The Sikh Zafar-namah of Guru Gobind Singh: A Discursive Blade in the Heart of the Mughal Empire

Paperback | December 12, 2012

byLouis E. Fenech

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Louis E. Fenech offers a compelling new examination of one of the only Persian compositions attributed to the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708): the Zafar-namah or 'Epistle of Victory.' Written as a masnavi, a Persian poem, this letter was originally sent to the Mughal emperorAurangzeb (d. 1707) rebuking his most unbecoming conduct. Incredibly, Guru Gobind Singh's letter is included today within the Sikh canon, one of only a very small handful of Persian-language texts granted the status of Sikh scripture. As such, its contents are sung on special Sikh occasions.Perhaps equally surprising is the fact that the letter appears in the tenth Guru's book or the Dasam Granth in the standard Gurmukhi script (in which Punjabi is written) but retains its original Persian language, a vernacular few Sikhs know.Drawing out the letter's direct and subtle references to the Iranian national epic, the Shah-namah, and to Shaikh Sa'di's thirteenth-century Bustan, Fenech demonstrates how this letter served as a form of Indo-Islamic verbal warfare, ensuring the tenth Guru's moral and symbolic victory over thelegendary and powerful Mughal empire. Through analysis of the Zafar-namah, Fenech resurrects an essential and intiguing component of the Sikh tradition: its Islamicate aspect.

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Louis E. Fenech offers a compelling new examination of one of the only Persian compositions attributed to the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708): the Zafar-namah or 'Epistle of Victory.' Written as a masnavi, a Persian poem, this letter was originally sent to the Mughal emperorAurangzeb (d. 1707) rebuking his most unbecomin...

Louis E. Fenech is Professor of South and Sikh History at the University of Northern Iowa.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:December 12, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199931453

ISBN - 13:9780199931453

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Diplomacy at the Court of Guru Gobind Singh2. Zafar-Namah, Fath-Namah, Hikayats, and the Dasam Granth3. The Text of the Zafar-Namah: Guru Gobind Singh, Ferdausi, and SaLdi4. Authorship5. The Sikh Shah-Namah of Guru Gobind Singh6. The Historiography Of The Zafar-namahConclusionBibliography