The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 12 Some garden contrasts and a dream

Anglo-Indian gardens

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CHAPTER XII SOME GARDEN CONTRASTS AND A DREAM Heresy and Orthodoxy stand not behind the screen of Truth. Heresy to the Heretic, Orthodoxy to the Orthodox; But only the dust of the Rose Petal remains to the seller of perfume. MAXIMS OF AKBAR THE history of the Mughal garden follows the course of other Indian arts. When Aurungzeb destroyed at one blow Indian unity and Akbars dream of Empire, by the banishment of the Hindu craftsmen from the Moslem Court, they took refuge with the Hindu Princes of Rajputana and Central India. There the masons and master-builders of the Taj and the Mughal garden-palaces found welcome and generous patronage, as the splendid gardens and palace fortresses of the Hindu Rajas testify. It is in Rajputana, more than in the remaining Moslem centres of Lucknow and Hyderabad, or the great Anglo-Indian coast towns, that Indian art has survived the fall of the Mughal Empire and is still a living force. The pride of race and the immutable nationality of the Rajputs have combined, with the isolation and strength of their rocky and desert-bound country, to save Indian architecture and its dependent crafts from extinction. But although 'men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely,' and Bacons choice of the 'greater perfection' is even more justified in the East than it is in the West, the garden, unfortunately, is the sooner altered and destroyed. Wherever English influence has been strong, as in British India and in the so-called 'progressive' Native States, the typical Indian gardens have been the first to go, and the old symbolic garden-craft the first of all the traditional arts to disappear.