Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World - Vol. 1

Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World - Vol. 1

Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World - Vol. 1

Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World - Vol. 1

Synopsis

In this volume, André Wink analyzes the beginning of the process of momentous and long-term change that came with the Islamization of the regions that the Arabs called al-Hind India and large parts of its Indianized hinterland. In the seventh to eleventh centuries, the expansion of Islam had a largely commercial impact on al-Hind. In the peripheral states of the Indian subcontinent, fluid resources, intensive raiding and trading activity, as well as social and political fluidity and openness produced a dynamic impetus that was absent in the densely settled agricultural heartland. Shifts of power occurred, in combination with massive transfers of wealth across multiple centers along the periphery of al-Hind. These multiple centers mediated between the world of mobile wealth on the Islamic-Sino-Tibetan frontier (which extended into Southeast Asia) and the world of sedentary agriculture, epitomized by brahmanical temple Hinduism in and around Kanauj in the heartland. The growth and development of a world economy in and around the Indian Ocean with India at its center and the Middle East and China as its two dynamic poles was effected by continued economic, social, and cultural integration into ever wider and more complex patterns under the aegis of Islam. Please note that Early medieval India and the expansion of Islam 7th-11th centuries was previously published by Brill in hardback (ISBN 90 04 09249 8, still available).

Excerpt

I would probably not have written this book if I had not been a participant in the conference on ‘surprise phenomena and long-term trends in future world-development’ which was held in Friibergh Manor, Sweden, in January 1986. It was there that I decided to expand the scope of an originally more narrowly conceived work on the formative stage of Indian Islam. in Sweden it became clear to me that many of the problems which I had encountered during a preceding year of research could be solved if I gave priority to their long-term world-historical context. I should therefore first like to thank the organizers of the conference, the Swedish Committee for Future Oriented Research, for providing me with an opportunity to think about these issues. Two other participants in the conference, William H. McNeill and John F. Richards, I would like to mention especially for forcing me into the difficult question of world-historical periodization.

I incurred many other debts, both for material and intellectual support, over the past few years when I worked on the project at hand. Only with trepidation do I record my gratitude to the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research (N.W.O.) for awarding me a C. & C. Huygens fellowship from 1984 to the present. the unique privileges attached to this fellowship now preclude me from evoking adverse circumstances as a drawback in achieving the best of results. All shortcomings and mistakes of this book, I am afraid, can only be due to my own shortcomings.

My gratitude also goes to Chris Bayly and the Master of St. Catharine's College for accommodating me during a six-months stay in 198485 at the University of Cambridge, where I did much of the preliminary research. the Leiden Centre for the History of European Expansion provided me with a first occasion to test some of the ideas advanced here at the Third Cambridge-Delhi-Leiden-Yogyakarta Conference on the Comparative Study of India and Indonesia, held in Yogyakarta in September 1986. I benefited a great deal from discussions on medieval Indian history with Jan Heesterman, Ronald Inden, Dick Eaton, and Burton Stein. Marc Gaborieau, Dietmar Rothermund and Kirti Chaudhuri further stimulated discussion on earlier versions of the ideas presented in this volume by inviting me to give seminars in respectively . . .

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