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Promotion of Learning in India - During Muhammadan Rule
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Promotion of Learning in India - During Muhammadan Rule
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About the Book

The purpose of the present work is to bring together all the facts about a most interesting aspect of Muhammadan rule in India which is apt to be missed in the general histories of that rule. The contributions to learning and culture made by Islam in India are indeed worthy of a special consideration. Their value is more abiding if less brilliant than the political conquests which marked the progress of Muhammadan power in India.

The present work is a history of various efforts to promote learning and diffuse education among the people of this country by the Muhammadan Emperors, Chiefs and individuals.

Preface

THE purpose of the present work is to bring together all the facts about a most interesting aspect of Muhammadan rule in India which is apt to be missed in the general histories of that rule. The contributions to learning and culture made by Islam in India are indeed worthy of a special consideration. Their value is more abiding if less brilliant than the political conquests which marked the progress of Muhammadan power in India.

The work, as its title indicates, relates to the promotion of learning and not to the quality of the learning. It is generally stated, though not on unreasonable grounds, that India was devoid of Muhammadan scholarship of the type found in the centres of Muslim learning outside India, and that the Muhammadan literati of India lagged far behind the scholars of such places as Baghdad, Dimashq, Cairo, Cordova, Makkah, Shiraz, Samarqand, etc.

This is not, however, a sufficient reason why we should cast into perpetual oblivion the earnest and praiseworthy efforts that were made by the Muhammadan emperors, chiefs and private indi- viduals of India to promote learning and diffuse education among the people of this country. Such efforts should be appreciated apart from the results achieved, and the credit due to them should in no way be diminished by the meagreness of those results. The present work is a history of such efforts and an attempt to show in a connected narrative that the long roll of Muslim rulers, emperors and invaders from Mahmud downwards were not altogether inattentive to the literary interests of the people, and that private individuals also were not quite inactive in this direction.

As to the value that can be attached to the materials used in this work, it should be remarked that the Muhammadan historical works should not be wholly relied upon. They mix up facts with fiction in such a manner that it is often difficult to distinguish the one from the other. Under: the circumstances, a question may arise as to how far they can be regarded as trustworthy. No doubt, the question is not without its difficulties. I have followed the principle that where the same fact has been stated by different writers following different authorities, that fact may be relied upon, especially if the authors happen to be contemporaneous with the facts recorded. Sometimes, it may transpire that a fact connected with the subject is mentioned in a work which is considered as an authority in its field; in that case, if there be nothing improbable or unreasonable about it and if it be uncontradicted by any other evidence, we may safely accept and use it. To reject the uncorroborated testimony of a contemporaneous writer or the statements of a writer generally accepted as an authority, if there be nothing unreasonable or improbable. about them, would be wantonly rejecting historical materials and carrying scepticism too far. Many of the authorities cited and followed in this volume were respected by their contemporaries, and have been used as authorities by various writers on historical subjects.

Foreword

My friend, Mr. Narendra Nath Law, the grandson of a famous citizen of Calcutta, has asked me to write an introduction to his book on the Promotion of Learning in India, and I willingly comply with his request, as it is always a great pleasure to see Indian gentlemen taking an interest in the history of their country. But some practice during a long life has never made composition an easy matter, and the subject which Mr. Law has chosen is only partially familiar to me. My studies in Indian history began late, and were mainly con- cerned with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whereas Mr. Law’s work covers, like Livy's History of Rome, a period of over seven centuries. He begins with Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, whose date is some forty years earlier than the Norman Con- quest, and ends, for the present, with the close of the eighteenth century. This volume, which is in two books, the first dealing with the Pre-Mughal Period, and the second with the Mughal Dynasty, ‘s now before me. It breaks new ground, for though there have been several literary histories of India, this is, I think, the first work which specially deals with the share taken by her Muhammadan conquerors in the promotion of Indian learning. As Mr. Law puts it in his Preface, "So far as I am aware, the subject-matter of this work has not anywhere been systematically treated. The materials fer its compilation lie scattered in works published and unpublished, in most of which they are only indirectly and incidentally referred to."

As I have said, Mr. Law begins with Sultan Mahmid of Ghazni. He was the son of a Turkish slave, and a great ‘conoclast. A village in Afghanstan is still known by the name of Butkhak, or Idol-dust, because Mahmid is said. there to have had Hindu idols broken to pieces. Mahmud is, perhaps, chiefly remembered nowadays for his rapacity, and for his breach of promise to Firdausi so far is it from being true that genius and priority of enterprise have the privilege of being able to commit great mistakes with impunity. The remark is made by Voltaire, who says, in his Siécles de Louis XIV. et de Louis X V.," Cest le privilege du vrai génie, et surtout du génie qut ouvre une carriere, de faire impunément de grandes fautes." Voltaire is here speaking of the Great Condé, and Count Noer applies it to Akbar with reference to his claim to Divine honours. But the remark is not satisfactory in respect of either of these heroes, and Voltaire is in himself a striking instance of its falsehood, for he is seldom thought of without the amart aliquid arising of his ribald treatment of Joan of Arc. Such was the impression produced by Sultan Mahmud’s love of plunder that the poet Sa’di represents a Persian king as seeing Mahmudin a dream, a hundred years after the Sultan was dead. " The body had decayed and crumbled into dust, all save the eyeballs which rolled in their sockets, looking hither and thither. None of the soothsayers could give the interpretation; but a certain poor man put in his word and said, ‘ He is searching because his kingdoms have passed away to another.’ "

**Contents and Sample Pages**












Promotion of Learning in India - During Muhammadan Rule

Item Code:
NAW303
Cover:
HARDCOVER
Edition:
1985
Publisher:
Language:
English
Size:
10.00 X 7.50 inch
Pages:
264 (20 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 0.91 Kg
Price:
$40.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

The purpose of the present work is to bring together all the facts about a most interesting aspect of Muhammadan rule in India which is apt to be missed in the general histories of that rule. The contributions to learning and culture made by Islam in India are indeed worthy of a special consideration. Their value is more abiding if less brilliant than the political conquests which marked the progress of Muhammadan power in India.

The present work is a history of various efforts to promote learning and diffuse education among the people of this country by the Muhammadan Emperors, Chiefs and individuals.

Preface

THE purpose of the present work is to bring together all the facts about a most interesting aspect of Muhammadan rule in India which is apt to be missed in the general histories of that rule. The contributions to learning and culture made by Islam in India are indeed worthy of a special consideration. Their value is more abiding if less brilliant than the political conquests which marked the progress of Muhammadan power in India.

The work, as its title indicates, relates to the promotion of learning and not to the quality of the learning. It is generally stated, though not on unreasonable grounds, that India was devoid of Muhammadan scholarship of the type found in the centres of Muslim learning outside India, and that the Muhammadan literati of India lagged far behind the scholars of such places as Baghdad, Dimashq, Cairo, Cordova, Makkah, Shiraz, Samarqand, etc.

This is not, however, a sufficient reason why we should cast into perpetual oblivion the earnest and praiseworthy efforts that were made by the Muhammadan emperors, chiefs and private indi- viduals of India to promote learning and diffuse education among the people of this country. Such efforts should be appreciated apart from the results achieved, and the credit due to them should in no way be diminished by the meagreness of those results. The present work is a history of such efforts and an attempt to show in a connected narrative that the long roll of Muslim rulers, emperors and invaders from Mahmud downwards were not altogether inattentive to the literary interests of the people, and that private individuals also were not quite inactive in this direction.

As to the value that can be attached to the materials used in this work, it should be remarked that the Muhammadan historical works should not be wholly relied upon. They mix up facts with fiction in such a manner that it is often difficult to distinguish the one from the other. Under: the circumstances, a question may arise as to how far they can be regarded as trustworthy. No doubt, the question is not without its difficulties. I have followed the principle that where the same fact has been stated by different writers following different authorities, that fact may be relied upon, especially if the authors happen to be contemporaneous with the facts recorded. Sometimes, it may transpire that a fact connected with the subject is mentioned in a work which is considered as an authority in its field; in that case, if there be nothing improbable or unreasonable about it and if it be uncontradicted by any other evidence, we may safely accept and use it. To reject the uncorroborated testimony of a contemporaneous writer or the statements of a writer generally accepted as an authority, if there be nothing unreasonable or improbable. about them, would be wantonly rejecting historical materials and carrying scepticism too far. Many of the authorities cited and followed in this volume were respected by their contemporaries, and have been used as authorities by various writers on historical subjects.

Foreword

My friend, Mr. Narendra Nath Law, the grandson of a famous citizen of Calcutta, has asked me to write an introduction to his book on the Promotion of Learning in India, and I willingly comply with his request, as it is always a great pleasure to see Indian gentlemen taking an interest in the history of their country. But some practice during a long life has never made composition an easy matter, and the subject which Mr. Law has chosen is only partially familiar to me. My studies in Indian history began late, and were mainly con- cerned with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whereas Mr. Law’s work covers, like Livy's History of Rome, a period of over seven centuries. He begins with Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, whose date is some forty years earlier than the Norman Con- quest, and ends, for the present, with the close of the eighteenth century. This volume, which is in two books, the first dealing with the Pre-Mughal Period, and the second with the Mughal Dynasty, ‘s now before me. It breaks new ground, for though there have been several literary histories of India, this is, I think, the first work which specially deals with the share taken by her Muhammadan conquerors in the promotion of Indian learning. As Mr. Law puts it in his Preface, "So far as I am aware, the subject-matter of this work has not anywhere been systematically treated. The materials fer its compilation lie scattered in works published and unpublished, in most of which they are only indirectly and incidentally referred to."

As I have said, Mr. Law begins with Sultan Mahmid of Ghazni. He was the son of a Turkish slave, and a great ‘conoclast. A village in Afghanstan is still known by the name of Butkhak, or Idol-dust, because Mahmid is said. there to have had Hindu idols broken to pieces. Mahmud is, perhaps, chiefly remembered nowadays for his rapacity, and for his breach of promise to Firdausi so far is it from being true that genius and priority of enterprise have the privilege of being able to commit great mistakes with impunity. The remark is made by Voltaire, who says, in his Siécles de Louis XIV. et de Louis X V.," Cest le privilege du vrai génie, et surtout du génie qut ouvre une carriere, de faire impunément de grandes fautes." Voltaire is here speaking of the Great Condé, and Count Noer applies it to Akbar with reference to his claim to Divine honours. But the remark is not satisfactory in respect of either of these heroes, and Voltaire is in himself a striking instance of its falsehood, for he is seldom thought of without the amart aliquid arising of his ribald treatment of Joan of Arc. Such was the impression produced by Sultan Mahmud’s love of plunder that the poet Sa’di represents a Persian king as seeing Mahmudin a dream, a hundred years after the Sultan was dead. " The body had decayed and crumbled into dust, all save the eyeballs which rolled in their sockets, looking hither and thither. None of the soothsayers could give the interpretation; but a certain poor man put in his word and said, ‘ He is searching because his kingdoms have passed away to another.’ "

**Contents and Sample Pages**












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