NOTIZIE STORICHE FAMOUS PIETRA DURRE BOOK BY ANTONIO ZOBI;
FIRST WEST ADMISSION OF USTAD AHMAD MIMAR WITH TAJ MAHAL 1841.
Somehow or the other, the Mughals created wonders in Art and Architecture, and incited jealousy in other nations. The sickening attitude of extremists Hindus trying to assert it as a Hindu temple, one side. Even the Europeans could not maintain their composure and went into the coma of European influence in Mughal creations. They not only created European architects for Mughal creations, they were reluctant to give any credit to local people. Antonio Zobi inquisitive about things, wrote to the British Resident in Delhi, Charles Metcalfe, for information about things. Letters were exchanged. We have the exact translation done of the information started in 1841 and printed in detail in 1853. Roughly it said two main things:
“Chales Metcalfe reported that archives and traditions report that most of the buildings in Agra of Emperor Shah Jahan, including the Taj Mahal, were the result of the efforts of architects, Ustad Ahmad and Ustad Hamid.”
When this was clearly said in Western circles, European circles and even bureaucrat W.H.Sleeman went on creating legends of Western architects. Jealousy went to the extent that the British destroyed monuments after monuments in the region including Delhi, and even offered the Taj Mahal for auction for its marbles. They even stole the golden pinnacle of the dome of the Taj Mahal (Joseph Taylor 1810s). If Lord Curzon had not come to the rescue, they would have flattened all monuments to the ground.
So the assertion of a British resident to Antonio Zobi is not a joke, and why was it not taken seriously? Giving credit where credit is due, does not happen with jealous people.
The second important thing mentioned by Mirza Dilawar Shah was that the Italian works behind the Throne of Shah Jahan were not there from the time of the Emperor but were added later in the time of the occupation of the Fort in 1760 by Bhao Biswap Roo, and Sadashiv Rao. These were ready-made floral reliefs exported by Florence to the world, found for sale in many places, and the Mahrattas made them in the background of their Lion Throne. This information is resented by these jealous Europeans. They would ascribe Shah Jahan to be an idiot in getting his works done. Some of the courtiers assigned the name of Ullan Koora to these reliefs. But the man making this Mahratta claim is no ordinary person. He is a direct descendant of the Mughal King himself. Remarks led astray by illusions. These kind of records are simply ignored by these European experts as they do not fulfill their expectations of degrading the achievement of the Mughals. We will handle it in more detail later on.
This very important book and its reference about Ustad Ahmad Mimar was available in cheap reprints, but I wanted access to the original one. It was very rare and not available anywhere. Then some avid writer and collector died in Italy and his library was sold. This was there amongst it. I grabbed the chance to buy it immediately. It was even then very expensive, but dealers quoted it at many thousands of dollars. In any case my passion resulted in my getting it at a better price. Our archives became richer!