By Manan Ahmed Asif
The query of ways Islam arrived in India is still markedly contentious in South Asian politics. ordinary money owed middle at the Umayyad Caliphate’s incursions into Sind and littoral western India within the 8th century CE. during this telling, Muslims have been a international presence between local Hindus, sowing the seeds of a mutual animosity that presaged the subcontinent’s partition into Pakistan and India many centuries later.
But in a compelling reexamination of the heritage of Islam in India, Manan Ahmed Asif directs awareness to a thirteenth-century textual content that tells the tale of Chach, the Brahmin ruler of Sind, and his kingdom’s later conquest via the Muslim basic Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 CE. The Chachnama has lengthy been a touchstone of Indian historical past, but it truly is seldom studied in its entirety. Asif deals an in depth and entire research of this significant textual content, untangling its numerous registers and genres on the way to reconstruct the political imaginative and prescient at its heart.
Asif demanding situations the most tenets of the Chachnama’s interpretation: that it's a translation of an previous Arabic textual content and that it provides a background of conquest. Debunking either rules, he demonstrates that the Chachnama was once initially Persian and, faraway from advancing a story of imperial aggression, is a sophisticated and complex paintings of political idea, one embedded in either the Indic and Islamic ethos. This social and highbrow background of the Chachnama is a vital corrective to the divisions among Muslim and Hindu that so usually outline Pakistani and Indian politics at the present time.
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Additional info for A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia
32 Baladhuri's history, produced for the 'Abbasid court, is removed from the earliest historical events it narrates by more than two hundred years and is thus itself an act of imagining the past. Yet it is not the facticity or empirical truth of his account that concerns us here. in which this historiography is repurposed by FRONTIER WITH THE HOUSE OF GOLD 35 Chachnama. With that in mind, let us turn to his description of the military campaigns of Muslims toward the region of Hind and Sind. Baladhuri notes that the first campaign toward Hind did not happen until the Muslim armies achieved control of a port.
11 In these accounts, there are some explicit mentions of ports on the Indus River. These early sources seem to suggest that the trade encompassed only luxury items-gold, pearls, gemstones, silk, etc. However, recent research shows that the earliest trade between Rome and India had a much heavier emphasis on staple and bulk goods: salt, sugar, pepper, ordinary cloth, coir, timber, copper, and irorl. 12 I should note that the conceptions of "India" in these Greek or Roman sources had affected later Arab historiography by constructing fantastic visions of the wonders of India.
Baladhuri notes that Hajjaj spent 60 million dirham on the campaign and recouped 120 million dirham from the spoils of war. These almost totemic figures indicate the Umayyad state's monetary crisis. The strained Umayyad military expenditures during the reign of 'Abdal Malik, as detailed by Blankinship, confirms such a reading. s3 The third point concerns Muslim encounters with polytheists. Baladhuri is one of the earliest extant sources for our understanding FRONTIER WITH THE HOUSE OF GOLD 43 of the placement of other faiths in Islam's conception of the world.
A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia by Manan Ahmed Asif
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