Monday, 22 October 2012


He was a Muslim king of one of the most powerful dynasties in South India . A Drupad singer par excellence and also a Veena player, he loved music and  wrote one of the first books in Urdu (more precisely Dekhani) on music in India . He was Ibrahim Adil Shah 2, a contemporary of Mughal Emperors Akbar and Jehangir.
Ibrahim 2 was the fifth Emperor of  the Adil Shahi kingdom from  1580 to 1626. He was a tolerant king and appointed Hindus to high positions in his court. He loved art and architecture and was a patron of music and literature. He is also the author of  Kitab-E Nauras (Kitab in Hindi and Urdu means boon and Nauras translates as Nine rasas or ragas-the book of nine ragas), one of the first books on music.
The book starts  with a prayer to Hindu Goddess Saraswathi. He says Ganapati is his father and Saraswati his mother. Writing about the Tanpuram he says “Ibrahim the   tanpurawala became learned due to grace of god, living in the city of Vidyanagari ”.  Bijapur.)
The Kitab-e-Nauras is a compilation of  59 Drupads or songs and 17 couplets in different ragas. In fact, all the songs are set to 17 ragas. Nineteen of these songs are set in one particular raga-Kanhra, which was believed to be his favorite. Songs written in other ragas are: Malhar, Todi, Hijaz, Nauroz, Gauri, Kalyani, Baaradi, Purvi, Desi, Asavari, Mari, Bhairavi, Bhupali, Dhanasri, Kedar and Ramkri.
However, three raagas-Hajija, Nauroz and Baaradi-are no longer extent. The songs are classified by Ibrahim himself into three categories-Nauras or Draupad, Bain or Anthara and the final classification is Aboga. The book has a forward in Persian by Jauhari, a court poet.     
Ibrahim has given the raga of each song but not its tala. The Drupads or songs deal with Hindu deities and Muslim saints. There is a song dedicated to his wife, Chand Sultana, his Pattada Aane (royal elephant) Atish Khan and his favourite musical instrument –Tanpura- Moti Khan. Eight songs are dedicated to Saraswathi, Shiva and his son Ganapathi and three to Khawja Bande Nawaz.
Jauhari says Ibrahim wrote Kitab-e-Nauras to make people aware of the nine main ragas or rasas. Since Persian was the favourite language in those times, he chose Urdu to acquaint people of Indian aesthetics.
He wanted to usher in harmony and peace through music and styled himself as Jagadguru Badshah. Ibrahim publicly declared that all he wanted was Vidya or learning, music, and Guru seva (serving the teacher). He was a devotee of  one of the greatest Sufi saints of India , Hazrat Bande Nawaz (whose mausoleum is in Gulbarga ). Ibrahim has written a beautiful prayer to the saint requesting him to bestow Vidya on him.
His fame as a Drupad singer and lover of music spread so far and wide that Mughal Emperor Jahangir, mentions it in his memoirs-Tuzuk-e-Jehangiri. The Mughal Emperor appreciates the writing by Ibrahim and also his new style of Drupad. He also says that Ibrahim was a student of singer Bakhtar Khan.
The Kitab-e-Nauras throws light on the music in his times and in his court. It also mentions about several musical instruments that were used in those days. Some of the manuscripts of  the book  are available in the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai and at the Khudabaksh library in Patna , Bihar .
He could play several musical instruments..
Ibrahim was so found of music that he is reported to have had an army of musicians in his court. According to Basatin Us Salatin, he had 4,000 musicians in his court of whom 1,400 were music teachers and the rest students. The musicians were classified into three grades according to their scholarship-Huzuri, Darbari and Sahari.
This army of musicians came to be known as Lashkar-e-Nauras (army of Nauras). All of them were paid regularly from the Government Treasury.
During the later part of his reign, he embarked on an ambitious venture to build a new city based on principles of music. He called it Navraspur. Even today, there is a ruined palace there called Sangeet Mahal. Ibrahim built it to house musicians and minstrels. He started a music festival called Nauras. He built the temple of Narasimha Saraswati Dattatreya near his palace in the citadel of  the Bijapur fort.
Ibrahim also patronised the Ragamala style of paintings under which each painting is given a musical mode. In a number of paintings he is depicted as playing musical instruments like Tambur, Sitar, Veena and Guitar. Some of the best miniature paintings in India were commissioned during his time.
He spoke several languages including Kannada, Marathi, Dakhani and UrduIbrahim patronised historians like Ferishta and Shirazi, and built Ibrahim Rauza, Malika Jahan Masjid and Anand Mahal. 
A Mughal envoy to Bijapur, Asad Baig, testifies to Ibrahim’s love for music. In one part of the book he has written, he says he was invited to the court to attend a function  Ibrahim, he says, was so enraptured by the music that he hardly spoke to him. And when he did speak, the conversation was about music and musicians.
He says Ibrahim wanted to know if  Akbar, the then Mughal Emperor, was interested in music and also about Tansen. Baig says he told Ibrahim that Akbar did listen to music. Ibrahim then sought to know whether Tansen stood or sat while singing before the Emperor.
Let me end this article from one of  the songs of the Kitab-e-Nauras. 
“ bhaka nyari nyari bhava ek kaha turk kaha brahaman (emotion is the same whether a persn is a Turk (muslim) or a Brahmin .
Another poem says
"Bhaaka nyaree nyaree bhav yek kahaa thurak kaha barahaman.

Uttam bhaganiko so sohee jaa sarasuti huhi prasann.

Ibrahim sosaar chaahe vidyaa, sabad, guru sevaa japkar yekman.”
Footnote: The founder of the Adil Shah dynasty, Yusuf Adil Shah was also a connosseir of music, He played the tambourine and lute. Another king, Ismail Adil Shah was a keen student of  Central Asian music.   

1)      Dekhani
Dekhani  roughly means from the Deccan (south India ). It is an amalgamation of  several Indian and foreign languages such as  Persianm Arabic, Kannada, Marathi,  and Gujarati. It was spoken during the Bahamani era and subsequently it took proper form during the time of the five kingdoms after the disintegration of the Bahamani Kingdom-Bijapur, Bidar, Ahmednagar, Golconda and Berar .
Since this article is devoted to Adil Shahs, I have limited myself  to development of Dekhani in Bijapur. The Adil Shahs were great builders and patrons of  art and literature. Several literary works came to be written in Dekhani and Kitab-e-Nauras is among the earliest.
Dakhani  came to be known as Dakhan Urdu and this was done so to distinguish it from the Urdu spoken in and around north India . Mushaira or poetic symposium was born in Bijapur court and later traveled north.

2) Drupad:
Is a Hindi term for one of the oldest genre of Hindustani music. Drupad means  
Druva (structured) and Paada (word).   In Ain-e-Akbari,  Abul Fazl, one of the Navratnas in the court of Mughal emperor Akbar, defines dhrupad  as “four rhyming signs”. Bharat Muni’s Natya Shastra written during the first century AD,  makes a mention of  Drupad.  The 13th century text, Sangit Ratnakar, also has reference to Drupad. However, many musicologists and historians agree that  Drupad owes its origin to Man Singh Tomar of Gwalior . Raja Man Singh was parton of Dhrupad gharana. He was the husband of  Mriganayani.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative article that goes on to show that much of what is being written and propagated by communal historians of all hues is far removed from the actual lived experience of the people. One minor suggestion about the translation of the verse by Jagadguru Ibrahim Adil Shah . “ bhaka nyari nyari bhava ek kaha turk kaha brahaman (emotion is the same whether a persn is a Turk (muslim) or a Brahmin should be translated as the language/expression of the Muslim and the Brahmin might be different but their emotion/meanin/intent/is the same.
    Bhaka is an apbhramsa roop of Bhasha
    Another poem says
    "Bhaaka nyaree nyaree bhav yek kahaa thurak kaha barahaman.