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Books > History > Robes of Honour: khil'at in Pre-Colonial and Colonial India
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Robes of Honour: khil'at in Pre-Colonial and Colonial India
Robes of Honour: khil'at in Pre-Colonial and Colonial India
Description
From the Jacket:

The tradition of honorific robing entered India with the first Muslim incursions of the 11th century but quickly spread to Hindu courts. In this ceremony, a ruler, or one holding authority from a ruler, presented a full set of elegant silk clothes-turban, shirt, pants, wrap, and outer robe-to one he wished'to honour. Termed khil'at in Persian, this important courtly ritual has been largely neglected in historical writing on South Asia. This engaging book examines the historical value, geographic spread, and general importance of this custom, emphasizing the changing contexts and complex character of the ritual.

As the essays in this volume show, there were some unusual features to hill'at that challenge traditional assumptions about medieval and colonial India and the nature of imperial ideology. First, the ceremony had no religious overtones and was used in relations of fealty across communal boundaries. Second, the ceremony both displaced local honorific rituals and functioned across a broad word that stretched from China to North Africa, thereby diversifying what is conventionally thought of as 'South Asian culture'. Third, the khill'at at ceremony, infused as it was with politics and power, had considerable situational ambiguity of meaning, giving rise to the notion of contested 'culture' in pre-colonial and colonial South Asia.

With contributions from well-known scholars and comprehensive introductory and concluding essays by Stewart Gordon, this pioneering study will appeal to both specialist and general readers with an interest in medieval Indian history, the colonial encounter, and South Asian ritual and custom.

About the Author:

Stewart Gordon is Research Fellow at the Center for South Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. He is the author of Marathas, Marauder, and State Formation in Eighteenth-Century India (OUP, 1994) and Robes and Honor: The Medieval World of Investiture (2001).

CONTENTS

Acknowledgementsvi
1Introduction: Ibn Battuta and a Region of Robing
Steward Gordon
1
2The Emperor's Clothes: Robing and
'Robes of Honour' in Mughal India
Gaving R. G. Hambly
31
3'Voluntary' Relationships and Royal Gifts of Pan
in Mughal Bengal
David L. Curley
50
4When Soldiers and Statesmen Meet:
'Ethnographic Moments' on the Frontiers
of Empire, 1800-15
Benardo A. Michael
80
5Early Monern Legends of Poison Khill'ats in India
Michelle Maskiell and Adrienne Mayor
95
6The Emperor's Old Clothes: Robing and Sovereignty
in Late Mughal and Early British India
Gail Minault
125
7Conclusions
Stewart Gordon
140
Index147
Notes on Contributors153

Robes of Honour: khil'at in Pre-Colonial and Colonial India

Item Code:
IDF877
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2003
ISBN:
0195663225
Language:
English
Size:
8.6" X 5.6"
Pages:
152
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 334 gms
Price:
$32.00   Shipping Free
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From the Jacket:

The tradition of honorific robing entered India with the first Muslim incursions of the 11th century but quickly spread to Hindu courts. In this ceremony, a ruler, or one holding authority from a ruler, presented a full set of elegant silk clothes-turban, shirt, pants, wrap, and outer robe-to one he wished'to honour. Termed khil'at in Persian, this important courtly ritual has been largely neglected in historical writing on South Asia. This engaging book examines the historical value, geographic spread, and general importance of this custom, emphasizing the changing contexts and complex character of the ritual.

As the essays in this volume show, there were some unusual features to hill'at that challenge traditional assumptions about medieval and colonial India and the nature of imperial ideology. First, the ceremony had no religious overtones and was used in relations of fealty across communal boundaries. Second, the ceremony both displaced local honorific rituals and functioned across a broad word that stretched from China to North Africa, thereby diversifying what is conventionally thought of as 'South Asian culture'. Third, the khill'at at ceremony, infused as it was with politics and power, had considerable situational ambiguity of meaning, giving rise to the notion of contested 'culture' in pre-colonial and colonial South Asia.

With contributions from well-known scholars and comprehensive introductory and concluding essays by Stewart Gordon, this pioneering study will appeal to both specialist and general readers with an interest in medieval Indian history, the colonial encounter, and South Asian ritual and custom.

About the Author:

Stewart Gordon is Research Fellow at the Center for South Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. He is the author of Marathas, Marauder, and State Formation in Eighteenth-Century India (OUP, 1994) and Robes and Honor: The Medieval World of Investiture (2001).

CONTENTS

Acknowledgementsvi
1Introduction: Ibn Battuta and a Region of Robing
Steward Gordon
1
2The Emperor's Clothes: Robing and
'Robes of Honour' in Mughal India
Gaving R. G. Hambly
31
3'Voluntary' Relationships and Royal Gifts of Pan
in Mughal Bengal
David L. Curley
50
4When Soldiers and Statesmen Meet:
'Ethnographic Moments' on the Frontiers
of Empire, 1800-15
Benardo A. Michael
80
5Early Monern Legends of Poison Khill'ats in India
Michelle Maskiell and Adrienne Mayor
95
6The Emperor's Old Clothes: Robing and Sovereignty
in Late Mughal and Early British India
Gail Minault
125
7Conclusions
Stewart Gordon
140
Index147
Notes on Contributors153

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