Exertions in Research Supervision

(a)   A Resume of Research Supervision

(b)   Research Methodology in Historical Architecture

 

3 Links:

3/1:   List of Research Scholars (with Ph.D. subjects) who worked under R.Nath’s supervision
(1970-2005) at:

  1. Agra University
  2. Jiwaji University Gwalior
  3. Garhwal University Srinagar (GWL) and
  4. University of Rajasthan Jaipur

3/2:   The write-up: ‘Research & Documentation’ vide Indologica-Brajensia (ed.by R.Nath) Vol.III (Agra 2004) pages 192-208, including synopses of 11 undone Ph.D. research subjects

3/3:   Appendix: ‘A Synopsis on Jehangir’s Picture-Wall of the Lahore Fort’ quoted here from R.Nath’s ‘Colour Decoration in Mughal Architecture’ (Jaipur 1989) pages 47-48, for the use and benefit of scholars

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मृत्पिण्डोऽपि पाटलिगन्धमुत्पादयति ।

(Even a lump of clay becomes fragrant by contact with Patali flower!)

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Exertions in Research Supervision

 

(a)  A Resume of Research Supervision

During the forty years’ period (from 1965 to 2005), R. Nath exerted hard to create a galaxy of scholars in this subject, who could work on his techniques and follow his School of thought. But the AGE in which he lived did not favour him and he was mostly disappointed. He supervised Ph.D. research at Agra University, Jiwaji University Gwalior, Garhwal University Srinagar (GWL) and University of Rajasthan Jaipur, and of course a few scholars successfully completed their Ph.Ds. But, by and large, students came for a formal degree, for the promotion of their career, without creative interest, sense of inquiry (Jijnāsā, जिज्ञासा ) or acumen to sustained research work, and wanted a ‘short-cut’ which is not possible in such a strict discipline as Historical Architecture. Originality is its Key Word. A list of Ph.D. topics given to research-scholars who completed their Ph.D. or abandoned it, is enclosed (see 3/1). Their synopses had been prepared by R.Nath and are available. Synopses of 11 important subjects which can be pursued at any university is also enclosed (see 3/2), for the use and benefit of scholars, as well as professor-supervisors.

Reference has already been made above in Chapter-1 (g) to D.V.Sharma’s Ph.D. on ‘Archaeology of Fatehpur Sikri’. It may also be mentioned that R.Nath also guided, informally, but practically and in all respects, the Ph.D. research of his eldest daughter Veena (Ajmer) on the subject: ‘Śilpa-Rasa-Nirūpaṇa’ (Aesthetics of Plastic Arts : Historical Study) (in Sanskrit); and his second daughter Neelima (Ujjain) on the subject; ‘Kumbha-Kalin-Kirttistambha-ka-Pratima-Sastriya Adhyayana (c.1450 A.D.) (Iconographic Study of the Kirtti-Stambha of Maharana Kumbha at Chittorgadh (in Fine Arts). Both these theses are original works. These have been published and rated superb. Neelima’s thesis (1993, published in 2004) has been plagiarized in Hindi for a prestigious award.

R.Nath visited Lahore (Pakistan) in 1988 to study its Mughal monuments. Glazed-tiled ‘Picture Wall of the Lahore Fort’ is a wonderful relic of Jehangir’s age. It is an important research-subject and he prepared and published its Synopsis in his work: ‘Colour Decoration in Mughal Architecture’ (Jaipur 1989) pages 47-48, for the use and benefit of the interested scholars. It is given herewith (see 3/3).

Amer and Jaipur Kachhwahas’ great contribution to historical architecture has not yet been studied, and evaluated in National perspective, in spite of R.Nath’s persistant efforts. Raja Mansingh of Amer (Ambar, Jaipur) (birth V.S. 1607 /1550 A.D., accession 1647/1590 and death 1671/1614) was a prolific builder: he raised temples and palaces not only in his native state, but also in Bihar and Bengal where he served as Mughal Governor. He built Sri-Govindadevaji’s Temple at Vrindaban; Jagat-Siromani’s Temple at Amer, temples of Vaidyanath-Dham, Manbhumi (Bihar); Man-Mandir Temple at Varanasi, where he also restored the famous Kashi-Vishwanath Temple; and several other temples in the region of his operation. They belong to a class, and a stylistic study of these temples is still awaited.

He also founded cities at Akbarpur (Bengal) and Manpur (Gaya, Bihar), and commissioned forts at Mangadh (Manihari, Bihar), Ramgadh (Jaipur) and Salimnagar (Bengal). He laid down tanks, ghāṭs, gardens, wells and other works of public utility. Besides his huge palace at Amer, he also built palaces in the Fort of Rohtasgadh (Bihar). Surprisingly, a noble of such a liberal state as that of the Mughals as he was, he also built a Jami’ Masjid at Rajmahal (Bengal). All these make up a wonderful list of his architectural works of the glorious epoch of Akbar’s 16th century India, which have yet to be studied, historically as well as architecturally.

A preliminary survey of these monuments in-situ is, however, required even to prepare a synopsis of the subject, which is almost entirely based on outdoor work. This is an exceedingly difficult and expensive proposition, scattered from Rajasthan, through U.P., through Bihar, to Bengal as are these monuments. It is not possible to do this work without intelligent and generous institutional support.

Almost similar is the study of the works of Sawai Raja Jaisingh-II Kachhwaha of Amer and Jaipur (1699-1743 A.D.). He town-planned and founded the grand city of Jaipur and built its magnificent palaces (as the Chandra-Mahal), gardens (as the Jai Niwas) tanks (as Sawai-Jai Singh Sagar), an efficient water supply system for public, and other architectural works. He formulated the awesome Jaigadh Fort, its vast water storage tank (Tanka), its palaces and Topkhana. He founded five Astronomical observatories at Jaipur, Delhi, Ujjain, Mathura and Varanasi: each one is built of brick, stone and lime, and these observatories are, in fact, marvellous architectural works, raised with mountain-size calculation and hair-size precision. He restored the Temple of Śrī Govindadevaji and other temples of Vrindaban and Mathura and other important Tirthas (religious centres).

One of the front-ranking nobles of the Mughal Empire, he was an extremely wise and sagacious statesman who could well foresee the decline and downfall of this grand empire which process had set in after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 A.D. The Raja was determined to make the best of it for the restoration and re-establishment of the ‘Dharma’. The weak Mughal Emperor was heavily depending on him and he was sent on important assignments through-out the Empire to vindicate the Mughal authority and the Raja’s power and prestige was at the highest. He is recorded to have founded a number of his own small fortified townships or localities called ‘Jaisinghpuras’ in the provinces where he was posted, and in all important Mughal cities, e.g. Kabul, Peshawar, Multan, Lahore, Delhi, Agra, Patna, Burhanpur, Aurangabad and Ellichpur. He also purchased lands, on a large scale, and established ‘Jaisinghpuras’ also at almost all important religious centres of northern India, e.g. Mathura-Vrindaban, Kashi-Banaras, Prayag-Allahabad and Ujjain, in order to undo the damage Aurangzeb had done to these tirthas.

All these activities were meticulously recorded in documents, maps and plans which are preserved in the Kapad-Dwara Collection of the City Palace Jaipur. A few of these have now been compiled, edited, translated and published, by the City Palace, in ‘Catalogue of Historical Documents in Kapad-Dwara Jaipur’ in two volumes (Vol.1: Documents Jaipur 1988; Vol.2: Maps and Plans, Jaipur 1990). It is an original source of singular importance, in fact, an eighteenth century encyclopaedia on Mughal Empire, essentially related to the history of almost all prominent Mughal cities as it is. This theory is ready, one has just to go to the site, trace the details of each document and map in-situ, and authenticate the historical data. But this too is a stupendous task and, again, though R.Nath tried hard, it is not possible to do it without institutional support. Immense Kachhwaha properties are involved, in U.P. alone.

Research in ‘Historical Architecture’ has a different and distinct methodology which is briefly explained hereinafter.

(b)  Research Methodology in Historical Architecture

  1. A research scholar of this discipline begins with a workable Bibliography and Library Study. It is essential to know what is the subject, in its various remifications; what is its scope and limitations; and what has been written on it before, so far and upto-date. What are its controversies and hypotheses which are still there to be resolved ? He should be fairly well acquainted with the SOURCESof information, e.g. Persian histories, Sanskrit texts, contemporary and later contemporary literatures, epigraphy, archaeology, travelogue and modern works. Detailed notes of this study are made. He should also be conversant with systems of Persian and Sanskrit transliteration, and glossary of Sanskrit, Persian and vernacular technical terms which were used by the artisans and the contemporary chroniclers. All this makes up 25% of his research work.
  2. Another 25% comprises documentation: outdoor work in-situ is done, thereafter, to collect the basic illustrative data (photograph/digital images and figures/drawings of plans, sections and elevations of the monuments). ‘Historical Architecture’ is a visual subject and it cannot be explained to the reader, and understood, without illustrations. If illustrations are rare, they may be repetitive; otherwise, ‘novelty’ is a virtue of this aspect of research. Sketches and diagrams too have not be necessarily made in scale, as far as they denote the dimensions/proportions correctly, and ‘illustrate’ the text, authentically.
  3. Outdoor study, in-situ, is done, again, to establish complete rapport with the monument in order to make Interpretative Notes. It is necessary to identify the art-nuances which brought the respective building into form: it is not built of brick, stone and mortar alone. Likewise, it is absolutely necessary to identify and distinguish the original from the later repairs, renovations and restorations, without which he may be easily tempted to interpret a 20th century A.D. phenomenon as a 16th century stylistic characteristic. Correct identification of the author of a monument who caused it to be built and the age during which it was built is also, similarly, necessary. Sometimes, a monument has to be seen ten or twenty times to recollect the ideas and the thought which went into its making. Things are revealed gradually, layer after layer, until one is able to read the LANGUAGE OF STONE. This makes up another 25% of his research work.
  4. Finally, one has to concentrate on Table-Work, with all this data, to write and interpret the subject. Interpretation calls for precise intellectual application, which he does with the help of this data, with as much objectivity as is humanly possible, remaining impartial and unbiased; and with the help of his linguistic craftsmanship. This is, thus, the most difficult part of his work. He has to be fiercely truthful and honest to see that his statements are not based on selective data, but on all available and accessible sources, and are irrefutably supported by evidence. Authenticity is the key word in this discipline which ensures that time will not be able to falsify or erase his work. This makes up, roughly, the remaining 25% of his research-work.

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Progress of a nation has always depended on the achievement and performance of a few individuals of outstanding ability and creativeness. 

3/1

List of Ph.D. Scholars
who worked under the guidance of R.Nath,
 along with their research topics:


1.     History of Brick Architecture in India (from the earliest times to 12th century A.D.)
– D.K.Saraswat

Subject registered at Agra University (No.Res.3250/8.4.70): He worked for three years (1970-73): ultimately he gave it up on his appointment as Principal of an Inter College at Firozabad (Synopsis is ready)

2.    Life in the Mughal Seraglio (1556-1666 A.D.)
– Asha Agrawal

Subject registered at Agra University (No.Res. 3256/9.6.70): She worked for two years: ultimately, transferred to other supervisor

3.     Synthesis of Indian and Persian Qalams in the Court of Akbar
– Md.Anis Farooqi

Originally, he worked under the supervision of Mulk Raj Anand: worked for one year (1970-71) under R.Nath’s guidance and revised his thesis in proper format: he finally submitted it under Professor Nihar Ranjan Ray and got Ph.D. from Agra University

4.     Social, Economic and Cultural History of Northern India (1605-1666 A.D.) (as depicted in the Accounts of Foreign Travellers)
        – Sudha Saxena

Subject registered at Agra University (No.Res.3398/2351 d.20.8.70): She worked for two years but gave it up on her husband’s death, to take up a teaching job (Synopsis is ready)

5.     Fortification in Medieval India (1192-1658 A.D.)
– S.P.Verma

Subject registered at Agra University: worked for a year (1970-71): finally migrated to Aligarh Muslim University
(Synopsis is ready)

6.     Political and Cultural History of Gwalior (from the time of the Tomaras to 1628 A.D.)
– S.C.Agarwal

Subject registered at Agra University (No.3472/8.4.70): He worked for two years (1970-72): gave it up on his transfer to Kota
(Synopsis is ready)

7.     Monuments of the Late Pre-Mughal Period (1400-1545 A.D.)
– Mamta Rani

Subject registered at Agra University: She worked for two years (1971-73): finally migrated to Meerut University
(Synopsis is ready)

8.      Cultural Study of Amir Khusrau’s Nuh-Sipihr (1318 A.D.)
– Ayaz Ahmed Qureshi

Worked for nearly four years (1976-79): finally abandoned on R.Nath’s migration to Jaipur
(Synopsis is ready)

9.      Mahadji Shinde (Sindhia) – aur-unke-kal-men-Maratha Rajiniti-ka-Itihas (1761-94) A.D.)
– Ashok C.Dahibhate

Subject registered at Jiwaji University Gwalior: worked for two years (1975-77): transferred to other supervisor
(Synopsis is ready)

10.     Dayanand and His Times (Historical Study of Dayanand, His work and contribution to Indian Culture vis-a-vis the 19th century ‘Renaissance’)
– S.K. Gupta

Subject registered at Jiwaji University Gwalior vide Pariksha/Shudh/Itihas/30/78/3015 d.21.12.78: worked for three years: finally transferred to other supervisor on R.Nath’s migration to Jaipur
(Synopsis is ready)

11.     Macaulay and the Devastating Era
           –R.A.Sharma

Worked for two years (1976-78): subject proposed at Jiwaji University Gwalior: ultimately he gave it up
(Synopsis is ready)

12.     An Analytical Study of the Hindu Elements on the Coins of the Delhi Sultans (1192-1556 A.D.)
– D.L.Rajput

Subject registered at Garhwal University Srinagar (Gwl) vide No. G/V/S/Shodh/384/160 d. 5.7.78: worked under R.Nath’s co-supervisorship since 1976: Thesis completed and he got Ph.D.: it has been published posthumously in 2003

13.     History of the Funerary Architecture (Chhatris) of the Sindhias of Gwalior
– S.A. Ansari

Worked for two years (1976-78): subject proposed at Jiwaji University Gwalior but was ultimately given up
(Synopsis is ready)

14.     History of the Funerary Architecture (Chhatris) of the Kachhawahas of Amer and Jaipur
          – Jagat Pal Singh

Subject registered at the University of Rajasthan Jaipur (No.160/82 d. 5.9.82): He worked extremely hard and collected vast data: but could not submit his thesis owing to lack of interpretation
(Synopsis is ready)

15.     Palace Architecture of Amer (Ambar, Jaipur) (16th -17th century A.D.) (with reference to the Institution of Zenani Dyodhi)
– Brijendra Roy

Subject registered at the University of Rajasthan Jaipur: He worked for three years but ultimately gave up
(Synopsis is ready)

16.     Domestic Architecture and Town-Planning of the Jaipur city (1727- 1835 A.D.)
– Rama Bhatnagar

Subject registered at the University of Rajasthan Jaipur vide No.241/79 d. 3.7.80: She worked for about nine years and submitted thesis in 1989 and got her Ph.D.

17.      Historiographical Study of Col. James Tod
           – Aneita Dubey

Subject registered at the University of Rajasthan Jaipur vide No. 307/79 d. 24.11.81: She was an extremely hard-working research scholar, but some how or the other, she did not complete her Ph.D.
(Synopsis is ready)

18.      History of Mural Painting of Bundi
            – Akhilesh Behari

Subject registered at the University of Rajasthan Jaipur vide No.245/80 d.26.3.81: He gave it up after a year owing to rigours of the outdoor work
(Synopsis is ready)

19.     Dhoondhar-ki-Bhitti-Chitra-Kala-ka-Itihas
           – Mahesh Sharma (Ashutosh Dadheech)

Subject registered at the University of Rajasthan Jaipur vide No. 75/81 d. 24.11.81: He worked under R.Nath’s guidance for three years but deserted thereafter
(Synopsis is ready)

20.      Art & Architecture of the Temples of Osian (8th to 12th century A.D.)
– V.S. Srivastava

Subjects registered at the University of Rajasthan jaipur: He worked for two years (1981-83) but ultimately gave it up (Synopsis is ready)

21.      A Critical Study of Miniature Painting of the Jaipur School
         – Rita Pratap

Subject registered at the University of Rajasthan Jaipur (No. Rs/209/75): She worked extremely hard and ultimately Ph.D. was awarded to her in 1985

22.      Rajasthan-ke-Agrani-Itihasajna-Pandit-Ram Karn-Asopa
          – Indu Asopa

She was grand-daughter of Pandit Asopa (daughter of J.N.Asopa of the Dept of History University of Rajasthan Jaipur) and well equipped for this subject: She worked for some time but ultimately migrated to Bikaner
(Synopsis is ready)

23.   An Analytical Study of the Ornamental Motifs depicted in Hindu and Jaina Temples of Rajasthan (4th to 15th century A.D.)
– Sadhana

She worked for some time but, finding the outdoor work unmanageable, gave it up
(Synopsis is ready)

24.      Life as depicted on the Narathara of the Temples of Rajasthan (c. 6th to 12th century A.D.)
– Tosh Sharma

Subject registered at the University of Rajasthan Jaipur: She worked hard and intelligently for quite some time but ultimately migrated to the U.S.A.
(Synopsis is ready)

25.     Archaeology of Fatehpur Sikri (from the earliest times to the modern day)

-D.V. Sharmaimage002

Subject registered at Agra University (vide No. History/6888/19327 d.18.10.2000: work involved excavations at Fatehpur Sikri and surface exploration of its neighbourhood, and Sharma worked extremely hard: thesis was completed and submitted in 2005: Ph.D. was awarded in 2006: It has been published, in a nice format, under the title: ‘Archaeology of Fatehpur Sikri’ (New Discoveries) (Aryan, New Delhi 2008) and widely acclaimed as a classic, both of History and Archaeology

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