Niccolao Manucci

Italian writer and historian

Niccolao Manucci (19 April 1638–1717) was an Italian writer and traveller. He worked in the Mughal court. He worked in the service of Dara Shikoh, Shah Alam, Raja Jai Singh and Kirat Singh.

QuotesEdit

Storia do MogorEdit

Manucci, Niccolao, Storia do Mogor, trs. by W. Irvine, 4 vols., London, 1906.

  • All Muhammadans are fond of women, who are their principal relaxation and almost their only pleasure.
    • Manucci, II, 240; quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • The most sumptuous of European courts cannot compare in richness and magnificence with the lustre beheld in Indian courts.
    • Manucci, II, p.330. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • When any hungry wretch takes it into his head to ruin the kingdom, he goes to the king and says to him: 'Sire; if your majesty will give me the permission to raise money and a certain number of armed men, I will pay so many millions. The king then asks how it is intended to raise the money. It is by nothing else than the seizure of everybody in the kingdom, men and women, and by dint of torture compelling them to pay what is demanded. Such financiers are hateful and avaricious men. The king generally consents to their unjust proposals, as he thereby satisfies his own greed; he accords the asked-for permission, and demands security bonds.
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • [Manucci says that just before the emperor died, he (Aurangzeb) said:] “I die happy for at least the world will be able to say that I have employed every effort to destroy the enemies of the Muhammedan faith.”
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • All the above names are Hindu, and ordinarily these …are Hindus by race, who had been carried off in infancy from various villages or the houses of different rebel Hindu princes. In spite of their Hindu names, they are however, Mahomedans.
    • Manucci elaborating about the women and eunuchs in the Mughal harems. Manucci, II, 336-38. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 12
  • Aurangzeb did this for two reasons: first, because by this time his treasures had begun to shrink owing to expenditure on his campaigns ; secondly, to force the Hindus to become Mahomedans. Many who were unable to pay turned Mahomedans, to obtain relief from the insults of the collectors.
    • About the Jizya. Manucci II. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • [Aurangzeb] was of the opinion that he had found in this tax an excellent means of succeeding in converting them, besides thereby replenishing his treasuries greatly...
    • About the Jizya. Manucci III. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • All of them (temples at Hardwar and Ayodhya) are thronged with worshippers, even those that are destroyed are still venerated by the Hindus and visited by the offering of alms.
    • Manucci, vol,. III. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • It would seem as if the only thing Shahjahan cared for was the search for women to serve his pleasure ... for this end he established a fair at his court. No one was allowed to enter except women of all ranks that is to say, great and small, rich and poor, but all handsome.
    • Manucci, I, p.195. Quoted in Lal, K. S. (1988). The Mughal harem. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • “In this realm of India, although King Aurangzeb destroyed numerous temples, there does not thereby fail to be many left at different places, both in his empire and in the territories subject to the tributary Princes. All of them are thronged with worshippers; even those that are destroyed are still venerated by the Hindus and visited for the offering of alms.
    • Storia do Mogor’ of Niccolo Manucci, p. 244-5, (Vol. 3, p. 244-5, London, John Murray, published for the Government of India, 1907) quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. ch 8
  • “The chief temples destroyed by King Aurangzeb within his kingdom were the following: Maisa (? Mayapur), Matura (Mathura), Caxis (Kashi), Hajudia (Ajudhya), and an infinite number of others ; but, not to tire the reader, I do not append their names.”
    • Storia do Mogor’ of Niccolo Manucci, p. 244-5, (Vol. 3, p. 244-5, London, John Murray, published for the Government of India, 1907) quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. ch 8
  • Manucci writes, “I assert that in the Mughal Kingdom, the nobles and above all the King, live with such ostentation that the most sumptuous of European Courts cannot compare in richness and magnificence with the lustre beheld in the Indian Court.” Similar was the impression made on Pelsaert’s mind.“
    • quoted in K.S. Lal, The Mughal Harem (1988), 12
  • Many women were procured through the offices of matrons who “by promises and deceit...have carried them off into what- ever places the king or prince requires. When it happens that he does not wish to keep them (permanently) the king sends them back with some great present.“
    • as quoted in K.S. Lal, The Mughal Harem (1988), 165
  • Not resting content with the above orders [prohibiting alcohol, drugs, long beards, etc.], Aurangzeb. . .ordered the same official [the muhtasib14 ] to stop music. If in any house or elsewhere he heard the sound of singing and instruments, he should forthwith hasten there and arrest as many as he could, breaking the instruments. Thus was caused a great destruction of musical instruments. Finding themselves in this difficulty, their large earnings likely to cease, without there being any other mode of seeking a livelihood, the musicians took counsel together and tried to appease the king in the following way: About one thousand of them assembled on a Friday when Aurangzeb was going to the mosque. They came out with over twenty highly-ornamented biers, as is the custom of the country, crying aloud with great grief and many signs of feeling, as if they were escorting to the grave some distinguished defunct. From afar Aurangzeb saw this multitude and heard their great weeping and lamentation, and, wondering, sent to know the cause of so much sorrow. The musicians redoubled their outcry and their tears, fancying the king would take compassion upon them. Lamenting, they replied with sobs that the king’s orders had killed Music, therefore they were bearing her to the grave. Report was made to the king, who quite calmly remarked that they should pray for the soul of Music, and see that she was thoroughly well buried. In spite of this, the nobles did not cease to listen to songs in secret. This strictness was enforced in the principal cities.
    • Storia ii.8

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: