Author Topic: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data  (Read 6883 times)

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akona20

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Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« on: October 01, 2010, 11:05:28 PM »

Recently salvete sent me a great article and pictures of one of the mints that had minted coins in the name of the Mughals. Note: this is not a place to argue whether or not they were 'true' Mughal coins by strict definition because our major ongoing topic is about Rupees minted in the name of the Mughals.

Articles published here are the copyright of the writer/photographer but I am hoping that permission will be given to publish them in our coming series of publications.

Please contribute.


Offline asm

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2010, 05:48:33 PM »
Barry aka Salvete asked me to post this.

‘Finding’ Daulatabad Mint by Barry Tabor and Shriharsh Waghrulkar.

In 2006, I spent a few days in Aurangabad, principally for visiting an old friend, Shriharsh Waghrulkar, a computer software specialist  (1), and seeing the caves of Ellora and Ajanta.  We also took another look at Daulatabad Fort.  I had been there once before, but during my first visit, I only took the direct (tourist) route through the main part of the monument.  Daulatabad fortress contains a fascinating group of buildings, and is unique in many ways.  This time we wanted to look more closely at some of the many less visited erections, gently decaying in various other parts of the site.

Once before, we had looked for the Daulatabad mint, but the search had proved fruitless. This time, our guide, probably one of the best Government Certified guides in Aurangabad  (2) got lucky.  After a few fruitless inquiries, one of the people to whom we talked remembered that there is a street in the present-day village, and within the outer wall of the fort, which has the name ‘Taksal Lane’ (Mint Lane).  The lane proved difficult to locate.  As usual, none of the roads or streets had any signs indicating their names, and the first few people we asked could not direct us to it.  Eventually we found Taksal Lane, and only a short distance from the main road, we discovered an old building, made of the same sandstone as the fort walls and many of the old buildings within them, blackened now with age.  The local residents could not say what the building had originally been used for, but it had been used some years ago as a storage shed, and had been disused for several years.  Eventually we found one elderly gentleman living nearby who was able to confirm that it was ‘the old mint building’.  We had found it.

Taksal Lane is a residential street now, in the village of Daulatabad, about ten miles northwest of Aurangabad on the road towards Ajanta and Dhule.  It is close to other, more recent buildings, and this, along with the rise in ground level in recent years, has rendered it difficult to enter.  Since then, Shriharsh has been there a number of times, and the following is the main information gathered during our various visits.  The photographs at the end are his.

The mint is a rectangular, flat-roofed, sandstone building, about twenty-five feet by fifteen, which was originally divided into two chambers, although the dividing wall has at some time been partly demolished.  The walls are over 15 inches thick and the external height is about eight feet.  The floor is below outside ground level, and two steps have been provided to facilitate entry to the building from the front, now close to a new house.  The internal height is over ten feet.  The roof is accessible from an external stone stairway.  There are two doors and three windows, two of which face towards the fort.  There is some evidence that this side of the building opened onto a walled compound, but the area has been much disturbed, and the remains of the wall are scant.  The two vents in the roof must be for smoke and heat from melting furnaces and so on to escape, we assume.  Inside are five niches in the walls, for lamps.  From the style of the building, it appears to date from Mughal times, and was presumably constructed when Shah Jahan had a number of improvements made to the fort, including the extension of the citadel (Baradai).  The pointed arches on the doorways would tend to confirm this, but we have not managed to obtain expert opinion so far.

The area around the mint was not built on, in modern times, until about 2000AD, we are told.  Any nearby buildings of antiquity have long since disappeared,  As well as some form of guard room, they were probably the usual mediaeval pattern residential huts made of wood, mud and thatch.  It is less than a mile from the main part of the fort, but in all probability, it is seldom, if ever, seen by visitors to Daulatabad.  We have informed the ASI of our ‘find,’ but the officers there were not courteous enough to acknowledge, let alone answer our communication.  Maybe this little building will receive the attention I believe it deserves, or maybe it will not.

A very brief history of Daulatabad and its mint.
Daulatabad Fort was built by Bhillama I, independent Yadava prince, some time after 1187 AD.  It was originally called Deogiri (Devagiri), and Deogir is the mint name on the earliest coins struck there.  The name was changed several times under Muhammadan rule.

Coin production began in Yadava times, and the original facility was used periodically by the Dehli, Bahmani and Ahmadnagar Sultans.  The building here described was, we think, a mint place of the Mughals, and later, the independent Nizam Ali of Hyderabad, until production was wholly shifted to the new mint facilities at Aurangabad (Mint name Khujista Bunyad), presumably by Sikander Jah.  The output of both mints is interesting, but not extensive, and includes some scarce issues, not all of which have been properly catalogued.

Mint and City name changes of Daulatabad.
City and Mint Name.   Date name was applied.   Name was applied by:
Deogir (Devgiri)           ca 1187 AD.                   Bhillama I (Yadava)
Qutbabad, Dar ul-Kilafat                              Qutb ud-Din
Qutbabad, Dar ul-Mulk                                      Qutb ud-Din
Fathabad                    Maybe about 1633 AD   Fath Khan (Sultanate governor)
Daulatabad                    1327 AD                           Muhammad bin Tughluq

Mint and City name changes of Aurangabad.
City and Mint Name.   Date name was applied.                  Name was applied by:
Kharki   An old village near modern Aurangabad   
Fatehgarh                    Founded 1610 AD., near Kharki          Malik Ambar.
Aurangabad           1635 AD. (fell to Mughals 1626 AD.)    Prince Aurangzeb   
Khujista Bunyad           ca AH1170?                                   Nizam Ali Khan

The mint was a casualty of the rise in importance of the nearby town of Aurangabad, built as Fatehgarh in 1610 by Malik Ambar near the site of the old village of Kharki.  Fatehgarh fell to the Mughals in 1626 AD., in the last few months of the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.  It was Shah Jahan who changed its name to Aurangabad, in 1635 AD.  The Daulatabad mint seems to have struck silver coins until at least AH.1218, and Aurangabad (Khujista Bunyad) mint went into production about AH. 1176.  Both mints appear to have operated simultaneously for at least 45 years, during the whole of the reign of Nizam Ali Khan.  Daulatabad mint must have been closed at the outset of the new reign of Sikander Jah, in AH.1218.  (3)



Footnotes.
 (1)  Shriharsh Waghrulkar   shri_waghrulkar@yahoo.com
 (2)  Ajit Kulkarni   Tel: (0240) 2480759
 (3)  Additional information obtained from Daulatabad Fort Guide by Kashinath Mama and published locally.







« Last Edit: October 04, 2010, 12:16:47 PM by asm »
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

Offline Salvete

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2010, 06:04:09 PM »
Many thanks, Amit.  I much admire your savvy with digital 'stuff.'
The text  is my responsibility, so please, if anybody needs to grouse about it, grouse to me, not to Amit, who was just doing what he was asked.  All comments welcome, of course - especially corrections.

Thanks

Barry
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2010, 08:16:38 PM »
I think this research is invaluable. Today, you could find a witness and a structure, but by the time the authorities start considering the value of the site, all may be gone.

Considering the security issues of a mint, I would think that it is highly likely to have been connected to a walled court. An additional argument may be that some minting activities (e.g. striking the coins) may haven place outside, to avoid the heat of the furnace.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Salvete

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2010, 09:35:22 AM »
Interesting, Figleaf.

I have seen no evidence of outside striking, but you could be right about that.

It surprised me that some mints were located adjacent to busy thoroughfares (Nagpur, for instance) and had recessed doorways so that an armed guard could stand there.  Also, the doorways look to have been lower than the height of a man, presumably so that a visitor had to bend over and enter head first, with his neck presented so as to be easily severed if he was an unwelcome visitor!

Most appear to have been just inside the fort or fort-palace walls, exactly where the garrison and guards would be, and not adjacent to the treasury, which was usually more centrally located.

There is still much detailed work to be done on both mint buildings and methods of coin production.  Security is a vey important part of this work, I think.

Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Offline asm

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2010, 12:20:42 PM »
Also, the doorways look to have been lower than the height of a man, presumably so that a visitor had to bend over and enter head first, with his neck presented so as to be easily severed if he was an unwelcome visitor!

Dear Salvete,

You should not forget that the height of an average Indian was much shorter than it is now. I've seen low hieght entrances in quite a few forts and Palaces.

Amit
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2010, 01:17:28 PM »
asm has a point. I have a scratch on my head - made in Orccha - to prove it :)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline asm

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2010, 01:30:57 PM »
One thing I observe from the pictures Salvete has posted. One can see how historical structures, from years or may be centuries of neglect just dissappear to be excavated after generations. The mud and the other material accumulated in front of the gates on two of the pictures show that the enterance floor of the structure has been sustantially increased and may be, if it is allowed to accumulate, one day there may be no fort / mint seen. Some generations later, researchers will get a better preserved structure to study history.

I have based this on an actual fact where a step well near Patan (the capital of the Solanki rulers of Gujarat in north Gujarat) existed in folklore but was never seen till one fine day in the 1960's, a beautiful, well preserved monument was found and the condition of it is far better than other step-wells of the same period, which, for centuries, were subjected to the might of the weather Gods and the people.

Amit
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

akona20

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2010, 01:37:41 PM »
Wonderful points of conjecture I am sure but what we have here is a wonderful article on something we are jointly working on.

This sets the standard for othere articles on this topic thatwill come along.

In dia has a lrge number of important sites amny of which are not yet protected. We have a wish to observe and protect certain mint sites. maybe we will get a following.

Offline Salvete

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2010, 01:54:35 PM »
Dear Figleaf and Akona,

I based my statement about the height of the doorway of Nagpur mint on a picture I saw years ago of a guard outside a mint.  But it was not Nagpur, as PPK's illustration in his book about the Nagpur mint and coins clearly demonstrates.  I am sorry for causing confusion - maybe it was some Rajasthani mint I was thinking of.  Anyway, 'Perhapses' are not much use to us.  Akona is right - never mind the 'Maybes' - can we please think about getting on (under Akona's guidance) with the job of getting together a shed-load or more of accurate data, which will involve, I hope, a lot of 'Certainlys' and 'Clearlys'.....  maybe.   :-\

Salvete



Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2010, 03:39:28 PM »
Agreed. This is neither a scholarly magazine, nor Discovery channel. We have ample place for all approaches and none should be in the way of the other. My approach is not scientific but a natural consequence of the way I worked as an office slave. My jobs always included some form of predicting the future. This is impossible with a significant amount of detail, but it has to be done anyway. The solution to formulate a most likely scenario and update it when new facts become available.

So it is for mints and minting. Facts are few, but by plugging in what we know, scenarios become more or less likely and by publishing them, others can comment on them and they become more or less likely or must be rejected. Due to typing restrictions my example will come in a separate post.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2010, 04:19:09 PM »
Salvete observes "It surprised me that some mints were located adjacent to busy thoroughfares (Nagpur, for instance)" and "Most appear to have been just inside the fort or fort-palace walls, exactly where the garrison and guards would be, and not adjacent to the treasury, which was usually more centrally located." Fact. Here is my scenario, based on what I know of European mints and on other facts presented in this thread.

I think a mint consisted of three parts. One part was for buying precious metal and selling coins. It would work like a jewelry shop: buyers separated from sellers by furniture, the boss doing the transactions or a mechanism to keep the traders honest, such as chits and/or separation of deal and payment. This part would be close to the causeway.

The second part would be devoted to stocking and melting of precious metal. This part would work a bit like a silver mine: horrible labour conditions, layers of supervision and security, no contact between labourers and anyone else during work.

The third part would be for administration, cutting dies and striking coins. It is a bit like a metal workshop: working conditions are much better and security is more general and less invasive, while bureaucracy is more important. Every transfer of metal from one department to another must be accounted for and flans and coins are counted again and again.

If the mint consists of one single building, it would be logical that it has an opening for commercial activities towards the street for commercial transactions, an oven in the building plus place for storage and an easy to protect courtyard at the back for other activities.

If this scenario inspires you, fine. If you want to be purely factual that's fine also and I got it wrong, let's get more facts on the table for a better scenario.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Salvete

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2010, 05:07:21 PM »
Nice posting, Figleaf.  I never fail to learn something from your postings - and there are parallels between Indian and European mints, of course, but I think there was an important difference that the actual small size of the Indian mints I have seen would suggest, and comments read in history books would tend to confirm.  The metal was probably taken to the mint before the shift began, maybe from a secure store and maybe from the treasury.  Finished coins were taken away at the end of the shift.  Minor bits of metal, dies and some tools would also be kept elsewhere than the mint building, I think.  So there are three parts to the task.  Storage of valiuable material would be partly at the treasury and partly at the administration centre.  Work was done at the mint.  Finished coins would go to the traesury, and drawn from there when required by the government officers, or the company that ordered the coins sent a man and some guards to collect it.  All this would be in a secure area like a walled city or a fortress or (in Rajasthan) a 'fort-palace.' and the three parts usually not far apart - transporting coins and sheets of silver by road over distances was certainly insecure.  Just read how much of the stuff 'liberated' from Shahjahanabad by Ahmed Shah Durrani got 're-liberated' on its journey to Kabul.....  And where is the Peacock throne now?  We are all hacked off with banks and bankers (rightly so, I think) but our banking systems do have advantages, maybe?  What say you, Figleaf?

Salvete
Ultimately, our coins are only comprehensible against the background of their historical context.

Offline asm

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2010, 10:03:08 PM »
We are all hacked off with banks and bankers (rightly so, I think) but our banking systems do have advantages, maybe?  What say you, Figleaf?

Salvete
Just off topic, The conditions exist in India today, just as you imagined they were a couple of centuries back. Banks are Looted, people runaway with ATM's (if he/they cant break it).....so the treasures are still plundered......Some things never change.

Amit

PS: My take on the scenario would be almost as described by Salvete but with some of what Peter says may also be true in the Indian context. The old Mint building in Ahmedabad is located in a narrow lane (it appears those days they had only narrow lanes) not very far from the wall of the Fort and in one corner of the city.
"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"

akona20

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Re: Mint Towns in the Name of the Mughals: Other Data
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2010, 10:40:07 PM »
Figleaf,

I would like to add your contribution to the section Mints:Adjunct Information. This adjunct areas are at least somewhere where folks can speculate on certain peripheral issues and be as correct and knowledgable as anyone else. Given the flexibility of modern systems I am hoping in some areas such as this competing theories can be shown and commented on but the whole topic is always in a state of flux and the editor may in fact have competing propositions in the work.

They key is that we get the coins absolutely correct.