By Abraham Eraly

While Zahir, the great-grandson of the Mongol conqueror Tamerlane, crossed the Indus river into the Punjab in 1525 with a modest military and a few cannon, after which defeated the large military of the Afghan ruler of Hindustan, Mughal rule in India had began. it is going to proceed for over 3 centuries, until eventually 1857, and decisively form India forever. it's a vibrant and dramatic tale, filled with incident and remarkable characters: Zahir himself, the intrepid pioneer; Akbar, the best and so much enigmatic of the Mughals; the aesthetes Jenhangir and his son Shah Jehan, who equipped the Taj Mahal; and the dour yet decided Aurangzeb.

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51 This accumulation of titles, which became ever grander toward the end of the Gupta empire, signals an important dimension of courtly life, reflected in two processes. First, subjugated kings and princes who attended court were sometimes required to or willingly took up service functions within their overlord's household. In some cases these titles were probably considered ceremonial honours, and did not require permanent residence in the overlord's household. Nevertheless, major imperial houses seem to have kept a large body of retainers who hailed from subordinate royal families.

497. For illuminating studies of early medieval cosmetics and perfumery, see Gode, Studies in Indian Cultural History, vol. I, pp. 3-112. 6 Material culture of the court. The fragment of a limestone make-up palette (left), seventh century CE, Deccan, and sealring (right) with identifying royal inscription, western India (Punjab) end of fourth century CE. The seal reads 'the king (mahdrdjd) Mahesvaranaga, son of Nagabhatta'. 122 The fineness and colours of silk clothing are nearly always described in sumptuous detail in sources between the fifth and seventh centuries.

106 The people of the court Courtly Culture in Early Medieval India 59 instructed by Kautilya to dismiss him after feigning a quarrel and rule independently, which the king, unaware of his counsellor's strategy to suggest an apparent rift between the two to Raksasa's spies, is reluctant to do. The subject of the counsellor and his intrigue was eminently suited for the stage. 109 In a sense every courtier strove to gain mastery of their own and others' affairs in the manner of the minister. The whole science of polity was oriented to this end, and though it often purported to be directed to the king, it was typically the men around him who interpreted and implemented this knowledge for him.

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