Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorDudney, Arthur
dc.description.abstractThis study traces the development of philology (the analysis of literary language) in the Persian tradition in India, concentrating on its socio-political ramifications. The most influential Indo-Persian philologist of the eighteenth century was Sirāj al-Dīn ʿAlī Ḳhān (d. 1756), whose pen-name was Ārzū. Besides being a respected poet, Ārzū was a rigorous theoretician of language whose intellectual legacy was side-lined by colonialism. His conception of language accounted for literary innovation and historical change in part to theorize the tāzah-goʾī [literally, “fresh-speaking”] movement in Persian literary culture. Although later scholarship has tended to frame this debate in anachronistically nationalist terms (Iranian native speakers versus Indian imitators), the primary sources show that contemporary concerns had less to do with geography than with the question of how to assess innovative “fresh-speaking” poetry, a situation analogous to the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns in early modern Europe. Ārzū used historical reasoning to argue that as a cosmopolitan language Persian could not be the property of one nation or be subject to one narrow kind of interpretation. Ārzū also shaped attitudes about reḳhtah, the Persianized form of vernacular poetry that would later be renamed and reconceptualized as Urdu, helping the vernacular to gain acceptance in elite literary circles in northern India. This study puts to rest the persistent misconception that Indians started writing the vernacular because they were ashamed of their poor grasp of Persian at the twilight of the Mughal Empire.
dc.rightsopen access
dc.subject.classificationbic Book Industry Communication::C Language::CB Language: reference & general::CBX Language: history & general works
dc.subject.classificationbic Book Industry Communication::D Literature & literary studies::DC Poetry::DCF Poetry by individual poets
dc.subject.classificationbic Book Industry Communication::D Literature & literary studies::DS Literature: history & criticism::DSC Literary studies: poetry & poets
dc.subject.classificationbic Book Industry Communication::C Language::CF linguistics::CFF Historical & comparative linguistics
dc.subject.classificationbic Book Industry Communication::3 Time periods qualifiers::3J Modern period, c 1500 onwards::3JF c 1700 to c 1800
dc.subject.otherPersian, Indo-Persian, Urdu, philology, Sirāj al-Dīn ʿAlī Ḳhān Ārzū, tāzah-goʾī, vernacularization, literary culture, early modern, Mughal Empire
dc.titleIndia in the Persian World of Letters
dc.title.alternativeḲhān-i Ārzū among the Eighteenth-Century Philologists

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

open access
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as open access