The contacts of Muslim Arabs with South India had already begun in the latter part of the preceding period.But the Muslim influence on Indian culture in the south and West was limited and indirect.It was in the north,(where the long series of invasions by the Muslim Turks in the 10th century continued till the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate)that the Muslim culture had a profound and direct influence on every sphere of life.
Though the Delhi Sultanate united India politically,the Hindus could not regard it as their own state because the rulers in general made no positive attempt to bridge the gulf between themselves and their Hindu subjects. But the relationship between the common Muslim with the Hindus improved considerably long before because of the historic mediating role played by the Muslim Sufis and Hindu saints of the Bhakti School.The Hindus found Sufi ideas very similar to those of the vedantic philosophy and were naturally attracted by them. But the greatest attraction for the lower castes of Hindus was the social organisation of Islam which was founded on the basis of equality and fraternity.
Another great force which created a general atmosphere of religious harmony between the Hindus and the Muslims was the Bhakti Movement.They could not merge the currents of Hinduism and Islam on the surface, but they showed that the springs which freed them, did meet some where below it.
Art And Architectural Synthesis:
In aesthetic consciousness which is deeply influenced by the physical environment, Hindus and Muslims came still closer to each other.Indian music captured the heart of Muslims, though they discouraged the paintings. in the very 1st century of the Delhi Sultanate. a Hindu-Muslim style of architecture had come into being which was adopted in the 14th century with various degrees of modifications by the Muslim kings of Bengal,Gujarat and the Deccan and also by the Hindu rajas of Bundelkhand and Rajasthan.According to Fergusson, the design of Jama Masjid in Ajmer had been taken from the Jaina temple of Mount Abu.
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