Friday, September 23, 2011

Majālis-i Jahāngīrī

As it turns out my whim of buying this book having randomly seen it in the bookshop next to the Marʿashī Library and having bought it turns out to have been a good thing and a serendipity. Looking through the new book published by Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, one can see the use of the text in finding, for example, evidence of religious debate and interaction at the Mughal court of the Emperor Jahāngīr (r. 1605-27). Alongside the already available Tuzuk-i Jahāngīrī and the Jahāngīrnāma, there are plenty of sources available for a re-evaluation of his court and for the cultural, religious and intellectual life of the period. Unfortunately, for many this may sound like rather old-fashioned Mughal history. It does seem that Jahāngīr and Mughals were far more curious about European culture and Christianity than the old 'Aligarh' school assumed - and the Majālis has led to at least one paper presented at the Indian Historical Congress in 2008 by Shireen Moosvi.


Usman said...

Majalis-i Jahangiri is a truly wonderful source. I suspect there shall be a bit of a revival in scholarly interest in Jahangir thanks to it. We surprisingly have a number of advice texts, personal memoirs, tazkiras, for the period. Have you had the chance to see the Waqa'i al-Zaman/Fath-nama-i Nur Jahan? I have not had the chance to peruse it carefully! It is a pity that Mughal history as a field as more or less disappeared from North America, but there seems to be some new scholarship on it.

Mulla Sadra said...

I've heard the names but not followed up. As I prepare materials for the history of philosophy throughout the period from the rise of the Mughals through to the colonial period, I've looked mainly at biographical sources and only recently started to look at the chronicles and other works - but thanks for the suggestion.
Mughal history is generally I suspect not a thriving area of research in universities - even in India, the state of affairs is not good beyond certain niches.