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The long thirteenth century of the Chachnama

Ahmed Asif, Manan

The multi-genre Persian text Chachnama, written in Uch in 1226, represents a unique formulation of a possible future for a Muslim polity at the frontier and under immense duress. In its explicit linkage of a Muslim with a local pre-Islamic past within the site and milieu of its production, the Chachnama presents the beginnings of a new political theology. Long understood as a translation of an earlier text, it is instead a specifically imagined text that found political and romantic resonance in the histories of Uch and Sindh through the centuries. This article provides a close reading of the text to elucidate the ways in which it participates in varied genres and the socio-political claims it makes on historiography. It further traces the historiography surrounding the text and highlights the ways in which classificatory schema (such as genre) operate on analytical understandings of narratives.

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The Indian Economic and Social History Review

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November 21, 2012