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Gunpowder and Firearms Warfare in Medieval India

Gunpowder and Firearms Warfare in Medieval India
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Item Code: IDF253
Author: Iqtidar Alam Khan
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 0195665260
Pages: 277 (B & W Illus: 28)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.8" X 5.5"
About the Book:

The use of gunpowder and firearms has been a key concern for military history and for the history of warfare, science and technology. It has also been crucial to the debate on the expansion of empires across the world.

It has often been suggested that the exclusivity of the use of firearms in fact created 'gunpowder empires', a centralization of power in the hands of those who could afford this technology. Using material from a range of contemporary sources and supplemented with rare visuals, this book examines how the use of gunpowder technology showed different results in medieval India. These results are not at variance with the idea that firearms often contribute to concentration of power and the successful building of empires. The book closely examines the impact of their use on regional states in the fifteenth century and on the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In the case of the Mughal Empire, it suggests that the use of the musket had particular relevance tot he center's control of internal resources. Further, the book also describes the dissemination of muskets among peasant communities. The links between this development and the growing militancy among sections of the rural population are also explored.

This book is an important contribution to the history of war technology and changing perspectives on state formation in pre-modern India. It reaffirms the catalytic influences of military technology, while at the same time mapping the link between the diffusion of technology and evolving social formations during that period. It will interest the historian of medieval India and scholars and students interested in issues of state formation and military history.

About the Author:

Iqtidar Alam Khan retired as Professor of History. Aligarh Muslim University, India.


List of Illustrations

1.Appearance of Gunpowder and Early Firearms in India during the Thirteenth Century17
2.Gunpowder Artillery in India during the Fifteenth Century41
3.Indian Response to European Gunnery: 1498-155659
4.Artillery in Mughal India: 1556-173991
5.The Nature of Handguns in Mughal India: Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries128
6.The Matchlock Musket as an Instrument of Centralization143
7.Muskets and Peasant Resistance164

Appendix A:Use of Firearms by the Mongols in the Islamic World during the Thirteenth Century200
Appendix B:Muhammad Qasim Firishta on the Introduction of Firearms in the Bahmani Kingdom205
Appendix C:The Alleged Presence of Cannon in the Delhi Sultanate during the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: Akram Makhdoomee's and Abu Zafar Nadvi's Theses210
Appendix D:Re-examining the Origin and Group Identity of the So-called Purbias, 1500-1800


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