With reference to Indian history, who of the following were known as “Kulah-Daran”?

(a) Arab merchants

(b) Qalandars

(c) Persian calligraphists

(d) Sayyids


The correct answer is: (d) Sayyids

The key points are:

  • The religious class of Islam was composed of important groups like theologians, ascetics, sayyids, Pirs, etc.
  • The most important were the theologians known as ‘Dastar-bandan’ or turban wearers.
  • The sayyids put on a pointed cap (kulah) and were known as ‘Kulah Daran’ during the Delhi Sultanate.
  • The Sayyids claimed descent from the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima.
  • They commanded special respect in Muslim society. Even Timur protected the life of Sayyids during his invasion of India.
  • The other options like Arab merchants, Qalandars, and Persian calligraphists were not known as ‘Kulah Daran’.

Learn more

  • The religious classes in medieval India included:
    • Theologians (ulema) also known as Dastar-bandan
    • Ascetics like sufis, faqirs etc
    • Sayyids who claimed foreign origin and descent from the Prophet
    • Pirs and their descendants who were local holy men
  • The Sayyids were influential and commanded respect due to their lineage.
  • They were appointed to high offices and exempted from punishments like other Muslims.
  • The term ‘Kulah Daran’ comes from the conical cap or kulah worn by them as a mark of distinction.

So in summary, the Sayyids who wore the kulah or conical cap were known as ‘Kulah Daran’ in medieval Indian history

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