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Ramzan, Ayyub Muhammadi (1949) The court of Aurangzib as a centre of learning and literature. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029619

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Abstract

Aurangzib's character has been the subject of long and acrioionious debate; his character is not the concern of this thesis except in so far as it influenced the culture of his time. As his period does reflect a good deal of his influence it is necessary to know something about him in order to see how he could direct currents of thought and action. It is essential to look at the condition of learned institutions before and during his reign. He'was heir to a large empire, wielded autocratic power, and was endowed with great capability in certain directions; his contribution to culture could naturally be expected to be great, whether creative or directive, whilst in certain matters it might be obstructive. Attention has next been given to institutions existing and encouraged; to education, public health, design and art, the standard of general knowledge, and habits and customs, and finally to his nobles as the circle from which he chose his proconsuls and his officials nearer home. In a kingdom or empire where there is no foreign outlook, no connections beyond the boimdades, interests are limited; poetry and mysticism occupy much attention; the prose belongs to a more practical, busy age. The poetry of Bidil is mystic, but by attaching some importance to self as a nucleus it prepares the way for the constructive system of Iqbal at the beginning of 20th cent. But there were no famous writers of lyrical or romantic poetry in the period. Aurangzib's discouragement of these lighter styles was effective, and usually only sporadic and clandestine attonpts appear to have been made. In prose there are a few historical works, but the Emperor's early ban on history-writing precluded efforts in this direction. such works as exist tend to be overburdened with a florid style that makes them laboured and periphrastic. Restriction on freedom of expression and thought could hardly fail to find some manner of response, and the sarcastic writings of two authors were probably provoked by it. Aurangzib was a capable calligraphist; his artistic instinct, checked by religious dogma in certain directions, may have found satisfying scope in this practical art. Letter-writing may also have served a useful end in his self-expression; Bidil's a Letters and Shah Muhammad Qannauji's Insha-i jami' al-Qawanin are among the epistolary writings of the reign. A drama named Gulzar-i Hal has been traced , as having been translated into Persian from Bhakha in this reign.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029619
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:20
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29619

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