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Adab as Literary Form and Social Conduct: Reading the Gulistan in Late Mughal India

Kia, Mana

This essay examines the role and meaning of Shaykh Mushrif al-Dīn “Saʻdī” Shīrāzī’s Gulistān in late Mughal India. As the prose primer for a Persian education, the Gulistān encompassed the double meaning of adab, as exemplar both of literary form and of proper conduct. I explore instances in which the original text is cited in the work of Sirāj al-Din ʻAli Khān Ārzū (1689-1756 CE), a scholar and poet, who also wrote a commentary on the text. I then explore the larger context of Ārzū’s life and work in the context of mid- eighteenth-century Delhi, to situate the stakes of social and literary adab in a time of political fragmentation and social upheaval. Patronized by high-ranking Mughal officials, Ārzū was engaged in a larger project of recouping the cultural prestige of the imperial capital as political power devolved to regional centers in the face of factional politics and external invasion. Such an analysis seeks to historicize particular readings of classical texts of Persianate education.

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Title
No Tapping Around Philology': A Festschrift in celebration and honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.’s 70th Birthday
Publisher
Harrassowitz Verlag

More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Published Here
November 10, 2014

Notes

“Adab as Literary Form and Social Conduct: Reading the Gulistan in Late Mughal India,” in 'No Tapping Around Philology': A Festschrift in celebration and honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.’s 70th Birthday, ed. Alireza Korangy and Daniel J. Sheffield. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014, pp. 281-308.

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