Imperial Patronage The composite culture of the Mughal period is called
the ‘Mughal Court Culture’, since it was inspired throughout the period by
the throne and the masses had no significant hand in it. It depended almost
entirely on the imperial patronage. When the keen and personal interest of the
Mughal Emperor stimulated it. It attained the greatest heights. But it
languished and fled away when the ruler’s interest declined. Consequently,
under the first five Great Mughals, art, architecture and literature rose to high
standards of excellence, but they touched their lowest ebb when the court
patronage was discontinued.
Growth of Composite and Synthesised Culture A significant feature of
the Mughal period was the continuity of the process of Hindu-Muslim
rapprochement, and amicable contact between the members of the two
communities, inspite of bitter political rivalries. Consequently, the spirit of
synthesis and mutual harmony led to the growth of a composite and
synthesised culture which was neither purely Persian (or Muslim) nor entirely
Indian (or Hindu), but a happy fusion of the best elements of the two.
In the realm of art and architecture, the Persian and Indian styles mingled
happily and its excellence was exhibited in the magnificent buildings of
Akbar and Shah Jahan.
Similarly, the Mughal painting displays the beautiful fusion of the Indian and
foreign techniques.
Literature could not escape the happy fusion of the two cultures. Vocabulary
of the various Indian languages was enriched with Persian and Arabic words.
Religious Synthesis Akbar’s reign is particularly important and instructive
for the spirit of Hindu-Muslim synthesis and harmony. Religious synthesis
was displayed in Akbar’s religious policy of sulh-i-kul, which was free from
caste and creed restrictions, dominance of the priestly class and external
ritualism. It laid emphasis on monotheism and a high tone of morality.
Religious toleration, intimate social relationship and love for each other
reached their climax under prince Dara Shikoh. He argued that there existed
only verbal differences between Hindu and Muslim mysticism, and had
written his famous Majma-ul-Bahrain to explain where the ‘two seas’ of
mystic thought met. During the reign of Aurangzeb, the Satnami and the
Narain sects endeavored to bring within their folds, both the Hindus and
Muslims. The Satnami sect had       Hindu as well as Muslim followers. The