10. Walls Tell Stories Reached Golconda At last we reached Golconda. We were glad that didi was with us. Didi studies history and we enjoy visiting different places with her. Shailja: My goodness! This fort is so huge. Shreedhar: And see at what a height it is built! Kalyani: Just look! Have you ever seen such a huge gate? Shailja: It must be very heavy. I wonder how many people would be needed to open and close this gate. Sukanto Debnath Why is this small gate made in the big gate? Kalyani : Look at these sharp iron spokes. I wonder why they were made? Shailja: Look at these thick walls too. Shreedhar: I have never seen such thick walls. Kalyani: At some places, a part of the wall comes out in a round shape. I wonder why? Didi:These are called bastions (burj). See these are even higher than the wall. The outer wall of this fort has 87 bastions. Thick walls, a huge gate and so many bastions! So many ways to ensure security! 87 Bastion Hole(Burj) Think • Why were bastions made in the fort wall? • Why were big holes made in them? • What difference would be there if you were to look from a straight flat wall or a bastion at a height? How would the soldiers find peeping from the holes in the bastions useful while attacking? What did we find inside the fort? Shailja: I wonder how old this fort would be? Do you think the king built the fort so that he could live here? Kalyani : It was written outside that Qutubshahi Sultans ruled here one after another, from 1518-1687. Didi : Much before that, in 1200, this fort was made of mud and different rulers lived here. Shailja: Oh look! This board has a map of the fort. Shreedhar: This map shows so many gardens, fields and factories. See, there are many palaces also inside the fort. Shailja: That means that not only the Sultan, but many other people like farmers and workers must also have been living here. Kalyani: It must have been a complete town. The Sultan’s Palace Shreedhar: These steps seem to go on and on. Shailja: Even in those days they used to have buildings with two floors! Kalyani: Now, the building is in ruins. But one can imagine that earlier there were many big halls and rooms here. Shreedhar: Look at this beautiful carving on the walls. It is so fine! Kalyani : We also saw something like a fountain on one of the roofs. Didi : Yes, there were many big tanks and fountains here. They used to be full of water. Wow, what engineering! Think, even today when engineers design houses, sometimes there is dampness in the walls. And here, so long ago, there were fountains on the terrace! The building must have been made with such good understanding. If we think how the people lived five hundred years ago, so many questions come to our mind. For example, how was water lifted to such heights? Can you guess how? Think and discuss • How would the fountains have worked? • What arrangements would have been made in the building for air and light? • Look carefully at the picture of the beautiful carving on the wall. What kind of tools would have been used for such fine carving? • We still do not have any electricty at many places in our country. Even at places which do have electricity, imagine what would happen if there was no electricity for one week. What are the things that would be difficult to manage without it? Where is east-west? At the place you are, where does the sun rise? Where does it set? Where you are standing, find out what all is there to your east. What all is there to your west? Also find out, what places are to your north and south. Tell and write Look carefully at the map of Golconda. On the map, arrows show all the four directions. • If you are peeping inside from Bodli Darwaza, in which direction from you is Katora Hauz? • If someone is entering from Banjara Darwaza, in which direction from her is Katora Hauz? • In which direction will you walk from Bala Hisar to reach Moti Mahal? • How many gates can you see on the outer walls of the fort? • Count how many palaces are there in the fort? • What arrangements for water can you see inside the fort? For example, wells, tanks, stepwells. On the map, 1 cm distance is equal to a distance of 110 metres on the ground. Now tell • On the map the distance between Bala Hisar and Fateh Darwaja is ____ cm. On the ground, the distance between the two would be ____ metres. • How far is Makai Darwaza from Fateh Darwaza? Why these attacks? While we were all talking, Shreedhar called us to see a big gun (cannon). We ran up the steps. Shailja: This must have been the Sultan's big gun. Didi : This was used by Aurangzeb. His full army came with their guns and cannons to attack but they could not even enter the fort. For eight months they camped outside the fort. Shailja: Why would the army come here all the way from Delhi? Didi: In those days, emperors and kings, played such tricks. They tried to make smaller kingdoms a part of their own kingdom. This was done sometimes by friendship, sometimes by flattery, or even by marriage between families. And when nothing else worked, they also attacked them! Kalyani: Why is it that Aurangzeb’s army could not get into the fort? He had so many soldiers and big guns. Shailja: Didn’t you see these strong thick walls? In the map there is a long deep ditch (pit) along the wall. How could the army enter? Shreedhar: If the army tried to come from a different side, then the soldiers in the bastions would have seen it from a distance. No wonder it was difficult to attack the fort! Kalyani: Imagine! The army is coming on horses and elephants, with all their guns. Here, the Sultan's army stands fully prepared. Shailja: Oh no! How many people and soldiers on both the sides must have been killed in all this fighting? Why do people attack and have wars? Rajeev Singh Shreedhar: Guns and cannons are things of the past now. These days many countries have nuclear bombs. A single bomb can cause so much destruction! Discuss • Have you recently read or heard about any country attacking or going to war with another country? • Find out what was the reason for this war. • What kind of weapons were used in this war? • What kind of destruction was caused because of this? Find out The big gun that Shreedhar saw was made of bronze. • Have you seen anything made of bronze? What? Tribal people have been using bronze to make many things since thousands of years. One wonders how they took out copper and tin from the deep mines, melted these metals, and turned them into beautiful things! • Find out from your elders about some of the things made from bronze that were, or are still used in your house. From its colour try to identify which one of them is made from copper, which from brass, and which from bronze. Arrangements for water The picture shown here is made after seeing a very old painting of those times. Can you think why bullocks have been used here? Use your hand movement to show in which direction the drum attached to the rod moves when the bullocks move. In which direction would the ‘toothed wheel’ move? Look, this pole shown under the ground joins with another wheel which has a number of pots on it. • Now imagine, how would this garland of pots lift water from the well? • Do you now get some idea about how the tanks could have been filled by lifting water from the wells? Even today we can see clay pipes in the walls of the fort. These pipes would have been used to carry water to different places in the palace. • Where else have you seen such wheels attached to each other. For example, in the gear of a cycle or somewhere else? • Look around and find out how water is pumped up from the ground to higher places? • How is water pumped up using electricity? How is water lifted without electricity? What a sad sight! Talking, whistling and listening to our own echo we were walking through this mehrab (arch). Shreedhar: Oh! The breeze feels so cool in this tunnel. Shailja: It was written that soldiers stayed here. Shreedhar: See this board, but look what the wall is like! Shailja: Oh! Think how this wall has seen thousands of years go by. It has seen kings and queens, horses and elephants, war and peace... But we have spoilt it in just a few years! Kalyani: I don’t understand, what kind of fun do people get in writing their names all over the place like this? Close your eyes and go back in time! Imagine that you are in those days when there was a busy town inside Golconda. Think about the questions given below and discuss in class. You could even put up a play. • What is the Sultan doing in the palace? What kind of clothes is he wearing? What dishes are being offered to him? But why does he seem so worried? And in what language is he talking? • Imagine the rooms in the palace—the beautiful carpets and curtains, the fountains on the terrace… and the sweet smell of roses and chameli—where is this coming from? • What are the different kinds of factories you can see? How many people are working there? What are they doing? What are they wearing? How long do you think they work? • Look there! See how finely those craftsmen are carving the stones using a chisel and hammer? Can you see the stone dust in the air. Do you think this stone dust would harm them in some way? Going to the museum After seeing Golconda, the children also went to a museum in Hyderabad. Many old items are kept there. Many things were found when the place around Golconda was dug – like pots, jewellery, swords, etc. Shailja: Oh! Why are these broken pieces of pots kept in the almirah? See that small plate made of bronze. That blue piece seems to be made of ceramic (clay). Didi : It is through all these things that we come to know how people of those times lived, what they used and what things they made. If all these would not have been kept here, how would you know so much about those times? Write • What kinds of pots have you seen around you? • Try to find out from your grandparents about the other kinds of pots and pans they used in their time? • Have you ever been to some museum or heard about it? What all things are there in a museum? Survey and write • Is there any old building or monument near your house which people come to see? If yes, name it. • Have you ever gone to see an old monument? Which was that? Did you feel it told you a story? What could you know about those times from it? • How old was it? How did you know? • What was it made of? • What colour was it? • Were there any special kind of designs on the old building? Draw them in your notebook. • Who used to live there in the olden days? • What kinds of activities took place there? • Do some people still live there? Make your own museum Rajni teaches in a Government school in Mallapuram district in Kerala. Together with the children of her class, she has collected many old things from all the houses. Like old walking sticks, locks, umbrellas, wooden slippers (khadaun), pots, etc. They also saw what these things look like today. Rajni and the children put up an exhibition, which people from the neighbourhood came to see. You could also do this. Look at the painting and tell This painting is 500 years old. It shows Agra fort being constructed. What kinds of work are people doing? How many men and women are working? See, how they are taking the huge pillar up along the slope? Is it easier to lift a heavy thing straight up or along a slope? Were you able to see the man carrying water in a mashak (leather bag)?