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The Lady of Gold: Sikandar Lodī’s mother (c. 837/1433–922/1516) and the tomb attributed to her at Dholpur, Rajasthan 1

  • Mehrdad Shokoohy (a1) and Natalie H. Shokoohy (a2)

Abstract

Until the Mughal period historians of Muslim India hardly mention ladies, as it was considered discourteous, and even then only a handful of noble women were deemed worthy of mention. A secluded lady was of concern only to the man of the house. There was Sultan Raḍiya, Īltutmish's daughter, who succeeded to the throne and enjoyed a degree of freedom during Turkish rule in India, but was killed, accused of an illicit relationship with a black slave. Nevertheless, many women's influence reached beyond the harem and their voices appear between the lines. One such woman was the Sharqī Sultan Muḥammad's mother, Bībī Rājī, who played a significant role in the affairs of Jaunpur, but this article concerns another: Sultan Sikandar Lodī’s mother, known as Bībī Zarrīna (the Lady of Gold) who defied the Lodī nobility to put her son on the throne. Here we explore her story and study her tomb.

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Footnotes

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1

This study evolved from the authors’ survey of the historic region of Bayana, the history of which was published in two parts in The Medieval History Journal (MHJ): M. and N. H. Shokoohy, “A history of Bayana – Part 1: from the Muslim conquest to the end of the Tughluq period”, MHJ 7/2, 2004, 279–324, and “A history of Bayana – Part 2: from the rise of the Auḥadīs to the early Mughal period (fifteenth–seventeenth centuries)”, MHJ 8/2, 2005, 323–400. Studies of the monuments are published in Shokoohy and Shokoohy, “The architecture of Baha al-din Tughrul in the region of Bayana, Rajasthan”, Muqarnas 4, 1987, 114–32 (repr. with fewer illustrations in Monica Juneja (ed.), Architecture of Mediaeval India: Forms, Contexts, Histories, New Delhi, 2001, 413–28); “Domestic dwellings in Muslim India: mediaeval house plans”, Bulletin of the Asia Institute (BAI) 14, 2000, 89‒110; “The chatrī in Indian architecture: Persian wooden canopies materialised in stone”, BAI 15, 2001, 129‒50; “The mosques of Bayana, Rajasthan, and the emergence of a prototype for the mosques of the Mughals”, MHJ 13/2, 2010, 153‒97; and N.H. Shokoohy, “Waterworks of mediaeval Bayana, Rajasthan”, BAI 18, 2004, 19‒42. For the present article, translations from the Arabic and Persian are by the authors, unless stated otherwise. All photographs and survey drawings are also by the authors.

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References

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2 Yādgār, Aḥmad, Tārīkh-i Shāhī also Known as Tārīkh-i salāṭīn-i Afāghina: A History of the Sulṭāns of Delhi from the Time of Bahlūl Lūdī (A.H. 855–894) to the entry of Emperor Akbar into Delhi in A.H. 964 (Pers.), ed. Hosain, M. Hidayat (Bibliotheca Indica no. 257, Calcutta, 1939) (henceforth Tārīkh-i Shāhī), 17:

نقل است در آن ایّام که بهلول خان حاکم آن شهر (سرهند) بود در بیرون قلعه حویلی ٔ مثال خلد برین ساخته بود گاه در آنجا ماندی در آن نواحی زرگری مسکن داشت هیما نام دختری داشت  لاله روی  مشکین موی  اتفاقاً نظر بهلول خان بر وی افتاد  شیفته شد  و آن ماه سیما نیز دل به او داد  او چون بر تخت سلطنت متمکّن شد پدر او را خوشدل نموده در عقد در آورد  شبی آن دختر در خواب دید که ماه از آسمان جدا شده در آغوش او افتاد  فردا این خواب به بهلول شاه بیان نمود چون از معبّران و کاهنان استفسار کرد  معبّران موی شگاف چنین مغزِ سخن بشگافتند که از شکم این ملکۀ جهان پسری بر آید که تخت گیر و صاحب تاج گردد.

3 A historic fortified town situated at 30° 22′ N, 76° 14′ E in the Punjab on the way from Delhi to Lahore. It remained one of the main strongholds of Bahlūl, where he stayed from time to time even after he became King of Delhi.

4 An interesting reference to Brahmins being consulted for the interpretation of dreams. The Lodī era was an age of superstition and fascination with myths about magical events, with the historians reiterating current popular legends.

5 The published edition records the name of the goldsmith's daughter as Hīmā (هیما), but another manuscript (Tārīkh-i Shāhī, addenda, 385–6) gives it as that of the father. “Golden” would be a suitable honorific for either. In this manuscript the love story of Balban and the goldsmith's daughter is more flowery and elaborate. The text of the Tārīkh-i Shāhī, completed in 1054/1644–5, is peppered with non-Persian vernacular words. The main histories dealing with the Lodī period were written a generation or two after the fall of the Lodīs, but close enough in date to be based on the accounts of the surviving members of the Lodī court. Variations in names and accounts of events may derive from different narratives collected by the historians.

6 Situated at 26° 42′ 0″ N, 77° 54′ 0″ E, north-west of Gwalior.

7 Alexander Cunningham, “Report of a tour in Eastern Rajputana in 1882–83”, Archeological Survey of India Reports (henceforth ASIR), XX, 113–4.

8 Muḥammad Qāsim b. Hindū Shāh known as Firishta, Gulshan-i Ibrāhīmī known as Tārīkh-i Firishta (2 vols with addenda bound together, Lucknow, 1864) (henceforth Firishta) (Pers.), I, 179. Firishta completed his history in 1015/1606–07.

9 Briggs, John, 1829, in his translation of Firishta, History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India till the year A.D. 1612 translated from the original Persian of Mahomed Kasim Ferishta (4 vols, London, 1829) I, 563, gives in brackets: “whose name was Zeina, the daughter of a goldsmith, but raised to the King's bed owing to her beauty”. These words seem to have come from a manuscript other than the one he edited and published, where the name is again given as Zībā, and does not include the comment about her beauty. See, Ferishta, I, 329. Briggs, however, notes that he collated his material from several manuscripts.

10 In India goldsmiths were, and still are, also jewellers. They are not, of course, members of the nobility, but rank high among the merchant class.

11 Tārikh-i Shāhī, 29–30:

سکندر لودی … در ایام شاهزادگی نظام خان خطاب داشته حق تعالی بغایت از حسن و زیبائی آراسته چنانکه نقاشِ قضا نیکو تر از وی صورتی بر تخته هستی نکشیده … هر که نظر کردی دل با وی دادی.

12 Shaikh ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq b. Saif al-dīn Muḥaddith Dihlawī, Akhbār al-Akhyār fī asrār al-abrār (Delhi, 1332 [1914]) (Pers.), 289–90.

13 The rumours were apparently widespread and are reflected in many sources. See for example; Shaikh ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq, Akhbār al-Akhyār, 289:

از قصبه راپری بود در دهلی سیر میکرد و با سلطان سکندر لودهی عشق میباخت

“He was from the village of Rāprī, passing his time in Delhi and was in love with Sultan Sikandar Lodhī”.

ʿAbd'ullah, Tārīkh-i Dāwudī (Tārīkh-i-Da'udi) (Pers.), ed. Rasheed, Shaikh Abdur (Aligarh: Aligarh Muslim University, 1969) (henceforth Tārīkh-i Dāwudī), 27 also mentions the persistent rumour. The work was completed in 983/1575–6, long after the other accounts.

14 Tārīkh-i Dāwudī, 35, and Tārikh-i Shāhī, 35, record that Sikandar was enthroned at the age of 18, but the Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī (completed 1020/1611–12) and Firishta mention that when he became king he already had six sons, which is unlikely if he was only 18, unless he was much older when his father died. See Khwāja Niʿmat'ullāh b. Khwāja Ḥabīb'ullāh al-Hirawī, Tārīkh–i Khān Jahānī wa makhzan-i Afghānī (Pers.), ed. Sayyid Muḥammad Imām al-dīn (2 vols, Dacca: Asiatic Society of Pakistan no. 4, 1960) (henceforth Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī), I, 171, and Firishta, I, 179. This is not implausible, as if he was born a few years after Bahlūl married his mother he could have been in his mid-thirties. Niẓām al-dīn Aḥmad, however, attributes these six sons as Bahlūl's and not Sikandar's. See Khwāja Niẓām al-dīn Aḥmad b. Muḥammad Muqīm Hirawī, Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī (Pers.) (3 vols, Bibliotheca Indica, no. 223, Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927) (henceforth Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī), I, 314.

15 Tārīkh-i Dāwūdī, 12, gives the name of the eldest son as Khwāja Bāyazīd, Sikandar as the second son and Bārbak Shāh as the third, but Firishta (see quotation below) mentions that Bārbak was the eldest living son, as Bāyazīd had apparently died during the life of the sultan.

16 Firishta, I, 178; also see Tārīkh-i Dāwūdī, 34–5; Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 168.

17 Abu'l-Faḍl ʿAllamī Fahhāmī b. Mubārak Nāgurī, Ā’īn-i Akbarī (Pers.), Blochmann, H. (ed.) (2 vols, Calcutta: Biblioteca Indica, no. 58, 1872) (henceforth Ā’īn-i Akbarī ), I, 356, records Itāwa as a region with three towns: Itāwa, Rauprī and Hatkānat, under the royal province of Agra; for a translation see Ā’in-i-Akbari of Abul Fazl-i-ʿĀllami, (3 vols, Calcutta, 1868–94) I, 183. The town and district are now known as Etah (27° 38′ N, 78° 40′ E) in Uttar Pradesh, 207 kilometres (128 miles) from Delhi.

18 Firishta records his name as ʿUmar Khān Shirwānī (or Sharwānī) but other sources, gives it as Sarwānī. See for example the Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 174–5; Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī, I, 314. The Sarwānīs were an Afghan clan with a number of its members being nobles of Sikandar's court.

19 ʿAbd al-Qādir b. Mulūk Shāh Badāwūnī (Badaoni), Muntakhab al-tawārīkh (Pers.), Maulawī Aḥmad ʿAlī, Kabīr al-dīn Aḥmad and William Nassau Lees (eds), (2 vols, Bibliotheca Indica, no. 51, Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1868) (henceforth Muntakhab al-tawārīkh), I, 312–3; (tr.) Asiatic Society of Bengal (3 vols, Biblioteca Indica no. 97), Calcutta, 1884–1925, I, 383, n. 3.

20 Tārīkh-i Shāhī, 19.

21 Firishta, I, 179:

چون بحکم قادر بیچون پادشاه بهلول لودهی در سفر مذکور برحمت حق پیوست امرا و ارکان دولت جمع شده قرعۀ مشورت در میان انداختند بعضی بپادشاهی اعظم همایون نبیرۀ پادشاه مرحوم رغبت نمودند و اکثری بپادشاهی باربکشاه که بزرگترین فرزندان زنده بود مائل گشتند درین وقت مادر سلطان سکندر زیبا نام که دختر زرگری و در آن سفر همراه پادشاه مبرور بود از عقب پرده بامرا گفت که پسرم لیاقت پادشاهی دارد و با شما سلوک نیکو خواهد نمود عیسی خان لودهی که پسر عم سلطان بهلول بود او را دشنام داده گفت پسر دختر زرگر پادشاهی را نشاید چه که مثلی مشهورست که کار درودگر از بوزینه راست نیاید خان خانان فرملی که بعنایت قوی بود این سخن شنیده گفت دیروز پادشاه مرده است امروز زن و پسر او را دشنام دادن و سخت گفتن چه لائق بود عیسی خان لودهی گفت تو از نوکری بیش نیستی میان خویشان و قرابتیان دخل مکن خان خانان در غضب شده گفت که من نوکر پادشاه سکندرم نه نوکر دیگری و از مجلس برخاسته آمد و با امرائی که با او متفق بودند نعش پادشاه را برداشته بقصبۀ جلالی رفت و پادشاه سکندر را طلبیده بر بالای بلندی که در کنار آب بیاه واقع است و آنرا کوشک سلطان فیروز میگویند بر سریر پادشاهی متمکن گردانیده بسلطان سکندر مخاطب گردانیدند.

See also Tārīkh-i Shāhī, 35; Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī, I, 314; Tārīkh-i Dāwūdī, 34–5; Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 169–71. This last source mentions that the auspicious time for Sikandar's enthronement was calculated from the movement of the stars by Brahmin astrologers (brahmanān-i akhtar shinās).

22 Firishta systematically spells Lodī (لودی) as Lodhī (لودهی), but in our translation we have kept to the spelling given in all other sources.

23 A well-known Persian proverb referring to a story in the Kalīla wa Dimna, an Arabic and Persian translation of the Panchatantra. See al-Muqaffaʿ, ʿAbd'ullāh b., Kitāb Kalīla wa Dimna (Ar.) (Cairo, 1937) 96–7; Abu'l Maʿālī Naṣr'ullāh Munshī, Kalīla wa Dimna (Pers.), ed. Minuwi, Mujtaba (Tehran, 1392 [2013]), 62. For a translation see Knatchbull, Wyndham, Kalila and Dimna, the Fables of Bidpai (Oxford, 1819) 88–9. The proverb was immortalized by the twelfth-century Persian poet Niẓāmī Ganjawī in his story of Khusrau and Shīrīn:

هوا بشکن کزو یاری نیاید     که از بوزینه نجاری نیاید

which could be loosely translated as: “leave idle fancies aside, they bear no fruit, just as carpentry is no work for a monkey”.

24 The mansion must have been one of Fīrūz Shāh Tughluq's hunting lodges built between Delhi and Itāwa. The area was one of his hunting grounds, as recorded in ʿAfīf, Shams-i Sirāj, Tārīkh-i Fīrūz Shāhī (Pers.), ed. Husain, Vilayat (Calcutta, 1891), 497. His better-known hunting lodge was Kushk-i Shikār near the village of Mīrtha in the Miyān Du Āb region, known for its Ashokan column (now on the Delhi Ridge) re-erected there by Fīrūz Shāh, see ibid., 313–4. Both of these mansions were built on the top of hills, presumably to provide panoramic views of the hunting grounds. Miyān Du Āb or Du Āb (Persian: between two rivers) was an area between the Ganges and the Jumna in the vicinity of Delhi spreading northward to include the regions of Sāmāna, Sālūra Mīrut (modern Meerut) and Mīrtha, see, for example, ibid., 313, 452; Barnī, Ḍiyā’ al-dīn, Tārīkh-i Fīrūz Shāhī, ed. Lees, W.N., S. Ahmad Khan, Kabiru'd-Din (Biblioteca Indica no. 33, Calcutta, 1862) 468–9, 473; Yaḥyā b. Aḥmad b. ʿAbdullāh al-Sihrindī, Tārīkh-i Mubārak Shāhī (Pers.), ed. Hosain, M. Hidayat (Calcutta, 1862) 146, 160, 165, 167.

25 Tārīkh-i Shāhī, 34–5; Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 168–70; Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī, I, 313–4. Tārīkh-i Dāwūdī, 34, gives 7 Shaʿbān; Firishta, I, 179 only mentions the year.

26 Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 174–5. The Tārīkh-i Shāhī, 36–7 mentions that after the conquest of Bayana ʿĪsā Khān was appointed governor but a bilingual inscription of Khān-i Khānān dated ah 901/ve 1553 and Saka Era 1418 (ad 1496) in Bayana confirms the account of the Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī. The Sanskrit version of the inscription mentions Khān-i Khānān's father's name as Shaikh ʿImād of the House of Shaikh Muḥammad and the Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī, I, 314 records Khān-i Khānān's name as Muḥammad. For the full text of the inscription see Shokoohy, M., Rajasthan I, Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, Part IV, Persian Inscriptions down to the Safavid Period, vol. XLIX, India: State of Rajasthan (Lund Humphries, distributor SOAS, London, 1986) (henceforth Rajasthan I), 2932 .

27 A strategic territory with a formidable fort situated at 26° 55′ N, 77° 18′ E in south-eastern Rajasthan, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Delhi.

28 Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 190–1. Also see Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī, I, 324; Muntakhab al-tawārīkh, I, 318–9; (tr.) I, 419, n. 3, 420.

29 At the time a village in the territory of Bayana. Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 194–6.

30 Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 197.

31 Firishta, I, 185: از آگره تا دهلپور منزل بمنزل قصر و عمارات بنا نهاد. Also see Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 208; Muntakhab al-tawārīkh, I, 321; tr, 423.

32 ASIR, XX, 113–4.

33 The inscriptions of the tomb are studied in full here for the first time. For earlier reports see Rajputana Gazetteer, I, Calcutta, 1879, 267; ASIR, XX: 113, pl. 37; J. Horovitz, EIM, 1909–10: no. 596; Annual Reports of Indian Epigraphy, 1963–64, no. D. 310; Z.A. Desai, Published Muslim Inscriptions of Rajasthan (Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Rajasthan, Jaipur, 1971), 56–7, no. 177; Rajasthan I, 34–5, pl. 35; M. Shokoohy and N.H. Shokoohy, “A history of Bayana – Part 2”, 391, no. 16.

34 On the head of the tomb:

1
2 لٰا اِلٰهَ اِلّٰا هُوَالْحَیُّ القَیّوُمُ
3 لٰا تَأخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَّ لٰا

On the right side:

1 [نَوْمُ لَهُ مٰا فِی السَّمٰوٰ] اتِ وَ مٰا فِی اْلَارْضِ
2 [مَنْ ذَا الِّذِی] یَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ اِلّٰا [بِاِذْنِهِ یَعْلَمُ مٰا بَیْنَ ]

On the left side the rest of Quran 2: 255 followed by Quran 23: 118(?):

1 [اَیْدِیهِمْ وَ مٰا خَلفَهُمْ وَ لٰا] یُحِیطوُنَ [بِشَیٌ] مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ اِلّٰا بِمٰاشٰآءَ
2 وَسِعَ کُرْسِیُّهُ السَّمٰوٰاتِ وَ الَاَرْضَ وَ لٰا یَوُدُهُ حِفْظُهُمٰا وَ هُوَ
3 [الْعَلِیُّ العَظِیمُ* وَقُلْ رَبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَأَنْتَ] خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِين

Āyat al-Kursī (the Throne Verse) is commonly carved on tombstones and occasionally on mosques. For an English version of this verse see A.J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted (2 vols), London and New York, 1955, I, 65: “God: there is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting, Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave? He knows what lies before them and what is after them, and they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills. His Throne comprises the heavens and earth; the preserving of them oppresses Him not; He is the All-high, the All-glorious”, and for Quran, 23: 118 see Arberry, II: 45, “And say: ‘My Lord, forgive and have mercy, for Thou art the best of the merciful’”.

35 Cunningham transcribes the day of the week as Sunday (یکشنبه), and the parts of the letters still preserved could correspond with his reading, but Thursday (پنجشنبه) is also a possible reading. The day of the week as calculated mathematically does not necessarily correspond with the actual day of the week as perceived at the time, since the beginning of the Muslim lunar month derives from the confirmation of the observation of the crescent of the new moon, which may have been seen at different times or days in various places. 14 Shaʿban 942 corresponds with Sunday 6 February 1536 and 14 Shaʿbān 922 with Thursday 15 or Friday 16 February 1516 (depending on different methods of calculation). In either case we should be cautious to take the day of the week as exact for a lunar (Ḥijra) date. It should also borne in mind that 942 corresponds with the reign of Humāyūn and our calculation in the note below shows that if Bībī Zarrīna was indeed Sikandar's mother, at the time of her death she would have been unrealistically old. The authors have compared the mathematical calculations with many dated epigraphic records and have found discrepancies of up to three days between the day of the week recorded in inscriptions (including those of Bayana) as opposed to those calculated mathematically (see Shokoohy, M.'s review article: “Michael Mann, Hijri: a computer program to convert Hijri to Julian dates”, BSOAS 55/2, 1992, 328–9).

36 Rajputana Gazetteer, I, 267 reports that the shrine was built in 944/1537–38 over the remains of “Mussummat Zurrina” (apparently for معصومة زرّینه “the innocent Zarrīna”) who died in 922. The shrine is likely to have been built soon after the death of the Bībī (if not by her during her lifetime), while 944 is far too late as it falls to the time of the Mughal emperor Humayūn and his struggles with Shīr Shāh Sūrī.

37 If we consider that Sikandar was enthroned in 894 at the age of eighteen, this would make the date of his conception nineteen years earlier in about 875, but Bahlūl came to the throne in 855, twenty years earlier. If Bahlūl married Sikandar's mother soon after he became king when she was 15–18 years old she would have been born in about 837 to 840 and in her eighties when she died. However, if we ignore the testament about Sikandar's age when he was enthroned and consider that he was born a few years after Bahlūl married his mother, let's say about 857 to 860, he would have been in his mid-thirties when he was crowned and could have had six sons. His mother would have been younger when she gave birth, but would have still been born around our suggested date, and in her eighties at the time of her death. Our rough calculation again points out that the date of 922 for the Bībī’s death is more acceptable and 942 unlikely as she would have been over 100 years old.

38 Survey in Wetzel, Friedrich, Islamische Grabbauten in Indien (1918, reprinted Osnabrück, 1970) 83–5, Tomb 39, pls 46–51. Also see Yamamoto, Tatsuro, Ara, Matsuo and Tsukinowa, Tokifusa, Delhi, Architectural Remains of the Delhi Sultanate Period (3 vols, Tokyo, 1967‒70) I, 82, Tomb 79, pls 102 a and b. The tomb is in Lodi Park in Delhi, visited by many and often illustrated.

39 Dholpur is now little more than an hour from Agra on the modern Agra–Gwalior highway, but it was historically a small town with little strategic significance. Its name does not appear in the early Muslim histories, when in confrontation with the rajas of Gwalior the armies of Bahā al-dīn Ṭughrul encamped at Bayana rather than in Dholpur, in spite of its close proximity to Gwalior. The Auḥadīs, the autonomous rulers of Bayana, also do not seem to have had jurisdiction over Dholpur. For the events concerning Dholpur and Muslim encounters with the Rajas of Gwalior see the authors’ papers in M. and N. H, Shokoohy “A history of Bayana – Part 1”, 291‒2; and idem., “A history of Bayana – Part 2”, 359–60, 363–5.

40 Beveridge, A. S. (tr.), The Bābur-nāma in English (Memoirs of Bābur) Translated from the Original Turki Text of Zahiru'd-dīn Muḥammad Bābur Pādshāh Ghāzī, 2 vols, London, 1922, II, 606–7. For Babur's garden at Dholpur see also Moynihan, Elizabeth B., Paradise as a Garden: In Persia and Muhgal India, New York, 1979, 103–9.

41 Ā’īn-i Akbarī (Pers.), I, 356; (tr.), II, 103.

42 Tārīkh-i Khān Jahānī, I, 197.

43 Ā’īn-i Akbarī (Pers.), I, 443–4; also Ā’in-i-Akbari of Abul Fazl-i-ʽĀllami (tr.) (3 vols, vol. I translated by H. Blochmann, vols. II and III translated by H.S. Jarrett, Calcutta, 1868–94), II, 193–4.

44 Shirgarh, as with many other forts in India, remained in use in later generations, with consequent alterations.

45 The building of the tomb and the interior of the mosque are whitewashed, affecting their original appearance, but on the exterior of the mosque and the platform the red sandstone is left exposed.

46 See Shokoohy, N.H., “Waterworks of mediaeval Bayana, Rajasthan”, BAI 18, 3035 ; M. and N.H. Shokoohy, “The mosques of Bayana, Rajasthan”, in particular 158–61.

47 For surveys of the tombs of the Mubārak Shāh Sayyid and Muḥammad Shāh Sayyid see Wetzel, Islamische Grabbauten in Indien, 81–2, 85–6; also see Yamamoto et al., Delhi, Architectural Remains, I, 81–2, T. 77 - T. 78, a fresh survey of Muḥammad Shāh Sayyid's tomb is also given in II, 75–96.

48 Survey in Yamamoto et al., Delhi, Architectural Remains, II, 136–9.

49 The tomb, over 34 m high and 38.5 m wide at ground level, is the largest of its kind. Survey in Cunningham, ASIR, XX, 115–6, pl. 27.

50 The son of Akbar's wet-nurse, who became one of his major commanders. Wetzel, Islamische Grabbauten in Indien, 89–92, figs 265–70.

51 The long rectangular courtyard seems to have measured originally about 15.40 m long and 7.30 m wide, but was extended later by a few metres to the north, and additional new steps and entrance (not shown in our drawings) built.

52 The tomb measures about 8.30 m at each side and each of the internal units measures 2.37 m square. The column shafts are slightly over 1.60 m high and 0.29 m square in plan, resting on square base blocks and surmounted by usual bracket capitals. The total height from floor to the lintels is about 2.60 m and to ceiling about 2.90 m.

53 The lady died on 15 Rajab 913/20 November 1507, her tomb is in the middle of an eight-columned chatrī, a form popular in the region, see Rajasthan I, 43–4, pl. 42. It attests to the presence of inscribed tombs of noble women of the period, less elaborate, of course, than tombs of royalty.

54 Her epitaph dated 25 Ramaḍān 846/27 January 1443 is now lying detached in the graveyard, but belonged to a tomb of the type common during the independent rule of the Auḥadī Khāns. See Rajasthan I, 44, pl. 43 b.

55 For survey see Annual Progress Report of the Superintendent, Muhammadan and British Monuments Northern Circle (ASINC), 1914, 39–40, pl. 25; Welch, Anthony and Crane, Howard, “The Tughluqs: master builders of the Delhi sultanate”, Muqarnas, I, 1983, 148–50. For a full discussion on chatrīs and their precedents, see M. and N.H. Shokoohy, “The chatrī in Indian architecture”, 129–50 (Bijai Mandal, 177–8, 140, figs 15–6).

56 Yamamoto et al., Delhi, Architectural Remains, I, 56, M. 21.

57 Yamamoto et al., Delhi, Architectural Remains, I, 104–5, O. 11.

58 Yamamoto et al., Delhi, Architectural Remains, I, 106, O. 22.

59 Yamamoto et al., Delhi, Architectural Remains, I, 85, T.100; survey in II, 141–2; here the chatrīs, while above ground level are not actually on the roof, and the main central structure no longer exists.

60 BAI 15, 2001, 136–9, figs 13–4.

61 The prayer hall measures about 15.40 × 9 m on the exterior. The column shafts measure 0.40 × 0.29 m and 0.29 × 0.29 m in plan, and the total height of columns corresponds with those of the tomb. The aisles measure 3.13 m wide and the three middle bays 4.42 m on average with the side bays 1.90 m wide.

62 The whitewash of the interior and highlighting the miḥrābs with modern black paint has severely affected the original appearance of the features. The back of the central miḥrāb has been painted in recent years with a crescent moon cradling a six-pointed star and the names of the Prophet and the three first Shiite Imāms (but omitting the names of the first three caliphs). Above the minbar these names are again painted on the pilaster of the wall, indicating that the mosque is now a place of worship for Shiites, whose presence in the Bayana region goes back many centuries.

1 This study evolved from the authors’ survey of the historic region of Bayana, the history of which was published in two parts in The Medieval History Journal (MHJ): M. and N. H. Shokoohy, “A history of Bayana – Part 1: from the Muslim conquest to the end of the Tughluq period”, MHJ 7/2, 2004, 279–324, and “A history of Bayana – Part 2: from the rise of the Auḥadīs to the early Mughal period (fifteenth–seventeenth centuries)”, MHJ 8/2, 2005, 323–400. Studies of the monuments are published in Shokoohy and Shokoohy, “The architecture of Baha al-din Tughrul in the region of Bayana, Rajasthan”, Muqarnas 4, 1987, 114–32 (repr. with fewer illustrations in Monica Juneja (ed.), Architecture of Mediaeval India: Forms, Contexts, Histories, New Delhi, 2001, 413–28); “Domestic dwellings in Muslim India: mediaeval house plans”, Bulletin of the Asia Institute (BAI) 14, 2000, 89‒110; “The chatrī in Indian architecture: Persian wooden canopies materialised in stone”, BAI 15, 2001, 129‒50; “The mosques of Bayana, Rajasthan, and the emergence of a prototype for the mosques of the Mughals”, MHJ 13/2, 2010, 153‒97; and N.H. Shokoohy, “Waterworks of mediaeval Bayana, Rajasthan”, BAI 18, 2004, 19‒42. For the present article, translations from the Arabic and Persian are by the authors, unless stated otherwise. All photographs and survey drawings are also by the authors.

Keywords

The Lady of Gold: Sikandar Lodī’s mother (c. 837/1433–922/1516) and the tomb attributed to her at Dholpur, Rajasthan 1

  • Mehrdad Shokoohy (a1) and Natalie H. Shokoohy (a2)

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