22-OCT-2018: AMU faculty delivers lecture at Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Aligarh, October 22: Dr Gulfishan Khan, Associate Professor, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) delivered a lecture on 'The Indo-Persian educated elite and Formation of the Orientalist Tradition' at the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London, in which she analysed various dynamics by investigating a complex interface between the Indo-Persian intelligentsia and the British.
Dr Gulfishan highlighted the significant role of the Indo-Persian intelligentsia in the process of transmission of knowledge of Indian languages and culture to the West.
In the lecture, she pointed out how cultural linkages between India and Britain are deep and extensive, arising out of shared history between the two countries.
"The South Asian Diaspora in the UK, which comprises important component of multiethnic, multicultural British heritage has a long, interesting and complex history as the South Asian presence dates back to the 17th century," she said adding the primary purpose of 18th century Indian travellers sailing westward was seeking knowledge and sharing Eastern knowledge with the West.
"South Asians have historically admired English institutions, schools, colleges and Universities and system such as the constitutional monarchy and Parliament and yearned to find similar modern constructs in their country," pointed Dr Gulfishan, who further said that the South Asians recorded these experiences with the purpose of showing their people back home how they ought to modernize their societies.
"Among the aspects that South Asians talked mostly about were the values of social justice, equity, education, efficient government institutions and women in a way to represent various facets of inter-civilisation, transcultural encounters," said Dr Gulfishan.
The South Asians taught Persian to eager British as Persian was the lingua franca for the educated elite in the Indian subcontinent of that time, she said pointing out that the University of Oxford have a long standing connection with India dating to 1767 when Mirza Shaikh Itisam al-Din of Qasba Panchnoor in the Nadia District, West Bengal taught Persian to Sir William Jones, then a student of the University College and assisted him in the preparation of his academic best seller Grammar of the Persian language.
She also spoke on illustrated manuscripts of Razmnama, the Persian version of Mahabharata; Mughal prince, Dara Shukoh's Sirr-i-Akbar (The Great Secret), being the Persian version of the Upanishadas, Shahjahan nama and Khamsa-i-Nizami.
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