Séminaire « Apprentissage et transmission des savoirs et des savoir-faire en Asie du Sud et dans les mondes persanophones »

organisé par F. ‘Nalini’ DELVOYE (EPHE), Francis RICHARD (BULAC)

et Fabrizio SPEZIALE (CNRS-Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3 et Perso-Indica)


Mercredi 24 juin 2015, de 14h à 17h


à l’EPHE, en Sorbonne, 17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris

escalier E, 1er étage, salle Delamarre (D 059)


Conférence de Monsieur CHANDER SHEKHAR

Professeur et Directeur, Département de persan, Université de Delhi


chercheur invité dans le cadre du projet Perso-Indica (http://www.perso-indica.net/)


Publishing Critical Editions of Indo-Persian Texts in India


Indo-Persian studies cover a two-fold domain in the realm of Persianate culture, as well as South Asian studies. The study of Indo-Persian texts started in Kolkata after the middle of the 18th century with the arrival of many Orientalists and the consequent establishment of the Asiatic Society of Bengal by Sir William Jones in 1783. Fort William College, the Baptist Mission Press in Kolkata and many other institutions undertook the study of texts in Persian as well as their edition and publication for various historical and academic reasons.

There has been a constant effort to make available edited texts of the Indo-Persian corpus on the part of individuals and institutions such as the Rampur Raza library in Rampur, the Khuda Bakhsh Library in Patna, the Asiatic Society Library in Kolkata, the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Arabic Persian Research Institute in Tonk. Prior to these, Nawal Kishore Press in Lucknow has published almost 5,000 books, the majority of which were Persian texts, due to a new education policy, and the Matba‘-i Sultani of Awadh were engaged in bringing into light many Persian works. The Rampur Raza Library also published Persian texts and translations in Urdu and later on even in Hindi; the Asiatic Society was a pioneer in bringing forth texts and translations in English, especially by Jadunath Sarkar or by English Orientalists who translated works such as the Mughal Akbar Nama or the Maasir ul Umra. Today similar work is being carried out by the National Mission for Manuscripts established by the Government of India in 2004. It has published texts in Persian, Urdu and Sanskrit so as to enable scholars in various disciplines and fields to base their research on scientifically edited texts.

In the last decade, I have edited four major and three minor Indo-Persian texts which will be briefly introduced here. The subjects of these texts are different but all are connected with history, culture and the transmission of knowledge. These are mainly: the Chahar Gulshan of Rai Chaturman Kaistha, a work providing a variety of information in the format of the Ain-e Akbari (2011); the Mirat ul Istelah, an encyclopaedic dictionary compiled by Anand Ram Mukhis, a courtier of Muhammad Shah (2013); the Taiid-e Bisarat by Lutfullah Khan Nisar Dehlavi, on the art of sword making (2014) and the Rag Darshan on music, compiled by Khushal Khan in the Asaf Jahi period for the renowned dancer Chanda Bibi Mahlaqa Bai (2015). The publication of two more texts edited by me, the Majma ul Afkar and the Waqai Asad Beg, is forthcoming. The text and translation of the Muraqqa‘-e Dehli of Dargah Quli Khan (English translation with Shama Mitra Chenoy, 1989) is also under revision as some new manuscripts were found by me.

Therefore the rich Indo-Persian corpus needs the continued and keen attention of scholars from various dynamic areas of research to establish critical editions of literary and non-literary texts with all due scientific rigueur, and to pass on knowledge that is not only of interest to South Asia but, in part, belongs to world heritage.


Les éditions de textes indo-persans publiées par M. le Prof. CHANDER SHEKHAR témoignent de son infatigable recherche et collation de manuscrits conservés dans les bibliothèques indiennes et européennes qu’il a fréquentées assidûment depuis des décennies, parallèlement à ses responsabilités académiques, éditoriales et administratives. Un choix d’ouvrages et de périodiques qu’il a dirigés, représentatif des études indo-persanes en Inde, sera présenté à la conférence du 24 juin 2015. Ses publications les plus importantes seront consultables sur place, ainsi qu’un choix d’éditions critiques de textes indo-persans publiés en Inde.

Camille Rhoné

Agrégée d'histoire, titulaire d'une thèse de doctorat en histoire de l'Islam médiéval ("Défendre le territoire en Iran nord-oriental - Khorassan et Transoxiane -, IXe-XIe siècle"), Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

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