Auteur : Nandini Chatterjee

Privy Council Papers and Historical Narratives of the Ajmer Dargah

By Elizabeth Thelen In the twentieth century, two cases regarding the management of the Dargah (shrine) of Sufi saint Mu’in al-Din Chishti were appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The first, Appeal No. 8 of 1936, Syed Altaf Hussain and Others vs. Diwan Syed Ale Rasul Ali Khan and Others, was about rights to pilgrim’s offerings at the shrine.  The second, Appeal No. 36 of 1945, Syed Asrar Ahmed vs. The Durgah Committee Ajmer, concerned the hereditary nature of the post … Continue reading « Privy Council Papers and Historical Narratives of the Ajmer Dargah »

Red fort documents: Edward Colebrooke’s letter

Posted by Nandini Chatterjee On behalf of Prof. Chander Shekhar The Red Fort’s collection of Persian documents continues to tell us much about the colonial use of the Persian language and the evolution of letter-writing and legal drafting styles. The mammoth series, Calendar of Persian Correspondence, recently republished by Primus books with introductions and annotations by Professor Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, have alerted scholars to the continued used of Persian for diplomatic purposes. In a previous post, a letter to Maharaja Ranjit Singh … Continue reading « Red fort documents: Edward Colebrooke’s letter »

Red fort documents: discoveries by Prof. Chander Shekhar

Nandini Chatterjee on behalf of Prof. Chander Shekhar,  Director. Lal Bahadur Shastri Centre for Indian Culture Embassy of India  Prof. Chander Shekhar has opened up a previously unseen collection of Persian documents, currently stored at the Red Fort, Delhi, India. These documents from the first part of the nineteenth century offer an enriching glimpse into the continued use of Persian under English East India Company rule. They also offer insights into the use of evolving forms of Persian correspondence between the reduced Mughal court, … Continue reading « Red fort documents: discoveries by Prof. Chander Shekhar »

Documents and diplomacy: a conversation

    Participants Nandini Chatterjee, University of Exeter Guido van Meersbergen, University of Warwick Leonard Hodges, King’s College London Callie Wilkinson, University of Warwick Dominic Vendell, University of Exeter This past Thursday, 25 March, as we await better opportunities to resume crossing borders – physical, disciplinary and otherwise – a group of scholars working on issues related to diplomacy in South Asia gathered to discuss the current and future state of diplomatic history. More than twenty years on from the earliest statements on the … Continue reading « Documents and diplomacy: a conversation »

Opening up family collections: Discovery of three 18th-century legal documents from the Nawab family of Kamboh, near Meerut, north India

Nandini Chatterjee of behalf of Prof. Chander Shekhar Prof. Chander Shekhar, currently Director of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Centre for Indian Culture, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and senior advisor of the Lawforms project, has been opening up exciting new collections of materials despite the difficulties imposed by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. During a visit to India in December-January 2020-21, Prof. Chander Shekhar found three Persian documents related to the illustrious Nawab family of Kamboh. This family had held position and titles in the area for several … Continue reading « Opening up family collections: Discovery of three 18th-century legal documents from the Nawab family of Kamboh, near Meerut, north India »

Document case studies series: ‘Death in service: compensation for loss of life in late Mughal (eighteenth-century) India’

Nandini Chatterjee Reposted from Economic and Social History seminar blog, University of Exeter This post begins by looking at a legal document – one related to employment, or violent termination there of. In the case under study, the person employed had been killed in the course of his work, and the female members of his family sought compensation from his employer for this loss to their key manpower resources. By looking at the document in detail, I am going to open up some questions about … Continue reading « Document case studies series: ‘Death in service: compensation for loss of life in late Mughal (eighteenth-century) India’ »

The Dutch Zamindar and his Paper Zamindari: Studying the Pattas of Bengal

By Byapti Sur It was an unusually bright sunny day instead of the grey skies and rain in the Netherlands when I walked into Het Nationaal Archief in The Hague and Johan van Langen in his function as advisor to the Shared Cultural Heritage Programme introduced me to the hitherto unresearched world of pattas in Bengal. I learnt that the original collection was in the West Bengal State Archives (WBSA) in Kolkata but I could work with digital copies of the pattas and my … Continue reading « The Dutch Zamindar and his Paper Zamindari: Studying the Pattas of Bengal »

Deciphering registration notes from the early modern western Deccan

By Dominic Vendell As we have been encoding Persian legal documents from South Asia for online publication, I have become accustomed to spending long hours staring at scribbles. But I have also been thinking more about clerical notes scribbled on the margins or versos of documents. Such notes were intended for a specialised audience of clerical officials – an audience in the know, as it were – so they are often difficult to decipher, and usually ignored by historians in search of the ‘evidence’ … Continue reading « Deciphering registration notes from the early modern western Deccan »

Paper empires – or stitched empires?

Work-in-progress discussions with contributors to a collected volume of essays Nandini Chatterjee Today, 6 November 2020, we had a catch-up-cum-work-in-progress meeting with the members of the Colonialism Inside Out team and some eminent external collaborators – Debjani Bhattacharyya, Paul Halliday, and Bhavani Raman. The aim of the meeting, inevitably on Zoom, of course, was to report on progress made towards producing nine papers on paperwork in colonial Sri Lanka, India and the Indian Ocean. Participants joined in from the USA, UK, Netherlands and Sri … Continue reading « Paper empires – or stitched empires? »

Time in Indo-Persian documents

Recently, we have been thinking quite a bit about time. The most immediate reason was the end of British Summer time on 25th October. In this age of online meetings, this led to a flurry of exchanges with colleagues located in various parts of the world about the ‘real’ time when we wanted to meet up in video conferences. Proposing GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), which had seemed like a safe, if somewhat Anglocentric strategy, led to increased confusion as colleagues based in Europe pointed … Continue reading « Time in Indo-Persian documents »

Thinking about writing and reading didactic literature in India and England

By Elizabeth Thelen One thread of inquiry regarding the forms of documents in circulation in South Asia and their stability that Lawforms Project team members have been pursuing is to consider manuals and didactic literature. Between December 2018 and July 2019, we surveyed manuals in various languages and held a project meeting on this subject. Some of the texts we examined contained guides to various technical aspects of administration and business, such as tables of weights and measures or organizational charts of various posts. … Continue reading « Thinking about writing and reading didactic literature in India and England »

A court case mentioned in the collection of letters in British Library manuscript Add Mss 16859

Prof. Chander Shekhar Director, Lal Bahadur Shastri Centre for Indian Culture, Tashkent This is a case mentioned in the collection of letters in the British Library manuscript Add Mss 16859 (India office collection). The collection has letters of Sayyed Muzaffar Hussain, Khan-e Jahan Barha, a noble during Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s reign, who held the post of subehdar or provincial governor at Gwalior.There are also letters from Jalal Hisari, and Balkrishan Brahman. At the end of the manuscript, there is a copy of Gwalior … Continue reading « A court case mentioned in the collection of letters in British Library manuscript Add Mss 16859 »

When and where did the Persianate end?

Nandini Chatterjee With Fahad Bishara, Ghulam Nadri, Huntington Lyman Stebbins, Elizabeth Thelen and Dominic Vendell The worldwide pandemic has affected all of us in the Lawforms project in different ways. But it has not stopped us from keeping those really interesting conversations going. In the Lawforms team, with members physically situated across multiple continents, planning, discussing and collaborative reading over video link has been established practice for at least two years. But as video-conferencing has become so much more run-of-the-mill, we are now able to … Continue reading « When and where did the Persianate end? »

Collaboration with Leiden/Nijmegen project on the ‘Hidden History of Colonialism’

Nandini Chatterjee Right at the start of the lockdowns imposed by our various countries due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, we had a conference in Leiden cancelled. We have been particularly looking forward to this, because we had planned with meet with members of another research team on the sidelines, to discuss potential collaboration. That research team consists of the members of the NWO-funded Colonialism Inside Out project, led by Alicia Schrikker (Leiden University) and Dries Lyna (Radboud University).  In keeping with the emerging … Continue reading « Collaboration with Leiden/Nijmegen project on the ‘Hidden History of Colonialism’ »

Book published: Negotiating Mughal Law

Nandini Chatterjee Amid the Covid-19 crisis, when the world is in lockdown and worrying news is streaming in, there was a little glimmer of joy as my book finally emerged into the world. In various forms, I have worked on materials that eventually made their way into the book for over eight years. But it was the ERC grant that eventually gave me the times and resources to complete this labour of love.   What a journey it has been. It began with learning … Continue reading « Book published: Negotiating Mughal Law »

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