Wednesday, 23 May 2018

English Prince Albert and fascinating Indian gifts worthy of him - 1875 02

Encouraged by his mother, Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales (heir-apparent and future king Edward VII) undertook a four-month tour of the Subcontinent in October 1875 with a view to getting himself familiar with India and the people that he was going to rule in the future. Particularly, he wanted to establish a close rapport with the Indian rulers.  On that tour he traveled   nearly 10,000 miles by land and sea, covering different terrains, different regions, etc.  According to  Sir William Howard Russell, writer of the official tour diary, noted that the Prince had 'seen more of the country in the time than any living man'. 

The royal tour was an opportunity to establish personal and diplomatic links with local Indian rulers, and sought to strengthen ties between the Subcontinent and the British Crown before the declaration of Queen Victoria as Empress of India. It included visits to a number of royal courts, allowing the Prince to experience the splendour and spectacle of Indian courtly traditions, and to learn about the cultures, history and religions of a country he would one day rule.

In accordance with protocols observed by the British rulers, the Prince was presented with valuable gifts  that would suit his tastes and status. The gifts presented to the prince were known for their unique design and craftsmanship  native to that region and represent items  of superb quality and amazing workmanship that can not be duplicated.  The prince received around 2000 gifts of historical significance and artistic splendor. The Prince of Wales Indian collections toured many places in England and Europe between 1876 and 1883 and was seen  by more than 700000 people.  Way back in December 2017, for the first time after a lapse of 130 years, the dazzling collection of Prince Albert was on display in Scotland - at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse. It brought back the historic and diplomatic  visit made by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) in 1875 when Lord Northbrook was the Viceroy of India. The exhibition in Scotland forms part of the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture and long standing relationship between these two countries.

Presented below are some of the exquisite gifts received by Prince Albert during that tour of the Indian subcontinent. Photo Credit:
India, casket.
Above image: Amritsar, Punjab, Casket and Address of Welcome circa 1875. Gold, velvet, silver-gilt thread, emeralds, rubies, diamonds, turquoises, enamel, gold sequins, paper, opaque watercolor, black ink; 7.8 x 33.0 x 13.1 cm , Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017
This casket with its inscription of ‘A E’ stands for Albert Edward in English, Gurmukhi, Urdu and Devanagar. It i was presented jointly on behalf of the Sikh, Muslim and Hindu communities when the Prince visited the city. The Prince also  visited  the Harmindar Sahib or Golden Temple, the principal Sikh holy temple completed in 1604.

South India. Spearhead.
Above image: South Indian. Spearhead, 7th century. Steel, 49.5 x 7.4 x 7.5 cm , Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017.
This spearhead dates from the late sixteenth century. The finely cut, pierced and chased motifs make reference to the monumental South Indian temples constructed in the same period by the Nayak rulers

S. India. Dagger and
Above image: South India. Dagger and scabbard, 1800-75. Watered crucible steel, gold, ivory, wood, velvet, diamonds, 37.2 x 12.7 x 5.0 cm, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017.
This dagger is incised directly below the hilt with ten avatars (incarnations) of the Hindu God Vishnu. Apparently, it was made for a rich Hindu patron.
The scabbard mounts have been adapted for presentation with the addition of the Prince of Wales’s feathers.
India. Knife and sheath,
Above image: Indian. Knife and sheath, circa 1870 - 1875. Silver, gold, wood and rubies; 28.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 cm , Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017.
This ceremonial knife known as a pichangatti and traditionally carried by men in Coorg, was presented to the Prince during his attendance at the races at Guindy Park, Madras. The knife is fitted with various grooming implements including tweezers, a scraper, a file and an ear pick. Knives of this type would usually be made of steel, but in this exceptional example the blade is made of silver.

India. rosewater sprinklers,
Above image: Nahan Foundry. Pair of rosewater sprinklers, 1873-76. Silver, 37 x 10.7 cm ( Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017
The Raja of Nahan  founded  the Nahan Foundry in 1873. The foundry usually produced industrial objects such as sugar-cane crushers and railings, but as a gift for the Prince made these sprinklers that are supposedly automatic. However the pump mechanism seen at the base of the sprinkler’s neck is not functional.
S. India, Gold bangle with
Above image: South India. Bangle, circa 1850 - 1875. Gold and rubies, 3.3 x 8.8 x 8.8 cm , Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017.
Trichinopoly (now in Tamil Nadu) was well-known  for its highly sculptural gold jewelry.

 The Prince purchased this bangle depicting heads of makara (mythical sea creatures), the two largest heads being inlaid with ruby eyes. The Prince purchased this bangle from a peddler, referred to as ‘boxwallah’ in William Howard Russell’s diary, and presented it to Queen Victoria as a birthday present.
India, necklace - gold, diamond,
 Above image: Indian. Necklace, circa 1800 - 1878. Gold, enamel, diamonds, rubies, pearls and emeralds; 22.6 x 15.5 x 0.7 cm , Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017.
London-based jewellers Phillips Brothers & Sons admired Indian enameling and gem setting. This piece of  jewelry inspires  techniques of the subcontinent. Here they have encased the diamonds to preserve the original kundan setting. The red and green enamelled ornaments represent an attempt by the jeweler to emulate Indian enamel work.
India, Bottle and salver,
 Above image: Indian. Bottle and salver, circa 1870 - 1875. Gold, enamel, diamonds and a ruby; 26.5 x 18.8 x 18.8 cm, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017.
Jaipur was a well-known  centre for polychrome enameling. This enameled bottle and salver of remarkable quality showcases the skill and precision of the enameler.
India Paan Box,,
Above image: Indian, Indore. Pair of boxes for betel nut (paan), circa 1870 - 1875. Silver and silver gilt, 11.5 x 12.2 cm , Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Paan or betel-leaf chewing is common across India and is part of the culture among Hindus and also muslims. Paan is a mixture of ingredients such as shavings of betel nut (a mild stimulant with similar effects to caffeine), seeds, coconut and occasionally tobacco wrapped in a betel leaf, which was offered at the end of formal court gatherings. The individual hinged covers are designed to store the various ingredients used to prepare paan. The compartments are in the shape of betel leaves.

English Prince Albert and fascinating Indian gifts worthy of him - 1875 01

.Statue of King Edward VII, Bangalore, India en.
The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, EdwardVII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. Before ascending the throne, he held
the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. When his mother Victoria was the queen, he was kept away from the political involvement and he  enjoyed the trapping of a royal life, personifying the fashionable life of a British elite at the highest strata of the society and at the same time performing unavoidable ceremonial public duties. As a prominent royal member, he traveled across England and also abroad. His  royal tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 won him good name.  That he is a sucker for dames got a bad rap and  became a subject of media scoop.  However, his romantic liaisons  with wrong ladies made his mother  quite unhappy.  

As the ruler of Britain, Edward VII got a good name and brought about many administrative changes. His successful period Edwardian Era coincided with the discovery of steam engine and rise of socialism. He not only modenized the British Army, but also reorganized it. Unlike his predecessors, he improved the relationship with France. Further, he wanted to maintain his social contact by way of re instituting  traditional royal ceremonies as public displays. He died in 1910. 

In October 1875 Edward set off for India on an extensive eight-month tour of the sub-continent. He boarded HMS Serapis and made a passage to India. This would give the heir apparent to learn more about the Indian subcontinent  its  people that he  was going to rule  one day.

On this four-month trip, the prince visited many places across the Indian subcontinent using  boat, rail, carriage and elephant.  He  covered  more than 21 towns and cities in modern-day India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka and was the guest of honor at more than 90 royal courts. 

An interesting aspect of this tour is, in compliance with the  Indian protocol, each  ruler - Maharajah or Nawob had to present him with valuable gifts  worthy of his royal title  and  status as a foremost member of the British ruling class. The elaborate gifts covered a variety of items  from gold jewelry to weaponry, ceremonial objects to  small curios.  In total prince of Wales received more than 2,000 of them  from the Indian elite rulers. – the finest examples of Indian workmanship, design and artistic works native to the respective regions. Now they form the most important Indian artifacts of historical value in the Royal Collections.   mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
 The tour was undertaken when Lord Northbrook was the Viceroy of India. The gifts  given to the royal member were well planed, meticulously fashioned and executed.

His advisors remarked on his habit of treating all people the same, regardless of their social status or color. In letters home, he complained of the treatment of the native Indians by the British officials: “Because a man has a black face and a different religion from our own, there is no reason why he should be treated as a brute.”
Prince Edward  returned to England on 11 May 1876, after a stop-over in Portugal.  At the end of the tour, Queen Victoria was given the  new title Empress of India by Parliament, in part as a result of the tour's success.

Below are presented some of the valuable gifts  presented to Prince Charles on his trip to India in 1875. They were all made with precision and artistry and reflect the  rich splendor of the Indian court. All were made with meticulous care with minute details and they bear testimony to the artistic and technical knowledge of the Indian goldsmiths and artisans.

A selection of them is presented to the public in the form of exhibition across England and other places and the Indian artworks and workmanship have been widely admired by the people for their
unique  design and quality of work. (image credit:

India. Fly Whisks.
Above image: Pair of morchals (fly whisks)  of peacock feathers, inlaid with diamonds and set with layered bands of gold tinsel.  “Fans like these were used by attendants to fan the ruler and try and keep him cool as India is a hot country. The ruler happened to be the most important person in the room.”
Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

India, ink
Above image: Enameled gold inkstand in the form of a state barge known as the Maurpankhi presented by Ishwari Prasad Narayan Singh, Maharajah of Benares. It comprises 19 pieces including a penknife, two pen nibs and a pair scissors. It mentions  the identity of the presenter and the receiver: a small gold flag is emblazoned with the Benares crest of two fishes, and the mast is inscribed with a dedication to the prince.
 Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

India. Jewelcrusted Crown.

Above image: Enamelled gold and jewel encrusted crown presented by the Taluqdars of Awadh to the Prince of Wales in 1876. Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875-6. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
India. Durbar set.
 Above image: Service of State or durbar set presented by Chamarajendra Wadiyar X, Maharaja of Mysore. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
India. address casket.
Above image: A silver-gilt address casket made by Edinburgh-based goldsmiths Marshall and Sons. The casket is engraved with the Prince's name, and decorated with Hindu and zodiac symbols, shamrocks, roses and thistles.
An incongruous gift from Agra, engraved with the prince’s name. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
India. Turban ornament.
Above image: A gold and enameled turban ornament (Sirpech) from Udaipur – one of the first gifts the prince received with  three large emeralds bordered by bands of bright red enamel.  Detailed with emeralds, diamonds and pearls. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

India. ornamented dagger.
Above image: Ornamented dagger and scabbard, presented by the Maharajah of Alwar. Featuring an enameled and be-jewelled handle and a scabbard, the blade is filled with loose seed pearls. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
India .gold articulated fish.
Above image: Ornamental gold articulated fish, featuring ruby eyes and an emerald set into the head, presented by Waghji II Rawaji, Thakur Sahib of Morvi. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
India. Silver gold scent  holder.
Above image: A silver and gold perfume holder in the form of a lotus bud.  Gift to the Prince of Wales by Jashwant Singh II, Maharajah of Jodhpur;  an attar-dan from Jaipur bowls.  This exquisite perfume holder resembles a lotus flower and sits on a plate enameled with foliage patterns and hunting scenes. It reportedly underwent five firings and took five years to complete.
Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Over zealous Gov. Gen. Warren Hastings and Raja Chait Singh - early colonial rule in India

During the early East India Company rule Raja Chait Singh (Raja Sri Chait Singh Sahib Bahadur) (died 29 March 1810 in Gwalior) son of Raja Balwant Singh was a ruler of Benares State (now part of Uttar Pradesh). Upon the demise of his father, Chait Singh, being the legal heir took over the administration of a Zamindari. At that point of time in the Eighteenth Century in north India, the Mogul  Empire and its influence were gradually fading into insignificance for various reasons. Since the time of Aurangzeb, there had been slow  disintegration of Mogul power  that gave rise to many small kingdoms.  With the gain of Bengal, the British Empire had begun to spread its tentacles to other parts of India. Thanks to Robert Clive who rose to the position of eminence through hard work, right war strategy and effective administration with limited resources. He laid the basic foundation for the British Empire and later Warren Hastings, a dedicated servant of ESI further strengthened the foundation upon which the empire was built.  The power of the British East India Company was growing by leaps and bounds and the resources from India helped Britain come out of economic doldrums.  The British economy began to show quick upward mobility and India became its cash cow. Warren Hastings became an effective administrator and took keen interest in Indian society, thus winning the heart of the natives. 
Chait Singh. adhikaranjanmarxist.blogspot
Chait Singh's father Balwant Singh  was a zamindar and enjoyed the title of Raja. But the Rajas were formally under the control of the Nawob of Awadh (Oudh). Since the EIC had a hold on the Nawab, he was unable to exercise  total suzerainty over the zamindari. EIC advised the Nawob to recognize Chat Singh as Zamindar in 1773. Having become annoyed with too much interference by the British company in the internal affairs of the kingdom, the Nawob
in 1775  transferred the domain to the Company under the direct control of the Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings (6 December 1732 – 22 August 1818). The Nawob  died in the same year.
Arrest of ChaiSingh.
Above image: Arrest of the Rajah of Benares, Chait Singh, August 1781. Benares, India present day Varanasi, also known as Banaras.  It was initiated by Warren Hastings, it was a sort of political vendetta on the part of Hastings.
Contributor: Historical Images Archive / Alamy 
Stock Photo......................................
In accordance with fresh terms and conditions, Chait Singh who became the ruler of Benares,  had to  contribute cavalry and maintenance grants for the Company's Sepoy battalions. The British company, as per the agreement, could raise the  cost of maintenance of the British army at any time. This put the ruler at a disadvantage, considering his limited revenue from his kingdom. Warren Hastings put one Thomas Graham as  British Resident and  demanded exorbitant grant from the ruler- a sum of 2.3 million rupees plus tax rupees - five lakhs. The British company needed money to meet the war expenses in Madras. Till 1779, Chait Singh paid the huge sum with considerable difficulty.   Chait Singh in 1780 began experiencing financial crunch. In the meantime Chait Singh could not provide them with needed troops and in 1781 Warren Hastings and his officials paid a visit to Chait Singh. It was rumored  Hastings and his other officials received several lakhs of rupees from Chait Singh as bribes. The British, who  scented the secret plan of Chait Singh to protest against the company, stripped him off his position and placed him under house arrest in August 1781.
East India Co. Gov. Gen. Warren Hastings
OPEN Magazine
In this regard Warren Hastings' action became a serious issue in his later years when facing corruption charges in the British Parliament. He escaped from his confinement using turbans as a rope and sought the help of local rulers to go after the British company. None wanted to antagonize the EIC. With limited troops, he made a futile attempt to cow down the British forces. 

The British  confiscated  the Zamindari and gave it to  to his nephew  Raja Sri Mahip Narayan Singh Sahib Bahadur on 14 September 1781.

Chait Singh took refuge in Awadh, and then Gwalior, where he was granted a Jagir for a while,  for unknown reasons, it was  later confiscated. Once holding a vast power and title of "Raja"Chait Singh died in obscurity in Gwalior on 29 March 1810 leaving behind  three sons; he lived in exile for 30 long years. The incident greatly damaged Hastings' image and capability, leading to a failed attempt to impeach him by the British Parliament. His action in haste and lack of discretion in the matter of Chait Singh and the Begums of Awadh, etc.,   eclipsed his excellent contribution to the consolidation of the British Empire. By nature, Warren Hastings was a courteous man and began his career at the bottom of the rung and moved up in the company by establishing his ability and excellent strategy and management skill.  The impeachment trial lasted for seven  long years with Edmund Burke leading the prosecution. Many of the evidences were framed up and certain accusations in respect of administration lapses and misjudgement  did not warrant  punishments. In 1795, Hastings was acquitted as many evidences were inconclusive. In 1813, he was given standing ovation when he gave evidence on  his proposed new Legislation about India.  He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1814. After his solid contribution to the British Empire, not withstanding the unfortunate impeachment trial, he led a comfortable semi-retirement life and died at the ripe age of 85. There is a simple memorial in Daylesford  (Gloucestershire, England) churchyard.

01. Raja Sri Mahip Narayan Singh Sahib Bahadur, 
on 14 September 1781 succeeded his maternal uncle Chait Singh under the terms of the British East India Company.  He had the power  to dispense justice within his domains and make an annual contribution of 40 lakhs.

02. A carved stone from Chait Singh's palace was taken to 
Cossimbazar and set in the palace of the Maharajah of that place.

03. Warren Hastings took keen interest in India and  learned about Indian culture. He said,  “I love India a little more than my own country.” He understood the value of Sanskrit and made it popular.  He was fluent in Bengali, had a fairly good working knowledge of Urdu and Persian.

04. It was warren Hastings who brought to light the classical works in Hinduism and Buddhism that were neglected during the Muslim rule.

05. In 1784, along with Sir William Jones he founded Asiatic Society in Calcutta which became a cultural center for Sanskrit and related Indian subjects.

06. Besides, he encouraged the translation of the Bhagavad Gita and he himself wrote a fine introduction (4 October 1784).

07. Warren Hastings was the first Gov. General of India who touched on the subject of racial equality before the British government. He also impressed on them that India was culturally and intellectually was well advanced.

08.Carved stone from Chait Singh's palace was later taken and incorporated into the palace of the Maharaja of Cossimbazar

Sir Winston Churchill, a "hardcore racist" with conservative bark and bite!!

The TelegraphWinston Churchill.
To a cross section of conservative people in the West, Churchill was the saviour of Western liberal democracy who sternly drove Nazism to the wall and finally wiped out the evil forces under Hitler. In its issue of January 2, 1950 "Time" magazine  hailed the British  Conservative leader as the  "man of the half century", the man who launched "lifeboats". The Western world knows the bright side of Churchill dominated by speeches, wise quotes and aura. Little do they know about the dark side of his life though he carried a plethora of eulogies about him and his wartime leadership which the western media showered on him and to prop up his image. His crime against humanity and his open racist approach and remarks were purposely ignored by many British Media and, no doubt, Churchill always hogged the limelight. So, the British could see one side of Churchill, the other side of him is just horrible, obnoxious and sickening.

To the liberal West and  countless people out side of West, Churchill remains an enigma, a despicable  racist on the wrong side of world history.  Fame and name were thrust upon this man whose only asset was to give fine speeches and hold the audience in thrall.
CartoonStockChurchill and cigar.
Any way, even today to the British, he is an embodiment of British character, a symbol of triumph in the face of tough odds. Churchill was posthumously voted by his countrymen as the greatest Briton. February 2015 marked  half a century since his  death and on that occasion, there were  many paeans and commemorations to the man, who was purported to have saved the world from the apocalypse - chaos caused by devilish Hitler.  The truth is  British wrongly think of him as a Savior of the world from the clutches of Nazism. Little did they know, it was the timely intervention of the Americans and the German Army's fiasco in Russia in the Winter season ended the WW II in favor of allied forces. Stoically the huge Indian Army played a crucial role on the side of the British. The British government and many British media failed to present the true picture of Winston Churchill whose arrogance, ego and over
confidence took the world to the end of exasperation during WWII.

The following are some of his unpalatable racial remarks:
01. Churchill  was a well-known India-baiter.  His  well-documented bigotry often spewing venom and contempt for Indian is well-known to his biographers. Unashamedly with with shocking callousness  Churchill said, "I hate Indians,". Once  he openly declared about Indians,  "They are a beastly people with a beastly religion."

02. Arthur Harris, head of Bomber Command. Colville’s diary entry of 23 February 1945 records Churchill’s thoughts about the Hindus:  The PM said, "The Hindus were a foul race protected by their mere pullulation from the doom that is their due” and he wished Bert Harris could send some of his surplus bombers to destroy them. (

03. When Bengal and parts of other Indian states were reeling under the worst famine in 1943, partly caused by failure of monsoon, pest attack, etc. he wantonly turned the famine into a big calamity that insulted in the death of a few million people. When honest and efficient British India officials in Delhi wanted to import food grains to India, to rub salt on the wounds, Churchill  diverted the  cargo ship at Calcutta harbor  laden with food grains from Australia to Europe and made a carping remark in his reply to the officials in Delhi, If food is so scarce, "why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?”

04. When the Bengal famine became a serious issue to be debated  in the British  parliament, Churchill made a disgusting comment,  “Famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits.” Such preposterous statements were not worthy of a British leader of good standing. 

05. While he was a junior member of parliament, Churchill  wanted to have more conquests as he was a true believer of British colonialism and insisted  that its "Aryan stock is bound to triumph."Here he implies the superiority of the "White race".

06. With respect to Palestinians, Churchill considered them as   "barbaric hordes who ate little but camel dung." it is nothing but a nauseating comment on the part of Winston whose wild tongue had a more poisonous sting than that of the Portuguese man o' war (Siphonophore) floating in the sea - a nightmare for the swimmers.

07. In the earlier days of his overseas  imperial career,  when putting down insurgents in Sudan, Churchill was boasting about his courage and wisdom in killing three "savages."( meaning Sudanese blacks).

08. To put down the restive people in NW Asia, Churchill resented the hesitation on the part of his colleagues, who were not in "favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes." Here, Churchill meant he would never feel nervous or scrupulous to kill the uncivilized denizens of this region by using life-threatening chemicals.

09. When it comes to races, Churchill was never color-blinded.  He was on a visit to the US: President Roosevelt, at a White House lunch, placed Churchill next to the publisher and ardent campaigner for India’s independence, Mrs Ogden Reid, and sat back awaiting the inevitable explosion. Mrs. Ogden Reid: “What are you going to do about those wretched Indians?”

Churchill: “Before we proceed further let us get one thing clear. Are we talking about the brown Indians in India, who have multiplied alarmingly under the benevolent British rule? Or are we speaking of the  red Indians in America who, I understand, are almost extinct?” —1943 (

10. Churchill is one of the few Conservative British politicians who hated  the Indian independence movement. Never had he failed to show his animosity toward its spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi, whom he described as "half-naked seditious fakir".  

11. Mahatma Gandhi was in London from September 12 to December 5, 1931 to attend the second Round table Conference. He stayed at Kingsley Hall and used an office at 88 Knights bridge  during this visit. Around the same time,  future prime minister Winston Churchill (1940-1945 and 1951-1955) shockingly described Gandhi thus: "It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the king emperor."
.Mahatma Gandhi by Jacob Kramer.

Above image: Portrait of Gandhiji by Ukraine born Jacob Kramer, 1931. Place: Kingsley Hall, London. The image is made with black and white chalk on buff paper. It shows the apostle of non-violence smiling mischievously, perhaps portending the fall of the British Empire in the later years...............

12. It seems that  Winston Churchill's "seditious fakir" comment during his wilderness years has close connection with an  occasion when Mahatma Gandhi posed for portraits at Kingsley Hall in London. The artist was one Jacob Kramer (native of Ukraine). He was allotted a day during that period Kramer is said to have made three or four drawings of the Mahatma. Kramer's  impressions were published in the Yorkshire Post on January 31, 1948, after Gandhi's assassination in Delhi. Kramer's portrait of Gandhiji  became quite popular. 

13. Churchill once remarked that  Political enemies such as certain Indian tribes (meaning Pathans), Germans,  Russians and others need to be treated with  chemical  weapons.

14. He was of the opinion that Indians had neither competence nor ability to rule their own  land. They belonged to an inferior race and had to be civilized and further mentioned that it was the moral duty of the British to civilize these people. 

15. He never cared a fig for the plight of million of poor Indians who had to live hand to mouth life. Nor did he sympathise with those dying and starving for many reasons. 

16. Never had he failed to use brute forces in many countries when they protested against the British. 

17. During the chaotic Angelo-Afghan war, he saw for himself the treacherous Pathan tribes fighting against the British forces. He made some unsavoury remarks that such uncivilised barbarous tribes need to be bombed. 

18. His complaint that the  Irish refused to be British is quite well-known. He was a hardcore colonist and wanted many countries under the Crown - Britain, a country of Pure White race (?).
Indian politician, orator and  writer of repute Shashi Tharoor has observed about Churchill, an unabashed imperialist.  “This is the man who the British insist on hailing as some apostle of freedom and democracy, when to my mind he is really one of the more evil rulers of the 20th century, only fit to stand in the company of the likes of Hitler, Mao and Stalin”

Monday, 21 May 2018

Jumma Masjid, oldest mosque in Bangaluru, Karnataka

Jumma Masjid Bangalorebangaloretourist.blogspot
As far as Bangaluru is concerned, the earliest recorded history of Islamic influence could be traced to 1638. The old Bengaluru Pete (now) part of the Bengaluru city) was  seized by  Bijapur Sultan who ruled for the next 50 years. later, it chanded hands and in 1687, the Moguls leased the town and the surrounding areas to Chikkadeva Raya Wodeyar of the Kingdom of Mysore.  In 1690 AD. Chikkadeva Raya Wodeyar (1673 AD –1704 AD) constructed an oval-shaped fort south of the old mud fort  for security reasons and upon his death in 1704,  Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan controlled this place till 1790 when the East India Company took over the control. During the reign of Hyder Ali and Tipu, many mosques and dargas were built in  and around Bengaluru.

Jumma Masjid Bangalorebangaloretourist.blogspot
Jumma Masjid,  located in the busy K.R. Market area, is not only one of the the oldest ones in this region, but also a popular place of worship. This historical mosque is known for its beautiful architecture. The distinctive feature here is the main elevated prayer hall. It  is on a well-raised  ground adorned with soaring, granite pillars which were brought from Tipu Sultans's palace in Srirangapatna in Madhya District. It is believed to been constructed around 1790. It was built by Haji Abdul Quddus in the early 19th century during the Mogul rule. It was earlier known as the Sangian Jamia Masjid but is now called the Jumma Masjid.  Made of brick and mortar,  the masjid has an impressive front, accentuated with well embellished  elaborate jali-work and floral motifs.
Jumma Masjid Bangalorebangaloretourist.blogspo
Jumma Masjid Bangalorebangaloretourist.blogspot
Inside the masjid, there are  two magnificent minarets  that stretch upto the spherical domes right above the balconies. They  are ornamented with a  large number of pigeonholes.  A beautiful pattern  that had  been previously concealed under successive layers of white paint on the minarets, was discovered in the past inside the Jumma Masjid of Bangalore.  During festivals, the minars  and the building are  beautifully decorated with serial color  lights.

Jama Masjid, Gulburga - designed by a Spanish Architect

Juma Masjid. Gulbarga fort YouTube.
 The city of Gulburga and other places in Northern Karnataka are replete with vestiges of Bahmni Sultanate. Jama Masjid, inside the Gulburga fort is a popular one and is being visited by lots of tourists, as  it happens to be an impressive place of Muslim worship with a Spanish touch.

The term "Jama Masjid" (from Arabic) means "Mosque of Assembly" or "Congregational Mosque",  Though the word "Jama"  denotes assembly or congregation, it is closely linked with  Friday, the primary day of worship in Islam. It is more often than nor incorrectly  called Friday Mosque.  Jama Masjid or Jami Masjid means a main mosques in a place - a town or village, a place of worship for Eid prayers and Friday prayers. Across  India there are many Jama masjids and  the oldest being  the Cheraman Juma Mosque  in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur District of Kerala State. Built in 629 AD by Malik Deenar,  an Arab preacher of Islam, it is believed to be the  first mosque in India where first Friday prayers were held. Jama Masjid of Delhi, is one of the largest mosques in India and was built by the Mogul ruler  Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656. It cost then  one million rupees to construct it. 
Juma Masjid. Gulbarga fort.
The Jama Masjid  in Gulbarga City in its structural design is a unique one and one of its rare kind  in SE Asia. It is considered as  a good example of a typical mosque design.  Made of lime and brick with many arches, it  is similar to the interior portion of the Spanish mosque of Hyderabad, Telengana. Two Indian mosques  with   fine interiors  are  quite similar to  the Great Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba in Spain.

It  was Mohammed Shah I (r. 1358–75)  who built this historical Jama Masjid mosque to commemorate Gulbarga as the capital of the Bahmani Sultanate. In Persian Gul means flower and  Burg means leaf. The Bahmani dynasty  came into being at a time when the Delhi sultanate's influence was on the decline.  It was  founded by  one Ala al-Din Hasan Bahman Shah, a Bahmin's servant at the court of Muhammad bin Tughluq. Earlier the Bahmanids had gained considerable name among the Muslims and Hindus living in this region and enough experience to run an administration. The dynasty became a powerful one and ruled over part of the Deccan region. In their long rule, spanning 200 years, they made an excellent contribution toward the Islamic architecture of this region. They decorated this semiarid region with eye-catching structures, forts, mosques and durgahs.

Juma Masjid, Gulbarga
The famous Jama Masjid does not have minarets, but does have a huge  dome  and smaller ones.  The  Spanish (Moorish) architect, who designed it  with arched doorways,  based this structure on the model of the Great Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba in Spain. Built in 1367, it has a huge dome in the west bay and medium- sized domes at four corners of the mosque. Yet another feature of this mosque is the absence of a Courtyard and in its place there are as many as 63 small domes in line and this style enhances the majesty of this mosque. The main north side entrance to the mosque has a higher-arch shaped gate than the other gates. The open  outer walls with arches   provide  the much needed better natural lighting which is filtered from the outer courtyard. The west prayer hall is designed in such a way that the arches have a wide span between pillars supported by short imposts; the width is quite appalling. The pillars are painted in white to accentuate the look.  These unconventional 'stretched' arches later became an important and essential feature of  of Deccani architecture, hence its look is quite tempting and awe-inspiring. Inside the mosque  where  there  are tombs it is quite cool inside while it is warm outside. The  spacious ornamental interiors with latticed windows and  cusped arches remind us of yet another Bahmini Sultanate's  artistic creation - Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur, Karnataka.
view of small domes.Juma masjid, Gulburga,ETAMINE PGG India
Jama masjid, Gulbuga, Karnataka. Wikipedia
The dimension of the mosque - floor plan  is 216 feet by 177 feet (66 by 54 meters) with wide vaulted cloisters defining the perimeter. 

Inside the mosque lie  seven tombs  of distinguished  Bahmini rulers,  and the most elaborate one being that of Feroz Shah Bahmani's. 

Gulburga is also famous for horse stables and ancient temples. Covering  over 75 acres, the  Gulburga fort is an interesting monument and  has 15 watch towers with 26 massive metallic cannons strategically mounted. Some of them  are located atop the three-storied structure called ‘Ranamandal', in the middle of the fort. Around the fort there is a rundown 40-ft moat separating  the double boundary wall of the fort. During the heyday of the Bahmini rule,  the moat  is said to have been  filled with water to the brim, with man-eating  giant crocodiles to keep enemies away from the fort and to  stop venturing  to cross the moat.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Jaunpur Raja's residence, Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh

Residence of Raja of Jaunpur, UP.
Residence of Raja of Jaunpur, UP.
Above image; The residence of the Raja of Jaunpur. The Brahmin family members in the past were in banking business and  they took care of the financial needs of the Nawab when he fell short of funds. Details about this building, date of construction, year, total plinth area, etc.,   are quite vague. Perhaps, my search in the Google was not good enough. Basically, the design follows the style of Rajasthan with chhatris gently fused with Music architecture. Except flanks on either side in the facade, it is a two - story structure and at both  extremes there are four floors with three balconies. The rooms are not big and the first floor room has a small roofed balcony on either side. The 4th floor rooms  are arched topped by a dome-shaped pavilion. The center of the building also has 4 floors. The room is fairly big and the top floor is arched above which stands a big dome. The big central dome is characteristic of four  chhatris at four corners, besides a fifth one atop the dome.  This gives a better look to the building. In the front, both in the ground and first floors the roof is supported by 4 arches on either side. The porch is just projecting out at the center  and does not have any structure above it....................... 
Jaunpur city map, Uttar Pradesh. Maps of India
The title of Jaunpur is held by a Brahmin family who owned a vast estate in the past. Shiv Lal Dube was born in 1776 at  Amauli Fatehpur to a rich banker Moti Lal Dube. Shiv Lal, besides regular education also learned the intricacies of business from his father and at one point of time, he  became well-versed  in business dealings. Along with his stature, his popularity also grew and he became a banker to the Nawab Kalb  Ali Baig who is believed to have formed the city of Jaunpur. Shiv Lal took over his father's entire business  after  his demise. He ran the banking business efficiently and there was no person in the business community who did not have contact with Shiv Lal. His good business administration,  effective service and business acumen not only won him admiration, but also got him wide recognition. He was bestowed with the title Raja Bahadur in 1797, besides getting the Taluk of Badlpur.  Both the title and the estate were heriditary in nature as per the award.  When he died in 1836, he took the honor of being  the largest estate owner in that region, including Jaunpur. 

Jaunpur Raja's residence, Jaunpur,
Raja Ram Gulam  received the title and property after Shivlal's death. His son Raj Bal Dutt was not his legal heir for unknown reason. When Raja Ram Gulam unexpectedly died in 1843, his father Raja Bal Dutt got  the title and the estate from his son. After his death, his second son Raja Lachamn Gulam became the legal owner of the estate and title.The estate and title passed  down to several generations.  Presently  Avaindira Dutt owns the property and title.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Lal Darwaza Mosque (1447) built by queen Rajye Bibi, Jaunpur, UP

Jaunpur, UP. Uttar Pradesh Election 2017
1447 AD Lal Darwaza Masjid, Jaunpur, UP. Luxury Trails Of India
1447 AD. Lal Dawaza Mosque, Jaunpurronline.inJ
Jaunpur town in Jaunpur District , Uttar Pradesh is well-known for impressive  mosques of architectural beauty and grandeur. It is repository  of medieval history and monuments.  Being historical, they came up during the reign of Sharqi Dynasty whose rule was  quite efficient and the city flourished during that period.  In 1447 was built Lal Darwaza Mosque or Ruby Gate Mosque. It was a dedication to the Muslim saint of repute Syyid Ali Dawood Kuttubbudin from Queen Rajye Bibi, wife of Sultan Mohmod Sharqi. She belonged to the Jaunpur Sultanate  (1394 - 1479) and, it is said,  the great saints descendants still live here. The mosque is the smallest one as it was a private mosque to be used by the queen to say her Namaz. The proximity of this mosque to the palace confirms this.
Jaunpur, UP. Uttar Pradesh Election 2017
Lal Darwaza (Ruby Gate) Mosque has derived its  name from the vermilion-painted lofty gateway of Bibi Rajye’s royal palace, that stood adjacent to it. It is in the extreme north west and known by names Mohalla Laldarwza or Begum Ganj. The color of the entrance of the mosque  accentuates its appearance. Of late, the color, because of ageing and climatic changes, has turned into pinkish. This mosque has one central pylon and structurally differs from other mosques.  There are three gates to the mosque,
Lal Dawaza Mosque,

Lal darwaza mosque, tomb of the great saint.
among which the eastern  and the main gate is the largest  and assumes more prominence than the others.  A unique feature of this mosque, which is rarely noticeable in other places,  is the location of Zenana - the exclusive section for the women and girls in Muslim dwelling and place of worship. Here, Zenana is centrally located, invariably it is located at one end of the structure in many mosques.
Prayer room, lal darwaza mosque , jaunpurJaunpuronlinein.

01. Queen Bibi Rajye  founded a religious school in  a place close to  the Lal Darwaza in Jaunpur to impart religious training to the local students interested in Muslim theology and named the school (or Madrasa) as Jamia Hussainia and it exists till day..

02. Mohalla Namaz Gah was named by Bibi Rajye, who also builds here a monastery and a College. Staffed with well read people, teachers and Ulema, it attracts students from many parts of India. 

03. Besides, Queen Rajye also founded a school for women way back in 1441, thus giving due importance to women's rights to education and equal participation in the society. In this regard the Sharqi rulers were quite liberal  and never had any conservative view on Muslim woman and her role in nation building.,_Jaunpur