JAHANGIR DISTRIBUTING ALMS AT THE DARGAH OF AJMER
Illustration to the Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri
From the Muraqqa (album) of Nana Phadnis
Jahangir, the fourth Mughal emperor, spent nearly three years at Ajmer to be near the Dargah of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, a disciple of the emperor’s mentor, Salim Chishti. The painting depicts the emperor seated in the front quadrangle, leading to the holy deg (cauldron). Poor people are gathered around the deg, from which food is served to them. This deg was a gift of Jahangir.
The day and date are recorded in the Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri (memoirs of Jahangir). “On this day”, noted Jahangir in his memoirs, “it was brought, and I ordered them to cook food for the poor in that pot, and collect together the poor of Ajmer to feed them whilst I was there.”
One such cauldron was offered earlier to the Dargah by Emperor Akbar in 1567. The tradition of cooking khichdi (lentils and rice) in these two cauldrons still continues. The artist’s stroke is fine and delicate. If you look closely at the sword of the emperor you can read the benediction which says,
“Bismillah, may God grant victory.”
Standing in front of Jahangir is, probably his son Prince Khurram. Notice the emperor’s ears. He wears an earring to signify his indebtedness to Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti who saved him from his illness of 1613.
The painting has a beautiful qita (calligraphy) on the reverse.
Indian Miniature Paintings
Full page: 32 x 47 cms Painting: 20.8 x 31.8 cms