In this hundred archive story by Kristian Bertel, we learn about the Islamic influence in many art forms such as the Mughal architecture in India. Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Although home to a Hindu majority, India has a Muslim population of some 150 million, making it the state with the second-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. While many Indian Muslims achieve celebrity status and high-profile positions abroad and in India's government, India's booming economy has left the nation's largest minority group lagging behind with low literacy and high poverty rates.
Although home to a Hindu majority, India has a Muslim population of some 150 million, making it the state with the second-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. While many Indian Muslims achieve celebrity status and high-profile positions abroad and in India's government, India's booming economy has left the nation's largest minority group lagging behind with low literacy and high poverty rates.

Muslims in India

172 million people identifying as adherents of Islam and it makes India the country with the largest Muslim population outside Muslim-majority countries. The majority of Indian Muslims belong to Sunni sect of Islam while the Shia form a sizeable minority. Demographers have put forward several factors behind high birthrates among Muslims in India and socio-economic conditions rather than religious determinism is the main reason for higher Muslim birthrates.

Muslim population in India
The divide and rule policies, two-nation theory and subsequent partition of India in the wake of Independence from the British Empire has polarised the sub-continental psyche, making objective assessment hard in comparison to the other settled agricultural societies of India from the North West. Muslim rule differed from these others in the level of assimilation and syncretism that occurred. They retained their identity and introduced legal and administrative systems that superseded existing systems of social conduct and ethics. While this was a source of friction it resulted in a unique experience the legacy of which is a Muslim community strongly Islamic in character while at the same time distinctive and unique among its peers. The impact of Islam on Indian culture has been inestimable and it permanently influenced the development of all areas of human endeavour – language, dress, cuisine, all the art forms, architecture and urban design and social customs and values. Conversely, the languages of the Muslim invaders were modified by contact with local languages to Urdu, which uses the Arabic script. This language was also known as Hindustani, an umbrella term used for the vernacular terminology of Hindi as well as Urdu, both major languages in South Asia today derived primarily from Sanskrit grammatical structures and vocabulary and Muslim rule saw a greater urbanisation of India and the rise of many cities and their urban cultures. The biggest impact was upon trade resulting from a common commercial and legal system extending from Morocco to Indonesia and this change of emphasis on mercantilism and trade from the more strongly centralised governance systems further clashed with the agricultural based traditional economy and also provided fuel for social and political tensions.

"Indian Muslims are poorer and less educated compared to their Hindu counterparts and that since India's Muslim population is more urban compared to their Hindu counterparts, infant mortality rates is about twelve percent lower than those among Hindus"

Pottery and many other crafts
A related development to the shifting economic conditions was the establishment of Karkhanas or small factories and the import and dissemination of technology through India and the rest of the world. The use of ceramic tiles was adopted from architectural traditions of Iraq, Iran, and Central Asia. Rajasthan's blue pottery was a local variation of imported pottery. There is also the example of Sultan Abidin sending Kashmiri artisans to Samarqand to learn book-binding and paper making. Khurja and Siwan became renowned for pottery, Moradabad for brass ware, Mirzapur for carpets, Firozabad for glass wares, Farrukhabad for printing, Sahranpur and Nagina for wood-carving, Bidar and Lucknow for bidriware, Srinagar for papier-mache, Benaras for jewellery and textiles and so on. On the flip-side encouraging such growth also resulted in higher taxes on the peasantry. Numerous Indian scientific and mathematical advances and the Hindu numerals were spread to the rest of the world and much of the scholarly work and advances in the sciences of the age under Muslim nations across the globe were imported by the liberal patronage of arts and sciences by the rulers. The languages brought by Islam were modified by contact with local languages leading to the creation of several new languages, such as Urdu, which uses the modified Arabic script, but with more Persian words and the influences of these languages exist in several dialects in India today.

Widely known architecture
Islamic and Mughal architecture and art is widely noticeable in India, examples being the Taj Mahal and Jama Masjid. At the same time, Muslim rulers destroyed many of the ancient Indian architectural marvels and converted them into Islamic structures, most notably at Varanasi, Mathura, Ayodhya and the Kutub Complex in New Delhi.

Read also:  Religious riots in India

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a Muslim in Delhi. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.