Calendar of Persian Correspondence With and Introduction by Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Volume V: 1776-1780 by Muzaffar AlamCalendar of Persian Correspondence With and Introduction by Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Volume V: 1776-1780 by Muzaffar Alam

Calendar of Persian Correspondence With and Introduction by Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam…

byMuzaffar Alam, Sanjay Subrahmanyam

Hardcover | November 5, 2013

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The year 1911 saw the publication of the first volume of the Calendar of Persian Correspondence, arguably the most significant publication of the period of the Imperial Record Department that had been founded in 1891, under G.W. Forrest. One of Forrest's eventual successors was C.R. Wilson, who conceived a 'brilliant scheme, that of calendaring the entire series of Persian records . . . '. These records were a part of the very large corpus of 'ancient papers' of the East India Company that had long been held in 'various secretariat offices at Calcutta'. They included some 26,000 bound volumes, as well as 1.5 million unbound documents, making up a total of roughly 18 million folios of Company-related papers in various languages. The Calendar was to present to the public a summary version of merely a part of these, namely the Persian-language 'letters which passed between some of the [East India] Company's Servants and Indian Rulers and Notables', commencing in 1759. Though initially concerned mainly with the 'Affairs in Bengal', the series-of which the first five volumes, covering the years to 1780, had appeared by 1930- eventually came to take into account other parts of India as well. The series was concerned therefore with the first phase of indirect rule by the British in India, that mediated by the East India Company. It was a phase for which a vast quantity of English-language records obviously existed as well, and these records had been extensively used by historians of the Company from the 1760s onwards. Since the Company's history from that time had been plagued not only by bitter factional infighting amongst its servants, but by quarrels with Parliament, even such records did not speak in unison. The early scandals surrounding Robert Clive, Henry Vansittart, It may also be noted that a particular difficulty: as pointed out by E. Denison Ross in his preface, the early part of the Calendar 'is based entirely on documents written in the English language', whose originals have been lost. He adds that 'the earliest documents in Persian date from 1766 and these are copies: the earliest originals date from 1778'. Still, in order to allow the reader some of the flavour of these materials, we present our own translations of some letters from the period, followed by the Persian texts. of course, the volumes themselves were conceived to serve a more or less explicit teleology, in which contemporary colonial rule was the inevitable historical result of these processes. Admittedly, after the end of colonial rule and in light of the advances in South Asian historiography, such a teleology is untenable on both political and intellectual grounds. Yet, by its very nature, this collection invites the historian of South Asia to reconsider questions of long-standing historiographical concern, many of which were intertwined with the colonial project itself. The documents resumed in the Calendar, far from recapitulating a Eurocentric and historically dubious political topos of oriental despotism, rather encourage us to reconsider the nature of the Mughal imperial dispensation in the Age of the company. While they undoubtedly highlight the de facto devolution of imperial power, they also intriguingly bring out the long-lived symbolic capital of Mughal political authority. Concomitantly, they invite us to place the company not at the beginning of a teleology of British colonial rule but rather to view the company in part as a political actor of the same ilk as many others in this period of north Indian history. Even the early years of Warren Hastings whose appointment marked a major transformation in the company's regime were to an extent within the Mughal imperial framework. But there was also a clear difference, for example, between the political careers of the company and the Marathas. this was not due to some essential or civilizational distinction, but rather because of the relative willingness of the former to eventually expand its territorial and political ambitions beyond the sub-imperial level, and thus to pursue its interests unencumbered by the burden of Mughal political tradition. The volumes aims to further pique the interest of scholars, and encourage them not merely to use this Calendar, but eventually to use it as an aid to explore the very large corpus of Persian documents of this period themselves, both in the national Archives of India and  elsewhere. the letters that we reproduce and translate here are taken from the Persian manuscripts at the Biblioth que nationale de France in Paris (MS. Suppl ment Persan 478; Blochet catalogue 710). Some of these letters may also be found in other collections, such as the British Library, Add. 5634, Add. 6592, and Add. 7052, or in archives in Patna and Kolkata.
Muzaffar Alam is George V. Bobrinskoy Professor in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.Sanjay Subrahmanyam is Professor and Doshi Chair of Indian History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Title:Calendar of Persian Correspondence With and Introduction by Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam…Format:HardcoverDimensions:616 pages, 9.5 × 6.25 × 0.98 inPublished:November 5, 2013Publisher:Ratna Sagar P. Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:9380607687

ISBN - 13:9789380607689

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