Narrative Pasts retrieves the social history of a Muslim community in Gujarat, a region that has one of the earliest records of Muslim presence in the Indian subcontinent. By reconstructing the literary, social and historical world of Sufi preceptors, disciples, and descendants from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, the book reveals the importance of learned Muslim men in imparting a distinct regional and historical identity to Gujarat. The prominence of Gujarat’s maritime location has often oriented the study of Gujarat towards the commercial world of the western Indian Ocean world. Narrative Pasts demonstrates that Gujarat was also an integral part of the historical and narrative processes that shaped medieval and early modern South Asia. Employing new and rarely used literary materials in Persian and Arabic, this book departs from the narrow state-centered visions of the Muslim past and integrates Gujarat’s sultanate and Mughal past to the larger socio-cultural histories of Islamic South Asia.
Dr. Jyoti Gulati Balachandran is Assistant Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University. A historian of medieval and early modern (c. 1200-1800) South Asia, Balachandran received her doctoral degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is interested in social and cultural histories of Muslim communities in Gujarat and the wider Indian Ocean world. Her research has appeared in the Indian Economic and Social History Review and she has contributed several articles to the third edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam.
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