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Books > History > East Meets West > Exploring The West (Three Travel Narratives)
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Exploring The West (Three Travel Narratives)
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Exploring The West (Three Travel Narratives)
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About the Book

Inverting the conventional imagery of European travel narratives about South Asia, this omnibus brings together three fascinating accounts of Indian interaction with the West. It raises interesting questions about cross-cultural encounters. Is the West objectively perceived and represented? Do observers colour fact with fiction? Do they talk of an East-West divide?

The first volume covers Itesamuddin’s travel (1765-9) to Europe. Set in the context of the grant of Diwani to the British in India, Images of the West, offers fresh insights on the state and everyday life in England discussing questions of religious controversies, military, and law. Its author also gives us a panoramic view of the socio- cultural life, flora and fauna, and education and lifestyles.

Abu Taleb’s travelogue provides a non-western representation of the West, and sheds light on the national customs and manners of Europeans. Westward Bound comprises his impression of England, France, Genoa, Malta, Turkey, and Baghdad during his travels (1799-1803). His understanding of cultural streams in the East and the West offer an alternative viewpoint on the encounter between pax Brittanica and the Sharif families of North India.

Seamless Boundaries presents the autobiography of Lutfullah khan (b.1802), English. Traversing geographical and cultural boundaries, Lutfullah’s narrative defies conventional labels. He explores events, people, and their culture beyond the mere East-West dichotomies. He also presents a graphic description of voyage to England in 1844.

Mushirul Hasan’s introduction examines the life and times of these travelers. Arguing for exploring the West and the Muslim societies from an unsentimental and wide-ranging perspective, he investigates the discourse on East-West relations, and highlights the significance of travel narratives as historical records in the production of Knowledge.

This collection, the first of its Kind, will be indispensable for scholars and students of history, travel literature, and sociology.

About the Author

Mushirul Hasan is Director General, National Archives of India, New Delhi. A Padmashree awardee, he is former Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He was awarded officer of the Order of Academic palms by the Prime Minister of the French Republic in 2009.

Editor’s Preface

The first time I saw this assembly (House of Commons), they reminded me of two flocks of Indian paraquets sitting upon opposite mango tree, scolding at each other; the most noisy of whom were Mr. pitt and Mr Fox; This is Mirza Abu Taleb (Talib) Khan, a writer of great literary power, who enjoyed, as a matter of fact, great popular success in Europe. In 2005, the Oxford University prees, Delhi, reissued his chef d’ oeuvre, Masir- i Talibi fi Bilad Afrangi (Westward Bound: Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb) so that his distinctive voice with so many perceptions could be heeded in academic circles. A couple of years later an edited and annotated version of Lutfullah’s autobiography appeared as Seamless Boundaries: Lutfullah’s Narrative beyond East and West. Now, we re-issue Shigurfnama-I Velayet by Mirza itesamuddin, who embarked on his journey in January 1766 and returned to Bengal by November 1768. For long his work was more or less treated with derision, yet within his own contemporary setting and within the limits of popular readership he was a remarkably skilled writer. With the publication of Shigurfnama, I complete my intellectual journey. In this omnibus the travel narratives of Itesamuddin and Abu Taleb appear with chapter titles. However, this pattern has not been followed in the case of Lutfullah’s text because each of his chapters discuss disparate event.

As in the case of the Travels and the Autobiography. The English text of Shigurfnama is unchanged; I have not made any interpolations.

I have reproduced here James Edward Alexander’s translation of Travels of Mirza Itesa Modeen in Great Britain and France in full. There is yet another translation by Kaiser Haq, The Wonders of Vilayet: Bing the Memoir, Originally in Persian, of a Visit to France and Britain (London, 2001). Earlier, A.B.M. Habibullah translated the book in Bengali (Dhaka, 1981); Shigurfnama-I Velayet figures in some of the works in Urdu; for example, Khalid Mahmud, Urdu safarnamon ka tanqeedi mutala (Delhi, 1995); Bashri Rehman , Urdu keg hair-mazhabi safarname (Gorakhpur, 1999).

Among the modern Writers, Mohammad Mujeeb, Michael H. Fisher, and Simonti Sen have drawn attention to and analysed Itesamuddin’s work Shams N. Zaman’s full length study of Mirza Shaikh Itesamuddin and his Travelogues: Shigurf Name I Vilayet (London, 2002)  isbased on meticulous research. Next to her, Gulfishan Khan provides the most extensive coverage of Itesamuddin in Indian Muslim perceptions of the West during the Eighteenth Century (Karachi, 1998). On religion, in particular, she summarizes Itesamuddin’s views rather well. Michael Fisher’s Counterflows to Colonialism carries an exhaustive reading list on the Indian travelers.

There remains the pleasant task of expressing my appreciation and benefit of her comments; to javed Ali Khan for his help in preparing, notes, to Somdatta Mandal for sending me copies of Shams N. Zaman’s book and the translation of Shigurf; to Professor Roop Rekha Verma for borrowing Alexander;s translation form the Tagore Library of the University of Lucknow; and  to the editorial team at Oxford University press, Delhi, for help and advice in the production of this book.

About the painting reproduced from Alexander’s English translation, Shams N. Zama’s search led her to the conclusion that it was a drawing by R.J. Lane. The Royal Academy acknowledged this picture as a lithographic print produced by Charles Hullmandel, a lithographic printer.

Contents

 

Editor's Preface

xi

Representing the West:Travellers and their Stories

xiii

IMAGES OF THE WEST

 

The Adventures of Itesamuddin

 

Translator's Preface

vii

Introduction

1

The Start of the Journey

2

The Island of Mauritius

7

Rounding Africa

11

France to England

15

The Wonderous City of London

20

Entertainments in Lodon

24

The University of Oxford

29

Edinburgh, Scotland

33

Concerning the Highland

37

Europe and Christianity

42

Dispute and Dissagreement

48

Religious Controversies

53

Royal, Military, and the Law

58

Education, Lifestyle, and the East India Company

66

Food,Flowers,Travel,and Animals

74

Returning Home

81

The Conclusion of the Work

91

Names of Persons

92

Names of Places

98

Glossary

101

Other References

107

Index

109

WESTWARD BOUND

 

Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb

 

Editor's Preface

v

Introduction by Mushirul Hasan

viii

Translator's Preface

xxxi

Translator's Introduction

xxxiii

From Awadh to Caccutta

1

The Journey Begins

7

Land Ahoy! Nicobar Islands

11

The First Taste of Africa

21

England, here we come!

29

Detour to Ireland

36

Experience in Dublin

42

And the Irish

52

Ode to Lodon

62

Negotiating with People and Culture

71

From Architecture to Taverns and Clubs

87

Arts and Sciences

95

Trade and Industry

102

Everybody Loves a Good Life

109

Government

116

The East India Company

129

Courts of Law

135

The Economy: Perceptions and Contacts

141

Social and Personal

144

Virtues of the English

155

Journey to the Continent

161

Battles at Home and Abroad

169

Paril, the City Unfolded

176

The French Encounters

185

To Lyons

191

And on to Genoa

199

Voyage to Malta, to Dardanelles

206

Constantinople

215

The Cresecent in Turkey

226

Onward to Amasia

234

The Kurd Country

243

Baghdad

251

Pilgrimage to Karbala and Najaf

259

Voyage on the Tigris

266

Busra

274

The Last Salute

282

Appendice

290

Biographical Notes

305

Names of Place

322

Glossary

329

List of Events

334

Index

337

SEAMLESS BOUNDARIES

 

Lutfullah's Narrative beyond East and West

 

Introduction by MushirulHasan

vii

Lutfullah's Acknowledgements

xxi

Preface to the Original Edition

xxii

Chapter 1

1

Chapter II

18

Chapter III

30

Chapter iv

48

Chapter v

76

Chapter vi

88

Chapter vii

108

Chapter viii

126

Chapter ix

136

Chapter x

156

Chapter xi

174

Chapter xii

185

Chapter xiii

195

Chapter xiv

210

Pedigree of Lutfullah

227

Appendices

227

Glossary

245

Index

250

 

Sample Pages

























Exploring The West (Three Travel Narratives)

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About the Book

Inverting the conventional imagery of European travel narratives about South Asia, this omnibus brings together three fascinating accounts of Indian interaction with the West. It raises interesting questions about cross-cultural encounters. Is the West objectively perceived and represented? Do observers colour fact with fiction? Do they talk of an East-West divide?

The first volume covers Itesamuddin’s travel (1765-9) to Europe. Set in the context of the grant of Diwani to the British in India, Images of the West, offers fresh insights on the state and everyday life in England discussing questions of religious controversies, military, and law. Its author also gives us a panoramic view of the socio- cultural life, flora and fauna, and education and lifestyles.

Abu Taleb’s travelogue provides a non-western representation of the West, and sheds light on the national customs and manners of Europeans. Westward Bound comprises his impression of England, France, Genoa, Malta, Turkey, and Baghdad during his travels (1799-1803). His understanding of cultural streams in the East and the West offer an alternative viewpoint on the encounter between pax Brittanica and the Sharif families of North India.

Seamless Boundaries presents the autobiography of Lutfullah khan (b.1802), English. Traversing geographical and cultural boundaries, Lutfullah’s narrative defies conventional labels. He explores events, people, and their culture beyond the mere East-West dichotomies. He also presents a graphic description of voyage to England in 1844.

Mushirul Hasan’s introduction examines the life and times of these travelers. Arguing for exploring the West and the Muslim societies from an unsentimental and wide-ranging perspective, he investigates the discourse on East-West relations, and highlights the significance of travel narratives as historical records in the production of Knowledge.

This collection, the first of its Kind, will be indispensable for scholars and students of history, travel literature, and sociology.

About the Author

Mushirul Hasan is Director General, National Archives of India, New Delhi. A Padmashree awardee, he is former Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He was awarded officer of the Order of Academic palms by the Prime Minister of the French Republic in 2009.

Editor’s Preface

The first time I saw this assembly (House of Commons), they reminded me of two flocks of Indian paraquets sitting upon opposite mango tree, scolding at each other; the most noisy of whom were Mr. pitt and Mr Fox; This is Mirza Abu Taleb (Talib) Khan, a writer of great literary power, who enjoyed, as a matter of fact, great popular success in Europe. In 2005, the Oxford University prees, Delhi, reissued his chef d’ oeuvre, Masir- i Talibi fi Bilad Afrangi (Westward Bound: Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb) so that his distinctive voice with so many perceptions could be heeded in academic circles. A couple of years later an edited and annotated version of Lutfullah’s autobiography appeared as Seamless Boundaries: Lutfullah’s Narrative beyond East and West. Now, we re-issue Shigurfnama-I Velayet by Mirza itesamuddin, who embarked on his journey in January 1766 and returned to Bengal by November 1768. For long his work was more or less treated with derision, yet within his own contemporary setting and within the limits of popular readership he was a remarkably skilled writer. With the publication of Shigurfnama, I complete my intellectual journey. In this omnibus the travel narratives of Itesamuddin and Abu Taleb appear with chapter titles. However, this pattern has not been followed in the case of Lutfullah’s text because each of his chapters discuss disparate event.

As in the case of the Travels and the Autobiography. The English text of Shigurfnama is unchanged; I have not made any interpolations.

I have reproduced here James Edward Alexander’s translation of Travels of Mirza Itesa Modeen in Great Britain and France in full. There is yet another translation by Kaiser Haq, The Wonders of Vilayet: Bing the Memoir, Originally in Persian, of a Visit to France and Britain (London, 2001). Earlier, A.B.M. Habibullah translated the book in Bengali (Dhaka, 1981); Shigurfnama-I Velayet figures in some of the works in Urdu; for example, Khalid Mahmud, Urdu safarnamon ka tanqeedi mutala (Delhi, 1995); Bashri Rehman , Urdu keg hair-mazhabi safarname (Gorakhpur, 1999).

Among the modern Writers, Mohammad Mujeeb, Michael H. Fisher, and Simonti Sen have drawn attention to and analysed Itesamuddin’s work Shams N. Zaman’s full length study of Mirza Shaikh Itesamuddin and his Travelogues: Shigurf Name I Vilayet (London, 2002)  isbased on meticulous research. Next to her, Gulfishan Khan provides the most extensive coverage of Itesamuddin in Indian Muslim perceptions of the West during the Eighteenth Century (Karachi, 1998). On religion, in particular, she summarizes Itesamuddin’s views rather well. Michael Fisher’s Counterflows to Colonialism carries an exhaustive reading list on the Indian travelers.

There remains the pleasant task of expressing my appreciation and benefit of her comments; to javed Ali Khan for his help in preparing, notes, to Somdatta Mandal for sending me copies of Shams N. Zaman’s book and the translation of Shigurf; to Professor Roop Rekha Verma for borrowing Alexander;s translation form the Tagore Library of the University of Lucknow; and  to the editorial team at Oxford University press, Delhi, for help and advice in the production of this book.

About the painting reproduced from Alexander’s English translation, Shams N. Zama’s search led her to the conclusion that it was a drawing by R.J. Lane. The Royal Academy acknowledged this picture as a lithographic print produced by Charles Hullmandel, a lithographic printer.

Contents

 

Editor's Preface

xi

Representing the West:Travellers and their Stories

xiii

IMAGES OF THE WEST

 

The Adventures of Itesamuddin

 

Translator's Preface

vii

Introduction

1

The Start of the Journey

2

The Island of Mauritius

7

Rounding Africa

11

France to England

15

The Wonderous City of London

20

Entertainments in Lodon

24

The University of Oxford

29

Edinburgh, Scotland

33

Concerning the Highland

37

Europe and Christianity

42

Dispute and Dissagreement

48

Religious Controversies

53

Royal, Military, and the Law

58

Education, Lifestyle, and the East India Company

66

Food,Flowers,Travel,and Animals

74

Returning Home

81

The Conclusion of the Work

91

Names of Persons

92

Names of Places

98

Glossary

101

Other References

107

Index

109

WESTWARD BOUND

 

Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb

 

Editor's Preface

v

Introduction by Mushirul Hasan

viii

Translator's Preface

xxxi

Translator's Introduction

xxxiii

From Awadh to Caccutta

1

The Journey Begins

7

Land Ahoy! Nicobar Islands

11

The First Taste of Africa

21

England, here we come!

29

Detour to Ireland

36

Experience in Dublin

42

And the Irish

52

Ode to Lodon

62

Negotiating with People and Culture

71

From Architecture to Taverns and Clubs

87

Arts and Sciences

95

Trade and Industry

102

Everybody Loves a Good Life

109

Government

116

The East India Company

129

Courts of Law

135

The Economy: Perceptions and Contacts

141

Social and Personal

144

Virtues of the English

155

Journey to the Continent

161

Battles at Home and Abroad

169

Paril, the City Unfolded

176

The French Encounters

185

To Lyons

191

And on to Genoa

199

Voyage to Malta, to Dardanelles

206

Constantinople

215

The Cresecent in Turkey

226

Onward to Amasia

234

The Kurd Country

243

Baghdad

251

Pilgrimage to Karbala and Najaf

259

Voyage on the Tigris

266

Busra

274

The Last Salute

282

Appendice

290

Biographical Notes

305

Names of Place

322

Glossary

329

List of Events

334

Index

337

SEAMLESS BOUNDARIES

 

Lutfullah's Narrative beyond East and West

 

Introduction by MushirulHasan

vii

Lutfullah's Acknowledgements

xxi

Preface to the Original Edition

xxii

Chapter 1

1

Chapter II

18

Chapter III

30

Chapter iv

48

Chapter v

76

Chapter vi

88

Chapter vii

108

Chapter viii

126

Chapter ix

136

Chapter x

156

Chapter xi

174

Chapter xii

185

Chapter xiii

195

Chapter xiv

210

Pedigree of Lutfullah

227

Appendices

227

Glossary

245

Index

250

 

Sample Pages

























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