HYDERABAD: In his book ‘Safavid Iran and the Deccan Sultanates: Diplomatic and Cultural Relations (14th–17th Century)’ author-historian Muhammad Abdul Nayeem brings together the culmination of the Iranian dynasty that made the southern part of the subcontinent their home. The Prussian-indigo cover shows two tall minarets glittering with aquamarine tiles lacquered with Islamic designs. The book has neat typeface and is divided into chapters that are further divided into sub topics.
There are several books in the market that focus on the relation and cultural exchange between Persia and the subcontinent that give a passing reference of Persian presence in Deccan while it was divided into five realms. But this book by the city-based historian brings forward the zoomed in description and portraiture of the cultural and political relations in a lucid, simple, non clutter style which otherwise books of history are known for. Interestingly, the Bahmanis, Qutb Shahis and Adil Shahis belonged to the Iranian dynasties. Their shi’iah faith and Persian roots established strong ties between Deccan and Iran.
Another interesting factor why the book is also a collector’s item is because there are a lot of photographs of great historical significance; for example: Iran’s pre-Islamic Sassanian royal emblem of open wings and crescent on top of the triple archway at the tomb of Firoz Shah Bahman in Gulbarga. The photographs are bright and clicked from masterly angles such as the domes over the roof of Jama Masjid, Gulbarga Fort or the Chand Minar in Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad.
In the section of Iranian impact on architecture and art of Bijapur, the author has beautifully elaborated calligraphy using minute details of the art through brilliant photographs. While describing paintings he talks widely about Safavid colour palettes as to how the same were distinctively bold, clear on the surfaces and the culmination of the lines at particular angles. He delves deeper into miniatures subtly moving towards the Qutb Shahis of Golconda. Overall, the book published by Hyderabad Publishers is a must-buy for researchers. However, some extra blank spaces in the middle of the smooth sentences do irritate a bit.