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Sufism, Culture, and PoliticsAfghans and Islam in Medieval North India$
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Raziuddin Aquil

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195685121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195685121.001.0001

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The Study of Medieval Indian History

(p.1) Introduction
Sufism, Culture, and Politics

Raziuddin Aquil

Oxford University Press

The introduction provides an overview of the book which examines the existing propositions on the problem of politics and governance during the Afghan period. It assesses the nature of Afghan polity and the significance of religion and architecture in the articulation and projection of Afghan power. This chapter argues that the study of medieval Indian history suffers from what is characterized as Mughal centrism. It examines the existing propositions in secondary works, which delineate that the period of the Afghan rule witnessed the disintegration of the ‘centralized’ political structure of the Delhi Sultanate resulting in a general crisis. Contrary to the notion that the Afghan polity was tribal in nature, and that a decentralized-tribal polity is incompatible with peace and stability, the primary material indicates that rather than depending upon tribal lineages and customs only, the Afghan rulers drew on the universal tropes of kingship for the articulation of their power. The chapter also examines historiography represented by the scholars K.A. Nizami, S.A.A. Rizvi, M. Habib, R.P. Tripathi, Abdul Halim, K.R. Qanungo, S.M. Imamuddin and I.H. Siddiqui, and attempts to rectify the imbalance in the existing historiography, even as many established propositions are reconsidered and revised.

Keywords:   Mughal centrism, Afghan rule, sultan, kingship, decentralized-tribal polity, Delhi Sultanate, Afghan polity, religion, architecture, medieval Indian history

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