Mughal Drinking Culture

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Feasts and drinking parties acquire a large space in the memoirs and biographies of early Mughal period. In this chapter we will try to look at various aspects around Mughal feasts and drinking culture which influenced a political and social transition from Babur to Akbar. Impact of ancestral influence in feast and parties. Feasts and intoxicants played a pervasive role in both Mongol and Persian societies, which carried through into Mughal culture. Some or the other form of Timurid panache and practise was visible throughout the early Mughal period. As for Babur, easily, he seemed influenced by the conviviality and carousing approach of Timur, had a clear affinity for feast, opium and alcohol. Like his illustrious lineages, Babur's lifestyle…show more content…
In the ancient Near East too “the drinking of alcohol was not a solitary activity but a highly social event.” Babur seemed clearly influenced by Timur’s pattern as he invited two of his cousins when he started drinking and did not do it alone, elaborated later in the chapter. Throughout Babur’s peripatetic life, we see numerous accounts of his parties that were quite similar to the accounts by Clavijo describing Timur’s way of life. Merry making seemed quite significant to Babur, just like Timur, for instance, close to the end of his life, during a wedding feast that preceded his last campaign, the semi crippled half-blind Timur still joined in the dancing. He was very particular about feasts and invitees. Failure to attend the quriltay (Mongolian assembly of nobles, council, and jamboree) would be read as possibly a rebellious conduct and could perhaps lead to vengeance. Typical Mongol love of alcohol in great amounts and role of social drinking during Babur’s reign was also extremely analogous to that of his ancestor Timur. Babur's habits were characteristic of the larger itinerant ethos to which he belonged, whereby intoxicant use was relative to the search for pleasure respite amidst continual movement. Parties used to go on till next morning and leaving wine undrunk in the cup was considered…show more content…
Something that got lost in time with the coming of Mughal era was the heterosocial gatherings, as Babur mostly refer to homosocial gatherings and was amused to see Hulhul Anika drink at one of the parties. This changed with Humayun, during his reign we see a blend in the presence of both gender in the parties and feasts. In addition, just like Timurid senior women senior Mughal women arranged parties and feasts during Humayun’s and Akbar’s period and found privilege in sitting at the same pedestal as the king. The use of grandiose and majestic tents, panels and drapery during their period seemed to have find inspiration from Timurid lavish parties where Clavijo gave elaborate description over various kinds of tents and panels. Two particular officers, yurtchi (camp maker) and the tovachi (troop inspector), were assigned with these roles of setting up the camp and organizing and helping in the arrangements of feasts. Apart from those musicians, dancers and acrobats were also called for entertaining the guests. But unlike Timur’s period, except the mention to Hulhul Anika, no mention of women consuming wine is present during Early Mughal period. Clavijo reported this indulgence in drinking and its practice across the male and female genders at the Timurid court without explicit judgment. It was altogether blurred whether or not he viewed what he saw as indecent and

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