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Wahi, Tripta (1974) British Scholarship and Muslim Rule in India: The Work of William Erskine, Sir Henry M. Elliot, John Dowson, Edward Thomas, J. Talboys Wheeler and Henry G. Keene. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033825

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Abstract

This thesis studies British scholarship of the mid and late nineteenth century relating to Muslim rule in India, looking particularly at William Erskine, Henry Miers Elliot, John Dowson, Edward Thomas, James Talboys Wheeler and Henry George Keene. The first chapter deals with Erskine whose rationalist Scottish education and familiarity with romantic writers give him an intellectual kinship with earlier historians. His specialisation in medieval Indian history, however, connects him with Elliot, the subject of the second chapter, whose ideas and assumptions were radically different. Elliot was thoroughly conservative and imperialist and his views on Indo- Muslim history were largely coloured by practical political considerations. Such considerations were absent from Dowson's work which consisted in completing Elliot's work: this and the circumstances leading to publication are discussed in the third chapter. Thomas's pioneer work on Indo-Muslim numismatics and his statistical study of the Mughal revenues are analysed in the fourth chapter. In the fifth, Wheeler is shown to have projected his interpretation of '1857' onto his medieval Muslim history. This is seen to have given consistency to his apparently enigmatic treatment. In the final chapter Keene is shown to have provided a new interpretation of Indian history, influenced by Spencer and Maine, without quite being able to reconcile their ideas with his findings. In this he is seen to epitomise the conceptual limitations of these scholars. Despite changing influences and techniques, the period under study is a distinctive phase. This was emphasized when progressive accumulation of materials led to the first general Indian history written by a medieval specialist.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033825
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:21
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/33825

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