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A Voyage to Modernism: Syed Ahmed Khan

 
Mushirul Hasan (Editor) Nishat Zaidi (Editor)
Synopsis

The nature of Muslim knowledge concerning the West through travel accounts makes for fascinating reading. The eighteenth-century encounters of Munshi Ihtisamuddin and Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, embedded in their travelogues, however, seem very distant and less urgent. With Syed Ahmed, however, begins an entirely new phase with his interplay between Muslims and the West, on the one hand, and between Islam and Christianity, on the other. Even though his portrait of England is sometimes facile, his account of his travels opens the door to new questions, particularly because this was the period when the relations between Europeans and Indians were at the centre of many debates. Consequently, passages in the Musafiran-i Landan introducing 'Europe' and 'England' are historically important enough to merit attention, since they are not used merely as fulsome descriptions of Western society's advances, but also contain the germ of the justification for an Anglo-Muslim rapprochement. This makes the Musafiran-i Landan an important source for the construction of the history of an era.

Its English translation, the first ever to be undertaken in full, makes it accessible to those who have no knowledge of Urdu. Although several accounts of 'India and West' are available, A Voyage to Modernism is of special significance. Set apart from his later endeavours like the Tahzibul Akhlaq and Asar-al Sanadid, it is the Syed's impressions caught in A Voyage to Modernism that mattered to all those who knew anything about his standing in public life and his stature as an enlightened reformer in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. This eminently readable translation is enriched by editorial interventions by translators and editors of the work, and supported by rare archival photographs.

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About the author

Mushirul Hasan

Mushirul Hasan, renowned historian and scholar, has authored Legacy of a Divided Nation: India’s Muslims Since Independence (1997); John Company to the Republic: A Story of Modern India (2001); Islam in the Subcontinent: Muslims in a Plural Society (2002); From Pluralism to Separatism: Qasbas in Colonial Awadh (2003); A Moral Reckoning; Muslim Intellectuals in Nineteenth-century Delhi (2004); The Nehrus: Personal Histories (2006); Partners in Freedom: Jamia Millia Islamia (Niyogi Books 2006) and Wit and Humour in Colonial North India (Niyogi Books, 2007).

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Bibliographic information

Title A Voyage to Modernism: Syed Ahmed Khan
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.2011
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Primus Books
Language: English
isbn 9789380607078
length lvi+208p.