Tag Archives: India

Indian storytelling and the romance genre in Persian and Urdu

Khan, Pasha M. 2019. The broken spell: Indian storytelling and the romance genre in Persian and Urdu (Series in Fairy-Tale Studies). Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

The Broken Spell: Indian Storytelling and the Romance Genre in Persian and Urdu is a monograph on the rise and fall in popularity of “romances” (qissah)—tales of wonder and magic told by storytellers at princely courts and in public spaces in India from the sixteenth century to the twentieth. Using literary genre theory, author Pasha M. Khan points to the worldviews underlying the popularity of Urdu and Persian romances, before pre-existing Islamicate rationalist traditions gained traction and Western colonialism came to prominence in India.

In the introduction, Khan explains that it was around the end of the nineteenth century that these marvelous tales became devalued by Orientalists and intellectually colonized Indian elites, while at the same time a new genre, the novel, gained legitimacy. Khan goes on to narrate the life histories of professional storytellers, many of them émigrés from Iran to Mughal-ruled India, and considers how they raised their own worth and that of the romance in the face of changes in the economics, culture, and patronage of India. Khan shows the methods whereby such storytellers performed and how they promoted themselves and their art. The dividing line between marvelous tales and history is examined, showing how and why the boundary was porous. The study historicizes the Western understanding of the qissah as a local manifestation of a worldwide romance genre, showing that this genre equation had profound ideological effects. The book’s appendix contains a translation of an important text for understanding Iranian and Indian storytelling methods: the unpublished introductory portions to Fakhr al-Zamani’s manual for storytellers.

Persianate Art, Culture, and Talent in Circulation

Overton, Keelan (ed.). 2020. Iran and the Deccan: Persianate art, culture, and talent in circulation, 1400-1700. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

In the early 1400s, Iranian elites began migrating to the Deccan plateau of southern India. Lured to the region for many reasons, these poets, traders, statesmen, and artists of all kinds left an indelible mark on the Islamic sultanates that ruled the Deccan until the late seventeenth century. The result was the creation of a robust transregional Persianate network linking such distant cities as Bidar and Shiraz, Bijapur and Isfahan, and Golconda and Mashhad.

Iran and the Deccan explores the circulation of art, culture, and talent between Iran and the Deccan over a three-hundred-year period. Its interdisciplinary contributions consider the factors that prompted migration, the physical and intellectual poles of connectivity between the two regions, and processes of adaptation and response. Placing the Deccan at the center of Indo-Persian and early modern global history, Iran and the Deccan reveals how mobility, liminality, and cultural translation nuance the traditional methods and boundaries of the humanities.

Contents

Continue reading Persianate Art, Culture, and Talent in Circulation

Dadabhai Naoroji and Indian nationalism

Patel, Dinyar. 2020. Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The definitive biography of Dadabhai Naoroji, the nineteenth-century activist who founded the Indian National Congress, was the first British MP of Indian origin, and inspired Gandhi and Nehru.
Mahatma Gandhi called Dadabhai Naoroji the “father of the nation,” a title that today is reserved for Gandhi himself. Dinyar Patel examines the extraordinary life of this foundational figure in India’s modern political history, a devastating critic of British colonialism who served in Parliament as the first-ever Indian MP, forged ties with anti-imperialists around the world, and established self-rule or swaraj as India’s objective.
Naoroji’s political career evolved in three distinct phases. He began as the activist who formulated the “drain of wealth” theory, which held the British Raj responsible for India’s crippling poverty and devastating famines. His ideas upended conventional wisdom holding that colonialism was beneficial for Indian subjects and put a generation of imperial officials on the defensive. Next, he attempted to influence the British Parliament to institute political reforms. He immersed himself in British politics, forging links with socialists, Irish home rulers, suffragists, and critics of empire. With these allies, Naoroji clinched his landmark election to the House of Commons in 1892, an event noticed by colonial subjects around the world. Finally, in his twilight years he grew disillusioned with parliamentary politics and became more radical. He strengthened his ties with British and European socialists, reached out to American anti-imperialists and Progressives, and fully enunciated his demand for swaraj. Only self-rule, he declared, could remedy the economic ills brought about by British control in India.
Naoroji is the first comprehensive study of the most significant Indian nationalist leader before Gandhi.

Naoroji | HUP

Dinyar Patel is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina.

Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism

Kassam, Zayn R., Yudit Kornberg Greenberg & Jehan Bagli (eds.). 2018. Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism (Encyclopedia of Indian Religions 15157). New York, NY: Springer.

The earlier volume in this series dealt with two religions of Indian origin, namely, Buddhism and Jainism. The Indian religious scene, however, is characterized by not only religions which originated in India but also by religions which entered India from outside India and made their home here. Thus religious life in India has been enlivened throughout its history by the presence of religions of foreign origin on its soil almost from the very time they came into existence. This volume covers three such religions—Zoraoastrianism, Judaism, and Islam . In the case of Zoraostianism, even its very  beginnings  are intertwined with India, as Zoroastrianism reformed a preexisting religion which had strong links to the Vedic heritage of India. This relationship took on a new dimension when a Zoroastrian community, fearing persecution in Persia after its Arab conquest, sought shelter in western India and ultimately went on to produce India’s pioneering nationalist in the figure of Dadabhai Naoroji ( 1825-1917), also known as the Grand Old Man of India. Jews found refuge in south India after the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E. and have remained a part of the Indian religious scene since then, some even returning to Israel after it was founded in 1948. Islam arrived in Kerala as soon as it was founded and one of the earliest mosques in the history of Islam is found in India. Islam differs from the previously mentioned religions inasmuch as it went on to gain political hegemony over parts of the country for considerable periods of time, which meant that its impact on the religious life of the subcontinent has been greater compared to the other religions. It has also meant that Islam has existed in a religiously plural environment in India for a longer period than elsewhere in the world so that not only has Islam left a mark on India, India has also left its mark on it. Indeed all the three religions covered in this volume share this dual feature, that they have profoundly influenced Indian religious life and have also in turn been profoundly influenced by their presence in India.

Beyond Hindu–Muslim unity

Patel, Dinyar. 2018. Beyond Hindu–Muslim unity: Gandhi, the Parsis and the Prince of Wales Riots of 1921. The Indian Economic and Social History Review 55(2). 221–247.

Between 17 and 20 November 1921, Bombay was convulsed by the Prince of Wales Riots, which coincided with the arrival of the future King Edward VIII in the city. The riots constituted an extremely important moment in the Non-Cooperation Movement, the political transformation of  Bombay and the development of M.K. Gandhi’s political thought. Additionally, the riots upturned  familiar notions of communalism: angry at repeated violations of a hartal Gandhi declared  for the day of the Prince’s arrival, Muslim and Hindu supporters of the Non-Cooperation and  Khilafat movements joined together to attack supposedly loyalist minorities, especially Parsis. Herein lay the riots’ broader significance. During the Non-Cooperation Movement, Gandhi had been keen to recruit the active support of the Parsi community. He was well aware of their financial and political clout and their leadership roles in liberal nationalist circles. Most Parsis, however, expressed strong reservations about Gandhi’s tactics, believing that a mass political movement under the banner of ‘Hindu–Muslim unity’ would be injurious to smaller minority communities. The riots, therefore, confirmed Parsis’ worst fears about Gandhi’s politics and their majoritarian implications. Gandhi, for his part, worked tirelessly to repair his relation- ships with the Parsis and reassure them of the Congress’ commitments towards minority rights. He reconsidered how smaller communities fit into India’s communal dynamics. By December 1921, Gandhi even unfurled a new slogan that was used towards the end of the Non-Cooperation  Movement: ‘Hindu–Muslim–Sikh–Parsi–Christian–Jew unity’.

ره‌آورد هند

صادق هدایت. ۱۳۹۶. ره‌آورد هند: برگردان هفت متنِ پهلوی به فارسی. تهران: کتاب کوله پشتی. به‌کوشش: خسرو كيانراد.

سفر صادق هدایت به هند و اقامتش در بمبئی که حدود یک سال (١٣١٥-١٣١٦خ.) به طول انجامید، به‌جز انتشار رمان «بوفکور» دستاورد دیگری نیز برای او به‌همراه داشت و آن فراگیری زبان و خط پهلوی و ترجمه‌ی چند متن از پهلوی به فارسی بود. برخی از این متون در هند و برخی در بازگشت به ایران ترجمه و در قالب کتاب‌ها و مقالات پراکنده‌ای منتشر شدند. چندی از این ترجمه‌ها امروزه نایابند و در دسترس نیستند. از آنجا که سال‌های زیادی از ترجمه‌های هدایت می‌گذرد و در این مدت دانشمندان و زبان‌شناسان دیگری هم به سراغ این متون رفته‌اند، در مقدمه‌ی کتاب حاضر ضمن اشاره به دیگر ترجمه‌ها و پژوهش‌های صورت گرفته، خوانش هدایت در برخی موارد ازجمله اصطلاحات، اسامی خاص جغرافیایی و اشخاص مورد بررسی قرارگرفته و گاه پیشنهادهایی مطرح شده است.
عناوین این متون که در کتاب حاضر برای نخستین‌بار به‌صورت یک‌جا و در مجموعه‌ای مستقل گردآمده‌اند عبارتند از: «گجسته ابالیش»، «زندِ وهومن‌یسن»، «شهرستان‌های ایران»، «کارنامه‌ی اردشیرِپاپکان»، «گزارش گمان‌شکن»، «یادگار جاماسپ»، «آمدن شاه بهرامِ ورجاوند».

Hedayat, Sadeq. 2018. Rahāvard-e Hend. Edited by Khosro Kiyanrad. Tehran: Ketab-e KoolehPoshti.

Continue reading ره‌آورد هند

India and Iran in the Longue Durée

Patel, Alka & Touraj Daryaee (eds.). 2017. India and Iran in the Longue Durée. UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies.

This book is the result of a conference held at the University of California, Irvine, covering the contacts between Iran and India from antiquity to the modern period. The papers include historical, archeological and artistic aspects and influences between the two civiluzations.

Table of Contents:

  • Alka Patel & Touraj Daryaee: India and Iran in the Longue Durée
  • Osmund Bopearachchi: Achaemenids and Mauryans: Emergence of Coins and Plastic Arts in India
  • Grant Parker: Nested Histories:Alexander in Iran and India
  • Touraj Daryaee & Soodabeh Malekzadeh: The White Elephant: Notions of Kingship and Zoroastrian Demonology
  • Frantz Grenet: In Search of Missing Links: Iranian Royal Protocol from the Achaemenids to the Mughals
  • Ali Anooshahr: The Shaykh and the Shah: On the Five levels of Muhammad Ghaws Gwaliori
  • Sudipta Sen: Historian as Witness: Ghulam Husain Tabatabi and the Dawning of British Rule in India
  • Afshin Marashi: Parsi Textual Philianthropy: Print Commerce and the Revival of Zoroastrianism in Early 20th-Century Iran
  • Alka Patel: Text as Nationalist Object: Modern Persian-Language Historiography on the Ghurids (c. 1150-1215)

The Hidden Face of Surat

the-hidden-suratThe Hidden Face of Surat: Exploring the History of a Cosmopolitan Centre, 1540-1750

Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Distinguished Professor and Irving & Jean Stone Chair in Social Sciences, UCLA

The Second JESHO Lecture on Asian History, organised by Brill Academic Publishers and Institute of Iranian Studies (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

03.11.2016, 18:00
Aula at the Campus (court 1.11), University of Vienna
Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Wien

The great port of Surat in western India dominated accounts of Indian Ocean trade between the late sixteenth and mid eighteenth century. Consolidated first by an Ottoman notable, it became the Mughal Empire’s western window into the worlds of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. In this lecture, I explore Surat’s other, less visible, aspect: namely as an intellectual centre, that brought together diverse and sometimes competing traditions. In turn, we shall see how this vibrant intellectual life was tied up both to certain structures of politics, and to commercial exchange at various scales.

Programm (PDF)

Sanjay Subrahmanyam is Professor and Irving and Jean Stone Endowed Chair in Social Sciences at UCLA. He taught at Paris from 1995 to 2002 as Directeur d’études in the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, holding a position on the economic and social history of early modern India and the Indian Ocean world. In 2002, Subrahmanyam was appointed as the first holder of the newly created Chair in Indian History and Culture at the University of Oxford, a position he held for two years before moving to a chair in UCLA. From July 2005 to June 2011, he served as founding Director of UCLA’s Center for India and South Asia. In 2013, Sanjay Subrahmanyam was elected to a Chair in Early Modern Global History at the Collège de France in Paris. He is the author of The Career and Legend of Vasco de Gama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Three Ways to be Alien: Travails and Encounters in Modern Eurasia (Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press, 2011; Courtly Encounters: Translating Courtliness and Violence in Early Modern Eurasia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012).

Convenor
Paolo Sartori, Institute of Iranian Studies, Editor–in-Chief of JESHO
Hollandstrasse 11−13, 1020 Vienna
T: +43 1 51581-6516
paolo.sartori@oeaw.ac.at