Tomb of Sadiq Khan Mir-Bakshi

The Tomb of Sadiq Khan Mir-Bakhshi

(c. 1633-35 A.D.)

Hindi Version

The tomb of Sadiq Khan is situated in the suburb of Sikandara, on the byepass road, adjacent to the tomb of his son Salabat Khan Mir-Bakshi, popularly called ‘Chausath-Khambha’. Sadiq Khan was brother’s son (bhatija) and son-in-law (damad) of Mirza Ghiyath Beg, I’timad-ud-Daulah, and belonged to the latter’s band of polished and cultured Iranians. He served Jehangir and Shahjehan. Jehangir appointed him Mir-Bakshi in 1622 and Governor of Punjab in 1623. On accession, Shahjehan confirmed him in his mansab (rank) of 4000 zat (personal) and 4000 sawar (horsemen), with flag and drums. He died on 3 September, 1633. His tomb was built by his son Salabat Khan, Mir-Bakshi ‘Raushan-Zamir’ between 1633 and 1635. Originally, the tomb stood on a high square platform (kursi), stones and stairs of which have all been pillaged. It is octagonal in plan but instead of three arches on each octagonal side, it has only one arch which is broad and bears a little engrailing, in accordance with the fashion of the age (Plate- 140). Each such opening has a spacious rectangular plan, roofed by a semisoffit, thus assuming the form of a portal. The interior is composed of a single octagonal hall which opens on these eight portals through lintel doorways. Presently, there is no cenotaph, nor is there any trace of the grave in the crypt below it, which has been exposed to view through a large hole in the centre of its floor. It appears that the basement was originally approachable by a passage given in the main platform. A narrow whispering gallery accessible through staircases has been provided above, on the first floor of these portals. With three arched and two oblong openings, on each octagonal side, it overhangs and rotates around the central hall. This feature has been ingeniously devised to add to the elevation of the tomb and to contribute to the total aesthetic effect of the building, as much as to provide ample light and air into the interior. An extremely projecting chhajja supoorted on brackets protects the building on all external sides. It provides a beautiful horizontal line to it and a pleasant shadow. Pinnacles rising from its angles flank the dome which has curious spiral fultings. While flutes of the Gur-i-Mir or the tomb of Timur at Samarqand (c 1405 A.D.) are regularly vertical, these flutes twist and incline on the sides diagonally, like those of the domes and cupolas of Kumbha’s Palace at Chittorgarh (c 1450 A.D.), called ‘Kamarakhi’ in local parlance. This dome is broad and shallow. It is crowned by a very prominent mahapadma (sheath of lotus-petals) and a slender kalash finial in faithful adherence to the style of the age. The superstructure, as a whole, roughly measures one-third of the total elevation and is deficient. It does not bestow an imposing effect upon the building. Though it is double-dome, it does not rise in proportion to the substructure. It is noteworthy that an Iranian’s tomb on the Indian soil always posed a problem which the architects have been trying to solve differently in different ages, to their best skill and ingenuity. Sometimes, however, the conflict of tastes resulted in the conflict of forms. A brick and stone masonry structure, it has been entirely finished by a thick layer of white shell plaster of Patiyali which was in fashion in this age and was also used to finish such imperial buildings as the Diwan-i-‘Am and Shahjahani-Mahal in the Agra Fort. It was originally painted with floran and stylized designs. It was ultimately the Iranian love of colour and design on a flat surface that appears to dictate in the final finish of this building. The original garden in which this tomb (along with the tomb of his son Salabat Khan) was situated has now completely disappeared and it stands now bare and barren in an extremely dilapidated condition.