Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Portrait of a Rohilla Afghan


 Northern India; 1821-1822

Miniature. “Portrait of a Rohilla Afghan”
Northern India; 1821-1822

The foppish young man is wearing colorful garments that reflect his ethnic background. An inscription on the back identifies him as a member of the Barech family, one of the many Pashtun clans from the mountainous areas of Afghanistan that in the 17th-18th century settled in Rohilkhand, today Uttar Pradesh. The Rohilla Afghans (from the Pashtun word for mountain) were used as warriors by the Great Mughal Aurangzeb, for example.

Rohilkhand achieved independence briefly in the 18th century but came under the East India Company in 1801. Stylistically, the painting shows the clear influence of the West, but the unnaturalistic yellow background and treatment of the blue sky are remnants of the Mughal tradition.

Source: http://www.davidmus.dk/en/collections/islamic/dynasties/india/art/miniature_portraet_af_en_rohilla-afghaner

(Note: Portrait of a Barech Pashtun soldier of 18th century Rohilkhand, India. Barechs are cousins of Sheranis and Tarins. Their present and historical abode is Shorawak district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. They have made important figures in history of India. Dilawar Khan Barech and Purdil Khan Barech were high ranking Mughal mansabdars during the reign of Shah Jahan. The most famous Barech in the history is Hafiz Rehmat Khan,who ruled Rohilkhand (U.P,) as regent of sons of Ali Muhammad Khan Rohilla. Another notable Barech of 18th century was Mustafa Khan Barech, the famous general of Alivardi Khan (Nawab of bengal) who led deadly Afghan insurrection against Nawab in 1746 and invited Marathas to invade Bengal. Descendants of Mustafa Khan Barechs established a state by name of Jhajjar in Hariyana , which functioned as princely state within British India. )

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