Two sides of the same coin

Updated: Jul 09, 2019, 11:49 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi

Celebrate the intricacies and legacy of Mughal art and design in a series of talks by a numismatist and designer

Two sides of the same coin
Gold mohur of Alamgir II from Shahajahanbad Mint

Ever wondered what history would look like if it could walk outside the pages of boring textbooks? Imagine a rich tapestry of literature, art, design, textiles, fashion and the tales of power and the powerful who were raring to go but now lie dead in the ruins.

In a rare juxtaposition of aesthetics and power — Paul Abraham, COO IndusInd Bank; founder Sarmaya and Pavitra Rajaram, lead designer Good Earth, founder Pavitra Rajaram Design and brand custodian at Sarmaya — will celebrate the grand legacy of the 400 years of the Mughal Empire as they explore the same period in Indian history through different perspectives. They offer an exclusive sneak-peak into the talk this weekend.

Chromolithograph of Akbar and Jahangir
Chromolithograph of Akbar and Jahangir

Paul Abraham on the power game

Paul Abraham
Paul Abraham

From its early days in Uzbekistan and strong Central Asian roots, to the last emperor who died in Rangoon, lone and devoid of power, it is a fascinating journey to trace the expansive reaches of the Mughal dominion through the trail of coins minted under its 400-year long reign. Each one has a story to tell. Back in the day, issuing of coins was one of the two supreme powers of an emperor and it reflected the life in the times of the leader on the throne. Trade and expansion was on every emperor's mind and the coins were a testimonial to that. For instance, to facilitate the trade between Persia and Surat, a Persian coin was created. Or how Emperor Akbar embraced Indian culture was evident in his coinage: he even wrote couplets on some of them.

Pavitra Rajaram on the era of design inspiration

Pavitra Rajaram
Pavitra Rajaram

The Mughal era represented a beautiful language and idiom of design. What a rich legacy it left for us — evident though their costume, architecture, beauty, fashion and art. There are intriguing anecdotes drawn from the art and architecture that refer to the textile, costume and fashion of the times. For instance, everyone speaks of the contribution of Emperors Jehangir and Shahjehan but very little is known (since it was never properly recorded) of Noorjehan Mehrunnisa, her Persian roots and also of her love story with Jehangir or of their love for Kashmir and how all of this influenced the art, architecture and fashion of the times. Through objects, books and miniatures from Sarmaya's collection, I intend to highlight how, like me, one can get inspired by what it takes to be a good designer tracing the journey of the Mughals.

Zodiac coin
Zodiac Coins of Jahangir

On: June 13, 6 pm to 9 pm
At: Pundole's, Hamilton House, Ballard Estate.
Call: 61146464

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