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Beyond the Chronicles- Recovering' Histories of the Institutions and Families (Persian Documents in India, 17th-19th C.)

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Item Code: UBE269
Author: Saiyid Zaheer Husain Jafri
Publisher: Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2021
ISBN: 9788121220170
Pages: 216
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 370 gm
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Book Description

About The Book

The chapters are based on a study of the official archival records from the period of Mughal rulers and Nawab-Wazirs and the correspondences of the Mughal officials with the Portuguese authorities at Goa during 1700-1701. The chapters explore the facets of the administration at the local level and of the families enjoying hereditary village rights like the office of the Chaudhary, Muqaddam and Qanungo. They explore the tripartite relationship of the land grantees with the Mughal royalty and bureaucracy.

Few chapters specifically deal with the long term relationship of the eccleciastical institutions with the State and cover their changing fortunes under the different regimes. Moreover, the official documents from the Mughal and Nawabi times from the Sufi family of Salon are brought out for the first time including the Persian texts especially the documents from the Nawabi period that provide new interesting facts about the policies of resumption of A'imma grants pushed forward by the Nawab Wazirs.

Thus, the book brings to focus the family papers spanning for a period of more than two centuries from the family of the Qazis of sarkar Sambhal (Delhi); the official papers of the family of the Qanungo from sarkar Chanderi (Malwa) and sarkar Khairabad (Awadh); and the papers from the family of the herediatary Chaudhary from Sarkar Kooch Bihar (Bengal). By exploring the rich collection of the Persian archival data at the National Archives of India, New Delhi and at other repositories, the book is an important complement [and corrective] to much of the current historical writings on the subject.

About the Author

Saiyid Zaheer Husain Jafri. Professor, Department of History. University of Delhi, is known for his researches on numerous aspects of pre-colonial Awadh and Upper Gangetic Valley. His works include Delhi and Awadh during 1857 Studies, Images, and Documents (2020). Awadh: From Mughal to Colonial Rule, (1998; revd. edn., 2016) and co-edited, The Great Uprising of 1857: Studies, Commentaries and Documents (2009). and The Islamic Path: Sufism, Politics and Society in India (2006). He has also compiled. for the Indian History Congress, Recording the Progress of Indian History: Sympona Papers of the Indian History Congress 1992-2010 (2012) and History, Ideas and Society: S.C. Mishra Memorial Lectures in History (2014). His other works include Al Ghars al Wahdi fi Rasa'il al Shaikh Naim bin al Mahdi in Arabic (2016). Masnad-e Faqr-o Irshad: Tareekh Khanwada-e Karimia Nacemia Salon (2003), Ahd-e Wusta ka Hindustan: Tasawwuf, Adab Aur Muslim Thaqafar (2008) in Urdu and Awadh ki ek Sufi Sanitha Khangah-e karimia Salon (2016) in Hindi.

His present research interests encompass documenting the histories of Sufi institutions, the Great Uprising of 1857, transmission of knowledge and colonial impact on the Indo-Muslim institutions of learning and waqf.

Front Cover: The facsimile of the farman of Emperor Aurangzeb issued in AD 1676 to Shaikh Pir Muhammad of Salon conferring on him the land grant as 'an offering for his servants' (dar wah- nazr-i khadiman....Shaikh.....].

The author of this work is in the 10th line of descent from the great Shaikh.


"The dissemination of knowledge in the Islamic East' was mainly organized by the individuals; it was the high academic status and stature of the Sheikh, based on his familial connections that attracted the seekers of knowledge around him. These 'circles' around the person of the Sheikh ultimately emerged as the centers of learning. The State and even the civil society took care of their needs and provided financial resources for meeting out their expenses. That is how the knowledge and education grew in the Muslim societies. The State sponsored institutions of education were also there but change of regime and the lack of official patronage often led to their demise. We hear of the Madrasas established by Nizam ul Mulk Tusi, the famous Saljuq prime minister, Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq and Mughal emperor Shahjahan, but these State sponsored ventures have not survived beyond few generations. While the institutions around individuals with the full backing of the civil society continued and often multiplied almost uninterrupted. Hence, there is a close connection between the centers for the dissemination of knowledge and creation of the numerous Awqaf in the Muslim Societies.

The institution of the Waqf emerged as the most crucial social institution throughout the Islamic East. The creation of innumerable endowments for the upkeep of the three holiest Masjids of Islam (the holy Ka'aba; Prophet's Mosque at the holy city of Medina and al-Aqsa mosque at Jerusalem) the and for upkeep of the holy shrines of Najaf, Karbala and Mashhad are in fact so numerous that even one would lose its actual count. Apart from these holiest religious places, there are thousands and thousands of institutions which have enjoyed endowments in the past millennium. The holders and keepers of these revenue free grants have always in the then contemporaneous world enjoyed respect; they also discharged their obligations towards society by promoting knowledge, disseminating education and discharging of other social obligations. Recently some studies on waqf have been undertaken to highlight this aspect in a remarkable manner. Professor R.D. MacChesney's Waqf in Central Asia: Four Hundred years in the History of a Muslim Shrine, 1480-1889 [Princeton, 1991]; Professor Toru Miura's, "Dynamism in the Urban Society of Damascus, The Salihiyya Quarter from the Twelfth to the Twentieth Centuries [Brill, 2015], and her edited volume, Comparative Study of the Waqf from the East; Dynamism of Norm and Practices in Religious and Familial Donations [Tokyo, 2018] are the important and detailed studies of the subject in the recent decades. In fact, these studies have opened up window for undertaking the institutional histories of the Waqf in other parts in the Islamic East. A series of the waqf conferences are being organized at the various Universities to study the subject historically. The legal and the social implications of the subject are the important aspects which are highlighted in these conferences. Hopefully, in the coming years more studies on the subject are likely to come up.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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