Purnima Dhavan, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Howard and Frances Keller Endowed Professor in History at University of Washington
Sunil Sharma, Professor of Persian & Indian Literatures at Boston University
Neelam Khoja, Ph.D. Candidate Histories and Cultures of Muslim Societies at Harvard University
Lahore, the major urban hub and occasional seasonal capital of the Mughal Empire, has a well-documented history of Persian literary production. The historical roots of a local literary vernacular, and in particular Punjabi, is far less documented and somewhat opaque. Written in several scripts and never fully formalized into a regular orthography and grammar during this early period, Punjabi had a robust presence in every day settings, yet has left a slender archival presence. In this paper, I will contrast a well-known cluster of Persian scholars from seventeen-century Punjab with less familiar regional networks to demonstrate how Persian learning and literacy had intimate but complicated connections with Punjabi literary culture. Both archival presence and silence hint at more fruitful ways of thinking about the literary practices of Punjabi scholarly communities as well as the circulation of their efforts in overlapping circles.
Organized by the South Asia Across Disciplines Workshop
Co-Sponsored by the Harvard South Asia Institute