Part II

Part II

India & Iran – Age Old Ties

Part II

Advent of Islam

67. In the 7th century, after the Persians lost the battle of Qudisiyah in 637 AD to the Islamic Arab armies, the Sassanian dynasty came to an end. Following this, the Zoroastrians – a section of the Persians – migrated to India through the Strait of Hormuz. During the 7th century, Arab traders used to come to the southern and western coast of India. In 712 AD, the Arabs under the command of Mohammad bin Qasim invaded India from west, but this was shortlived.

68. After Islam took over Persia, Zoroastrianism all but disappeared from Persia. The followers of the religion fled Persia and took refuge in Western India enriching the cultural and social life of India. They are today known as Parsis. The Parsis began arriving in India from around A.D. 636. Their first permanent settlements were at Sanjan, 100 miles north of Bombay. They are believed to have built a big fire temple at Sanjan in A.D. 790 with the fire which they had brought from Iran with them.[101] According to the Parsis’ own tradition, one band of refugees settled first at Diu in Saurashtra and then at Thana near Mumbai in the early 8th century. [102] Their connection with their co-religionists in Iran seems to have been almost totally broken until the end of the 15th century. Re-established in 1477, the connection was kept up chiefly in the form of an exchange of letter until 1768.[103] Even today, Parsis maintain a cultural relationship with Iran, travelling to the cities of Tehran, Yazd and Kerman in Iran for pilgrimage. There have been several prominent Indians – political leaders, industrialists, Government officials – from this community. These include Dadbhai Nowroji (thrice president of Indian National Congress), Field Marshall Manekshaw, the great scientist Dr. Homi Bhabha and the leading business groups of Tata and Godrej among others.

69. The century following the Arab conquest of Sind was one in which the Hindu culture influenced the Arab culture. The scientific study of astronomy in Islam commenced under the influence of an Indian work Siddhanta which was brought to Baghdad by 771 through translations.[104] In about 800 A.D. Aryabhatta"s treatise Aryabhatiyam was translated into Arabic under the title Zij-al-Arjabhar. Before that, in 772 A.D., Brahmagupta"s two works, the Brahmasphuta-Siddhanta and the Khandakhadyaka, were taken to Baghdad and translated into Arabic. The knowledge of Hindu numerals and the decimal place-value system reached the Arabs along with the Indian mathematical-astronomical works rendered into Arabic in the 8th and 9th century AD.[105]

70. The earliest evidence of Arabic/Persian influence on Indian astronomy is of the second half of the fourteenth century. Mahendra Suri, a court astronomer of Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88), composed in 1370 A.D. a treatise entitled Yantraraja. Based on Persian knowledge, it described the construction and use of astrolabe, an instrument developed to perfection by Arab astronomers. Another Indian astronomer who made use of Arabic/Persian knowledge was Kamalakara (b.1658 A.D.), who wrote a big treatise on astronomy called Siddhanta-Tatva-Viveka. But it was Sawai Jaya Singh II who showed the greatest interest in Arabic/Persian astronomy.[106]

71. In the 10th century AD, a Persian pharmacologist Abu Mansur Muwaffaq ibn Ali al Harawi of Herat wrote Kitab’l Abniya an Haq’iq’l Adwiya (book of Foundations of the True Properties of Remedies). Believed to be the oldest prose work in modern Persian, the book utilized material from Indian sources among others.[107]

72. The Iranians had strident arguments regarding the relative virtues of their Arab and non-Arab cultural traditions. These arguments culminated in the Sh’ubia movement. They owned the non-Arab traditions and put their knowledge to translate Sanskrit works on mathematics, astronomy, medicine and other sciences into Arabic. They used their learning of Sanskrit grammar to systematize Arabic grammar. The Sahihs of al-Bukhari and the Sunan of al-Tirmidhi are collections of Hadith, which were, redacted at Bukhara and Tirmidh once the strongholds of Buddhism. The hadith begin with “Thus have I heard”, which is the usual beginning of Buddhist scriptures (evam maya srutam). The term srutam implies historic sanctity and glory. So do the hadith, which are on par with the Holy Qoran.[108]

73. In the 11th century AD, Islam came to India from the side of Persia through Sultan Mohammad Ghaznavi. The subsequent influence of Islam when it reached India had a rich Persian influence. The magnificent art and architecture of Iran came to be associated with Islam. Some new ideas like the Shi’a movement took shape in Islam. Islam became the common element that linked the Persian and Indian elites. Ghaznavi brought along a number of poets, artisans and religious persons who settled down in India. Lahore became an important centre of Persian literature art and mysticism. This continued over the next centuries. Between 1206 AD and 1687 AD many Muslim dynasties appeared in different parts of India. During this period, the Turks, the Tartars and some Arabs who had imbibed Iranian influence came to India. During the rule of Khiljis (14th century AD) several Persian scholars from Tabriz, Esfahan and Ray visited the royal courts in India. [109]

74. During the 11th century AD, Al-Biruni, believed to be a Shi’ Muslim of Iranian origin born in Khwarizm in north Persia, visited India during the Ghaznavi period. He wrote his famous Kitab-ul-Hind (Indica) in Arabic. Earlier, many Indian works on astronomy, mathematics and medicine had been translated into Arabic during the early Abbasid period. Al Biruni, who was very interested in astronomy and mathematics, refers to some of these texts, which must have been available to him. Biruni was a great linguist and a prolific writer. Besides his mother tonque, Khwarizmi – an Iranian dialect of the north with Turkish influence – he knew Hebrew, Syriac and Sanskrit besides Persian and Arabic.[110] He studied Sanskrit manuscripts to check the earlier Arabic writings on India. Tarikh al-Hind (Kitab-ul-Hind) contains chapters on Indian religion, philosophy, society, science, alchemy, geography, astronomy and astrology etc. Al Biruni composed about 20 books on India – both original and translations and also a great number of legends based on folklores of ancient Persia and India. He developed special interest in the Samkhya, the Yoga traditions of Indian philosophy and the Bhagavat Gita. He was possibly the first foreign scholar to have seriously studied the Puranas, specially the Visnudharma.[111] Biruni also rendered the al-Majest of Ptolemy and Geometry of Eucledes into Sanskrit.[112]

75. During this period several Hindu and Jain religious and philosophical texts from Sanskrit and Prakrit were translated into Persian. These include the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Upanishads, Bhagavata Gita, Nalopakhyana (Nala and Damayanti), Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Siva Purana, Skandha Purana, Vayu Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Harivamsa, Atharva Veda, Yoga Vashishtha, Sankara Bhasya, Atma Vilasa, Amrita Kunda, Prabodhacandrodaya, Vraja Mahatmya.[113] There are 24 different translations of Ramayana and 8 different versions of the Bhagavat Gita, 11 of Bhagwat Puran and 6 of Mahabharat in Persian language written by Hindu and Muslim scholars.[114]

Sufism – Spiritual interaction between India and Iran

76. Sufism was the result of spiritual interaction between Persia and India. Sufism, originally borrowed from India, returned to India with a distinct Iranian stamp. The mysticism of Islam came under the impact of Hinduism and its philosophy of Vedanta. Hinduism also accepted some Islamic elements such as equality and monotheism.[115] Many Hindu saints combined tenets of Islam and Hinduism. Emperor Akbar (1556-1604 AD) even promulgated a new religion - 'Din-e-Ilahi’ – a combination of the prevailing religions in India.

77. Islamic mysticism has been the inspiration of its refined romantic poetry, its ethereal architecture and painting. It grew in the intellectual soil of Iran. Among its sources were the Qur’an, the teachings of Hindu philosophy and neo-Platonism of Alexandria. Neo-Platonism itself combined Christian, Greek and Hindu elements. The dominating concern of the neo-Platonists was religious and their attitude was subjective and intuitive. This was the result of the influence of the Hindu thought. Unhellenic pantheism, Upanishadic monism and otherworldly ethics of Hinduism transformed the idealism of Plato into a Gnostic philosophy. Thus Hindu thought entered the structure of Muslim Tasawwuf through neo-Platonism.[116]

78. While neo-Platonism was the main influence in the development of Muslim thought in Iraq, a direct exchange of ideas took place in eastern Iran or Khorasan. Accounts of Chinese travellers show that the region was saturated with Hindu thought. Buddhist monks and Hindu priests were spread throughout the land from Khwarizm to Khotan and Afghanistan. Sufi thought and practice, therefore, grew in Khorasan. Early Sufis gave shape to Sufi concepts, systematised Sufi philosophy, inspired Sufi poetry and learnt the Hindu practices of restraining the breath using the rosary and meditation. Great mystic poets Abu Said Abil Khair, Abdul Majid Sanai, Fariduddin Attar, Jalaluddin Balkhi and Summa Rumi came from Khorasan. The Iranian Muslim mystics were among those mainly responsible for propagating Islam in India and provided the impulse which brought into existence the bhakti movement in Hinduism (propagated by saints like Kabir, Nanak, Chaitanya and Tukaram).[117] Today, India is the biggest centre of Sufism in the world. The four well-known Sufi silsilas (orders) in India are the Qadiriya, the Chishtiya, the Naqshbandiya and the Sohravardiya.[118]

79. Mowlavi, the famous Persian mystic, was inspired by Upanishad's monism thoughts and is believed to have adopted the method of story telling of the Indians in his book Masnavi.[119]

80. There is affinity and several similarities among the Hindu and Muslim mystical thought. The pantheist monism of the Advaita Vedanta and Wahdat al wujud of the Sufis are different expressions of the same world-view. For both, the Divine Being is the sole ground of all that exists, manifests itself as the world and diversities are nothing but various modes of its appearance. This self-manifestation of the Ultimate Being is spoken of in such Vedantic terms as – vivarta, pratibhasa and pratibimba. These are the same as the sufi concepts of tajalli, zuhur, 'aks and numud. The most central idea of the Advaita Vedanta – the essential unity of all beings – is also basic to the pantheistic philosophy of Ibn al-Arabi and was popularised in the hama-ust doctrine of the later Sufis. The immanence of the divine essence described as sarvabhutatma and antaryamin is also postulated by the Sufis in their conception of God as the soul of the world – Jane-i’jahan. In both cases, the ultimate truth can only be realised through Jnana or ma’rifat. The idea of nirguna Brahman is comparable to dhat al-mutlaq, jivatman with ruh, vyakta and avyakta with zahir and batin; sat and satyam with haq and haqiqat; para-vidya and apara-vidya with ilm-i zahir and ilm-i batin; samnyasa with tark and tajrid and so on. There are several similarities in expression also:

Sanskrit Avestic
Aham Brahmasmi Ana"l-Haq
Sarvam idam Brahma Hama-ust
Ato "nyad artam Kullu ma siwa"llah batil
Satsaya satyam Haqiqat at-haqa"iq
Jyotisam jyotih Nur at-anwar
Tatsatyam Huwa"l-Haq

81. These seem to be exact translations of Upanishadic passages into Sufi terms.[120]

82. The most prominent Sufis in India were Moinuddin Chishti, Fariduddin Ganj Shakr, Nizamuddin Aulia, Jalaluddin Tabrizi, Bahauddin Zakariya, Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki and Amir Kabir Seyyed Ali Hamadani.[121] Seyyed Ali Hamadani came to Kashmir in the 14th century along with 700 of his disciples, friends and artisans and propagated Persian and religious guidance.[122]

83. Sana’i and 'Attar, spiritual precursors of the distinguished Sufi Rumi sowed the seeds of early Persian mystic poetry. Sana’i is believed to have visited India and learnt some Indian languages. Long before the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate in 1206 and the Muslim kingdom of Kashmir in 1320, Sufis had migrated to northern India. The abodes of the Sufis in India were generally known by their Persian name khanqahs. Most of the Sufi pioneers who are famous for introducing their different silsilas in India either came from Iran or from Central Asia.

84. The poetry of Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, Sana’i, Ahmad Jam, Nizami Ganjavi, 'Attar, Rumi, Sa’di, Hafez and Jami inspired the Indian Sufis. According to Abul Fazl, Kmiya-i-Sa’adat of Imam Ghazzali, Gulistan of Sa’di, Hadiqa of Sanai, Masnavi of Rumi, Jami Jam of Auhadi, Khamsa-i Nizami and Kulliyat-i Jami were continually read to Akbar. The Shattari silsilah of Sufism, founded by Shah Abdullah Shattari in Persia and propagated by Seyyed Mohd Ghouse, was introduced in India. Mohd Ghouse translated Amrit Kund into Persian under the title of Bahr al-Hayat. Kashf al-Mahjub, (The Unveiling of the Veiled – 'a mystic textbook’) written in 11th Century by Shaikh 'Ali Hujwiri at Lahore[123], blended mystic ideas that developed in Persia and Central Asia. Awarifu’lMa’arif of Shaikh Sihabuddin Suhrawardi was another Sufi work that contributed to the spread of Persian ideas in India, serving as a guide for all those who founded silsilahs in new lands. An important Iranian tradition that influenced the Indian minds in the khanqahs was the compilation of malfuzat, wherein the miracles of Sufis (karamat) are discussed in detail.[124]

85. Sufis also contributed in large measure to the development of Urdu language, which today is among the official Indian languages.

86. A Persian verse of 'Attar was inscribed on temples of Kashmir. Kashmiri Brahmans even composed their hymns in Persian. The love of Sufi poetry cemented relationship between Hindus and Muslims. A number of commentaries have been written by Indian scholars on the works of the great Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi. For Iqbal, Rumi was a living stream (zinda rud). Rumi's selection of many stories of Indian origin also contributed to his popularity in India. A glossary of masnavi by Rumi, compiled by Abdul Latif Abbasi during the reign of Shah Jahan identifies words in the masnavi that are common to Persian and Hindi in addition to those which are common to Arabic and Hindi. Hafez's literary reputation reached India during his lifetime. Shaikh Sa’di's classical works – Gulistan and Bustan – were popular studies in both Indian mystic circles and madarsahs. The Sufi literature specially that pertaining to Kashmir is rich in discussion involving the Sufis and Hindu ascetics.[125]

87. Gradually in north India mysticism began to acquire a Muslim face. Compositions of Baba Farid, one of the disciples of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Sistan who settled in Ajmer in 12th century AD [126], form part of the holy book of the Sikhs – the Guru Granth Sahib. Even before the advent of the four recognised categories of bhakti poetry in Hindi, the emergence of the Persian poet Amir Khusrau was noticeable. He was a disciple of the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia of Delhi. Within the next two centuries, the Sufis had spread their network of 'retreats’ over north India. Sufis appealed to all classes of Muslims particularly those less educated in traditional sciences and exhibited a way of life and thought attractive to Hindus in its piety, devotion, asceticism and tolerance. Between the end of the 12th century and the end of the 15th century, three great Sufi orders had migrated from Iraq and Persia into northern India – the Chishti, the Sohravardi and the Ferdowsi. The Chishti was the largest and most popular. Amir Khusrau, the poet, and Ziauddin Barni, the historian, were among its adherence. The tombs of the mystic saints of the order are still honoured by both Hindus and Muslims. The Sohravardi order was confined to Sindh and the Ferdowsi order moved to Bihar.[127]

img88. The great Persian poet Sa’di, in 13th century, travelled from Shiraz to Punjab, Somnath, Gujarat and Delhi. While in Somnath, he witnessed the idol worship of the Hindus and recorded his experiences in the Bustan in couplets. From Somnath he went to Gujarat, and then to Punjab and later to Delhi. From Delhi he went to the Yemen.

89. In 1220 when the Mongols ransacked the Muslim world destroying Bukhara, Samarkand, Gurganj, Balkh, Marv and Ghazni, Islam went into eclipse in Persia, Iraq, Transoxania and other regions. India largely escaped the Mongol invasion. The Delhi Sultanate offered a refuge in that crucial period to the scholarly fugitives and India became a cultural sanctuary of the Muslim world.[128]

Mughal-Safavid Period

90. In the 16th century, Iran witnessed the rise of the Safavi dynasty after a period of upheaval and India saw the rise of the Mughal (or Moghul – the Persian word for Monghol) empire. India and Iran became great powers under these two dynasties. The intercourse between India and Iran was many-faceted, covering – politics, diplomacy, culture, literature, trade, and religion. The Mughal patronage of culture constantly attracted Persian scholars; talented Persians were absorbed in the expanding services of the Mughal empire. The ties between the Safavids and the Mughals were marked by the alliance of Shah Ismail I with Babur and the friendship of Shah Tehmasp and Humayun. The Safavids established Shi’its sect as the state religion in Iran.[129]

91. Babur, (originally a Timurid from the Uzbek region of Samarkand) received help from the Safavid King Shah Ismail I and established himself first in Kabul and then in Delhi and Agra.[130] Shah Ismail I returned to Babur, the latter's sister Khanzada Begum, who had been recovered by the Persians from Uzbeks at Merv and who re-joined her brother after a decade.[131] It is believed that during his occupation of Samarqand (1511-12), Babur struck coins bearing Shi’a legends and the name Shah Ismail Safavi.

92. Babur, himself an accomplished Persian poet was a patron of Persian poets. Babur invited Khwand Amir, a famous historian from Herat to join his court. He also selected Bairam Beg, a Shi’a, to be a constant companion to his son Humayun.[132]

img93. Humayun, the son of Babur, after being defeated by an Afghan King Sher Shah Suri, fled to Iran and was only able to return to India with the military help of the Iranian king Shah Tahmasp Safari. On his way back, Humayun took over Qandahar from Kamran Mirza (half-brother of Humayun) with Persian help in 1545, but handed it over to the Persians as agreed, only to retake it later (the Persians retook Qandahar soon after his death in 1556). He then went on to take Kabul. There were several diplomatic exchanges between Humayun and Shah Tahmasp.

94. Humayun visited several places including Sistan, Herat, Jam, Mashhad, Qazvin, Tabriz and Ardebil during his stay in Persia. There is an inscription of Humayun at Turbat-I-Jam dating back to 1544 AD, wherein he alludes to himself as an “empty handed wanderer”.[133] During his stay in Persia, Humayun had to accede to the demand of Shah Tahmasp of Persia to explicitly accept the Shi’a faith. On his return from Persia, he is believed to have reverted to Sunni faith. (Pic : Humayun's inscription at the Turbat-I-Jam)

95. Humayun's stay in Iran further stimulated Mughal interest in Persian literature and art. Because of his long stay in Iran, several Iranian poets and scholars later migrated to India. Persian artistes Mir Sayyid Ali and Khwaja Abdus Samad were among the founders of the Mughal school of painting in India.[134] From his princely days, Humayun, a Sunni Muslim, patronised Khurasanis and Persians of Shi’a faith. Persians accounted for a high proportion of personnel in all branches of Mughal empire. Persian soldiers, poets, painters, physicians, scholars, administrators, accountants, traders, engineers and craftsmen entered India. (Pic : Emperor Humayun and Shah Tahmasp in a wall painting in Chehl Sutoon pavilion in Esfahan)[135]

96. Bairam Khan, the guardian and the minister of the young Akbar was a Shi’a with a large Persian Shi’a following who settled down in India. His liberal patronage attracted many cultured Persians. Among them was Mir Abdul Latif of Qazvin who became Akbar's tutor. After Humayun's detah, Akbar conferred favours on those Persians and their families who had been friendly Humayun during his stay in Iran. These include Jafar Khan Taklu, grandson of Muhammad Sharafuddin Taklu (administrator of Heart at the time of Humayun's visit to the city) and Khwaja Beg Mirza, son of Masum Beg Safavi (Humayun's host at Ardebil). Akbar sent farmans to Chalapi Beg of Shiraz and Mir Sadruddin Muhammad Naqib inviting the two scholars to join the Mughal court.

97. The relations with Persia were the most important aspect of the foreign policy of the Mughal rulers of India. The cultural relationship between the courts of the Mughal and Safavid monarchs strengthened their diplomatic relations and envoys were exchanged. Even the Muslim rulers of Golconda and Ahmednagar in south India sent envoys to the court of Shah Tehmasp of Iran.[136]

98. The Deccani rulers were mostly Shias and emotionally attached to Safavid Persia. The Qutb Shahis descended from the Qara-qoyunlu who ruled Persia for a short period in the 15th century. The Adil Shahis of Bijapur and the Qutb Shahis of Golconda were already Shi’a before the advent of the Chaghatai Mughals into India and the Nizam Shahis of Ahmadnagar adopted Shi’ism five decades before Akbar turned his attention to Deccan. Babur and his son Humayun had been constrained to accept Shi’ism while negotiating for support of the Persian Shi’ite Safavids. Yusef Adil Shah (1489-1510) adopted Shi’a khutba immediately on hearing of Shah Ismail's promulgation of Shi’ism as the state religion in Iran. The Nizam Shah was converted to Shi’ism by a distinguished Persian émigré Shah Tahir Husaini (the Shi’ite apostle of south India). There were extensive diplomatic relations between the Deccan kingdoms and the Safavid rulers. Shah Abbas I also arranged for a matrimonial alliance with the Qutb Shahi family. A Persian immigrant and a diamond merchant Muhammad Sa’id (Mir Jumla) rose to high position – that of Chief Minister - in Golconda. He was in correspondence with Shah Abbas II. The diplomatic relations between Persia and the Deccan kingdoms and the recitation of the Persian Shah's name in the Khutba in Golconda were resented by the Mughals.

99. Apart from the issue of diplomatic links between the Safavids and the Deccan kingdom, the Mughal and Persian interests conflicted over Qandahar, which changed hands several times. However, these political and sectarian differences were never allowed to overshadow the cordial relationship between the two empires. In the years following Shah Tehmasp's death, in 1577, the Uzbek king Abdullah Khan proposed to Akbar a joint invasion of Persia. Akbar wrote back “the (Persian) dynasty was specially connected with the family of the Holy Prophet, and that on this ground he could not regard a difference in law and religion as sufficient reason for conquest. He (Akbar) also withheld from such an enterprise by old and valued friendship.”[137]

100. In the early 16th century, following the victory of Mahmood Begarah over the Portugese enhanced the practice of Muzaffarids of Gujarat. The Iranians King Shah Ismail Safavi sent an Embassy to his court keeping in view the growing maritime and commercial importance of Gujarat.[138] Several Iranian travellers wrote about Gujarat, its people, their religion and customs. In AD 951 Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Isakhri from Istakhr wrote about the cordial relations between the Hindus and Muslims of Gujarat in his book Kitabul Aqalim.

101. During the early Safavid era, several Persian poets – Naziri Nishapuri, Urfi Shirazi, Anisi Shamlu, Shikebi Isfahani and Zahuri left Iran for India. The first four joined the entourage of Abdur Rahim Khan Khanan and Zahuri was welcomed at the courts of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur.

img102. Although Jehagir's reign also began with a clash over Qandahar, Jehangir had friendly relations with Shah Abbas I which went back to Akbar's lifetime. He had Shah Abbas's picture depicted with his own in his picture gallery.[139] (Pic on the right : Emperor Jehangir and Shah Abbas I attended by Khan Alam and Asaf Khan)[140]. Several embassies were exchanged between Jehangir and Shah Abbas. These included several royal purchasing missions. Shah Jehan continued the practice of sending these purchasing missions. Noor Jahan (wife of emperor Jahangir) and Mumtaz Mahal (wife of emperor Shah Jahan) are believed to be of Iranian descent. Noor Jahan was the daughter of an Iranian noble Mirza Ghiyasuddin Beg Tehrani. During Jahangir's reign, the influence of Nur Jahan's family and his own regard for Shah Abbas I ensured a welcome for Persian scholars and artistes. Shah Jahan's court also continued to attract Persians scholars and poets. Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri contains many references to Iranians who received the patronage of Jahangir. All the three Amirul Umaras in Shah Jahan's court – Asef Khan, Ali Mardan Khan and Mirjumla – were Iranian.[141] Many influential Persians merged their interests completely with those of the Mughals. Rustam Mirza Safavi, Nur Jehan, Asaf Khan (father in law of Shah Jehan), Shah Nawaz Khan Safavi (father in law of Aurangzeb) and Ali Mardan Khan became identified with Mughal imperial interests.[142]

103. While the Persians became influential in the politics and culture of the Mughal empire, the Indians attained a strong position in the economic life of the Persian capital (Esfahan) and ports (among the foreign communities in Iran they were the most important after the Armenians). Pietro Della Valle and Thomas Herbert, visiting Iran in Shah Abbas I's reign, found Indian merchants well-established in Esfahan and Bandar Abbas (Gombroon). Their number has been mentioned as 12,000. The Indian merchant community kept in touch with the Mughal embassies that arrived periodically. The main overland trade route between India and Iran was via Khaiber and Kabul and via Bolan and Qandahar. The sea trade route was mainly between Surat and Bandar Abbas (Gombroon). This had been the monopoly of Arab merchants in the 15th century and gradually passed into the hands of the Portuguese. There are also references to Indian dancing women in Esfahan and a mosque at Shiraz built by an Indian Muslim Aqa Rida.[143] In 1637, there were some clashes between the staff of Shah Jehan's envoy Safdar Khan and that of Frederick Duke of Hosltein at Esfahan during which the Indians received help from merchants based at Esfahan.[144]

104. Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan was a great Persian scholar and a Sufi. He translated (assisted by Hindu pundits) Upanishads into Persian titled Serri Akbari dealing with Advaita-Vedanta of Sankara. He drew parallels between religious and philosophical views of Hindu and Muslims. In his Majma’al-bahrain, he compares Hindu philosophical terms with those from Islamic Sufism. He compares the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh with the Islamic trinity of Jibra’il, Mika’il and Israf’il. The four states of atman (jagrata, swapna, susupti and turiya) are compared with the four states of being known in Sufism (Lahut, Jabarut, Malakut and Nasut). According to him, Khanda-pralaya and Maha-Pralaya are the same as Qiyamat-isughra and Qiyamat-i-kubra.[145]

105. The first Wazir and several other Ministers during the reign of Aurangzeb, the next Mughal ruler, were Iranian. The Iranian influence in India started to decline during his reign.[146]

106. During the waning years of the Mughal empire, Nader Shah a powerful noble of Safavids of Iran following his victorious campaign against the Turks, marched to Khorasan to attack the Afghan Abdalis. He crowned himself as the ruler of Iran in 1736. He took Qandahar (which was then in Afghan hands) in 1738 and the Mughal province of Kabul soon after. He then overran Peshawar, Lahore and defeated the emperor Muhammad Shah's army at Karnal. In March 1739, Nader Shah took Delhi. Before his return to Iran he restored the crown of the Mughal empire on Muhammad Shah who ceded the areas to the west of Indus together with the province of Thatta to Nadir Shah as part of the Treaty of Shalimar.[147] Nader Shah took back vast amounts of money and valuables from his raid of India. Among these are said to be the famous Mughal throne – Takht-e-Tavoos (The Peacock Throne) and the Muraqqa-e-Gulshan (The Rose Garden Album, reputed to be among the most important imperial Mughal art collection).

107. The account of the Mughal-Safavid relationship is available in various documents of that time. These include Khwand Amir's Hobibus Siyar, Babur Nama, Amir Mahmud's Tarikh, Jauhar's Tadhkiratul Waqiqat, Abul Fazl's Akbar Nama, Ain-I-Akbari, Fadli Esfahani's Afdalut Tawarikh, Tuzuk-I-Jehangiri, Padshah Namas (by Jalal Tabatabai, Muhammad Amin Qazvini, Abdul Hamid Lahori) and Muhammad Kazim's Alamgir Nama among others.

Spread of Persian literature and poetry in India

108. The Muslim rulers in India patronised Persian language. Efforts were made to put down the local colloquial language of north India into Persian script to communicate with army recruits and common people. Much of the Persian vocabulary was absorbed into this language – Urdu. The grammar and essential structure of Urdu remained very close to the language of north India. Just as Persian was enriched by the assimilation of Turkish, Arabic, French and Russian words, phrases and idioms; in India a similar process went on in the absorption of Hindi and Prakrit words and idioms.[148]

109. Under the Mughals Persian was the official and court language. An Indian style developed in Persian poetry and literature. Amir Khosrau Dehlavi and Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib were among the prominent Indian poets. Many Persian poets and scholars came to India to seek employment at the courts of the Mughal rulers.[149] Akbar for the first time appointed a poet as poet-laureate in his court. The first one was Ghazzali Mashhadi. Another Persian scholar Mir Abdul Latif of Qazvin became Akbar's tutor. Persian poets – Naziri Nishaburi, Urfi Shirazi and Anisi Shamlu among others – and Iranian scholars like Sharif Amuli were present at Akbar's court.[150]

110. During the Mughal period, the importance of Persian was enhanced both by Akbar"s attempt to have the main works of classical Sanskrit literature translated into Persian and by the constant influx of poets from Iran who came seeking their fortune at the lavish tables of the Indian Muslim grandees. The translations from Sanskrit enriched the Persian vocabulary, and new stories of Indian origin added to the reservoir of classical imagery.[151]

111. Urfi, who left Shiraz for India and died in his mid-30s in Lahore (1592), is without doubt one of the few genuine masters of Persian poetry, especially in his qasidahs. Among 17th-century Mughal court poets, the most outstanding is Abu Talib Kalim (died 1651) at the court of Shah Jahan, who came from Hamadan. Also of some importance is Sa"ib of Tabriz (died 1677), who spent only a few years in India before returning to Iran. The Persian poet Hazin (died 1766), came to India in the early 18th century.[152] 

112. Abul Fazl in Ain-e-Akbari records that “there are numerous musicians at the court – Hindus, Iranis, Turanis, Kashmiris, both men and women.” In the 13th century Amir Khusrau, (a Persian poet whose father was from a tribe Lachin Balkh Hazara), created 12 new melodies including zilaf, muafiq, ghanam, farghana, zangula and sarpada, according to several Persian texts. The origin of Tarana, is generally associated with Amir Khusrau. It is believed that some such forms existed in Persian systems of music, even though their structure was somewhat different from the Hindustani tarana. It has been particularly popular in musical settings of Sufis. In 14th and 15th century the earliest Persian writings on Indian music appeared in the form of Ghunyat-ul-Munya and Lahjat-e-Sikandar Shahi.[153]

113. This creative interaction was not restricted only to Persian/Urdu literature. In all the local languages of northern India – Punjabi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Marathi and Bengali, besides Hindi and Urdu – there are in varying degree large number of Persian words and expressions including popular proverbs. These are apparent in the classic works of Waris Shah and Bulhe Shah in Punjabi language in the 18th century; Qazi Nazrul Islam in Bengali; Abdur Rehman in Tamil poet and Quli Qutab Shah in Telugu.[154] Persian-Arabic vocabulary entered the speech of the common folk of Punjab. The spiritual poetry of Baba Sheikh Farid included in Sikh scripture Adi Granth and the spiritual hymns of Guru Nanak had Persian vocabulary.[155]

114. There were several Hindu poets and authors who contributed to Persian poetry and literature in India. In 18th century Swami Bhupat Biragi deeply influenced by Rumi's Mathnawi, composed a long mystical mathnawi in which Vedanta and Sufism were fused in exquisite form and style. Sital Das, Bhagwan Das and Lala Hakim Chand praised the Prophet and the Shia Imams in their poetry.[156]

115. Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (19th century) was a distinguished poet of Persian and Urdu and is immensely popular even today. Later, Persian poets like Shibli Numani Gerami and Allama Dr. Sir Mohammad Iqbal played an important role in the preservation and popularity of Persian language in the subcontinent.

Persian influence in the field of art and architecture

116. Persian artists like Abdus Samad of Shiraz, Mir Seyyed Ali of Tabriz, Faroukh Qalmaq, Muhammad Nadir Samarqandi, Mir Hashemi and Mohammad Faqirullah Khan worked with their Indian colleagues in royal Mughal courts combining the form, lines and colours of Herat and Samarkand with those of India.[157] At the royal Mughal courts, Indian craftsmen worked with Persian and Turkish masters to create a new harmonious art and architecture. The Indian flora blended with Islamic calligraphy. New colour palette of turquoise blue, emerald green, lapis, veridian and brilliant white was added to the Indian saffrons, indigos and vermilions.

117. Persian architects and artisans were brought to India to design and construct palaces and forts, mosques and public buildings. The Taj Mahalimg (“the soul of Iran incarnate in the body of India”, according to M. Grousset, the French savant), Fatehpur Sikri and Humayun Tomb are among the finest examples of the synthesis of Indo-Iranian style in architecture. Beginning with Qutab Minar, the Iranian influence is visible. The arcuate forms, domed structures, plane and smooth walls, slender polished pillars and spacious halls with squinches and stalactites were Iranian.[158]

118. The Islamic module – pointed arcuate opening in a wall and the domical form of roof [aimed at extracting the maximum structural potential from relatively small elements of building material (brick) at hand in the Islamic regions of Iran and Afghanistan] – along with the minaret were introduced into India. The Muslims endowed a degree of firmness and stability to their places of residence (earlier even the kings’ palaces were built in temporary material).[159] 

119. Babur initiated the laying out of gardens to conserve water and greenery. Mughal Gardens as extensions of monuments like Taj Mahal or Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and pleasure gardens like the Shalimar in Kashmir are fine examples of landscaping introduced by the Mughals.

120. The Mughal school of paintings owed much to Iran and blossomed under Akbar's patronage. Mir Sayyed Ali and Khwaja Abdussamad from Persia were among the founders of the Mughal school of paintings in India. Iranian painters introduced the art of portrait and miniature paintings in Mughal courts.[160] There were major developments in the technique of miniature painting, portraits, scenes of war, social events and illustrations of manuscripts.[161] (Although literary evidence shows that miniature painting existed in India long before the coming of the Muslims. These were the products of formalised Buddhism)[162]

121. Murraqqa-e-Gulshan (refer para 96), said to be brought by Nader Shah to Persia from India, is among the finest works of the imperial Mughal art. It was shifted to the Golestan Palace in Tehran in the 19th century. It is being exhibited for the first time in Tehran in 2001. Muraqqa-e-Gulshan (The Rose Garden Album) is Mughal Emperor Jehangir's collection of Persian miniatures, the first of three such albums. It contains paintings and calligraphy, mostly of poetry. Jehangir, while he was still Prince Salim, had hired Persian painter Aqa Reza Herati to organise his collection into an album. Aqa Reza's son Abul Hasan contributed some of the finest paintings in the album. The album also includes works by Mansur, Govardhan, Farrukh Beg and Basavan. Artistes were commissioned to paint the margins with scenes of daily life, hunting scenes, wine drinking or resting sessions, portraits of noblemen and ladies in the harem, the young princes with their tutors. There are many European engravings heavily embellished along the borders. Traders, poets, calligraphers, astrologers, astronomers, binders, papermakers, gold sprinklers, distillers, wine blenders, itr makers, jugglers and dervishes for the first time entered the miniatures with their Persianised landscape that Humayun pioneered when he brought back Persian painters from his court in Kabul.[163]

122. Handicraft like weaving of carpets, making of pottery, metal work and writing, binding, illuminating and illustrating of books, all developed with Iranian influence. Carpet weaving, enamelling, embroidery, inlay work, miniature painting, glass and glazed ceramic tiles, paper, leather, papier mache and metal crafts emerged from that period.[164]

123. The Muslim influence created new secular everyday usages of the crafts. It also introduced the abstract, the decorative rather than the figurative, the narrative and the symbolic (ornamentation). The Kashmir carpet weavers absorbed the Persian design of the 'tree of life’, mehrab, vase and floral medallion designs. Banaras, besides its carpet weaving was a great centre of silk and brocades, tissues and golden gauzes. The famed brocades or kamkhabs (small dream) and its traditional patterns have poetic names – mazchhar (ripples of silver), bulbul chashm (nightingale's eyes) and panna hazaar (thousand emeralds).[165] In the 17th century, a kind of handmade carpets by the name of Indo-Esfahan carpets with designs inspired from Herat were exported by the East India Company to Europe and are frequently seen in Dutch paintings of that time.[166]

124. Kalamkari was a fusion of the indigo and ochre based temple paintings of south India with the Safavid Persian chitsaz and kalamkars. Soon by the 17th century Indian palangposh, pardeh, jah-namaz and jama (bedspreads, curtains, prayer mats and dress fabrics) were being exported to Persia. The Indian kalpavriksha (desire fulfilling tree) merged with the Iranian cypress and arched mehrab. Elephants, tigers and peacocks took the place of unicorn and gazelle. Damascene wire-work, the base of steel or bronze and ornamentation in gold and silver wire, travelled to India via Iran and Afghanistan from its original home in Damascus. The glazed pottery of Khurja and Jaipur contain folk memories of colours, glazes and motives derived from Turkmen and Persian influenced turquoise, green and lemon tiled ornamentation.[167]

125. In the seventeenth century the Persian carpets had designs characteristics of the Mughal taste with staggered horizontal rows of plants or a plant-filled lattice. Its subsequent popularity is often linked to Nadir Shah who brought back considerable booty from his Indian campaign and also the scheme was used in the decoration of his palace. The theme remained popular for carved stone revetments, tile work and textile. Inclusion of the new floral designs on carpets and ceramics probably reflects a broader popularity, stimulated by familiarity with both European and Indian goods.[168] 

Decline in direct Indo-Iranian links

126. The Indo-Iranian links had started to decline during the reign of Aurangzeb. In the 18th century the Iranian ruler Nader Shah drove out the Afghans, Turks and Russians from Iran and invaded Delhi. The treaty of Shalimar ceded to Iran the territories of the Mughal empire situated to the west of Attock and Indus from the frontier of Tibet and Kashmir to the point where the Indus flows into the sea. After the death of Nader Shah, the centre of political activity shifted to Afghanistan. Iran became a battleground for conflicting European powers.[169]

127. At the same time, the British established their supremacy in India and Indo-Iran exchanges stopped. Direct trade between India and Persia was prevented. Duties on Indian exports were increased and duties on British imports decreased. Despite this, some settlements of Indian merchants developed in the cities of Persian and ports of Persian Gulf.[170] Postal stamps issued by the Indian Postal Authority under the British rule were used even in some Persian ports like Bandar Abbas and Bushire until 1923 when the Iranian authorities took control of the postal operations in those areas.[170a]

128. In the inter-war years (1919-1939) cultural delegations from India and Iran visited each others’ countries. Rabindra Nath Tagore visitedimg Iran in 1932 and 1935.[171] There is a photograph of Tagore visiting Hafez's tomb in Shiraz, which is displayed in a small library adjacent to the tomb.

129. It was only after independence, that the direct regular contacts between the peoples of India and Iran, which had suffered a brief break during the British colonial rule in India, resumed.

Continuing Contemporary Links

130. In the early 1900s, the first lot of Indians, predominantly Sikhs, came to the border town of Zahedan in Iran from west Punjab of the undivided India (which had a common border with Iran). Around 180 Indian families settled in Zahedan. The Indians gradually spread to the towns of Zabol, Birijand, Mashhad and Tehran. In the 1960s and 70s around ten thousand Indian professionals came to Iran. Presently, there are 150 Indian families (Sikhs, Sindhis, Hindus and Gujaratis) in Tehran, 35 families in Zahedan and 2 families in Esfahan. There are around 300-600 Indian Muslim students in the holy city of Qom undergoing theological studies.

131. The Sikh traders had built a Gurudwara in Zahedan in 1927. It is said that the town was earlier known as Dozdab (water of thieves), but was later renamed by the visiting Shah as Zahedan (town of Zahids – worshipers) after he saw the Sikhs with flowing beards. A Gurudwara was also built in Tehran in 1950. An Indian School was established in Tehran in 1952.

132. A Hindu temple was built in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas during Qajar period in 1890 by the Indian community. The construction permit was granted by the then ruler of the area Mohammad Khan Sa’ad-ol-Molk. The property is presently with the Iranian National Cultural Heritage Organisation. [172]

132. A total of 3,462 Indian war dead from the two World Wars are buried or commemorated in the Tehran War Cemetery in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The cemetery is located within the British Embassy Compound at Golhak, Tehran. Most of these were casualties from the First World War, who either have no known graves or were cremated, and are commemorated on the Tehran Memorial situated inside the cemetery. The war graves were brought into the cemetery in 1961 from various sites across Iran. The External Affairs Minister Shri Jaswant Singh visited the Tehran War Cemetery on April 10, 2001 and laid a wreath at the Memorial.

133. Indian universities are a popular destination for Iranian students for higher studies. Several high ranking Iranian officials and professionals have studied in India. There is a large number of Iranian students studying in universities at Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi. There is a large Iranian community settled in India, including students who stayed back after completing their studies. There has been a tradition of prominent Iranian football players having played in Indian clubs and coached Indian teams.

134. Indian cinema has a large audience in Iran. Early Iranian cinema had close links with India. Ohanian, the director of the first Iranian silent film, Abi va Rabi, (1929), left Iran for India and continued his academic career in Calcutta. Subsequently he returned to Iran in 1947, where he died seven years later. Abdul Hossein Sepenta, the father of Persian talkies, was born in Tehran in 1907. As a young writer and poet, Sepenta went to India in the mid-1920s to study ancient Persian language and history. In Bombay, his friendship with professor Bahram Gour Aneklesaria (an expert in old Iranian languages) encouraged him to consider the new and developing medium of film. Through his adviser Dinshaw Irani, Sepenta met Ardeshir Irani of the Bombay Parsi community, who made the first Indian talkie Alam Ara. Irani was the executive director of Imperial Film Company and agreed to invest in Sepenta"s first Persian talkie. Sepanta also met with Debaki Bose, a pioneer of Bengali cinema who was also interested in representing his culture in a new, epic form. After an introduction to the theory of film, Sepenta started writing his script, with Ardeshir Irani as technical supervisor. Irani also co-directed the film. Dokhtar-e-Lor (The Lor Girl) [1932], the first Persian talkie to be released, was made in India is the product of this interaction. The film was an absolute success and stayed on Iranian screens for more than two years. Imperial film Company was so impressed by the success of the talkie that they offered Sepenta production control over another film. Sepenta made four more films for Imperial Film Company in India: Ferdousi (1934), Shireen va Farhad (1934), Cheshmhaye Siah (Black Eyes) (1935) and Leyla va Majnun (1936). Interestingly, he also made one film for the East India Film Company in Calcutta. All of his films dealt with the glorification of the old Iranian culture or the optimistic future of a modern Iran.[173]

135. Two of Iran's leading contemporary film directors Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf have visited India. Mr. Makhmalbaf, on a recent visit to India (April 2001), said “ is as a filmmaker that I owe deeply to India, because it is Satyajit Ray, more than any other filmmaker, who has influenced me the most. For me the greatest film is Pather Panchali. … I have written three scripts – Bread and Film, Maharaja and Sitar – around the theme of Indian reality…Perhaps in future my dream of making a cinema on India may come true.”[174]

136. In the early 20th century,img several Iranian publications were printed in India (as also Egypt and Turkey). These included Habl-ol-Matin newspaper (published in Calcutta for 40 years), Ahang, and the sermons of Iqbalol-Dolleh.[175] …The first Iranian Persian weekly was published from India.

137. Around the turn of the previous century (1900) an Iranian Consul based in Mumbai India, Haj. Mohammad Mirza Chaikar (Kashef os Saltaneh) brought out first tea saplings (along with some pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric bushes) to Iran from India and planted then in the north Iranian city of Lahijan. Today the area has a large number of tea plantations. Mirza Chaikar is known as the father of the tea industry in Iran.[176]

138. There have been several high level visits from both sides over the past five decades. PM Nehru had visited Iran along with his daughter Indira Gandhi in 1959. President Radhakrishnan visited Iran in 1963. PM Indira Gandhi visited Iran in 1974. PM Narasimha Rao visited Iran in 1993. PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Iran in from April 10-13, 2001. On the Iranian side, President Rafsanjani visited India in 1995. The present Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei had visited India in 1981 as a member of the Revolutionary Council. His writings include “The role of Muslims in the independence struggle of India”. President Khatami visited India in 1994 as the then Head of National Library.

139. A street in Tehran is named after Mahatma Gandhi who is held in very high esteem by the common man in Iran. During his recent visit to Iran, PM Vajpayee inaugurated a square in Shiraz renamed after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

140. The ancestors of the Supreme Leader of the Iranian Revolution late Imam Khomeini had migrated from their original home in Nishapur to the Lucknow region of northern India towards the end of the 18th century. They settled in the town of Kintur. Imam Khomeini's grandfather Sayyid Ahmad left Lucknow in the middle of 19th century on pilgrimage to the tomb of Hazrat Ali in Najaf, Iraq. Although he stayed back and settled in the town of Khumayn in Iran, he continued to be known as “Hindi”. Even Imam Khomeini used “Hindi” as pen name in some of his ghazals.[177]

141. India and Iran have exchanged cultural delegations regularly and there exists a Cultural Exchange Programme between the two countries. Bharat Ratna Bismillah Khan gave concerts in Tehran in 1992. A hall at the prestigious Bahman Cultural Centre in Tehran is named after Ustad Bismillah Khan. Iran has three Cultural Centres in India – New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. The first Iranian Consulate had been opened in Mumbai in the mid 19th century.

142. Two Iranian professors of Persian are on the faculty of the Osmania University, Hyderabad, and the Delhi University. Legendary Persian poets Hafez, Sa’di, Ferdowsi, Rumi and Omar Khayyam continue to be widely read in India. Works by Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore, Indira Gandhi, V.S. Naipaul, R.K. Narayanan and other Indian writers have been translated into Persian.

143. An Iranian scientist travelled along with a team of Indian scientists on an Indian ship on a scientific expedition to Antarctica in 1998.

144. In an important development India, Iran and Russia have signed an important agreement in 2000 on a “North South Corridor” for transit of goods from India through Iran to Russia and the region. Earlier in 1997, India, Iran and Turkmenistan also signed a trilateral cooperation agreement on transit of goods.

145. India has welcomed the far-sighted initiative of President Khatami in calling the year 2001 as the year of “Dialogue Among Civilisations”. An important India-Iran seminar on this theme was held in New Delhi/Nimrana in November 2000. India participated at a senior level in a seminar on Dialogue Among Asian Civilisations, held in Tehran in February 2001.

- Rabindra Nath Tagore

“My visit to Persia has given me faith in the power of the eastern peoples to assert themselves and quickly find their way to a united manifestation of their undying heritage in spite of conflict and difficult economic circumstance”.

Back to Part I


Tanmaya Lal

First Secretary

November 2001


Information on this page does not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of India



[101] `The History of Parsees of India’ paper by P.P. Balsara.

[102] 'The wonder that was India’, by A.L. Basham, 1967, p 347.

[103] Britannica Web site

[104] 'Sources of Indian Traditions’, Vol.I, Edited by Ainslie T. Embree, Penguin Books, 1992, p 384.

[105] Britannica web site.

[106] Britannica web site.

[107] 'A Concise History of Science in India’, edited by D.M. Bose, INSA Publications, 1989, p 47.

[108] 'India and Iran: A Dialogue’, paper by Prof. Lokesh Chandra.

[109] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 75.

[110] 'India by Al-Biruni’, edited by Qeyamuddin Ahmad, NBT Publication, 1995, p xvii.

[111] 'A Concise History of Science in India’, edited by D.M. Bose, INSA Publications, 1989, p 49.

[112] 'Hindu-Muslim Cultural Relations’ by F. Mujtabai, NBB publication 1978, p 68 – 90.

[113] 'Hindu-Muslim Cultural Relations’ by F. Mujtabai, NBB publication 1978, p 68 – 90.

[114] 'Hindu-Muslim Cultural Relations’ by F. Mujtabai, NBB publication 1978, p 65.

[115] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 76.

[116] 'Indo-Iranian relations’ by Dr. Tara Chand, p 7.

[117] 'Indo-Iranian relations’ by Dr. Tara Chand, p 8.

[118] 'The Making of the Muslim Mind’ by Rashiduddin Khan, 'Muslims in India’ edited by Ratna Sahai, p 26.

[119] 'The mutual relations of culture & civilisation of Iran and India’ by Dr. Arya.

[120] 'Hindu Muslim Cultural Relations’, by F. Mujtabai, NBB publication, 1978, p 93-97.

[121] 'Indo-Iranian relations’ by Dr. Tara Chand, p 9.

[122] 'Reciprocal enrichment between Iran and India from historical point of view’, paper by SHSK Haj Sayyed Javadi.

[123] 'Sources of Indian Traditions’, Vo.I, Edited by Ainslie T. Embree, Penguin Books, 1992, p 450.

[124] 'Some Iranian Sufi traditions & their impact on the evolution of Indo-Muslim culture’ paper by Mohd Ishaq Khan.

[125] 'Some Iranian Sufi traditions & their impact on the evolution of Indo-Muslim culture’ paper by Mohd Ishaq Khan.

[126] 'Sources of Indian Traditions’, Vo.I, Edited by Ainslie T. Embree, Penguin Books, 1992, p 390.

[127] 'Sources of Indian Traditions’, Vo.I, Edited by Ainslie T. Embree, Penguin Books, 1992, p 390, 450.

[128] 'Sources of Indian Traditions’, Vo.I, Edited by Ainslie T. Embree, Penguin Books, 1992, p 385.

[129] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 5, 185

[130] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 77.

[131] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 5, 166

[132] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 5, 194

[133] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 40

[134] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 166

[135] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970

[136] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 78-79.

[137] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 52

[138] 'Persian Embassy to the Court of Gujarat’ paper by S.A.I. Tirmizi.

[139] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 183

[140] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 75

[141] Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 78.

[142] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 176

[143] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 171, 172

[144] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 101

[145] 'Hindu Muslim Cultural Relations’ by F. Mujtabai, NBB Publication, 1978, p 53.

[146] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 79.

[147] 'Indo-Persian Relations’ by Riazul Islam, Iranian Culture Foundation, 1970, pg 150

[148] 'A Concise History of Science in India’, edited by D.M. Bose, INSA Publications, 1989, p 49.

[149] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 77.

[150] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 78.

[151] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 78.

[152] Britannica web site.

[153] 'Muslim contribution to Hindustani music’ by Najma P. Ahmed, 'Muslims in India’ edited by Ratna Sahai, p 39.

[154] 'Muslim ethos in Indian literature’ by Mohd Hassan, 'Muslims in India’ edited Ratna Sahai, p 49.

[155] 'The Punjabis and their Iranian heritage’ paper by Prof. Gurbachan Singh Talib.

[156] 'Hindu-Muslim Cultural Relations’ by F. Mujtabai, NBB Publications, 1978, p 119-120.

[157] 'Indo-Iranian relations’ by Dr. Tara Chand, p 11.

[158] 'Indo-Iranian relations’ by Dr. Tara Chand, p 11.

[159] 'The Islamic influence in architecture’ by Satish Grover, 'Muslims in India’ edited by Ratna Sahai, p 30.

[160] 'Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 78.

[161] 'Indian Muslims: A Historical Perspective’ by A. Rehman, Muslims in India, Edited by Ratna Sahai, p 7.

[162] 'The Wonder that was India’ by A L Basham, 1967, p 381

[163] Faded Leaves from a Mughal Spring by Sheela Reddy, Outlook June 25, 2001 issue, p 62-66

[164] 'Muslim influence on craft’ by Laila Tyabji – 'Muslims in India’ MEA publication, edited by Ratna Sahai, p 68-69.

[165] 'Muslim influence on craft’ by Laila Tyabji – 'Muslims in India’ MEA publication, edited by Ratna Sahai, p 69-72.

[166] Britannica Web site

[167] 'Muslim influence on craft’ by Laila Tyabji – 'Muslims in India’ MEA publication, edited by Ratna Sahai, p 74-75.

[168] `Looking Good’ by Priscilla P. Soucek, Encyclopaedia Iranica.

[169] Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 79.

[170] Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 80.


[171] Iran and India: Age old Friendship’ by Abdul Amir Jorfi, India Quarterly, Oct-Dec 1994, p 88.

[172] Iran Daily January 4, 2000


Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution by Shahin Parhami , 1999, December 01

[174] Interview with Mohsen Makhmalbaf Vinu Abraham The Week April 22, 2001 edition

[175] "Iranian Press at the eve of the 20th century’ by Seyed Farid Qasemi, Neghahe Now, No.42, 1999, p 119-130

[176] A Travel Guide to Iran by Mohammad Taghi Faramarzi, Yassavoli Publications. P 190

[177] Imam Khomeini's brief biography by Hamid Algar (as also available on internet).

India Iran Historical Links
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