Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah/Sirat-i Firoz Shahi, by J.A. Page

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah/Sirat-i Firoz Shahi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:37 am

A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi
Memoirs Of the Archaeological Survey of India, No. 52
by J.A. Page, A.R.I.B.A., Late Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India
With a Translation of Sirat-i-Firozshahi by Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, B.A., Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India
1937

Besides the works, particularly by Muslim historians referred to by Mr. Page in his Memoir, there exists another trustworthy and contemporary account of Firoz Shah's reign as narrated in the pages of Sirat-i-Firozshahi, a Persian manuscript in Nastaliq characters deposited in the Oriental Public Library at Bankipore and enlisted in its Catalogue as No. 547. From the Catalogue it appears that nothing is known about the author of Sirat-i-Firozshahi but the verse at the end of the manuscript assigns the work to A.H. 772 (A.D. 1370). i.e., the twentieth year of the reign of Firoz Shah. Sirat-i-Firozshahi thus chronicles the events of the earlier part of Firoz Shah's reign.
God said it, I believe it, That settles it.

-- Memoirs Of the Archaeological Survey of India, No. 52: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page, A.R.I.B.A., Late Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India, With a Translation of Sirat-i-Firozshahi by Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, B.A., Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India, 1937


Table of Contents:

Preface
Firozabad, the town
Kotla Firoz Shah, the Citadel
The Lat Pyramid
The connecting bridge
The Mosque
The river front and Royal palaces
Interior courts and Gates
The Baoli
Water Tanks and Ducts
The Citadel Walls; Main entrance bay
Defence of the walls
Contemporary accounts of the Citadel
Firozabad the Royal retreat
Features of the Palaces
The Corps of the Palace Slaves
The Sultan emerges in State
Events at the Citadel
The Sultan’s Gardens
The Sultan’s buildings
His Chief Architect
The Royal establishments and domestic arrangements
Subsequent History of the Kotla
The Sultan retires in favour of his son Muhammad Khan
Flight of Muhammad Khan and his supersession by Sultan Firoz’s grandson, Tughlaq Shah
Death of Firoz Shah
Death of his successor Tughlaq Shah and enthronement of Muhammad Khan at Samana
Death of Sultan Muhammad
Succession of Prince Mahmud at Jahanpanah
Rebellion and rival sovereignty of his cousin Nasrat Shah at Firozabad
Timur’s invasion
Subsequent History
Appendix: Translation of the Topra pillar edicts of King Devanampriya
Index
Translation of the extracts from Sirat-i-Firozshahi [Folios 91 (b) to 105 (b)]
Transcript of Sirat-i-Firozshahi [Folios 91 (b) to 105 (b)] with illustrations
LIST OF PLATES.
o Plate I. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi. Bara gateway. General view. (South-west).
o Plate II. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; Vue D'oiseau of a conjectural reconstruction of the ruined citadel.
o Plate III. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; Perspective view of river front.
o Plate IV. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; General view of the mosque. (North-west).
o Plate V. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; view of the Lat Pyramid.
o Plate VI. — (Coloured.) Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; IIIustrations from Sirat-i-Firozshahi
(а) Removing wheels of the cart from one side and tying ropes and pulling up the pillar to place it in the boat.
Image
(b) Arrival of boat with pillar on the bank of the Jumna (near Delhi), tying ropes to the pillar to remove it from the boat and place it on the cart.
Image
(c) The monolith being carried on the ladha (cart) towards the town of Firozabad (Delhi).
Image
(d) Arrival of the cart with pillar in front of the mosque of Firozabad (Delhi).
Image
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS APPEARING IN THE TRANSCRIPT OF SIRAT-I-FIROZSHAHI.
o Fig. 1. — Erection of piers and pulleys and tying of ropes, for taking down the stone pillar.
o Fig. 2 . — Pasheb on which the stone pillar would rest while taken down.
o Fig. 3. — Erection of pulleys and raising the pillar in order to place it on the ladha (cart).
o Fig. 4. — Arrival of the ladha with the stone pillar, at the bank of the Jamna river.
o Fig. 5. — Constructing the foundations of a structure, 61 yards square thereon to set up the pillar.
o Fig. 6. — Building of the first storey and raising the pillar on its top by means of ropes.
o Fig. 7. — Plan of the second storey.
o Fig. 8. — Raising the pillar two yards at a time, first at one end and then at the other.
o Fig. 9. — Third storey of the structure on which the pillar was set up.
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:37 am

PREFACE.

In the preparation of this memoir on the ruins of Kotla Firoz Shah at Delhi Mr. Page had in mind the desirability of attempting to retrieve for the reader the original "atmosphere" of the old fabric, with all its historical associations and charm: and to reveal the distinctive traits and outlook of those who founded and peopled it in the 14th Century A.D.

As a means to this, Mr. Page had recourse to the original narratives of the Mussalman historians of the time (as translated in Messrs. Elliott and Dowson's invaluable volumes) and has quoted in extenso from their writings.
Verbose and redundant though these annals often are, they nevertheless reflect, as nothing else can, the mentality of their environment and period, and will, it is hoped, help the reader to visualise the life of the time, and repopulate for him the empty remains of what was once the royal retreat of a Turkish King of Delhi.

Besides the works, particularly by Muslim historians referred to by Mr. Page in his Memoir, there exists another trustworthy and contemporary account of Firoz Shah's reign as narrated in the pages of Sirat-i-Firozshahi, a Persian manuscript in Nastaliq characters deposited in the Oriental Public Library at Bankipore and enlisted in its Catalogue as No. 547. From the Catalogue it appears that nothing is known about the author of Sirat-i-Firozshahi but the verse at the end of the manuscript assigns the work to A.H. 772 (A.D. 1370). i.e., the twentieth year of the reign of Firoz Shah. Sirat-i-Firozshahi thus chronicles the events of the earlier part of Firoz Shah's reign.

God said it, I believe it, That settles it.


It is divided into four chapters or babs; and the folios of the second chapter dealing with the removal of the Minarah-i-Zarrin (Golden Pillar) have been transcribed and translated by Mr. Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, B.A., to form a supplement to Mr. Page's Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah. The illustrations contained in the original not only add charm to the manuscript but portray the minutest details of the removal of the pillar — its carriage in boats and installation on the citadel at Firozabad, where it stands to the present day.

J. F. BLAKISTON.
Director General of Archaeology
New Delhi, March 1936.
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:39 am

FIROZABAD, THE TOWN.

Page 302-303:

Eighth Mukaddama. -- The building of Firozabad on the river Jumna.

*** The Sultan having selected a site at the village of Gawin, on the banks of the Jumna, founded the city of Firozabad, before he went to Lakhnauti the second time. Here he commenced a palace, *** and the nobles of his court having also obtained (girifland) houses there, a new town sprang up, five kos distant from Dehli. Eighteen places were included in this town, the kasba of Indarpat, the sarai of Shaikh Malik Yar Paran, the sarai of Shaikh Abu Bakr Tusi, the village of Gawin, the land of Khetwara, the land of Lahrawat, the land of Andhawali, the land of the sarai of Malika, the land of the tomb of Sultan Raziya, the land of Bhari, the land of Mahrola, and the land of Sultanpur. So many buildings were erected that from the kasba of Indarpat to the Kushk-i shikar, five kos apart, all the land was occupied. There were eight public mosques, and one private mosque. *** The public mosques were each large enough to accommodate 10,000 supplicants.

During the forty years of the reign of the excellent Sultan Firoz, people used to go for pleasure from Dehli to Firozabad, and from Firozabad to Dehli, in such numbers, that every kos of the five kos between the two towns swarmed with people, as with ants or locusts. To accommodate this great traffic, there were public carriers who kept carriages, mules (sutur), and horses, which were ready for hire at a settled rate every morning after prayers, so that the traveller could make the trip as seemed to him best, and arrive at a stated time. Palankin-bearers were also ready to convey passengers. The fare of a carriage was four silver jitals for each person; of a mule (sutur), six; of a horse, twelve; and of a palankin, half a tanka. There was also plenty of porters ready for employment by any one, and they earned a good livelihood. Such was the prosperity of this district; ** but it was so ravaged by the Mughals, that the inhabitants were scattered in all directions. This was the will of God, and none can gainsay it.

-- The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, 1871


"..........* [Elliott & Dowson, Vol. III, pp. 302-3, Tarikh-i-Firozshahi.] The Sultan1 [Sultan Firoz (1351-1388 A.D.) of the house of Tughlaq, the dynasty of Karauna (half-breed) Turks founded by the Amir Malik Ghazi, in 1321 A.D. Sultan Firoz’s mother was a daughter of the Rajput Raja Mai Bhatti of Depalpur; and his father, Sipah Salar Rajab, brother of Sultan Ghyasu-d-Din Tughlaq. He was born in 709 H. (=1309 A.D.) (Vide Elliott & Dowson, Vol. III, p. 271, Tarikh-i-Firozshahi, and Lane Poole’s Mediaeval India, pp. 122 and 139). ] having selected a site at the village of Gawin, on the banks of the Jamna, founded the city of Firozabad (1354 A.D.) before he went to Lakhnauti the second time. Here he commenced a palace, and the nobles of his court having also obtained (giriftand) houses there, a new town sprang up, five kos distant from Delhi. Eighteen places were included in this town, the kasha of Indarpat, the Sarai of Shaikh Malik Yar Paran, the Sarai of Shaikh Abu Bakr Tusi, the village of Gawin, the land of Khetwara, the land of Lahrawat, the land of Andhawali, the land of the Sarai of Malika, the land of the tomb of Sultan Raziya, the land of Bhari, the land of Mahrola and the land of Sultanpur. So many buildings were erected that from the kasha of Indarpat to the Kushk-i-Shikar, five kos apart, all the land was occupied. There were eight public mosques and one private mosque .... The public mosques were each large enough to accommodate 10,000 supplicants.’’ "It included eight public mosques and one private mosque, three2 [Delhi Zail Lists. Vol. II, p. 70.] palaces, a hunting box (shikargarh) and, says Carr Stephen, out of 120 rest-houses which Firoz Shah built in Delhi and Firozabad it may be supposed that more than half were in his capital. No traces of the outer walls have yet been discovered, but the city was probably the usual approximate half-hexagon in plan with the long side or base facing the Jumna. If we can believe the description of Shams-i-Siraj, it more than doubled the size of Shahjahanabad. reaching, as it did the "Ridge to the north and a point near Hauz Khas to the south. It included a considerable portion of modern Delhi, namely, the Muhalla Bulbuli Khana, Turkman Darwaza, and Bhojla Pahari. General Cunningham has estimated its population at 150,000, and if, he continues, another 100,000 is added as the population of old Delhi, this brings up the total number of inhabitants in the Indian Metropolis during the reign of Firoz Shah to a quarter of a million."

The Tarikh-i-Firozshahi further tells that:

“After3 [Elliott & Dowson, Vol. III, p. 317, Tarikh-i-Firozshahi.] his return from Lakhanauti (in the year 755 H.= 1354 A.D.) the Sultan was much occupied with building. He completed with care the kushk at Firozabad, and also commenced a kushk in the middle of that town.” Kotla Firoz Shah (more correctly kushk— palace) thus formed the inner citadel of Firozabad. Building1 [Delhi Zail Lists, Vol. II, p. 70.] materials for the construction of Firozabad were obtained from Siri, Jahanpanah and Qila Rai Pithora; “trader’s animals”, says Shams-i-Siraj Afif, “being sent by the Government officials to the cities of old Delhi for a day, which had to convey one load of bricks to Firozabad”.

Two years later2, [Elliott & Dowson, Vol. IV. pp. 8-9, Tarikh-i-Mubarahshahi.] we learn from Yahya ibn Ahmad, the Sultan “brought the stream of Firozabad from the mountains of Mandati and Sirmor” ..... and “formed another canal from the Khakhar (Khagar) to the fort of Sarsuti, and from thence to Harbi-Khir (Firozabad) .... He brought another canal from the river Jumna, and threw it into the tank of that city.3 [Firoz Shah has been called the Father of Indian Irrigation, and his canal which brought water from Khizrabad to Safaidon, where he had a hunting ground, is now known as the Western Jumna Canal (vide Sanderson’s Guide In Delhi Fort, p. 39n).] "....."

Sultan Firoz Shah's new city quickly became a very popular resort of the people of Delhi, and Shams-i-Siraj relates how:

“During4 [Elliott & Dowson, Vol. II, Tarikh-i-Firozshahi, p. 303.] the forty years of the reign of the excellent Sultan Firoz, the people used to go for pleasure from Delhi to Firozabad, and from Firozabad to Delhi, in such numbers, that every kos of the five kos between the two towns swarmed with people, as with ants or locusts. To accommodate this great traffic, there were public carriers who kept carriages, mules (sutur), and horses, which were ready for hire at a settled rate every morning after prayers, so that the traveller could make the trip as seemed to him best, and arrive at a stated time. Palankin bearers were also ready to convey passengers. The fare of a carriage was four silver jitals for each person; of a mule (sutur) six; of a horse twelve; and of a palankin half a tanka. There was also plenty of porters ready for employment by any one, and they earned a good livelihood. Such was the prosperity of this district.”
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:40 am

KOTLA FIROZ SHAH, THE CITADEL.

The Kotla or Citadel which forms an irregular polygon on plan, is now in a very ruinous condition, but much has been done by the Archaeological Department to secure it from further decay (Plate I).

Image
Plate I: Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi. Bara gateway. General view. South-west.

Further excavation and clearance along the river front especially, are necessary before a fuller appreciation of its original features can be obtained, but sufficient evidence is already apparent in the several old structures it contains to serve as a fair basis on which one may construct a conjectural restoration of the citadel. The vue d’oiseau perspective drawing appearing in the accompanying Plate II is an attempt at such a restoration.

Image
Plate II: Kotla Feroz Shah: Delhi. Vue D'Oiseau of a Conjectural Reconstruction of the Ruined Citadel (Founded 1354: abandoned c?1490 A.D.) The Restoration suggested below is based on a survey of existing internal evidence, and on the analogy of contemporary erections still extant; e.g. al Qadam Sharif, Khirka Beganpur, et. at Delhi. View from W-S-W.

Features irretrievably missing in the case of the Kotla ruins have been reproduced in the illustration on the analogy of similar features existing in contemporary structures of Firoz Shah still extant; e.g., the fortified enclosure of Qadam Sharif, and the multidomed mosques at Begampur, Khirki, Nizampur and in the Muhalla Bulbuli Khana in Shahjahanabad.
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:41 am

THE LAT PYRAMID.



An illustration of the Lat pyramid in the Asiatic Researches of the year 1802 (reproduced in Plate IV, Vol. VIII [1803, Vol. VII?) shews it in a much better state of preservation than it is at present (Plate V), and depicts the low flat domes reproduced over the corner pavilions containing the ascending stairs. The top colonnade indicated in the perspective view (Plate III) is more conjectural, but evidence of the existence of a feature of this kind is apparent in the presence of a pair of broken columns still remaining in situ on the western edge of the roof.

Image
Plate III. Kotla FerozShah: Delhi. Perspective View of River Front. Reconstructed on the Existing Internal Evidence and on Analogous Contemporary Structure. November 1919.

The pyramid on which the Lat stands consists of 3 terraces progressively decreasing in size1, [The first terrace measures 118' square, the second 83' square, and the third 55' square.] and giving the building a stepped appearance. On each terrace is a series of vaulted cells surrounding the solid core of the structure into which the foot of the Lat of Asoka is built2. [It is not within the province of this memoir to give an account of the Mauryan Emperor Asoka. “He erected the granite pillars which bore the edicts spreading this new religion from Kabul to Orissa.” The dates of his accession and death are given by Sir John Marshall (A Guide to Taxila) as 273 and 232 B.C. respectively.]

The Lat is a sandstone monolith 42' 7" in height, 35' being polished3 [The polish on the surface of Asokan columns and sculptures is a very characteristic feature — a technique which had its origin in Persepolis where abundant examples still survive. (See “A Guide to Sanchi”, p. 92, by Sir John Marshall.)] and the remainder rough; the buried portion measures some 4' ", and Cunningham is of the opinion that the rough portion, standing above the level of the terrace, was buried in the ground in its original site. According to Shams-i-Siraj, one quarter of the monolith was hidden by the masonry of the pyramid originally, and Cunningham believes this to have been actually the case, owing to the existence of the stumps of the octagonal columns previously described, which would appear to have formed a cloister or open gallery round the topmost storey. The diameter of the Lat is 25.3 inches at the top and 38.3 inches at the base, the diminution being .39" per foot. It is said to weight 27 tons; while the colour of the sandstone is pale orange, flecked with black spots. Major Burt who examined it in 1837 gives its measurements as 35' in length with a diameter of 3-1/4 feet; Franklin (As. Res.) a length of 50': Von Orlich, 42': William Finch. 24': Shams- i-Siraj, 34', and its circumference 10'. In the matter of dimensions it resembles the Allahabad pillar more than any other, but it tapers more rapidly towards the top and is, therefore, less graceful in outline (Cunningham). Tom Coryat and Whittaker (Kerr's Voyages and Travels. IX. 423) state that the pillar was of brass; the chaplain Edward Terry records that it was of marble with a Greek inscription4 [A translation of this inscription, which is in Pali character is given in the Appendix.] upon it, while Bishop Heber says that it was on "cast metal." Timur declared that he had never seen any monument in all the numerous lands he had traversed comparable to these monoliths.

The Tarikh-i-Firozshahi gives the following account of the erection of the lat of Asoka in Firozabad:

"After5 [Elliott & Dowson, Vol. III, p. 350, Tarikh-i-Firozshahi, Shams-i-Siraj, Afif.] Sultan Firoz returned from his expedition against Thatta he often made excursions in the neighbourhood of Dehli. In the part of the country there were two stone columns. One was in the village of Tobra, in the district (shikk) of Salaura and Khizrabad in the hills (koh-payah), the other in the vicinity of the town of Mirat. These columns had stood in those places from the days of the Pandavas, but had never attracted the attention of any of the kings who sat upon the throne of Delhi, till Sultan Firoz noticed them, and, with great exertion, brought them away. One was erected in the palace (kushk) at Firozabad, near the Masjid-i-jama, and was called the Minara-i-Zarrin, or Golden Column, and the other was erected in the Kushk-i-Shikar, or Hunting Palace, with great labour and skill. The author has read in the works of good historians that these columns of stone had been the walking sticks of the accursed Bhim a man of great stature and size. The annals of the infidels record that this Bhim used to devour a thousand mans of food daily, and no one could compete with him ..... In his days all this part of Hind was peopled with infidels, who were continually fighting and slaying each other. Bhim was one of five brothers, but he was the most powerful of them all. He was generally engaged in tending the herds of cattle belonging to his wicked brothers, and he was accustomed to use these two stone pillars as sticks to gather the cattle together. The size of the cattle in those days was in proportion to that of other creatures. These five brothers lived near Delhi, and when Bhim died these two columns were left standing as memorials of him .....

Removal of the Minara-i-Zarrin. — Khizrabad is 90 kos from Dehli, in the vicinity of the hills. When the Sultan visited that district, and saw the column in the village of Tobra, he resolved to remove it to Delhi, and there erect it as a memorial of future generations. After thinking over the best means of lowering the column, orders were issued commanding the attendance of all the people dwelling in the neighbourhood, within and without the Doab, and all soldiers, both horse and foot. They were ordered to bring all implements and materials suitable for the work. Directions were issued for bringing parcels of the cotton of the Sembal (silk cotton tree). Quantities of this silk cotton were placed round the column, and when the earth at its base was removed, it fell gently over on the bed prepared for it. The cotton was then removed by degrees, and after some days the pillar lay safe upon the ground. When the foundations of the pillar were examined, a large square stone was found as a base, which also was taken out. The pillar was then encased from top to bottom in reeds and raw skins so that no damage might accrue to it. A carriage, with forty-two wheels, was constructed, and ropes were attached to each wheel. Thousands of men hauled at every rope, and after great labour and difficulty the pillar was raised on to the carriage. A strong rope was fastened to each wheel, and 200 men pulled at each of these ropes. By the simultaneous exertions of so many thousand men the carriage was moved, and was brought to the banks of the Jumna. Here the Sultan came to meet it. A number of large boats had been collected, some of which could carry 5,000 and 7,000 mans of grain, and the least of them 2,000 mans. The column was very ingeniously transferred to these boats, and was then conducted to Firozabad, where it was landed and conveyed into the Kushk with infinite labour and skill.

Account of the Raising of the Obelisk. —

At this time the author of this book was twelve years of age, and a pupil of the respected Mur Khan. When the pillar was brought to the palace, a building was commenced for its reception, near the Jami Masjid, and the most skilful architects and workmen were employed. It was constructed of stone and chunam, and consisted of several stages or steps (poshish). When a step was finished the column was raised on to it, another step was then built and the pillar was again raised, and so on in succession until it reached the intended height. On arriving at this stage, other contrivances had to be devised to place it in an erect position. Ropes of great thickness were obtained, and windlasses were placed on each of the six stages of the base. The ends of the ropes were fastened to the top of the pillar, and the other ends passed over the windlasses, which were firmly secured with many fastenings. The wheels were then turned, and the column was raised about half a gzz. Logs of wood and bags of cotton were then placed under it to prevent its sinking again. In this way, by degrees, and in the course of several days, the column was raised to the perpendicular. Large beams were then placed round it as shores, until quite a cage of scaffolding was formed. It was thus secured in an upright position, straight as an arrow, without the smallest deviation from the perpendicular. The square stone, before spoken of, was placed under the pillar. After it was raised, some ornamental friezes of black and white stone were placed round its two capitals (do sar-i-an) and over these there was raised a gilded copper cupola, called in Hindi kalas. The height of the obelisk was thirty-two gaz; eight gaz was sunk in its pedestal, and twenty-four gaz was visible. On the base of the obelisk there were engraved several lines of writing1 [See Appendix.] in Hindi characters. Many Brahmans and Hindu devotees were invited to read them, but no one was able. It is said that certain infidel Hindus interpreted them as stating that no one should be able to remove the obelisk from its place till there should arise in the latter days a Muhammadan King, named Sultan Firoz, etc., etc."
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:42 am

THE CONNECTING BRIDGE.

The bridge shewn in the illustration (Plate II) as connecting the pyramidal lat structure in the Kotla with the mosque adjacent is a conjectural feature, and relies for its authenticity on the existence below ground in this position of a lofty vaulted tunnel, closed at both ends and lacking a pakka floor, which connects the foundation of these structures.

Image
Plate II: Kotla Feroz Shah: Delhi. Vue D'Oiseau of a Conjectural Reconstruction of the Ruined Citadel (Founded 1354: abandoned c?1490 A.D.) The Restoration suggested below is based on a survey of existing internal evidence, and on the analogy of contemporary erections still extant; e.g. al Qadam Sharif, Khirka Beganpur, et. at Delhi. View from W-S-W.

The walls of this tunnel, I can only assume, served as the foundation for an upper superstructure bridging the space between the pyramid and the mosque, of which connecting feature there is a persistent local tradition. There is also a logical purpose which such a bridge could have served, since it would have provided direct and secluded communication between the Zanana enclosures in the mosque mezzanine (infra) and the lat-pyramid.
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:43 am

THE MOSQUE.

The illustration of the Jami mosque, as reconstructed on the analogous examples mentioned above, may be considered to represent with some accuracy the original appearance of this structure in the time of Firoz Shah.

Little indeed of the original masjid now remains
, but evidence of its former features exists there almost intact, and is disclosed by a careful examination of the ruins. Plate IV.

Image
Plate IV: Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi. General view of the mosque after conservation. North-west.

The numerous columns of the prayer chamber and side liwans, now long since disappeared, leave their indications in the roughly tooled stone blocks which supported them, spaced at regular intervals in the paved floor. The sub-divided bays below the entresol chambers reveal themselves in the little close-set mihrab- recesses in the walls at the north-west and south-west corners. The top roofs at these corners, as can be seen from an examination of the exposed core of the upper walls, were higher than the connecting central bays. Further evidence of the existence of these zenana entresols lies in the presence of the narrow connecting passage-way in the thickness of the west wall at this level, and again in the ruined remains of the staircase ascending from this entresol level to the roof above, and descending to the ground floor below; both stairways being also contained in the thickness of the north and south walls. "The1 [List of Monuments, Delhi Zail, Vol. II, p. 73.] centre of the courtyard was marked by a deep pit which seems originally to have been a well, not improbably connected by galleries with the apartments on the river front, the water level being reached by some form of ghat.” An attempt was made in 1914-15 to explore this pit but as the sides proceeded to tumble in, it was thought advisable to fill it up. Thus its present treatment does not purport to indicate what previously existed here. It has been suggested that the pit formed a shaft sunk to support the foundation of a domed structure erected above it — the octagonal building bearing the engraved marble slabs recording the ordinances of the emperor and referred to by the historians of the time2.

[Ferishta’s statement is as follows: — “ He caused his regulations to be carved on the masjid of Firozabad of which the following may be taken as an example. It has been usual in former times to spill Mahomedan blood on trivial occasions and, for small crimes, to mutilate and torture them, by cutting off the hands and feet, and noses and ears, by putting out eyes, by pulverising the bones of the living criminals with mallets, by burning the body with fire, by crucifixion, and by nailing the hands and feet, by flaying alive, by the operation of hamstringing, and by cutting human beings to pieces. God in his infinite goodness having been pleased to confer on me the power, has inspired me with the disposition to put an end to these practices. It is my resolution, moreover, to restore, in the daily prayers offered up for the royal family, the names of all those princes, my predecessors, who have reigned over the empire of Dehly, in hopes that these prayers being acceptable to God, may in some measure appease his wrath, and ensure his mercy towards them. It is also hereby proclaimed, that the small and vexatious taxes, under the denomination of Cotwally, etc., payable to the public servants of government, as perquisites of offices, by small traders; that licenses for the right of pasturage from shepherds, on waste lands belonging to the crown; fees from flower-sellers, fish-sellers, cotton-cleaners, silk-sellers and cooks and the precarious and fluctuating taxes on shopkeepers and vintners, shall henceforward cease throughout the realm; for it is better to relinquish this portion of the revenue than realise it at the expense of so much distress occasioned by the discretionary power necessarily vested in tax-gatheres and officers of authority; nor will any tax hereafter be levied contrary to the written law of the book.



It has been customary to set aside one-fifth of all property taken in war for the troops, and to reserve four-fifths to the government. It is hereby ordered, that in future four-fifths shall be distributed to the troops, and one-fifth only reserved for the crown. I will on all occasions cause to be banished from the realm, persons convicted of the following crimes: Those who profess atheism, or who maintains schools of vice; all public servants convicted of corruption, as well as persons paying bribes. I have myself abstained from wearing gaudy silk apparel and jewels, as an example to my subjects. I have considered it my duty to repair every public edifice of utility, constructed by my predecessors, such as caravansarais, musjids, wells, reservoirs of water, aqueducts, canals, hospitals, alms-houses, and schools and have alienated considerable portions of the revenue for their support. I have also taken pains to discover the surviving relations of all persons who suffered from the wrath of my late Lord and master, Mahomed Toghluk, and having pensioned and provided for them, have caused them to grant their full pardon and forgiveness to that Prince in the presence of the holy and learned men of his age, whose signatures and seals as witnesses are affixed to the documents the whole of which, as far as lay in my power, have been procured, and put into a box, and deposited in the vault in which Mahomed Toghluk is entombed. I have gone and sought consolation from all the most learned and holy men within my realm, and have taken care of them. Whenever my soldiers have been rendered inefficient for service, by wounds or by age, I have caused them to be pensioned on full pay for life. Two attempts have been made to poison me, but without effect." Vide Briggs, Ferishta, Vol. I, pp. 462-464. Fanshawe thinks that this structure may have resembled the sunken octagonal chamber at the tomb of Sultan Ghari, Mahipalpur Delhi Past and Present (1902) p. 226.]

I have a larger vision or fantasy of original Indian Buddhism as an ocean with many icebergs, each representing the local textual traditions...of the different parts of the Indian world. Those icebergs are mostly gone...We have the Pali canon...the partial Sanskrit canon...They had a common core but they had many different texts in and around that basic commonality... and... there's no hope of finding them mainly for a simple physical reason, the climate of...India proper is such that organic materials...never last for more than a few hundred years. There are really no really old manuscripts in India proper. You only get the ancient manuscripts from the borderlands of India, in this case Gandhara which has a more moderate climate.

-- One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas, by Richard Salomon


The climate of Theravada countries is not conducive to the survival of manuscripts. Apart from brief quotations in inscriptions and a two-page fragment from the eighth or ninth century found in Nepal, the oldest known manuscripts are from late in the fifteenth century, and there is not very much from before the eighteenth.

-- Tripitaka, by New world Encyclopedia


It is possible that the well was covered by some form of chattri as is usual in such cases, and remains of capitals found near the mouth of the well help to substantiate this theory. Franklin (As. Res.) who saw the building in 1793 describes it as bearing four cloisters, the domed roofs of which were supported by two hundred and sixty stone columns, each about 16' in height. There was an octangular dome of brick and stone in the centre of the mosque and about 25' in height.

Zia-i-Barni, eulogising the masjid, says that on Fridays the gathering of worshippers is such that there remains no room either on the lower flat or on the upper storey and the courtyard. Timur visited the building and mentions it as follows in his Malfuzat: —

“I started from Delhi and marched three kos to the Fort of Firozabad, which stands upon the banks of the Jumna and is one of the edifices erected by Sultan Firoz Shah. There I halted and went in to examine the place. I proceeded to the Masjid-i-Jami, where I said my prayers and offered up my praises and thanksgivings for the mercies of the Almighty.”

It is recorded in Ferishta1 [Briggs, Ferishta, Vol. I, p. 494.] that so impressed was Timur by the design of the building that he erected a great mosque at Samarqand, modelled on the same arrangement, employing masons he had taken back with him from India.

The public entrance to the piano nobile of the mosque was, of course, through the domed northern porch; but direct access for the purdah-nashin ladies was further provided by way of the stairs, mentioned above, from what (it is to be inferred) were the Royal palaces and private apartments situated on the river front to the south of the masjid, as illustrated in Plate II.

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Plate II: Kotla Feroz Shah: Delhi. Vue D'Oiseau of a Conjectural Reconstruction of the Ruined Citadel (Founded 1354: abandoned c?1490 A.D.) The Restoration suggested below is based on a survey of existing internal evidence, and on the analogy of contemporary erections still extant; e.g. al Qadam Sharif, Khirka Beganpur, et. at Delhi. View from W-S-W.
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:44 am

THE RIVER FRONT AND ROYAL PALACES.

That the royal apartments were located in this position is, I think, reasonably to be adduced both from the ruined remains of a central mahal here and from the analogy of the later Mughal palaces placed on the river front of the forts at Delhi and Agra, such a position being naturally the most pleasant and desirable one the citadel would afford; while the river itself would form a protection on that side against hostile land forces in the event of a siege.

The dalans [noun. (in Persian and Indian architecture) a veranda or open hall for reception of visitors.] labelled "Zenana palace” in the illustration were, I infer, reserved for this purpose. Though now much ruined, their original division into a number of small connecting chambers can readily be traced on the site; while the numerous little holes to serve as pigeon-nests are an interesting feature, as is again what seems to be the base of a pinjra stand for birds on the east wall. A curious decorative feature on the roof of these dalans still remains in the shape of a somewhat crude attempt at a mosaic, set in squares outlined with small pebbles embedded in the concrete of which it is composed. No evidence of a second storey on these river front palaces is apparent, but, from the decorative feature above mentioned as the presence of stair ascents, the roof was evidently intended to be used in the cool of the evening; and doubtless was sheltered from the sun by large crimson shamianas [an Indian ceremonial tent, shelter or awning, commonly used for outdoor parties, weddings, feasts etc.] during the day, and screened for the use of the Zanana by kanats [a gently sloping underground channel or tunnel constructed to lead water from the interior of a hill to a village below.] from the view of the public courts below.


The River wall below the Royal palace, and, in fact, practically all along this front, seems to have been treated as a low roofed terrace, with an open arcaded facade looking out on to the river, and must have been a very picturesque feature of the royal citadel (see Plate III). Narrow staircases descend at various points from this terrace to the river bed below.

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Plate III. Kotla FerozShah: Delhi. Perspective View of River Front. Reconstructed on the Existing Internal Evidence and on Analogous Contemporary Structure. November 1919.
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:45 am

INTERIOR COURTS AND GATES.

The actual ramp descending from the level of the royal private enclosure on the river front to the public quadrangle (marked Bari-Amm in the illustration) still remains, but the specific use to which this latter court was put can only be conjectured, it being impossible in the present state of decay of the Kotla to identify with any assurance the several palaces mentioned in the account by Shams-i-Siraj Afif cited on page 11 (infra).

The existence of the remains of the dual gates in the several positions indicated in the illustration afford, however, a clue to the number and relative positions of the various courts and enclosures into which the citadel was divided; and from this evidence (somewhat slender, it is true!) has been adduced the arrangement of the private courts and "grape garden" indicated in the illustration, which, it is assumed, were linked with the Royal quarters on the river front, whence private access to them was obtained.

Remains of what would appear to be the walls of a narrow dalaned way forming the back of the court, marked “Bari Amm" in the Plate II, exist; but whether the wooden reception hall indicated here as a possible feature of the Court of Public Audience ever existed is again problematical.


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Plate II: Kotla Feroz Shah: Delhi. Vue D'Oiseau of a Conjectural Reconstruction of the Ruined Citadel (Founded 1354: abandoned c?1490 A.D.) The Restoration suggested below is based on a survey of existing internal evidence, and on the analogy of contemporary erections still extant; e.g. al Qadam Sharif, Khirka Beganpur, et. at Delhi. View from W-S-W.

That the quadrangle was divided off from the garden enclosure indicated to the right of it, is, I think, to be inferred from the existence of the separate pairs of gates in situ, one pair of which I have assigned to each court. A little further digging here would, in all probability, do much to clear up this point.

The probability of the existence of the garden enclosure above mentioned is inferred from the presence of the little square-vaulted pavilions it contains, which would be very appropriate to such a setting.
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Re: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page

Postby admin » Sun Oct 31, 2021 3:45 am

THE BAOLI.

There still exist the remains of a fine circular baoli immediately north-west of the pyramidal lat structure, with a range of subterranean apartments, which from fragments still remaining appears to have had its upper terrace enclosed by a low open stone railing. A recent partial clearance of this terrace disclosed the remains of a system of water channels which, it seems, conveyed water from a couple of elevated tanks (surmounted with conjectured chattris in the illustration in Plate II) across to the water pavilion situated immediately to the north (left, in illustration) of the well.

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Plate II: Kotla Feroz Shah: Delhi. Vue D'Oiseau of a Conjectural Reconstruction of the Ruined Citadel (Founded 1354: abandoned c?1490 A.D.) The Restoration suggested below is based on a survey of existing internal evidence, and on the analogy of contemporary erections still extant; e.g. al Qadam Sharif, Khirka Beganpur, et. at Delhi. View from W-S-W.

Encircling the lower surrounding chambers of the well is a series of contiguous water receptacles connected by pipes and ducts with the channels on the top terrace; and it seems probable that the attractions of the baoli as a cool retreat in the summer heats were thus considerably heightened by the ornamental display of falling water. A large underground drain for the water overflow connected the baoli with the river front of the citadel.

A similar series of cool sun-sheltered chambers occur beneath the mosque where they were probably also connected with a central well referred to on page 6.
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