Solution: Weekly Problem Practice For History Optional- 2022 [Medieval India: Week 8]

Q.1 How the Malfuzat texts can be used as a historical sources of medieval India? [10 Marks]


The Malfuzat texts record the teachings of the Sufi saints. During the 13th century, the oral teachings of these saints took on a canonical textual form and gradually these works were recognized as the authoritative and normative genre both for the members of the Sufi order and for their lay followers.

Malfuzat as historical source

(1) The Malfuzat texts in the form of the records of Sufi discources were an extremely popular genre of literature during the 13th century in north India and are therefore of tremendous historical importance.

(2) One of the most admired of these Malfuzat texts is the “Fawaid Al-Fuad” translated as “Morals of the Heart”. The book was written by Amir Hasan Sijzi Dehlavi, a poet and disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya. It is a beautifully written account of the Sufi teachings of Nizamuddin Auliya. The “Fawaid Al-Fuad” is valued more for its historical value as a corrective to the exclusively dynastic focus of the court historians than its religious content.

(3) The social history of the period, not found in dynastic chronicles can well be ascertaimed from the Malfuzat texts. We can get a glimpse of medieval society and the popular customs, manners and problems of the people from recorded conversations of this kind.

(4) Later on the Malfuzat tradition was furthered by Hamid Qalandar, who compiled the teachings and speeches of Nizamuddin Auliya’s successor in Delhi, Nasiruddin Mahmud Chirag-i-Delhi. Hamid has provided us with an elaborate description of how the collection of works compiled in Khair al-Majalis (the best of aassemblies) began in 1854 and were then forwarded to the master, who finally approved of it

Another important one is Malfuzat on Burhan al-Din Gharib like Nafaid al-antas.

Limitations of Malfuzat as historical source

(1) The authors of the Malfuzat texts did not actually take down copious notes when the master was speaking instead they penned down and transcribed the master’s sayings from memory. This gives possibility of error and exaggeration.

Later on sometimes their work was improved upon by the Sufi saint himself.

(2) Malfuzat texts donot give much informations about rulers amd political history of the time as the Malfuzat had great Sufi saints as their protagonists so these texts did not really care to concern themselves with either the Sultan or his entourage.

Q.2 Describe the contribution of Firoz Tughlaq to progress of Agriculture in India. [10 Marks]


  • After death of Muhammad bin Tughlaq in 1351, Firoz Tughluq (a cousin of Muhammad Tughlaq) had the unique distinction of being chosen as sultan by the nobles. Firuz Tughlaq tried to revive the tradition of a state based on benevolence, and the welfare of the people.

Contribution in progress of agriculture

  • Wrote off Sondhar
    • Firuz Shah Tughluq wrote off Sondhar (advances to peasants) given by Md. Bin Tughluq.
  • New valuation (Jama):
    • He appointed Khwaja Hisamuddin Junaid to settle the revenues afresh. The Khwaja toured the country for six years with a team of officials, and made a new valuation (jama).
    • The amount of Jama was fixed at six crores and seventy-five lakhs tankas on the basis of rough estimation, and was not altered during the rest of Firuz Tughluq’s reign.
    • The basis of assessment was not measurement but sharing. This meant that the benefit of any growth (or decline) would be shared by the peasant and the State.
    • Since the bulk of the land-revenue had been granted to the nobles as iqta, they were the principal beneficiaries of any development.
  • Improving cropping pattern
    • An effort was also made to improve the cropping pattern in the area so that superior crops like wheat and sugar-cane began to be cultivated in place of inferior crops.
  • Gardens
    • Firuz was fond of planting orchards, and is supposed to have planted 1200 gardens around Delhi.
    • Most of the orchards grew black and white grapes and also dry fruits, and that the sultan’s income from these was 180,000 tankas.
  • Abolition of taxes / Abwabs (Miscellaneous cesses)
    • In the latter years of his reign, Firuz tried to bring the agricultural taxation system in line with the shara. Thus, he abolished all the taxes not sanctioned by the shara.
      • Twenty-one such taxes which were abolished have been listed by contemporaries. These included the ghari (house tax) of which we hear during the time of Alauddin. Many others were cesses on produce payable at the market.
      • It is difficult to say how far the abolition of these taxes benefited the peasants, or how effective the abolition was, because many of them had to be abolished by Akbar, and again by Aurangzeb.
  • Irrigation:
    • Canals:
      • Firuz founded the city of Hissar-Firuza (modern Hissar), and decided to dig two canals to bring water to the city from the Sutlaj and the Jamuna. These canals joined together near Karnal and provided plenty of water to the city of Hissar.
        • Now the peasants could cultivate two crops, the spring (kharif) and winter (rabi).
      • In Firuz’s time, the entire tract of land along the canal was irrigated, and led to the expansion of cultivation in the old villages, and new villages came up.
      • Other canals were also dug by Firuz. Most of these canals were in the present Haryana area. One canal also carried water to the city of Ferozpur— south of Delhi founded by Firuz.
      • Afif says that the entire areas from the river Sutlej to Koil (modern Aligarh) became fully cultivated.
    • Besides the canals, the irrigation scheme of Firuz included construction of a large number of wells, dams and reservoirs which greatly fostered agriculture.
      • During raining season he used to appoint special officers for examining banks of the water courses and report the extent of inundations.
    • The scheme of irrigation enabled the Sultan to overcome famine which had been the greatest menace in the reign of Md. Bin Tughluq.
      • It also helped production of the Rabi crops, besides the Kharif in certain areas that is those around Hisar where cultivation had been impossible before, owing to the scarcity of water.
      • Besides this, it brought vast areas of barren land under cultivation.
    • The increased production occasioned a fall in prices of the commodities. As compared to the reign of Md. Bin Tughluq, the reign of Firuz showed considerable fall in prices of the commodities.
      • It was perhaps the prosperity, and the resulting affluence of the nobility, which is reflected in the writings of Barani and Afif.
      • Of course, other sections, such as the peasants, the artisans, and traders also benefited. But in places distant from Delhi, such as Sindh grain-prices were unstable and wages of the artisans extremely high.
    • Firuz also benefited from the agrarian prosperity.
      • He brought together a set of learned men and mullahs who decreed that for his pains of digging the canals and bringing water, the sultan was entitled to an extra charge of 10 per cent or haqq-i-sharb.
      • This was levied from the old villages where cultivation had grown, and was a part of the personal income (khalisa) of the sultan.
      • The normal land-revenue of the new villages was also part of the sultan’s personal income. This was distributed by the sultan in charity to the religious divines and learned people.

Q.3 Give a brief assessment of the impact of Alauddin Khalji’s market reforms on contemporary economy and society. [10 Marks]


According to Barani, Alauddin set up three markets at Delhi, first for food-grains, the second for cloth and expensive items such as sugar, ghee, oil, dry fruits etc., and the third for horses, slaves and cattle.

Under the market reform, the Sultan fixed the prices of all commoditions from grain to cloths, slaves, cattle etc. To implement the reform, a controller of market (shahna-i-mandi), intelligence officers (barids) and secret spies (munhiyan) were appointed.

Impact of the market reforms on economy

Positive Impacts

(1) During Alauddin’s reign, prices of goods were low, the food stuffs and othe necessary stuffs were available easily, hoarding, blackmarketing, cheating by the business community and exploitation by the middleman were checked.

(2) The regulations provided for the rationing of grain in times of drought or famine. We do not hear of any large scale famine and death or starvation during the reign of Alauddin Khilji.

(3) Alauddin Khilji tried to control not only the supply of food grains from the villages, and its transportation to the city by the grain merchants but also its proper distribution to the citizens.

(4) Significant and lasting impact of these reforms was the furthering of the growth of a market economy in the villages and bringing about a more integral relationship between the town and the country, the furthering of the process of the internal restructuring of the sultanate.

Negative Impacts

(1) The price, control system affected trade severely. The merchants were unable to realise sufficient profits. The rule was enforced so rigidly that no corn-dealer, farmer or anyone else could hold back secretly grain and sell it above the fixed price.

The severe punishments given to erring merchants made many to stop business.

(2) The cultivators were badly affected adversely by the low price of food-grains, and the high land-revenue. Alauddin Khilji’s policy was to leave the cultivator with so little as to barely enough for carrying on cultivation and his food requirements.

(3) The regulations of Alauddin resulted in a lot of vexatious, bureaucratic controls and corruption. Perhaps Alauddin would have been more successful if he had controlled the prices of essential commodities only, or those meant for direct use by the military. But he tried to control the price of everything. Such widespread, centralised controls were bound to be violated, inviting punishments which led to resentment.

Thus, by their very nature, Alauddin Khalji’s market reforms were temporary, and largely meant to tide over an emergency, or a particular situation.

Impact of the market reforms on society

(1) Alauddin Khilji’s market reforms had impact on the society. Since the articles were sold at cheap rates in Delhi made many to migrate to Delhi. Among them were learned men and excellent craftsmen. This paved the way for the cultural inter course among the people of the Delhi Sultanate. It helped in the development of composite culture in the society.

(2) The task of transporting food grains from the country side was generally carried out by karwans and banjaras. They were ordered to form themselves into one corporate body, giving sureties for each other. In this process they became, though unconsciously, the carrier of exchange of different ideas which further enriched the evolving socio- cultural life of Delhi.

(3) Alauddin Khalji oppressed the higher ups but provided great relief to the common man. This can be seen as a form of social justice.

Removal of middleman and lessening their power socially degraded them.

(4) Alauddin Khilji’s military strength had increased on account of the price control system. It not only provided strength and stability to the administration but also provided employment to the people. Through employment he checked the social unrest on the one hand and on the other hand he saved the people from the Mongol menace, controlled the revolts of local chiefs and led the successful expedition to South India.

(5) Grain rationing gave food and social security could have been possible due to the market regulation and other economic reforms. We do not hear of any large scale famine and death or starvation during the reign of Alauddin Khalji.

(6) Due to tough regulations with the help of officers and spies, the crime level in the society also decreased and rule of law prevailed. Roads were made safe to travel so that traders could bring articles in the market easily.

Though criminal acts were controlled, the heavy hand approach of Alauddin Khalji created resentment in the society.

Q.4 Trace the development of art and architecture under the Mughals and point out mingling of Hindu elements in them. [20 Marks]


The establishment of Mughal rule in India revitalized Indo-Islamic art and architecture. The prevalent architectural forms and techniques and other arts were amalgamated with those brought from Central Asia and Persia.

The development of art and architecture under the Mughals:


  • Mughal architecture is a distinct architectural style developed by the Mughals. It was an amalgam of Persian, Turkic and Indian architecture. The Mughal architecture was final result of blending of “trabeate and arcuate”.
  • Mughal buildings have a uniform pattern of structure and character, including large bulbous domes, slender minarets at the corners, massive halls, large vaulted gateways and delicate ornamentation.
  • Emperor and his contribution:
    • Babur: In his short period of rule, he took considerableinterest in erecting buildings, though few have survived. He laid out several gardens (e.g: Ram Bagh and Zahra Bagh) and some pavilions. Standing structure remains are only two mosques at Panipat and Sambhal, both of which doesn’t possess architectural merit.
    • Humayun: Due to political uncertainties, he had very less time for building activity. Two mosques of agra and Hissar are surviving which is devoid of any architectural marit. Humayun’s tomb, was built after his death during reign of Akbar by him widow Hamida Banu Begum.
    • Akbar: He built widely, and the style developed vigorously during his reign. The flowering of the Mughal architecture takes place during his reign. He encouraged a hybrid style, containing foreign as well as indigenous element.
      • The chief elements of the style of architecture that evolved under Akbar:
        • Use of red sandstone as the building material.
        • A widespread use of the trabeated construction.
        • Arches used mainly in decorative form rather than in structural form.
        • Dome was of the ‘Lodi’ type, sometimes built hollow but never technically of the true double order.
        • The shafts of the pillars were multifaceted and the capitals of these pillars invariably took the form of bracket supports;
        • The decoration comprised of boldly carved or inlaid patterns complemented by brightly coloured patterns on the interiors.
      • Major building projects:
        • Fort at Agra: The architecture of the fort clearly indicates the free adoption of the Rajput planning and construction. Some of the important buildings in the fort are Delhi Gate, Moti Masjid and Jahangiri Mahal.
        • Fatehpur Sikri: Akbar’s greatest architectural achievement was the construction of Fatehpur Sikri, his Capital City near Agra. It contained some of the most beautiful buildings – both religious and secular which testify to the Emperor’s aim of achieving social, political and religious integration. All the buildings are rich in red sandstone, using traditional trabeate construction. Religious buildings are Jami Masjid,Buland Darwaza and Tomb of Shaikh Salim Chishti. Secular nature are more varied and numerous e.g: Jodh Bai palace and Panch Mahal are palace type. Diwani Khas and  Diwani Am was built for administrative purpose. Caravan sarais, Karkhana building and Water-works are other kind of works. The religious buildings  are invariably built in the arcuate style while in secular buildings dominates the trabeate order.
    • Jahangir: He was more interested in painting than architecture building. From Jahangir reign marble had started taking the place of red sandstone. Major construction during his period:
      • Tomb of Akbar: It’s construction was started by Akbar and completed during Jahangir time. It has square structure built up in three stories. Painted stucco-coloured stone, Red sandstone and marble inlay has been used. Several mausoleums built subsequently reflect the influence of this structure to varying degree.
      • Tomb of Itimadud Daula: Built by Nur Jahan on the grave of her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. It marks a change in architectural style from Akbar to Jahangir and Shah Jahan. The transition took place from the robustness of Akbar’s buildings to a more sensuous. The tomb is a square structure raised on a low platform and has four octagonal minarets. It is built in white marble and is embellished with mosaics and pietra dura. Gateways are made of red sandstone.
    • Shah Jahan: He was a prolific builder. His reign was marked by a extensive architectural works in his favorite building material, the marble. Rather than building a huge monuments like his predecessors to demonstrate their power, Shah Jahan built elegant monuments.
      • Major construction during this period:
        • The palace-forts e.g (Lal Qila) at Delhi.
        • The mosques, the Moti Masjid in the Agra Fort and the Jami Masjid at Delhi.
        • Garden-tombs, e.g., the Taj Mahal.
      • From Akbar to Shah Jahan time following stylistic changes took place:
        • The arch adopted a distinctive form with foliated curves, usually with nine cusps;
        • Marble arcades of engrailed arches became a common feature.
        • The dome developed a bulbous form with stifled neck. Double domes became very common.
        • Inlaid patterns in coloured stones became the dominant decorative form.
        • A new device of inlay decoration called pietra dura was adopted. In this method, semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, onyx, jasper, Topaz and cornelian were embedded in the marble in graceful foliations.
    • Aurangzeb and Later Mughals:
      • Aurangzeb didn’t had passion for architecture. Very few buildings are associated with his name and they are not stylistically important. e.g: mausoleum of his wife Rabia ud Dauran, Badshahi Masjid in Lahore, Moti Masjid at Lal Qila.
      • Later mughals due to political uncertainty could not focus on building activity.


During Mughal period painting art in India made a leap forward. A particular style of painting called Mughal school of painting emerged. It generally remained confined to miniatures either as book illustrations (narrative painting) or as single works to be kept in albums (album painting).This school of painting developed as result of happy blending of Persian and Indian painting.

  • Mughal Emperor’s and painting :
    • Babur and Humayun: Both of them didn’t have time to make any notable contribution. Humayun while coming back from exile brought two Persian master: Mir Syed Ali and Khwaja Abdus Samad.
    • Akbar took deep interest in the promotion of this art. He establishment of Royal Atelier. Talented Indian painter worked there in large number. Most of the paintings are narrative painting during his period.  Hamzanama, Tutinama, Baburnama, Tarikh-i Alfi, Razm nama etc are few among many of narrative paintings. Fusion of the Persian and Indian traditions resulted in to distinct Mughal painting.
    • Jahangir: He had deep interest painting art and under him Mughal painting achieved its zenith. During his reign narrative painting became less important than individual pictures and albums. He was a keen naturalist and love for birds, flowers and animals are visible in paintings of his time. Jahangir was also deeply influenced by European painting.
    • Shah Jahan: He was a great patron of architecture art but he did not neglect the painting. Mughal paintings continued to develop, but they gradually became cold and rigid. Themes of his period include musical parties; lovers, sometimes in intimate positions, on terraces and gardens; and ascetics gathered around a fire. Other development were: Colors of the paintings became more decorative and Gold was more frequently used for embellishment.
    • Aurangzeb: Painting arts were ignored during his regime. Painting did not stop altogether, though it lost the patronage of the Emperor and became confined to the studios of the nobles. Paintings of this period are more formal and seem to have lost their earlier liveliness.
    • Among later Mughals Muhammad Shah took interest in painting but by this time many of the painters of imperial studio had begun migrating to provincial courts.


It was another branch of cultural life were Hindu and Muslim cooperated. It’s patron was provincial kingdoms (e.g Raja Man Singh of Gwalior) and beside that it also developed in temple and sufi gathering. Mughals were also patrons of music. Some of them not only liked music but wrote poetry as well.

  • Babur ad Humayun:  Both were fond of music. Babur himself was a good poetry writer. Humayun had even fixed Mondays and Wednesdays for that purpose. When Humayun captured Mandu he brought a musician Bachchu to his court.
  • Akbar: He was fond of music. Ain-i- Akbari of Abu’i-Fazl suggests there were 36 musicians in court of Akbar. They belong to diverse section of society e.g: Hindus, Iranis, Turanis, kashmiris, both men and women. Tansen one of the court musician of Akbar was the great exponents of North Indian system of music. He introduced some famous ragas viz., Miyan ki Malhar, Miyan ki Todi and Dabari; and also few instruments e.g Rudra Vina.
  • Jahangir: He also had interest in music and patronise large number of musicians in his court. He himself wrote many
  • Shah Jahan: Like his predecessors, he was also  lover of music. Vocal and instrumental music was given every day in the Diwan-i-Khas. He himself took part in music and had very attractive voice.
    • Ramdas and Mahapattar were two chief vocalist of his court.
    • A musician by name Jagannath so delighted him with his perform one that the emperor is said to have weighed him in gold and given it to him as his fee.
  • Aurangzeb: He himself was a Veena player. During first ten years, he was fond of music but as he began to grow, he became an opponent of music and turned out the court musicians. During his reign music received a death blow.
  • Development of music received impetus in the court of Muhammad Shah Two famous vocalists Sadarang & Adarang contributed to singing. Several forms of music developed during his reign, They were associated with Khyal. New form of music like Taranaa, Dadra etc emerged.

Mingling of Hindu elements in various art:

Minging was mainly due to Mughal emperors like Akbar, Jahangir and Shah jahan were tolerant to other religions and they accommodated the good features of other styles and also many artiest employed were Indians so indigenous styles were reflected in the there construction.

  • Architecture:
    • Indian feature in Mausoleum of Humayun :
      • The entire building being placed in a formal garden with a large gate.
      • Dome was supported by slender minarets. It was a feature of Gujarat style of architecture.
      • Graceful kiosks were a familiar feature of Rajasthan.
    • Jama Masjid of Sikri was built in the manner of Indian mosques with iwans around a central courtyard.
    • In many building there are puja rooms especially for Hindu wives. Even in a room decoration mural paintings used, which had carving of Rama being worshiped by Hanuman.
    • In diwan-i-khas, central pillar and brackets central platform appears to be of India tradition.
    • Trabeate used extensively is of Indian origin.
    • Skills of the Hindu pillar maker have been used in Diwan-i-Am.
    • Lotus decoration at dome was also a Hindu element.
  • Painting:
    • Plastic roundness of Indian painting was introduced in Akbar period to gave 3 dimensional effect in place of the flat 2 dimensional effect.
    • Indian trees and flowers, Indian building etc. were also introduced in the pictures.
    • Indian colours, suck as peacock blue, the Indian red etc. also began to be used. Attempts were made to improve the mixture of colours.
    • Indian painters never fully master in art of perspective. And this had it’s impact of the paintings.
  • Music:
    • Tansen was a disciple of swami Haridas. And were specialised in Dhrupad style of singing. Thus, indian music had huge impact of Mughal court.
    • Aurangzeb was a accomplished player of veena, which is of Indian origin.
    • In the reign of Muhamman Shah most famous singers were Niamat Khan Sadarang and Firuz Khan Adarang. They were famous masters of dhrupad. Muhammad Shah himself composed khyals under the pen-name Rangila Piya.


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