Influence of Islam on Indian Culture
Different aspects of the social life of the Hindus were influenced by Muslims. The influence of Islam can be witnessed in the Indian ceremonies connected with marriages, customs, manners, etiquettes of daily life, dress and costume, methods of cooking including different items of cooked dishes and sweets, festivals and fairs, games and sports, especially in northern India and the Deccan.
The Mughal court manners, etiquettes and ceremonials were copied by the Hindu rulers, their deputies, princes of chiefs. The development of the textile industry under the Mughals introduced new kinds of delicate and comfortable dress materials. New fruits and flowers and different kinds of perfumes and scents were introduced in India. Mughal fondness for beautifully laid, soothing and fragrant gardens was copied by the Hindus also and many of them can still be seen. Hindu-gardens were copied by the Hindus also and many of them can still be seen. Hindu- Muslim ruling class enjoyed common pastime such as polo, elephant-fighting and chess.
The above discussion, facts and figures lead to the conclusion that Islamic teachings influenced Indian religious thought, society and culture specially the religious sects and reform movements. The social and moral teachings of Islam broke the rigidity of the caste-system of the Hindu society and influenced the educated Hindus. This is most evident in the Lingayat sect established by Basava as early as the twelfth century.
Similarly, the Virsaivas and Siddhars and almost all the socio-religious reform movements were influenced by Islam. Without doubt, the Muslim social manners and customs influenced those of the Hindus of all classes of society. Almost all the Indian languages whether of the north or of the south have been enriched by the vocabulary provided by Arabic, Persian and Turkish. Islamic ideas have been absorbed in the literatures of medieval India. In fine arts, Muslim contributions to Indian music and its patronage resulted in the emergence of a highly developed and enriched music of northern India. The Muslim influence on architecture and painting is quite evident and their contributions have enriched them.
Islam’s influence could not have been a one-way process. The vast majority of the Muslim population in India is indigenous and they have lived with the Hindus for more than one thousand years. So, their society and culture were also bound to be influenced by the Hindus. Long close contacts between the Hindus and the Muslims resulted in “the achievement of a common outlook which softened the sharp formalism of Islam and simplified the elaborate rituals of Hinduism” and a common social and cultural pattern was evolved which may be called indo-Islamic culture distinctly noticeable during the time of Akbar, The Great Mughal and his successors, when Hindus and Muslims participated in one another’s social functions and religious festivals. It is the common culture of the Hindus and Muslims alike who have contributed jointly to its evolution and enrichment.