The Mughal emperor Jahangir celebrating Holi with ladies of the zenana.
The Mughal emperor Jahangir celebrating Holi with ladies of the zenana.
"Surahi" written in Samrup Rachna calligraphy used to write the Hindustani language, the lingua franca of the northern Indian subcontinent.
"Surahi" written in Samrup Rachna calligraphy used to write the Hindustani language, the lingua franca of the northern Indian subcontinent.

Ganga–Jamuni Tehzeeb (Hindustani for GangesYamuna Culture), also spelled as Ganga-Jamni Tehzeeb, is the culture of the central plains of northern India,[1][2] especially the doab region of Ganges (Ganga) and Yamuna rivers, that is a syncretic fusion of Hindu cultural elements with Muslim religious elements.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, a poetic Awadhi phrase for a distinctive and syncretic Hindu-Muslim culture, is reflected in the fused spiritual connotations, forms, symbols, aesthetics, crafts and weaves, for example Kashmiri Muslim carpet makers feature Durga in their patterns, Muslim sculptors making idols of Durga, and Hindu craftsmen create the Muharram tazia.[9][8][10] This religious syncretism and multi-communitarianism is a result of centuries of interfaith exchange and accommodation among Indian religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism) and foreign origin religions (Muslim and Christian) where in India communities preserve own cultural and religious identities while facilitating the shared celebration of festivals, customs and traditions.[10] The shared Indian national identity is separated from the personal religious identity where nation and common social good comes first above the personal religion.[10]

Various iconic people of several religions related to the Bhakti movement, a medieval initiative for the revival and recontextualisation of ancient Vedic traditions,[11] are example of this tehzeeb.


Ganga-Jamuni is a Hindustani term that means, literally, "mixed," "composite," "alloy,"[12][13][14]; Tehzeeb is an Urdu term (from Arabic: تہذيب tahẕīb) meaning civilization, culture, politeness, or progress/development.[15]

Revolutionary role of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb movement

Bulleh Shah, Eknath, Tukaram, were some of the prominent contributors of Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb movement. One of the best examples of syncretic faith is captured in one of Kabir's doha (verse), "some chant Allah, some chant Ram, Kabir is a worshiper of true love and hence reveres both."[1][failed verification]

Devanagari Nastaliq Roman Translation
कोई जपे रहीम रहीम

कोई जपे है राम

दास कबीर है प्रेम पुजारी

दोनों को परनाम

کوئی جپے رحیم رحیم

کوئی جپے ہے رام

داس کبیر ہے پریم پجاری

دونوں کو پرنام

Koi jape rahim rahim

Koi jape hai ram

Das Kabir hai prem pujari

Dono ko parnaam

Some chant O Merciful [Allah]

Some chant Ram

Kabir is a worshiper of true love

And reveres them both

Regional practices


Nawabs of Awadh were fore-runners of this culture. [16] The region of Awadh in the state of Uttar Pradesh is usually considered to be the center of this culture.[17][18] Allahabad, Lucknow, Kanpur,[19][20][21] Faizabad-Ayodhya,[18][22] and Varanasi (Benares)[23][24] are a few of the many centers of this culture.

In Lucknow, one prominent example of this culture is that not only Shias but also Sunni Muslims and Hindus participate, both historically and today, in the mourning and religious customs during the Islamic month of Muharram.[25][26] The Hindu festival of Basant and Persian tradition of Nowruz were also patronized by the Shia rulers of Awadh.[27]

Another is the linguistic traditions of the region. The norms and etiquette Lakhnawi Urdu are said to reflect the cultural commitment to syncretism in the city,[28] while the local idioms of Urdu and Awadhi were used by both Hindu and Muslim writers to create devotional literature, poetry, and music.[29]


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Delhi was the one which laid foundations for Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb which reached its prominence in era of Amir Khusrau. Delhi has also historically been a prime example of the Ganga-Jamuna Tahzeeb; with its iconic Khariboli dialect and being one of the literally centers of the Urdu language, there have been numerous poets such as Amir Khusrow, Mir Taqi Mir, Ghalib, Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq, Daagh Dehlvi, Nida Fazli and many others. Delhi has also contributed to the music of the region, being the birthplace of Qawwali and the Delhi Gharana.


Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana in south-central part of the India, is also a big example of communal harmony where the local Telugu Hindus and Hyderabadi Muslims live with peace and brotherhood, where Hindu temples serve the dry dates fruits to mosques for Iftar Muslim festival.[30][31]

See also


  1. ^ a b Chari, Pushpa (28 July 2018). "Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb: Syncretic ethos in weaves and crafts". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  2. ^ Shaban, Abdul (10 January 2018). Lives of Muslims in India: Politics, Exclusion and Violence. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781351227605.
  3. ^ Dhulipala, Venkat (2000). The Politics of Secularism: Medieval Indian Historiography and the Sufis. University of Wisconsin–Madison. p. 27. The composite culture of northern India, known as the Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb was a product of the interaction between Hindu society and Islam.
  4. ^ Āzād Hindūstān, māz̤ī aur mustaqbil: rūdād aur maqāle, qaumī simīnār, munʻaqidah Jāmiʻah Hamdard, Naʼī Dihlī, 29-31 Agast 1998. Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Library. 2000. p. 60. During their political rule, over a period of about 1000 years, both Hindus and Muslims lived together, shared each other's culture and gave rise to the emergence of a new type of Hindu-Muslim culture (Ganga-Jamuni Tahzib).
  5. ^ Oesterheld, Christina (1996), "Deconstructing" a 'Deconstructionist' Urdu Story: "Ek Kahani, Gangaa Jamni" by Kaisar Tamkeen", Annual of Urdu Studies, University of Wisconsin Press, 11 Quote: " Ganga-Jamni may be translated as “two-colored” or “mixed” and is often used as an attribute of the composite north Indian culture, especially Indo-Muslim culture."
  6. ^ Steven Wesley Ramey (15 September 2008), Hindu, Sufi, or Sikh: contested practices and identifications of Sindhi Hindus in India and beyond, Macmillan, 2008, ISBN 978-0-230-60832-0, ... the continuing joint Muslim and Hindu participation in public festivals, relating it to "Ganga-Jamun Tahzeeb," the attitude of refined hospitality and harmonious relations that historically characterized this region ...
  7. ^ Socialist Party (India) (2007), Janata, Volume 62, ... the ganga-jamuni tehzeeb (composite culture) regarded both religious communities as two eyes of a beautiful bride and their long history witnessed 'give-and-take', at many levels ...
  8. ^ a b Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb: Syncretic ethos in weaves and crafts, The Hindu, 18 July 2018.
  9. ^ Tripathi, Priyanka; Das, Chhandita (2020). "Decoding the Postcolonial Geo-Linguistic Sangam in Allahabad: A Study of Neelum Saran Gour's Requiem in Raga Janki". The IUP Journal of English Studies. IUP. XV (3): 6. Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb” is a poetic Awadhi phrase that implies the distinct and syncretic fusion of Hindu-Muslim culture and it is primarily the ethics of central plains in North India.
  10. ^ a b c Understanding Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb: How diverse is the "Indian multiculturalism", Daily News and Analysis, 15 June 2014.
  11. ^ Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 15-16
  12. ^ McGregor, R. S. (1993), "गंगा-जमनी = mixed, composite, of whitish grey colour, made of alloy, an alloy", Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, p. 248
  13. ^ Chaturvedi, Mahendra (1970), "गंगा-जमुनी = made up of two colours or two metals (like gold and silver)", A Practical Hindi-English Dictionary, Delhi: National Publishing House
  14. ^ Dasa, Syamasundara (1965–1975), Hindi sabdasagara, Navina samskarana (in Hindi), Kasi: Nagari Pracarini Sabha, गंगाजमुनी (p. 1190) गंगाजमुनी— वि० [हिं० गंगा + जमुना] १. मिलाजुला । संकर । दो- रंगा । २. सोने चाँदी, पीतल ताँबे आदि दो धातुओं का बना हुआ । सुनहले रूपहले तारों का बना हुआ । जिसपर सोने चाँदी दोनों का काम हो । ३. काला उजला । स्याह सफेद । अबलक ; 2) गंगाजमुनी (p. 1190) गंगाजमुनी २— संज्ञा स्त्री० १. कान का एक गहना । २. वह दाल जिसमें अरहर और उर्द की दाल मिली हो । केवटी दाल । ३. जरतारी का ऐसा काम जिसमें सुनहले और रुपहले दोनों रंग के तार हों । ४. अफीम मिली हुई भाँग । अफीम से युक्त भाँग की सरदाई (बनारस)
  15. ^ "Meaning of tahzib in English". Rekhta Dictionary. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  16. ^ Descendants of Nawabs keep Holi traditions alive, The Indian Express, Tue 10 March 2009, 15:35 hrs
  17. ^ Malika Mohammada (2007), The foundations of the composite culture in India, Aakar Books, 2007, ISBN 978-81-89833-18-3, ... developed in Awadh as a genre of composite creativity. ... of multiple Indian cultural traditions and provided glimpses of the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb of north India with Lucknow as its centre ...
  18. ^ a b Plaint Of Ayodhya, The Financial Express, Sunday, 22 August 2004 at 0000 hrs IST
  19. ^ "Hindus form human chain around Muslim baraat in violence-hit Kanpur, escort them to safety | Kanpur News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  20. ^ Festival has origin in city's composite culture, TNN, 13 May 2009, 06.52am IST
  21. ^ Karbala revisited Archived 11 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Express News Service, Saturday , 12 February 2005
  22. ^ Twin towns welcome verdict with humility, grace, Deccan Chronicle, 1 October 2010
  23. ^ An apt reflection of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, Naveen Kumar, TNN, 25 September 2009, 10.09pm IST
  24. ^ Stories behind the masks, Shailaja Tripathi, NEW DELHI, 4 November 2010, The Hindu
  25. ^ Faruqi, Shamsur Rahman (2017). Introduction to: Awadh Symphony: Notes on a Cultural Interlude. New Delhi: Rupa Publishing. pp. xv. ISBN 978-81-291-4650-2. OCLC 993125025.
  26. ^ Aslam, Mahmud (2017). Awadh Symphony: Notes on a Cultural Interlude. New Delhi: Rupa Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-291-4650-2. OCLC 993125025.
  27. ^ Aslam, Mahmud (2017). Awadh Symphony: Notes on a Cultural Interlude. New Delhi: Rupa Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 978-81-291-4650-2. OCLC 993125025.
  28. ^ Aslam, Mahmud (2017). Awadh Symphony: Notes on a Cultural Interlude. New Delhi: Rupa Publishing. pp. 25–6. ISBN 978-81-291-4650-2. OCLC 993125025.
  29. ^ Aslam, Mahmud (2017). Awadh Symphony: Notes on a Cultural Interlude. New Delhi: Rupa Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-81-291-4650-2. OCLC 993125025.
  30. ^ minhaz, ayesha (16 July 2015). "Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb helps maintain peace". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
  31. ^ "Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb: Temple serving Iftar Dates to 5 Mosques in Hyderabad". Retrieved 24 December 2019.