India in the Persian World of Letters: Okhān-I Ārzū Among the Eighteenth-Century Philologists (Oxford Oriental Monographs) (Hardcover)

India in the Persian World of Letters: Okhān-I Ārzū Among the Eighteenth-Century Philologists (Oxford Oriental Monographs) By Arthur Dudney Cover Image
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This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations.

This book traces the development of philology (the study 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 'Alī Khān, (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-go'ī 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 Mode
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 reokhtah, 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.

About the Author


Arthur Dudney, Arcadia Fund Arthur Dudney is Director of Cultural Programmes at the Arcadia Fund. He was formerly a Leverhulme Early Career fellow at the University of Cambridge and a Mellon Fellow at the University of Oxford. He received a PhD in Middle Eastern, South Asian & African Studies from Columbia University and an AB in Classics from Princeton University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780192857415
ISBN-10: 019285741X
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2022
Pages: 336
Language: English
Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs