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Bringing together the writings of eminent historians, Exploring Medieval India, volumes I and II, delve into the many interpretations, perspectives and complexities of Indian history across the sixteenth to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
This volume comprises three broad thematic divisions: political consolidation and the methods of legitimising rule; agrarian and commercial trends; and religious trends and social movements. A critical introduction places the essays in perspective and provides a broad framework for the study of Indian history.
Section one begins with a discussion of the evolution of the numerous political meanings of shari’a in India. Focussing on diplomacy and diplomatic procedures under the Mughals, this section presents process of social mobilisation wherein an Ethiopian slave called ‘Chapu’ becomes the Malik Ambar of Ahmednagar. Section two on agrarian and commercial trends focuses on conformity and conflicts between the tribes and the Mughal agrarian system, foreign merchants in western Indian sea ports, conflicts and cooperation among European traders, and a comparative discussion of forest people and policies of the Mughals and the East India Company. The third section on religion, social movements and disputes discusses Naqshbandi mysticism under Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, the rasa mandala of the Gaudiya Vaishnava emanating from the mystical movement led by Chaitanya, Aurangzeb’s religious policy and Mosque-Temple disputes in a late eighteenth century chronicle. It further attempts a comprehensive reading of a series of political and ideological currents underpinning empire-building strategies over a major part of Eurasia in the sixteenth century.
This volume will be essential reading for both students and scholars of Medieval Indian History, regional political patterns, agrarian relations, movements and uprisings during this period.
Meena Bhargava is Associate Professor at the Department of History, Indraprastha College, University of Delhi.
List of Figures, Map and Chart
SECTION ONE: LEGITIMACY, AUTHORITY, CONSOLIDATION
1. Shari‘a, Akhlaq and Governance
2. Diplomacy and Diplomatic Procedure under the Mughals
N. R. Farooqi
3. Malik Ambar (1548–1626): The Rise And Fall Of Military Slavery
Richard M. Eaton
4. Robes of Honour: A ‘Transactional’ Kingly Ceremony
5. Akbar’s Initial Encounters with the Chiefs: Accident vs. Design in the Process of Subjugation
Ahsan Raza Khan
6. The Formulation of Imperial Authority under Akbar and Jahangir
John F. Richards
SECTION TWO: AGRARIAN AND COMMERCIAL TRENDS
7. Thoughts on Agrarian Relations in Mughal India
S. Nurul Hasan
8. Conformity and Conflict Tribes and the ‘Agrarian System’ of Mughal India
9. Forests, People and State: Continuities and Changes
10. Brokers in Western Indian Port Cities: Their Role in Servicing Foreign Merchants
M. N. Pearson
11. Cooperation and Conflict among European Traders in the Indian Ocean in the Late Eighteenth Century
SECTION THREE: RELIGION, MOVEMENTS, DISPUTES
12. Akbar’s Personality Traits and World Outlook: A Critical Reappraisal
Iqtidar Alam Khan
13. Turning the Stones Over: Sixteenth-Century Millenarianism from the Tagus to the Ganges
14. Formation of Naqshbandi Mysticism: Studying the Major Writings of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi
15. Krishna’s Dance and Devotion in the Temples of Seventeenth-Century Bengal
16. Religious Policy of Aurangzeb during the Later Part of His Reign: Some Considerations
17. Mosques, Temples and Fields of Disputations in a Late Eighteenth-century Chronicle
Notes on Contributors