Aligarh: Renowned historian and Professor Emeritus, Department of History, AMU, Professor Irfan Habib said from the standpoint of historiography, the study of building technology in the Mughal era architecture is extremely important and quite amazing.
He was delivering the keynote address in the inaugural session of the three-day national seminar on the topic ‘Mughal Empire: Art, Architecture and Historiography’ organized by the Department of History, Centre of Advanced Study, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
Prof Habib highlighted the various features of Mughal architecture which is fascinating.
“The study of building technology is of immense importance from the perspective of historiography. The plurality of the architectural heritage of India is very fascinating. We have excellent cave architecture from Ashokan times to the domes that one witnessed during the Delhi Sultanate and the exceptional Taj Mahal built during the Mughal period among others”, said Prof Habib who is considered to be the foremost expert on Mughal history.
Speaking on “Mughal Architecture and History Writing,” Prof. Habib outlined the various influences that created Mughal architecture, emphasizing how the vault was imported from the Greeks while the domes were borrowed from the Byzantine Empire.
“Even the use of binding material like lime and gypsum was borrowed by the Muslims from Persians and Greeks”, he underlined.
The cosmopolitan outlook of the Mughal Emperors Akbar and Jahangir as reflected in works from their eras was highlighted by Prof. Habib. He noted that “the court chronicles, such as the Ain-i Akbari and Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, tell in great detail about the cosmopolitan ethos of the Mughals, which can be easily gauged through their architecture.
Presiding over the inaugural session, Professor Tariq Mansoor, Vice-Chancellor, AMU appreciated the contributions of the Department of History as the Centre of Advanced Study for being the flagship department of the University.
Prof. Mansoor discussed several significant Mughal architectural wonders, including the Pari Mahal garden in Kashmir. He also brought up the recently published book The Planetary King by Professor Ebba Koch, which emphasizes Humayun’s contribution to Mughal art and architecture.
He described the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh’s contributions to the period’s overall intellectual and cultural flourishing and how he came to symbolize a diverse Indian culture and society.
Prof. Gulfishan Khan, Chairperson, the Department of History, highlighted the legacy of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, and his contribution to the field of history of architecture through his work Asar-us Sanadid. She highlighted the importance of numerous historical sites, including the Akbarabadi Mosque and a few Red Fort buildings that were destroyed in the 1857 uprising.
“The thrust area of the Centre of Advanced Study is historiography, which encompasses painting, architecture, art and the subject History itself”, the Chairperson added. In a 3-day seminar from March13 to 15, scholars from France, Italy, the U.S., Japan, and India among others presented papers on different aspects of the topic.