December 3, 2012

Classical Islamic Education Institutions in Hindustan

This work covers the history of madrasah education in India, from its earliest foundations under Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi (979–1030), a patron of learning who ruled over an extensive empire that included most of present-day Afghanistan, eastern Iran, Pakistan, and northwestern India. Madrasahs, or Islamic religious schools, became widespread after the beginning of the Delhi sultanate in 1206, making them among the oldest active institutions in India. The early madrasahs were centers of learning, which educated the sons of rulers and personnel for government administration. When Muslim rule declined with the advent of the British Raj, madrasah schools lost their reputation as centers of excellence and suffered in competition with modern education. The involvement of madrasah leaders in the 1857 rebellion made them suspect to the British, but Islamic education revived with the establishment in 1866 of a Muslim seminary called Darul Uloom at Deoband. The seminary filled a dual role in disseminating Islamic knowledge and mobilizing Indian Muslims to participate in the nationalist struggle aimed at expelling the British. This book details the distribution of madrasahs and describes teaching methods and the curricula in Indian and Persian madrasah schools. It includes information about students, renowned scholars in the Islamic education system, and poets and their poetry.

Articles in Pink Urdu

This publication consists of articles written by Siddiq Irshad Mullā Rumūzī (also seen as Ramozi, 1896–1952), a celebrated Urdu humorist and satirist. His subjects here are politicians and their actions, events involving politicians, and the state of the economy. His essays in this booklet also poke fun at so-called religious people, whom he deems imperceptive of the true essence of Islam and who blindly follow old traditions without any logic. While disapproving of people and situations and suggesting reforms, Mullā Rumūzī was careful not to criticize his country. Critics have praised his masterly use of an original style and clever parodies. He invented a form of Urdu that made creative use of a dated syntax and vocabulary, which is now known as Gulabi Urdu, Pink Urdu, or Sweet Urdu. His writing is considered the foundation of a new art form, and Mullā Rumūzī Sanskriti Bhavan, the headquarters of Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy, is named after him.

The Drama of Akbar

Muḥammad Ḥusain Āzād (also called Ehsan Azad, circa 1834–1910) was a successful Urdu poet and a writer of vivid prose, particularly in his historical writing. He was born in Delhi, where his father, Muhammad Baqir, edited the first Urdu newspaper, Delhi Urdu Akhbar. Muhammad Baqir’s involvement in the Uprising of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Rebellion) led to his execution by the British. His son moved to Lahore several years later, where he taught Arabic at Government College and was subsequently professor of Urdu and Persian at Oriental College. Āzād wrote about 20 books, some published posthumously, and he is acclaimed as a master of Urdu prose style. His most important books include a history of Urdu poetry, his tales of medieval Indian history, his allegorical essays, and this work, Darbar-e-Akbari (The drama of Akbar), a history of the times of Akbar the Great (1556–1605). The drama, in 12 parts, was first published in 1910 and focuses particularly on Akbar’s son, Salim, who as Jahangir (Persian for “Conqueror of the World”) ruled the Mughal Empire from 1605 until 1627. Mehr-un-Nisaa, the beautiful and intelligent widow of a rebel officer, came to court where, several years later in 1611, the emperor married her and gave her the title of Nur Jahan, meaning "Light of the World." She was devoted to Jahangir, and he was so absorbed in her that he entrusted to her most of the work of governing the empire. In the drama, the dialogue brings the characters to life and love is portrayed as a magical force.

Earthquakes of India: Volume I

This work describes the events before, during, and after a massive earthquake that struck early in the morning of April 4, 1905, at Kangra, a town in the Himalayan foothills in the northern region of India historically known as Punjab (in the present-day state of Himachal Pradesh). Before the quake, seismic activity had extinguished the flames of combustible gas that usually jetted out at the nearby Hindu temple of Jawala Mukhi, and worshippers thought the gods displeased. The earthquake and its aftershocks killed between 20,000 and 25,000 people and caused major damage to Kangra Fort, first mentioned in the fourth century BC in the annals of Alexander the Great. Most buildings in Kangra were flattened, with great destruction in other more distant parts of the region. The accounts included in this book were compiled and edited by Muhammad Abdul Qadir, also called Ta’ib Baduwi, about whom little is known beyond his authorship of another book concerning warfare between Turkey and Greece and his ownership of the Army Press at Simla.

Sound Advice

Muḥammad Ḥusain Āzād (also called Ehsan Azad, circa 1834–1910) was a successful Urdu poet and a writer of vivid prose, particularly in his historical writing. He was born in Delhi, where his father, Muhammad Baqir, edited the first Urdu newspaper, Delhi Urdu Akhbar. Muhammad Baqir’s involvement in the Uprising of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Rebellion) led to his execution by the British. Āzād moved to Lahore several years later, where he taught Arabic at Government College and was subsequently professor of Urdu and Persian at Oriental College. He wrote about 20 books, some published posthumously. This work includes many of his allegorical stories about the society of his day and moral lessons for the young. The book also discusses and promotes women's education. Āzād claimed that he found the manuscript of this work in an old bag of his father’s, but the book appears to have been written by Āzād around the time of his move to Lahore.

History of Babylon and Nineveh

Tarikh e Babul Wa Nainawa (History of Babylon and Nineveh) is a history in Urdu of these two ancient cities. Babylon was founded early in the third millennium BC, at a site between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, south of present-day Baghdad, Iraq. It became important under Hammurabi (ruled 1792–50 BC), was ruled by the Neo-Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar II (circa 634–562 BC, reigned circa 605–562 BC), and was conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. Nineveh was on the east bank of the Tigris in ancient Assyria, across the river from the modern city of Mosul, Iraq. Settlement at Nineveh first occurred by about 6000 BC, and by 2000 BC the city was a center of worship of the fertility goddess Ishtar. Sennacherib (ruled 704–681 BC) transformed Nineveh into a magnificent city with new streets, squares, and a canal system within a walled area and built a vast and splendid palace. After Nineveh fell to the Medes and Babylonians in 612 BC, the city was destroyed and never regained its earlier significance. Besides giving the early history of Babylon and Nineveh, the author details natural disasters and discusses the religious, socio-political, and cultural aspects of life in the two cities.