Traditional Elites, the colonial State, and Education before 1857. Built upon the foundations of the madrasa of Ghaziu's-Din, the Delhi College still evokes a strong emotive reaction. It has come to symbolize the complex encounter between British and Indo-Muslim culture through the medium of Urdu. Men like Nazir Ahmad and Zaka Ullah were among its pupils, Ghalib and sir Saiyid Ahmad khan felt close to it and watched it with keen interest.
The institution however was much more a contested site than collective memory would have it. It was a site of encounter between Oriental and Western Knowledge and of struggle for the place of traditional elites within the colonial framework. Central to this historic encounter was the translation activity of the College-of books and articles from English and from Arabic and Persian to Urdu, but also translation and adaptation of cultural forms like newspaper and publishing ventures, associations, and public interactions.
The Delhi college brings together renowned scholars from a wide array of disciplines-history, art, literature-covering topics ranging from the history of the building and the White Mughals of Delhi, to the biographies of the patrons, teachers, and puils of the college, their work at the College and beyond, and their place under colonial rule.
It explores how far the colonial intentions were executed, re-interpreted, adapted, and resisted or simply ignored in the day-to-day life of the educational institution. It also shows how contact with 'new ideas' impacted the lives of those for whom they held out the promise of an exciting cultural encounter, social rise, and respect by the colonial masters.
This book would be immensely useful for scholars and students of history, sociology, education, and literature, particularly those concerned with institutional histories, development of the Urdu language, and the history of Delhi.
Margrit Pernau is Research Fellow, University of Bielefeld and Researcher, Institute for Social Science Research, Germany.
it is impossible to speak o the Delhi college and not mention the man who has done more over the yeas than any other person to keep the spirit of its intellectual tradition alive and to convince the authorities to preserve its beautiful buildings from crumbling: Professor Yunus Jaffery.
No one who has experienced it will ever forget the unfailing courtesy with which he treated his visitors to tea and the large stores of his knowledge. He would truly have deserved a felicitation volume for his seventy-fifth birthday in 2005, if it were not for one problem: the fields of his interests and scholarship, to which he guided his 'academic family' from all over the world, were just too wide No one could have convinced a publisher to bring out a volume covering the centuries from the early Muslim rulers of Delhi almost to the present, extending over Persia and the whole of Hindustan, and encompassing not only art and architecture, but history, linguistics, literature, philosophy, and mysticism.
I was searching for a solution to this dilemma when it occurred to me that a book on the Delhi College, on the institution he has lived for and that he cherishes more than his own person, would be the right way not only to acknowledge, but to carry on his life-work. I know that with his characteristic modesty Professor Jaffery would have preferred to remain unnamed and let all the attention fall on the college alone, but this was a wish I for once was not inclined to grant him.
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