Chapter

Mapping Early Modern Bengal

Kumkum Chatterjee

in The Cultures of History in Early Modern India

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195698800
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080243 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195698800.003.0002
Mapping Early Modern Bengal

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This chapter examines the political, cultural, and literary environment of Mughal and very early colonial Bengal. The first section discusses the history and nature of the polity in Bengal in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The second reconstructs the main features of the social and cultural configuration of medieval and early modern Bengal. The third and final section explores the principal literary cultures of early modern Bengal. In the literary traditions current in Bengal, certain terms were particularly associated with the writing of history. These terms were itihasa/Purana, related to the Sanskritic-Bengali literary tradition, and tarikh, related to the Indo-Persian or Indo-Islamic tradition. The final section also discusses the intellectual genealogies of these terms and the substantive concepts associated with them.

Keywords: early modern Bengal; history; polity; literary cultures; history writing; itihasa; tarikh; Indo-Islamic tradition; genealogies; Sanskrit

Chapter.  14638 words. 

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