Saturday, 6 June 2009

The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier

This was a one day course which I attended at Ebrahim College.

Most if not all of the content was covered from the text "The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760'' by Prof. Richard Eaton.
This can be found free online on the following link.

For a Muslim, Bengali Britain it was really fascinating to understand what my parents culture and to a large extent my own had been shaped by. It is worth knowing where one has come from to better understand where one is to go with what one has.

Point to note (there were many):
  1. The Bengali scripts did not change from Bengali to Imperial (Persian/Arabic/Turkish). As Islam was internalised into the Bengali universe.
  2. Abyssinians were brought to India as slaves, recruited for the Indian Military. They later took over the Sultanate, which made it very unstable in the 7 years from 1486-1493.
  3. The original aims of the Moguls may have been political when they took over East Bengal but the effect had been cultural via the Mosque building, and therefore was taken that religion was deemed to be a major factor for the Moguls to acquiring stability.
  4. Undated Mosques: Bamboo and Thatching material used by the Moguls to build the Mosques. These did not last and were only built for the "Peers" (Saints) to gain rights to the land.
  5. Contracts to build religious buildings were delegated by the Hindus (who thought themselves to be more superior to the Muslims) to the Muslim workers. This inevitably lead to more Mosques in the region being built.
  6. Best historical information, are based on the land records departments in the district, where there are record rooms full of archives of material from the Mogul Empire and beyond.
  7. The river and how this changed (Ganges and Brahmaputra) played a significant part in the rise of power to the west of Bengal.

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