [where ?]
"....In the weekly account of the expenditures for the building of the Taaje, there is a certain sum mentioned as paid to " the foreign stone-cutters." who may either have been Italian, Turkish or Persian."
"...Around all the arches of the portals and the windows around the cornice and the domes, on the walls and in the passages, are inlaid chapters of the Koran, the letters being exquisitely formed of black marble. It is asserted that the whole of the Koran is thus inlaid in the Taaje."
".....From the resemblance of this screen and the workmanship of the tomb to Florentine mosaic, it is supposed by some to have been executed by an Italian artist; and I have even heard it stated that...."
p 71 " As for the flowers, represented in bas-relief on the marble panels, it has been said that they are not to be found in India. Now these flowers, as near as they can be identified, are the tulip, the iris ( both natives of Persia ), and the lotus... Bishop Heber has declared that he recognised Italian art in the ornaments of the Taaje....he fell .. into many other glaring errors... which I have no time to point out."
" On one side of the Taaje is a mosque with three domes, of red sandstone, covered with mosaic of white marble. Now on the opposite side, there is a building precisely similar, but of no use whatever, except as a balance to the mosque, lest the perfect symmetry of the whole design should be spoiled. This building is called the Jawab, or "answer"......"
p 72 " In comparing these master pieces of architecture with the Moorish remains in Spain, which resemble them most nearly, I have been struck with the singular fact, that while, at the central seats of the Moslem empire, art reached but a comparative degree of development, here, in India and there, on the opposite and most distant frontiers, it attained rapid and splendid culmination. [surprise ! surprise !!] The capitals of Caliphs and Sultans - Bagdad, Cairo, Damascus and Constantinople, - stand far below Agra and Delhi, Granada and Seville, in point of architecture.....It is not improbable that the Moorish architects, after the fall of Granada, gradually made their way to the eastward, and that their art was thus brought to India - or, at least, modified and improved the art then existing. The conquest of India by Babur ( grandson of Tamerlane and grandfather of Akbar ), is almost coeval with the expulsion of the Moors from Granada." [Typical mentality of Westerners!]
"......On the opposite bank of the Jumna there is an immense foundation-terrace whereon it is said, Shah Jehan intended to erect a tomb for himself, of equal magnificence but the rebellion of his sons, and his own death, prevented it...A shekh who takes care of the Taaje, told me, that had the emperor carried out his design the tombs were to have been joined by a bridge, with a silver railing on each side. He told me that the Taaje, with its gateways, mosque and other buildings attached, had cost =9C5,000,000. This however, seems quite impossible, when we consider the cheapness of labour in those days and I believe the real cost is estimated at =9C3,000,000 which does not seem exaggerated." [ Note : Taylor does not tell us where he got his figure of 3 million from]
Architectural Illustrations of the Principal Mohamedan Buildings of Bijapur by Mr.P.D.Hart was edited by James Fergusson.
- Matriculation examination of Bombay University takes place for the first time.
" Among the many lessons the Indian mutiny conveys to the historian, none is of great importance than the warning that it is possible to have a revolution in which Brahmins and Sudras, Hindus and Mahomedans, could be united against us and that it is not safe to suppose that the peace and stability of our dominions, in any great measure, depends on the continent being inhabited by different religious systems for they mutually understand and respect and take part in each others modes and ways and doings. The mutiny reminds us that our dominions rests on a thin crust ever likely to be rent by titanic fires and social changes and religious revolutions."
( Ref : Central India During the Rebellion of 1857-58 by Thomas Lowe, MRCS, Medical Officer to the Corps of Madras Sappers and Miners. )
" ....Our endeavour should be to uphold in full force the separation which ( for us fortunate ) exists between the different religions and races, not to endeavour to amalgamate them. Divide et impera should be the principle of Indian Government...." Remarks of Lt.Colonel Coke, Commandant of Moradabad 1860. [Ref : Pakistan - Military Rule or People's Power by Tariq Ali, Jonathan Cape, London 1970 page 25]
[Note : Aligarh, where Muslim separatism started and flourished, is only 30 miles from Moradabad.]
- Viceroy Lord Canning visits Agra.
- An Account of the Loyal Mahomedans of India by Syed Ahmad Khan was published.
- After the death of Prof Wilson, Max Muller stands for election to Sanskrit chair at Oxford University, but fails.
Alexander Cunningham now aged 47 retires from the army with the rank of Major General. Following his correspondence with Lord Canning, the first Viceroy, Archaeological Survey of India ( A.S.I. ) was started. Cunningham was appointed as an Archaeological Surveyor in December.
- Indian Penal Code comes into operation.
" Star of India " order was instituted.
- Motilal Nehru and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya were born. Motilal Nehru became a successful lawyer and a moderate political leader. Malaviya founded the Benares Hindu University.
History of India by Henry Beveridge ( Advocate ) was published. On page 289 of Volume I he says, "...In (Agra) the latter stands conspicuous above all the Taje Mahal, the mausoleum of his queen Mumtaz Mahal..." On the same page, we find a picture of the interior of Taje Mahal at Agra reproduced from Oriental Drawing, East India House. In the footnote, Beveridge refers to and quotes from Fergusson's Handbook of Architecture ( 1855 ), but does not produce the cross-section and deletes the vital sentence " when used as a Barrah-dari or pleasure palace. ...." In the footnote on pages 289, 290 Beveridge says, "...Tavernier saw this building begun and finished and tells us that it occupied 20,000 men for twenty two years. The mausoleum and all the buildings that appertain to it cost Rs 3,17,48,026 or 3,174,802 sterling.
( Ref : Sleeman's Rambles and Recollections by an Indian Official)"
Indian Empire by R.M.Martin was published. Volume 3 contains copy of a painting of Taj Mahal by Captain R.Elliot. It shows several basement rooms in the so called mosque and the so called Jawab. These were blocked by British authorities at some later date. Why ? And why is there no record ? The painting also shows palaces upstream and downstream of Taj Mahal. As the remains of these palaces were destroyed during the famine works of 1837 the painting must have been made before 1837.
- Alexander Cunningham becomes the Director of A.S.I.
- History of Modern Styles of Architecture, being a sequel to the Handbook of Architecture by James Fergusson, was published. [Editions 1873 and 1891 ]- 9 December...James Fergusson delivers a lecture on Architecture at the Royal Engineers Establishment, Chatham, England.
- First batch of graduates of Bombay University come out. Among them we find Justice M G Ranade, R G Bhandarkar and V A Modak.
History written by Mill, Duff, Elphinstone and others was a compulsory subject for the B A Examination from the beginning.
Viceroy Lord Elgin visits Agra.
- Bombay Government decides to give grants even to institutions that made attendance at the Bible classes compulsory.
Rock Cut Temples of India ( with 74 photographs ) by J.Fergusson was published. His address is given as 20 Langham Place, London.
- Syed Ahmed Khan was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
Archaeological Survey of India was closed.
Telegraphic connection between India and Britain was completed.
Lala Lajpat Rai, a militant political leader from Punjab and famous historian G.S.Sardesai were born.
J.Fergusson becomes a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects ( FRIBA )
Max Muller writes to his wife on 9 December, " ...I hope I shall finish that work, and I feel convinced, though I shall not live to see it, yet this edition of mine and the translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India, and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion, and to show them what that root is, is, I feel sure, the only way of uprooting all that sprung from it during the last 3000 years...."
( Ref : The life and letters of F Max Muller edited by his wife, Longman Green and co, London 1902. p 328 )
18 December. J.Fergusson delivers a lecture on " the Study of Indian Architecture " at a meeting of the Society of Arts, London.
- Viceroy Lord Lawrence holds a grand Durbar at Agra and also presents a gold medal to Syed Ahmed Khan for good services and efforts in the cause of education.
( 28 November 1866 ) : - Following books were published :
Architecture at Bijapur by Col.M.Taylor ( Notes by J.Fergusson )
Architecture at Ahmedabad by Sir T.C.Hope, ICS ( Photographs by Col.Briggs. Architectural notes by J.Fergusson )
Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore by Col.M.Taylor ( Architectural notes by J.Fergusson )
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a moderate leader, was born
History of Architecture of All Countries by J.Fergusson was published. All the information on Taje Mahal given in his Handbook of Architecture ( 1855 ) is repeated. The cross-section through central edifice is repeated on page 693 of volume II. He now tells us that it has been drawn to a scale of 110 ft to 1 inch. Apart from this, there is no change.
Asiatic Society of Bengal published the Persian text of Lahori's Badshahnama, volume I. It was edited by two Muslims: Mawalawis Kabir AL-Din Ahmad and Abd Al Rahim, under the superintendence of Major.W.N.Lees. Volume II was published in 1868.
- Elliot and Dowson's History of India as told by its own Historians, The Muhammadan Period Vol I, was published in London by Trubner and Co. Other seven volumes were published over next ten years. In his preface Sir Henry M Elliot states that he is dealing with the history of only the Mohammedan rule in India. He gives some examples of how in the 18th and 19th century, Muslims had fabricated various chronicles. He also concludes that the true picture of Muslim rule was far from what was generally believed.
It was full of murders and massacres, razing of temples, forcible conversions and marriages, sensuality and drunkenness. Common people were plunged into the lowest depths of wretchedness and despondency.
[Prof John Dowson, M R A S, of Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in his preface thanks General Cunningham for his important notes, and placing at his disposal his Archaeological Survey of India reports.]
- The History of India from the Earliest days by James Talboys Wheeler was published. ( Taj Mahal on page 156 )
On 16 December Maxmuller writes to the Duke of Argyll, Secretary of State for India, "...India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again and that second conquest should be a conquest by education .....The missionaries have done far more than they themselves seem to be aware of, nay, much of the work which is theirs they would disclaim. The Christianity of our nineteenth century will hardly be the Christianity of India. But the ancient religion of India is doomed - and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be ? "
[Ref : The Life and Letters of F.Max Muller, edited by his wife, 1902 volume I pages 357-8]
Dr Forbes Watson's Report on the Illustration of the Architecture of India, etc with Appendices by Fergusson, Cunningham and Colonel Meadows Taylor, was published.
History of India written by Marshman at the request of the University of Calcutta was published.
In Volume I page 146 he tells us, "..To him ( Shahjahan ) the country was indebted for the immaculate Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of his queen [Who? the pride of India and the admiration of the world..."
- Syed Ahmed Khan and his two sons leave Bombay for England on 6th August. At London he is received by Mr [later Sir] John Kaye - Secretary to the Duke of Argyll, Secretary of State for India.
Syed Ahmed Khan is awarded " Star of India " (Class III)
- Suez Canal was completed and opened to traffic.
- Mahatma Gandhi was born.
- Travels of Fah Hien and Sung Yum was translated by Samuel Beal.
Duke of Edinburgh, 2nd son of Queen Victoria visits India : Dec 1869 to March 1870. He did visit Agra.
Archaeological Survey of India was restarted. Duke of Argyll, Secretary of State for India sanctioned Cunningham's appointment, after consultation with Lord Mayo, Viceroy of India. Cunningham resumes charge, promoted to Director General of that department, next year.
12 inch to 1 mile map of Agra Cantonment, city and Environs was published by the Government of India. It shows the main walls of the Taj Mahal, continuous beyond the Taj Ganj gate at South and enclosing a large market.
- Bombay-Jubblepoor-Calcutta railway connection was completed.
- Historian Yadunath Sarkar and Chittaranjan Das a political leader from Bengal, were born.
J.Fergusson was awarded Royal Gold Medal by the RIBA.
Vincent Smith joins the Indian Civil Service.
The Indian Musalmans : Are They Bound in conscience to Rebel Against the Queen ? by Sir.W.W.Hunter was published.
Syed Ahmed Khan replies to Hunter's book.
Tilak passes the Matriculation examination.
Archaeological Survey of India Report for the Year 1871-72 was prepared by M/s Beglar ( on Delhi ) and Carllyle (on Agra ) In volume II Mr Carlleyle tells us :
p 4 " ... Again as bearing on the other side of the argument I have now to mention that, on the right bank of the river about three miles above the fort, there is the site of an ancient garden palace called the garden and palace of Raja Bhoj! Certain intelligent educated Hindus in Agra say that it is traditionally held to have been a palace of Raja Bhoj of Malwa of the fifth to sixth century; but at any rate all agree as to the fact that this garden palace of Raja Bhoj was in existence previous to the Muhammadan conquest of this part of the country. I am, however, inclined to think that the Raja Bhoj who built this garden palace at Agra may have been the Bhoja, the successor of Guhila or Sri Gohadit of Gelhote dynasty of Mewar......"
On page 67 we find :
MUMTAZ MAHAL, COMMONLY CALLED THE " TAJ MAHAL "
" It will be unnecessary for me to give either the measurements or a description of this well known and beautiful white marble mausoleum, so famous for its exquisite mosaics, and noble dome, and lofty graceful minars, as General Cunningham informed me that he had in his possession a complete ground plan and sections and all measurements of this building....."
Carllyle describes Taj Mahal in 18 lines and says " I cannot presume to say more on this subject, when I know that General Cunningham has both the materials at hand, amd the ability, coupled with the experience of a practised archaeologist, to do it so much more justice than it would ever be possible for me to do."
[Note : General Cunningham became Director General of ASI in 1870 and remained in charge for further 14 years but he never said anything about these sections and particulars. ASI never produced the said sections. Why ? Why ?? Why ??? What were they hiding ?]
Carllyle tells us about some mysterious pillars in Taj Mahal. On pages 124-125 he says, " Before concluding this report, it may be well that I should offer a few remarks in connection with the great square black basaltic pillar which, with the base and capital of another similar pillar, and a long ponderous block of similar stone, which probably formed part of the entablature over the pillars, are now in the grounds of the museum at Agra. "
" The pillar above referred to, it is well known, once stood in the garden of Taj Mahal; and while there, for some reason or other now unknown, the shaft of the pillar used to rock on its base, with a slight touch of the hand, like one of the "logan" or rocking stones. Besides the remains of another pillar, and the large block of similar stone, before mentioned, which are in the grounds of the museum, there are also the remains of a third pillar now placed as gate posts at the gate of a European residence in the cantonments at Agra."
" Now, it is said that these block pillars, when in a perfect state, along with several others originally stood in a line outside the water-gate of the fort of Agra, between the fort and the river, but that some of them had fallen down before the most perfect and complete one of was removed from thence and placed in the Taj garden."
" The pillars were, most certainly, the work of Hindus and they may be either Jain or Brahmanical, although I myself am inclined to think that they are Jain, as their shape and style are Jain in character, and I believe that they resemble the pillars of several ancient Jain colonnades still existing in India."
" The only conclusion therefore that I can come to is that these pillars formed the colonnade to the entrance from the river of some ancient Hindu building which was probably pulled down and destroyed when the Fort was built; and, moreover, I believe that.a very massive and elaborately sculptured black marble Jain image ( of Munisuvratha judging by the tortoise symbol ), which is now at the Agra Museum must .originally have belonged to the same locality, as I have heard that it was dug up somewhere near the fort and the river."
- Pathan Kings of Delhi by Edward Thomas was published.
A Handbook for visitors to Agra by H G Keene was published. It was enlarged, rectified and illustrated and founded on Agra Guide by the same author. The Taj Mahal is described on pages 23 to 36.
The causes of the Indian Revolt [in Urdu] by Syed Ahmed Khan was translated by Sir Auckland Colvin and Colonel Graham. Sir Colvin, later became the Governor of U.P and condemned the Indian National Congress as a seditious organisation, in 1888.
- Blochman's translation of Ain-e-Akbari, volume I was published.
- Third edition of Grant Duff's History of the Marathas was published.
James Burgess was appointed - Archaeological Reporter of Bombay Presidency. (till 1881 )
Keene's Handbook to Agra ( revised edition ) was published. On pages 14 and 15 he describes Agra City of 1630 [i.e before the death of Mumtaz] as given in De Laet Joanne's Dutch book Empire of the Great Moghul, published in 1631. He says,
"...everyone has been anxious to have immediate access to the river and all have consequently built their houses on the bank.....On leaving the royal citadel, [i.e Red Fort] one emerges on a large market, where horses, camels, oxen, and all kinds of merchandise are sold....... Then follow the palaces of Mirza Abdulla, Aga Nours, Zehenna Chan, Mirza Chrom, Mahabot Khan, Chan Alem, Radzia Bartzing, Radzia Mantzing." [The last palace is the same as Taj Mahal. See events of 1896 and 1925]
p 24 Opposite this page we find a plan of the Central Edifice. But there are no dimensions.
p 26 " In Bernier's time this part of the strand was lived by the villas of the nobility."
THE TAJ is described on pages 27 to 41.
p 27 " By the river strand is a road made in the famine relief operations of 1838 by which the visitor reaches the Taj Muhul. On the way he passes the Moghul Court, but now fallen into indistinguishable ruins with the above-named exception."
pp 27/28 There is a reference to Fergusson's History of Architecture but no extract from it. The cross-section of Taj Mahal is also not produced.
p 28 " Urjumund Banoo Begum called Moomtaz-i-Mahal ... married to the prince about 1615, died of childbed of the eighth, about 1629 at Boorhanpoor."
p 29 " Her body was carried like that of our Edward's consort to the metropolis and laid in a spot in the garden still pointed out close by the Mosque until the mausoleum was ready for her reception. The legendary account of the building must here be referred to, authoritative history going no further. It is said and is very likely said with truth that the Emperor resolved to build in his dead wife's garden a mausoleum that should surpass in splendour everything of whose existence he could learn. With this view he sent for plans and models from every quarter, and studied the designs and descriptions of all the most celebrated monuments of the kind. Finally, his choice was influenced by Eesa Mohumud Effendi, an architect sent him by the Sultan of Turkey, and the present model adopted ..."
[There is of course no reference for this fantastic statement. Keene does not tell us of any buildings designed and supervised by this Architect prior to being sent to build Taj Mahal. Keene also does not give us any names of monuments whose designs were studied by Shah Jahan. He admits that all this was just a legend. Later author simply omitted this caution.]
" The collection of the material is said to have occupied the next seventeen years; but it is not necessary to suppose that no building was in progress all this time."
p 30 ".... Much fruitless discussion has been waged on this subject; the following considerations alone are likely to be of use to the general reader. The notion that the Taj was designed by Italians may be dismissed at once. Nothing was ever less Italian than the general conception of the building with its simple and even stiffer contour. ...."
p 31 " The following figures are taken from the Guide to the Taj:- The native account of the cost of the Taj gives 98,55,476 Rupees as having been given by the Rajahs and Nawabs. And out of the Emperor's private treasury 86,09,760 Rupees which would give in =9C1,846,518-6 or nearly two million* There are said to be two silver doors at the entrance of the Taj, which are stated to have cost 1,27,000 Rupees and were studded with 1,100 nails each having a head made of a Sonat Rupee, these gates were taken away and melted down by the Jats when they attacked and sacked Agra. ( * Col Anderson in a recent number of the Calcutta Review states the cost to have been Rs 4,11,43,826. )"
p 32 " The labour was all forced, and very little payment made in cash to the 20,000 workmen who were said to have been employed for 17 years. .... There was great distress and frightful mortality among then.... The poet describes them to have cried out :- Have mercy God on our distress. For we die too, with the Princess."
p 32/35 Here Keene gives some extracts from B.Taylor's book.
pp 35/36 Referring to Bernier, Keene says, " the screen it will be observed is not mentioned."
p 36 Tavernier says " I have seen the commencement and the completion of this great work which employed twenty thousand men daily for twenty two years, a fact from which some idea of its excessive costiness may be formed. The scaffolding is held to have cost more than the building for not having [enough] wood they had to make it of brick, as also the centerings of the vaults. Shah jahan began to make his own sepulchre on the other side of the river, but his war with his sons interrupted the design, and Aurangzeb, the present ruler, has not cared to carry it out."
p 39 " The false Mosque is as fine as the true. It is appropriated to the use of travellers and parties of pleasure, and it is this no doubt that has given rise to the oft-reported story of " wassil and riot " desecrating the place of worship of departed kings."
" Let it be said, once for all, that this is not, never was, never could be, " a place of worship." It would be certainly more in character if no festivities had ever disturbed the repose of a place set aside for solemn memories; but as long as the natives hold constant fairs in the enclosure and throw orange-peel and other debris about the whole place, it is perhaps somewhat hypercritical to object to a few Englishmen refreshing themselves within the limits of becoming mirth,in a remote corner used for no other purpose...... It is in a parterre beneath this mosque that the enclosure is shown where the remains of the empress rested while the Taj was being built. " [But what is the basis for this story or the location of the spot ?]
In a footnote Keene says, "the domes are all of white marble the basements of the building only are of red stone."
[Note :- So, Keene confesses that there are basements below the 1000 ft by 300 ft terrace. Why did he not ask these to be opened up ? Keene does not reproduce the cross- section from Fergusson's book which shows the basements.]
There is no reference to Badshahnama, published in 1867.
The 9th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica was published. Now we are told that the name of the lady was Mumtaza Mahal. We find extract from Fergusson's History of Architecture pp 692/694 including the sentence " When used as a pleasure palace, it must have been the coolest and loveliest of garden retreats. "
We also find reference to Tavernier's Travels ( vol iii, p 94 ) and the magic sentence " 20,000 men were incessantly employed on this work during a period of twenty-two years."
- Sir Syed Ahmad Khan starts a school in Aligarh. 29 April Lord Salisbury, Secretary of State for India states in British Parliament, " We must bleed India, but that bleeding should be done judiciously. The lancet should be directed to those parts where the blood is congested..."
[Ref : India for Indians and for England by William Digby 1885 page IX]
Edward VII as Prince of Wales visits India [8 Nov 1875 to 13 March 1876], visits Taj Mahal on 25 January 1876.
Summary of Events and Explanatory Notes
British rulers were taken aback by the Great Indian Revolt of 1857-59. The Crown took over the administration of India from the hated East India Company. But the Company rulers remained the same. They decided to separate Muslims from Hindus. Very soon after the Great Revolt, recruitment to the Indian Army was to be drawn disproportionately from the Muslims of North West Frontier Province and Punjab. [Ref : Pakistan or Partition of India by Dr B R Ambedkar, 1946, pp 54-85]
Persons like Syed Ahmed Khan who would keep Muslims away from the freedom movement, were patronised. It also became imperative for the British to keep secret, the true nature of Taj Mahal and other monuments. It had to be emphasised that they were the works of foreigners. The natives could not have even thought of building such structures.
Against this background, Archaeological Survey of India ( ASI ) was started in 1860. It was closed in 1865, restarted in 1870 and has continued ever since. Major General Sir Alexander Cunningham was in charge of ASI from the beginning till 1884. He was aware of the enormous political importance of Archaeology as early as 1842.
It is important to note that the appointment of Cunningham in 1870 was sanctioned by the Duke of Argyll, the then Secretary of State for India, after consultation with Lord Mayo's Government of India.
It was the unwritten policy of the Survey to neglect all Hindu emblems of heroism and glory and keep intact the historical places of Muslim association or dominion.
James Fergusson's Handbook of Architecture came out in 1855. It was a formidable work indeed. No one had tried to write the history of architecture of all the countries before. He supplied footnotes for books on architecture of various provinces, by others. The Royal Institute of British Architects elected him as a Fellow of their Institute in 1865, and awarded him the Royal Gold Medal in 1871. Unfortunately, because of all this, his blunders went unquestioned and remained so for more than a century. We list them as follows :
( A ) If a building is used as a mosque or a tomb it must have been built by the Muslims. When that looked silly he proposed that Muslims demolished a Hindu building piece by piece and re-erected a mosque/tomb from it. He was so obsessed with this hypothesis that he even says, "..thus without a single new column or carved stone being required they obtained a mosque which for convenience and beauty was unsurpassed by anything they afterwards erected from their own designs." But he would not accept the simple fact that Muslims forcibly occupied Hindu buildings and misused them as tombs and mosques. In addition, he does not say, exactly when, the Muslims started to build from their own design.
( B ) Hindus did not build arches and domes. And yet he says on p 418," ....all show the same system of taking down and rearranging the materials on a different plan. ... The same is true of the domes, all which being honestly and firmly fitted, would suffer no damage from the process of removal." Where did the domes come from ? Moreover even today, taking down and reerecting buildings requires considerable skill and forethought.
( C ) Fergusson however confesses on p 420, " Besides this, a roof is by no means an essential part of a mosque, a wall facing Mecca is all that is required, and frequently in India is all that is built......."
( D ) Fergusson agrees that the Architects were Hindu and NOT Muslim.
( E ) Fergusson says on p 432, " The architectural peculiarity of the Tartar or Mongolian races is their tomb-building propensity...Nowhere is this more forcibly illustrated than in India. [But why in India ?]...the tombs being far more numerous than the mosques [why ? Because there were so many temples which could be easily converted into tombs. Muslims are buried in India lying north-south, feet towards the south. The faces are turned towards west. Shiva Lingum is also laid north-south, the water dripping on it flows to the north.]
( F ) Fergusson creates a false impression by using the phrase "Mahomedan conquest of India "
This is best illustrated by Max Muller. In 1868 he wrote to the Duke of Argyll, Secretary of State for India, " ....the ancient religion of India is doomed - and if Christianity does not step in whose fault will it be ? ....India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again and that second conquest should be a conquest by education..." Under such conditions, true Indian history just could not be explored.
Cunningham obtained a complete plan and sections of Taj Mahal in 1871, but these were never published. [Same thing applies to many other so called mosques and tombs.] British scholars do not mention this fact even today. They are also silent about why the British Authorities bricked up several rooms in Taj Mahal, which are seen in the pre-1837 painting of Captain R Elliot.
5.1 Taj Mahal Cross-section
Fergusson produced the North-South cross-section through the central edifice in 1855. This shows quite clearly that there are several chambers around the so called real graves [but they have been sealed up] and that there is at least one storey 17 ft deep below the so called real graves and extending right across the 300 ft width [but also sealed up].
Fergusson offers no explanation. We must suspect his motives, especially when we consider his long stay in India and his association with the ASI for 20 years.
Henry Beveridge, Keene and Encyclopaedia Britannica refer to Fergusson but do not reproduce the cross-section.
In 1874 Keene admits that there are basements under the 1000 ft by 300 ft platform. He neither offers any explanation nor does he try to explore them.
5.3 Taje Mahal
Despite the attitude of the British to twist the Indian names, Fergusson ( 1855 ), Bayard Taylor ( 1859 ) and Henry Beveridge (1862 ) use the term Taje Mahal when it was lot easier to say Taj Mahal.
5.4 Palaces on the river bank
In 1874 Keene referred to De Laet Joanne's book [in Dutch] Empire of the Great Moghul, published in 1631. He says that all the great nobles had built their houses on the river bank and gives a list of owners of palaces, on leaving the Red Fort. Raja Mansingh's palace being the last one, which is now Taj Mahal. Thus the river bank was not barren as successive historians have been telling us.
Ruins of these palaces have been mentioned by Bayard Taylor in 1859.
5.5 When used as a Barrah Durrie...
Unaware of its significance, Fergusson confessed in 1855, " when used as a Barrah Durrie or pleasure palace, it must have been the coolest and the loveliest of garden retreats.." Henry Beveridge, Keene and Encyclopaedia Britannica refer to Fergusson but do not quote the above sentence.
5.6 In 1867 Sir H M Elliot warned, " true picture of Muslim rule was far from what was generally believed. It was full of murders and massacres, razing of temples, forcible conversions and marriages, sensuality and drunkenness. Common people were plunged into the lowest depths of wretchedness and despondency."
5.7 Name of the lady
Bayard Taylor says - her name was Noor Jehan whom a poet calls Noor Mahal.
Marshman ( 1869 ) gives her no name.
Encyclopaedia Britannica ( 1875 ) calls her Mumtaza Mahal.
Persian text of Badshshnama, Shahjahan's own official chronicle, was published by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1867. But nobody studied it let alone mention it.
5.9 Keene informs us in 1874 that according to Tavernier the scaffolding is said to have cost more than the entire work. This information was not generally known till the 1889 edition of Tavernier's Travels by Dr Ball. We can conclude that Keene read the original French edition of Tavernier's book.
5.10 Use of Jawab
B. Taylor says in 1859 that the Jawab was of no use whatever.
Keene says in 1874 that Jawab was used for the use of travellers and parties of pleasure.
5.11 Keene makes a distinction between authoritative history and legendary account of the building of the Taj.
5.12 Keene also tells us for the first time that Mumtaz died at Burhanpur and not Agra.
B Taylor says that Taaje Mahal was created in the year 1719 by Shah Jahan, when in fact he died in 1666!
He also says that ashes of Shah Jahan are covered by a simple cenotaph.
The first batch of graduates of Bombay University came out in 1862, Justice M G Ranade being one of them. Tilak graduated in 1876, G K Gokhale in 1886, Gandhi in 1889. All these leaders were busy for the rest of their lives with political awakening and struggle for freedom. They had no time for anything else, least of all the History of Indian Architecture.
8.1 20,000 men worked for 22 years
Henry Beveridge repeats this sentence and refers to Tavernier. Keene ( 1874 ) and Encyclopaedia Britannica ( 1875 ) do the same.
8.2 Shahjahan's intended tomb
Fergusson said, " Shahjahan...meaning to erect a more splendid mausoleum for himself on the opposite side of the river. But this was not carried into effect. " It is interesting to note that Fergusson does not refer to Tavernier.
Bayard Taylor said, " it is said, Shah Jahan intended to erect a tomb for himself, of equal magnificence...A Shekh who takes care of the Taaje told me, that had the emperor carried out his design the tombs were to have been joined by a bridge, with a silver railing on each side. "
Keene does repeat this story, but quotes from Tavernier's book.
8.3 The Architect
Bayard Taylor dismisses the story of Italian Architect but fancies that Moorish Architects may have helped in the construction of Taj Mahal. He also says that the name of the architect is engraved in stone, but gives no name or location of engraving, but does not give the location..
Bayard Taylor thinks that the cost was 3 million.
Henry Beveridge quotes the figure of 3,174,802 and refers to Sleeman for the figure.
8.5 False accusation - Jats looted the silver doors.
Keene said in 1874, "...two silver doors cost Rs 1,27,000 studded with 1100 nails each having a head of a sonat rupee ( these were looted by the Jats ) "
Referring to Bernier Keene says, " the screen it will be observed is not mentioned. " But the same logic was not applied to silver doors which were alleged to have been looted by the Jats.
8.6 B Taylor noticed bas-relief on the marble panels. The flowers being Iris. But contrary to his belief it is a well known Indian poisonous flower Dhatura.
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