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Muslim Ethical Thought & its Circulation in Colonial India


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Compendium as Archive? Muslim Ethical Thought and its Circulation in Colonial India by Farina Mir

“Compendium as Archive?” considers two compendiums of Muslim ethical thought produced in colonial India: Makhzan-i-Hikmet (A Treasury of Wisdom) by Mufti Ghulam Sarwar, and Makhzan-i-Akhlaq (A Treasury of Ethics), by Rahmatullah Subhani. Published in 1871 and 1932, respectively, both compile the sayings of an eclectic group of eminent men, and/or kernels of their wisdom. Those included are Muslim and non-Muslim, and date from classical antiquity to contemporary times. This talk considers both texts in their religious and historical context, asking whether we can read them as archives of popular religious sentiment? While taking up the religious and cultural history of late colonial India, the talk will also address the broader methodological concern of how print culture can serve as historical archive, giving particular attention to the compendium as a genre.

Farina Mir, associate professor University of Michigan History Department , University of Michigan Islamic Studies Program & Center for South Asian Studies at U-M is a historian of colonial and postcolonial South Asia, with a particular interest in the social, cultural, and religious history of late-colonial north India.