The Faridkot State was one of the Sikh States created on Malwa region of t he Punjab during the later half of the eighteenth century. It came into its own under Raja Pahar Singh (1827-49) when the British extinguished the neighboring mighty kingdom of Lahore. During the next one century, it prospered under Raja Wazir Singh (1849-74), Raja Bikram Singh (1874-98), Raja Balbir Singh (1898-1906), the Council of Regency (1906-16), Raja Brij Indar Singh ( 1919-18), the Council of Administration (1918-34), and Raja Har Indar Singh (1934-48). Throughout this period , the rulers and aristocracy built a vast variety of buildings which included forts, palaces, havelis, administrative buildings, educational buildings, hospitals, bazaars, gurdwaras, mosques, temples etc. Collectively, these buildings represent the style of architecture that flourished during the second half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century in the Sikh States of Punjab, which has not been studied so far. The book in hand is a pioneering effort in this direction.
The book comprises eight chapters. The first chapter delineates the geographical and historical background of the region comprising the erstwhile Faridkot State. An analysis of the salient architectural features of the monuments is contained in the second chapter. The remaining six chapters document the monuments of the state on typological basis. The third chapter covers forts and royal palaces. The buildings for state machinery are recorded in the fourth chapter. The next chapter contains the survey of public secular buildings. The residential buildings form the subject matter of the sixth chapter. The seventh chapter covers memorials and the last chapter comprises a study of public religious buildings. These chapters are followed by an epilogue, an appendix, a glossary and a bibliography. The text is illustrated with 9 maps, 131 drawings, 35 colour and 196 monochrome plates.
The book thus tries to capture the architectural heritage of Faridkot in its entire rich splendor. It will prove to be an invaluable asset not only to the academicians, architects and libraries but also to the lay reader.
Subhas Parihar was born on 12 August 1953 at Kot Kapura, East Punjab where he still lives. He is M. A. (History of Art), M.A. (History), M. Phil., Ph. D.
As an art historian, he has done pioneer work on the Indo-Muslim architecture of the North-Western India and the architecture of the Sikh States of the Punjab. He is a author of Mughal Monuments in the Punjab and Haryana (Delhi, 1985) (Honoured with Dr. W. G. Archer Award by the Punjab Lalit ala Archer Award by the Punjab Laitl Kala Akademi); Muslim Inscriptions in the Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh (Delhi, 1985); Some Aspects of Indo-Islamic Architecture (Delhi, 1999); of History and Architectural Remains of Sirhind (Delhi, 2006); Land Transport in Mughal India: Agra – Lahore Mughal Highway and its Architectural Remains (Delhi, 2008), and more than two score of research papers published in international journal like Oriental Art (London); Iran (London); East & West (Rome); Muqarnas (Leiden); Journal of Pakistan Historical Society (Karachi); Islamic Studies (Islamabad); Marg (Mumbai) etc. He has also contributed to The Dictionary of Art (34 vols.) published by Macmillan (London) and Encyclopedia of Persian Language, Literature and Culture in the Sub-Continent (to be published in Iran ).
He has awarded Homi Bhabha Fellowship (1994-96). He undertook a Photographic Survey of Architectural Heritage of Haryana under Senior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India (2001-03). His research on Agra –Lahore Mughal Highway was partially financed by The Barakat Trust (London).
Dr. Parihar is also an artist himself. He has been actively participating in at exhibitions since 1977. He was awarded by Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi in 1979 for the best collage. In the field of photography too, he h as bagged about two dozen prizes including the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi Award (1997). To deepen his understanding of cinema, he attended Film Appreciation Course at Film and Television Institute of India at Pune, in 2008.
He is working as Head, Department of History at Government Brijindra College, Faridkot, Punjab.
My relation with the Faridkot State is about one century old. It was about the beginning of the twentieth century that my grand –parents migrated to the State and settled at Kot Kapura which was the only other town in the State. My father, I and my daughters, all were born and brought up at Kot kapura. After the middle standard, I got my entire regular education in the institutions and buildings which were conceived and built by the rulers of the Faridkot State. And since 1994, I have been teaching in my alma mater Government Brijndra College, named after its erstwhile young ruler Raj Brij Indar Singh and Founded by the last ruler of the State, Raja Har Indar Singh. So I have an emotional attachment with the region, its history, people and culture.
It was just a matter of chance that in 1979 I chose the field of Indo-Muslim architecture first for my M. Phil. Degree, and then for my doctoral research. Since its completion I had been thinking of documenting the monuments of Faridkot State but could not spare time for it due to the other projects in hand; first, the History and Architectural Remains of Sirhind, and then, the Architectural Remains of the Mughal Highway from Agra to Lahore. When the second project was nearing completion, in 2005, S. Harcharan Singh Punjab joined our college as Principal. It was he who insisted that I should undertake the project of Faridkot State on priority basis. The result is the work in hand.
In the beginning I never thought that the number of historical buildings in the State was so large, more than four score. But once started the work has been a labour of love for me.
The monuments of Faridkot State possess a novel look. These are a source of delight to the patient observer even today. The grand Secretariat building, if cleared of the ugly stalls can present a view, rivaling the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata. Collectively, these buildings represent the style of architecture that flourished during the second half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century in the Sikh States of Punjab, which has not been studied so far.
The present study comprises eight chapters, an epilogue, and an appendix. The first chapter delineates the geographical and historical background of the region comprising the erstwhile FaridKot State. An analysis of the salient architectural features of the monuments is contained in the second chapter. The remaining six chapters document the monuments of the State on typological basis. The third chapter cover sorts and royal palaces. The buildings for state machinery are recorded in the fourth chapter. The next chapter contains the survey of public secular buildings. The residential buildings form the subject a matter of the Sixth chapter. The seventh chapter covers memorials and the last chapter comprises a study of public religious buildings. These chapters are followed by an epilogue. The appendix gives Dr. Kamil Khan Mumtaz’s interview with a traditional mason. Technical architectural terms and some non-English terms not defined in the main text, are explained in the glossary. The study ends with an exhaustive bibliography.
The text of the book is extensively illustrated with maps, drawings and monochrome and colour plates.
The Faridkot State was one of the Sikh States situated to the south of the river Satluj, born after the decline of the Mughal Empire in the region during the later half of the eighteenth century (Map 1). It lay between 30. 13’ and 30 50’ north latitude, and 74. 31’ and 75. 5’ east longitude. Oriented at an angle to the north-south axis, the State covered some 64 kilometers (40 miles ) long , and 54.7 kilometers (34 miles) broad area, of which the pargana of Jaitu belonged to the Nabha State (Map 2). Besides this area , a detached strip of land to the south, comprising the villages of Burj Ladha Singh Wala, Kesar Singh Wala, Sirye Wala and Bhagta, also formed part of the State . In total, the state had an area of a little more than 1665 square kilometers (about 643 square miles). On the northern, eastern and western sides, it was surrounded by the British territories comprising Ferozepur District. On the southern side, its boundaries touched the State of Patiala, seven times larger than the Faridkot State itself.
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