Q. 74.4( 9 Votes )
Do you think Ibn Battuta’s account is useful in arriving at an understanding of life in contemporary urban centres? Give reasons for your answer.
Ibn Battuta’s account is very useful in reaching at an understanding of life in contemporary urban centres with the help of his following observations:-
1. Ibn Battuta described Indian cities densely populated and prosperous.
2. According to him, cities provided exciting opportunities for those who had the necessary desire, resources and skills. It was open to people from all walks of life.
3. It appears from Ibn Battuta’s account that most cities had crowded streets and bright and Colourful markets that were stacked with a variety of goods. City acted both as centre for economic transaction and a hub for social and cultural activity.
4. Most Bazaars had a mosque and a temple and in some of them spaces were marked for public performances, by dancers, musicians and singers.
5. Delhi was the largest city in India with lots of population, another city that challenged Delhi in size was Daultabad.
6. Although Ibn Battuta was not particularly concerned with explaining the prosperity of towns, but historians have used his account to suggest that prosperity in Indian town was due to two reasons.
a. The towns derived a significant portion of their wealth though the appropriation of surplus from village.
b. He explained that towns were well – integrated with inter-Asian network of trade and commerce and Indian manufactures such as cotton textiles, muslins, silk and brocade were in great demand in both west Asia and South- East Asia. Wide range of trade and commerce made the city of Delhi prosperous and famous.
Thus, it is clear that Ibn Battuta gave a very complete and comprehensive account of urban centres.
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A warning for europe
Berinier warned that if European kings followed the Mughal model:
Their kingdoms would be very from being well-ciltivated and peopled, so well built, so rich, so polite and flourishing as we see them. Our kings are otherwise rich and powerful; and we must avow that they are much better and more royally served. They would soon be kings of deserts and solitudes, of beggars and barbarians such as those whom I have been representing(Mughals). We should find the great cities and great Borroughs (boroughs) rendered uninhabitable because of ill air; and to fall to ruine (ruin) without any bodies (anybody) taking care of repairing them; the hillocks abondon’d and field overspread with bushes or fill’d with pestilential marishes (marshes), as hath been already intimidated.
(i) In what ways did Bernier condemn the Mughal rulers?
(ii) What contrast does the account of Bernier and Abu’l Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari?
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