Mr Sarang Sharma, a junior research assistant in Pundole’s auction house, Mumbai, is pursuing his PhD on Pahari miniature painting. He completed his Masters in Art History and Aesthetics at The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India, with emphasis on Islamic Art and Architecture. Specialising in Mughal architecture, Sarang’s thesis discusses the semiotics and political undertones of Mughal chahar-bagh gardens in the Indian subcontinent. Political Paradigms of the Mughal Gardens in South Asia: A study of the Mughal chahar- bagh gardens in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.
The Mughals laid a number of Persian quadripartite chahar-bagh gardens in the Indian subcontinent especially during the reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. While the Mughals traced their lineage to both Timur and Genghis Khan, the Timurid heritage was glorified and celebrated. Timur had laid many chahar-bagh gardens in Samarkand. This lecture will trace the motivation of the Mughals behind the construction of chahar-bagh gardens in India as an attempt to mark the continuation of the Timurid traditions in the subcontinent. The purpose of the paradisal chahar-bagh gardens to assert the position of the emperor as God’s vicegerent on earth and to bind disparate groups among the increasingly pluralist nobility and proclaim their sovereignty will also be discussed.