29-OCT-2018: AMU faculty presents paper on Shaikh Jamali
ALIGARH October 29: Dr Gulfishan Khan, Associate Professor, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University recently participated in an international conference on "Muslim Cultures in the Indian Ocean: Diversity and Pluralism, Past and Present", organized by the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, Aga Khan University (International), United Kingdom, London.
In her paper, "Exploring the Geographies and Locales in Siyar al-Arifin", Dr Khan presented a profile of a fifteenth-sixteenth century Indian scholar and Sufi-poet, Hamid bin Fazl Allah (d. 1535), popularly known as Shaikh Jamali Dehlawi, who visited major intellectual, and cultural centres of Asia and Africa to satisfy his quest for knowledge and a keen desire to explore the wider world.
She opined that in the pre-modern era the Indian Ocean like the Mediterranean Ocean was a zone of economic exchange as well as cultural negotiations. In the millennia old process of cultural interchange, fusion and growth of the core cultures of the Ocean and its littorals Indian scholars, merchants, and migrants played a vital role. Sufi-poet Shaikh Jamali's rich literary contribution and architectural legacy show that Indian Ocean cultures influenced each other in a wide range of domains which included arts, literature, mysticism and religion. Literary and cultural trends emanating from the cities of Herat and Tabriz were assimilated and refashioned in Delhi and vice versa. Indian scholars living in Ahmadabad, Delhi, Ajmer and Multan were in close contact with the men of letters of the trend-setting centres of Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, and Shiraz. Scholars and poets sought to emulate each other and exchanged ideas on important subjects such as spirituality, mysticism, cosmopolitanism, poetics, philanthropy, migration, and religion.
Dr Khan pointed out that Shaikh Jamali's interaction with the well-knit transnational social networks and communities of scholars and Sufi saints was greatly facilitated as Arabic and Persian were the major mediums of communication of the region. She said that through an unbroken and continuous chain of Hajj pilgrims, itinerant scholars, and merchants, voyaging from the ports of Gujarat, the Indian subcontinent remained integrated with the global society and cultural movements in the pre-modern era.
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