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The Languages of Political Islam in India: 1200-1800

Muzaffar Alam (Author)
Synopsis This book shows the ways in which political Islam, from its establishment in medieval north India, adapted itself to a variety of indigenous contexts and became deeply Indianized. This process, by which preexistent Arabo-Persian traditions were molded to new Indian contexts, involved changes in the manner in which Islamic rule was conceived and conducted in the subcontinent. It became gradually apparent to the conquering Muslim sultans (and Later to their successors, the Mughals), as well as to medieval thinkers and writers of treatises on Islamic morality, theology, and political doctrine, that the conduct of Islamic statecraft in a country comprising mostly Hindus entailed shifts in Islam's conceptual and institutional vocabulary. Islamic rulers could not command a vast country without accepting certain cultural limitations to the exercise of their power. In this process of acculturation, political Islam in India was forced to reinvent itself as a doctrine of rule. From this stemmed a second change: a shift in the meanings of key Islamic terms, especially those pertaining to statehood, and in relations between rulers and subject populations. Through a close reading of a variety of texts, Muzaffar Alam shows that the vocabularies in use went through certain changes so fundamental that the language of Indian Islam became quite different from what was in vogue in contexts outside. With its profound deployment of primary and secondary sources to study Indo-Muslim statecraft vis-à-vis Islamic theocratic languages over an eight-hundred-year stretch, this book provides major insights into the changing nature of political Islam in India.
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About the author

Muzaffar Alam

MUZAFFAR ALAM is George V. Bobrinskoy Professor in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India and The Languages of Political Islam in India: c. 1200–1800.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Languages of Political Islam in India: 1200-1800
Author Muzaffar Alam
Format Softcover
Date published: 15.06.2008
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 9788178242231
length 244p.