Ragatime: the short-lived ascendency of Fatehpur Sikri

Terry Trickett  (Trickett Associates, UK) 




As the centre of the Mughal Empire for a brief period in the 16th century, Fatehpur Sikri was remarkable for its architecture, art and music. Emperor Akbar established not only an atelier of artists to record every aspect of court life but, also, gathered together musicians from every corner of North India. The continued success of the City seemed assured and, yet, after a period of only 18 years, Akbar’s court was forced to flee. The ghost town that remains has been a source of mystery ever since. But the seeds of its downfall were evident from the beginning; Akbar’s arbitrary method of site selection was the result of his consultation with a Sufi saint who predicted that the Emperor would be blessed with a child ‘on the hill of Sikri’. This represented the slimmest of reasons for moving a palace and hundreds of thousands of subjects to a remote and exposed site. There may have been tactical reasons for Akbar’s sudden departure but recent research has shown that, at the time, 1588, a pattern of severe weather was responsible for a period of famine and resulting economic depression. In the end, Akbar was defeated by a manifestation of the Little Ice Age.


Fatehpur Sikri, Emperor Akbar, Mian Tansen, Hindustani classical music, Sufism, Abul Fazi, Indian Miniatures, Ravi Shankar, Raga Bilaskhani Todi, Automated Transcription for Indian Music, Little Ice Age.


Ragatime: the short-lived ascendency of Fatehpur Sikri

Balance-Unbalance 2017

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