Akbar as a Patron of Art, Literature and Architecture
Mughal Era enjoys a special status in Indo-Pak history for nurturing Art and Architecture in India. The first two kings of the Empire could not pay attention to the art and architecture in their short-lived tenures.
But Jalal-ud-Din Akbar, after pacifying the revolts and perils to the crown, fostered the architecture and art to his full. Surprisingly enough, being an illiterate, he patronized the men of literature as well and awarded them for their genius and intellect. Music also got his focus and he fanned the musicians in his court. His architecture expertise reigns supreme and he is universally acknowledged for the great contribution to the cultural, architectural, musical, and literary heritage of Indo-Pak.
Fort of Agra built by Qasim Khan took eight years to complete and Akbar ordered Qasim Khan to build it unprecedented with the fortified walls. Made with red sandstone, the Fort is a unique gift by Akbar. Stone-made Badshahi Mahal (royal palace) in Ajmer is fine example Akbar’s architecture to quote. Fatehpur Sikri (the city of victory), with bulbous domes, which was founded by Akbar, is the blend of different architectural traditions. Jahangiri Mahal is made up of carved stone and painted tiles. Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra is made of red sandstone with four minarets of white marble show the great architectural design and material of his age. It offers the contrast of white, black and gray marble. The Persian quotations written by Abdul Haqque Shirazi in and around the tomb compare it with heaven. Allahabad Fort is the biggest construction by Akbar while Char Bagh (Four Gardens) is another example of his master mind. Zenana Palace inside Allahabad Fort is a pavilion. The buildings of Chunar, Naurpur, Jaunpur, and Nagaur speak of his fine taste. Two-storied Fort of Ajmer has thick double walls with an open courtyard.
Akbar facilitated the translation of books on literature and religion from Sanskrit and Hindi to Turkish, Chaghati, and Arabic to spread and transfer knowledge. Men of literature like Abul Fazl, Faizi, Tan Sen, Ibn-e-Mubarakoccupied an honored position in his court. Painting in Akbar’s age also got his special favor. He introduced the Safavid style mingled with the local one extended its themes to nature, portraiture, landscape and the life of Akbar and his court. While the Persian style consisted merely of literary classics like Yusaf wa Zulaikha by Jami and Nizami’s Khamseh.
The biggest composer, musician and vocalist Miyan Tan Sen rose in the age of Akbar who was enchanted by his music and compositions. The father of the composition is considered “Ustad” (the Teacher) by the Musicians, singers, composers, and vocalists of the whole world even today. Tan Sen improved Rabab, a Central Asian Musical instrument. Akbar granted him an elevated position in the court and gave her daughter in marriage to him and included him in the Navaratnas” (the nine jewels) of his court. He converted to Islam from Hinduism when he got married to Akbar’s daughter.