۱۳ September 2017
شماره ۵ معرفی مرکز بین المللی مطالعات صلح
مرکز بین المللی مطالعات صلح- IPSC، سازمانی غیر دولتی و غیر انتفاعی است که دفاترش در خاورمیانه و اروپا واقع است.
الویتهای در شرایط فعلی، بررسی و تحقیق مسائل و مشکلات صلح و امنیت در مناطق بحران خیز جهان، نظیر خاورمیانه بزرگ است.
نام مجله علمی ما “دیپلماسی صلح عادلانه” است.
نام انتشارات : انتشارات مرکز بین المللی مطالعات صلح.
رئیس مرکز بین المللی مطالعات صلح: دکتر سید سلمان صفوی.
این مرکز اهداف زیر را دنبال می نماید :
شناخت شرایط سیاسی و امنیتی محیط پیرامونی ایران
بررسی کنشها و واکنشهای متقابل میان ایران با خاور میانه، اروپا، و آمریکا
شناخت روابط سیاسی اقتصادی جهان اسلام و غرب
شناخت سیاست و اقتصاد بین المللی در خاورمیانه بزرگ
شناخت علمی یکایک کشور های خاورمیانه بزرگ
برقراری ارتباط نزدیک باسایر مراکز مطالعاتی در داخلی
برقراری ارتباط نزدیک با سایر مراکز مطالعاتی درخارج از کشور
دعوت به گفتگوی نخبگان جهانی با یکدیگر
دعوت گفتگوی نخبگان و سازمانهای بین المللی.
زمینه سازی برای گفتگوهایی براساس رعایت احترام طرفین مذاکره، بین ملتها و دولتهای معارض و رقیب
برگزاری کنفرانسها و میز گردهای علمی پیرامون مشکلات منطقه ای و جهانی و راه حلهای آن
انتشار تحقیقات علمی مطالعات صلح و امنیت و دیپلماسی در قالب کتاب ،
مجله، گزارش ویژه، و وب سایت
مرکز بین المللی مطالعات صلح- IPSC
کان الناس امه واحده. مردم در آغاز امت واحد بودند. (قرآن کریم،۰۲٫۲۱۳).
در تاریخ تمدن بشر، صلح “وضع اولی” و جنگ “وضع عارضی” است. صلح؛ زیبا، مهربان و سازنده، اما جنگ؛ وحشتناک، بی رحم و ویرانگر است. متاسفانه جنگ، شاکله بخش مهمی از تاریخ قرن بیستم و نماد آغاز دهه اول قرن ۲۱ است. همچنان که تاریخ معاصر روابط بین الملل نشان داده، به خصوص در خاورمیانه و آسیای مرکزی، جنگ مشکل گشا و سازنده نیست؛ بلکه مشکل آفرین، ریشه استمرار خشونت، بی ثباتی و نا امنی است.
جنگ، راه حل اختلافات دولتها و ملتها نیست؛ با صلح مبتنی بر عدالت می توان به حل پایدار اختلافات دست یافت. دیپلماسی و گفتگوهای سازنده با در نظر گرفتن حقوق طرفین، تنها طریق دست یابی به برقراری صلح، ثبات و امنیت جهانی است. هدف ما، تغییر روابط بین الملل با مشارکت فعال ملتها بر اساس صلح عادلانه است.
به عنوان بخشی از شبکه جهانی نخبگان، قادر به ایفای نقش مهم و سازنده جهت ایجاد تفاهم، گفتگو و کاهش مشکلات جهانی هستیم و قصد آن داریم که مستقل از دولتها، با درک واقع بینانه ملتها و دولتها از یکدیگر، از طریق گفتگوهای صادقانه، سازنده و روشن، راهکارهایی جهت همکاری های مثبت و عادلانه بین ملتهای جهان فراهم آید.
اصول برقراری صلح پایدار :
۱٫ عدالت بین کشورهای جنوب و شمال.
۲٫ احترام متقابل فیما بین ملتها و دولتها و دولتها.
۳٫ رعایت منافع مشروع طرفین ذینفع.
۴٫ بین المللی اندیشیدن و عمل کردن در مقابل ملی گرایی افراطی.
۵٫ فهم عینی از واقعیت های جهان.
۶٫ رعایت کردن حقوق بشر واصول دمکراسی.
۷٫ پذیرفتن و حرکت کردن بسوی نابود کردن سلاح های کشتار دسته جمعی در جهان.
الویتهای ما در شرایط فعلی، بررسی مسائل و مشکلات مناطق بحران خیز جهان، نظیر خاورمیانه، خلیج فارس و آسیای مرکزی است.
ابزار ما برای کمک به صلح جهانی عبارتند از:
۱٫ دعوت به گفتگوی نخبگان جهانی با یکدیگر.
۲٫ گفتگوی نخبگان و سازمانهای بین المللی.
۳٫ زمینه سازی برای گفتگوهایی براساس رعایت احترام طرفین مذاکره، بین دولتهای معارض و رقیب.
۴٫ برگزاری کنفرانسهای علمی پیرامون مشکلات منطقه ای و جهانی و راه حلهای آن.
۵٫ انتشار تحقیقات علمی مطالعات صلح در قالب کتاب و مجله.
۶٫ تعلیم بین المللی فرهنگ گفتگو، تفاهم، مصالحه، عدالت، آزادی و معنویت.
ما سازمانی غیر دولتی و غیر انتفاعی هستیم. دفاتر ما در خاورمیانه و اروپا واقع است.
رئیس مرکز بین المللی مطالعات صلح قهرمان صفوی است
سید قهرمان صفوی (معروف به سید سلمان صفوی) مولویشناس و نویسنده، از بنیانگذاران گروه توحیدی صف در دوران حکومت پهلوی، یکی از بنیانگذاران و فرماندهان سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامی در اصفهان تا سال ۱۳۶۱، رئیس فعلی آکادمی مطالعات ایرانی لندن، مدیر مرکز بینالمللی مطالعات صلح و دستیار پژوهش در دانشکده مطالعات مشرقزمین و آفریقا SOAS در لندن است. او همچنین برادر سید رحیم صفوی است.
قهرمان صفوی یکی از بنیانگذاران و سردبیر کنونی نشریه Transcendent Philosophy Journal (فلسفه متعالی) و سرویراستار دانشنامه فرهنگ مکتوب عرفان و تصوف است. صفوی در انتخابات مجلس هشتم نامزد شد و مورد حمایت برخی احزاب اصلاح طلب از جمله حزب اعتماد ملی قرار گرفت.
مطالعه بیشتر در مورد اندیشکده های مهم
- ۱- دفتر مطالعات سیاسی و بین المللی وزارت امور خارجه ج.ا. ایران
- موسسه آینده پژوهی جهان اسلام.
- مرکز مطالعاتخاورمیانه
- مرکز تحقیقات استراتژیک
- پژوهشکده مطالعات راهبردی
- آکادمی مطالعات ایرانی لندن – LAIS
- مصاحبه سازمان دریای پارس با مدیر موسسه مرکز مطالعات خلیج فارس
پیامدها و آینده حضور ناتو در خلیج فارس – گفتگو با دکتر محمد عجم
The problem for the world’s most expensive spice
The spice saffron, as well as being famously expensive, is packed with antioxidants. It is said to help combat depression and lower blood pressure, to soften your skin and hair and is essential in a broad range of dishes from Swedish buns to paella. So what’s stopping it becoming as fashionable as turmeric and cinnamon? Is it just its high price?
In my palm I have five tiny strands, like pieces of slightly fraying dark red sewing thread, which smell rather like a fruity tobacco.
Four of them I’m placing into a cup and dousing with warm water; they’re destined for the cooking pot. The fifth I place on my tongue.
I’m told this taste test is essential to check that what I’m using is proper saffron. After all, if you’ve spent more than £۵ for a gram of anything, you want to be sure it’s the real thing.
And after a few seconds I’m gratified that, despite having languished at the back of my spice cupboard for quite some time, the tiny threads are still capable of imparting the heady floral aroma, the honey notes, and the slight astringency I’ve been promised.
And the strands in the water are leaching an orangey hue, as they should.
Saffron is central to national cuisines from Morocco to the Himalayas, essential to dishes from risotto Milanese to Kashmiri curry. As well as being a sought-after culinary ingredient the versatile spice is also increasingly being added to medications and cosmetics.
What is saffron used for?
Cleopatra used it to infuse her bathwater.
Alexander the Great bathed his battle wounds with it and drank saffron tea.
In the 14th Century it was used to combat bubonic plague
It is a key ingredient in dishes from Spanish paella, to Persian rice dishes and Indian curries
It is added to products from coffee to salt, skin creams to shampoos.
Saffron has been used in traditional medicine to treat menstrual problems, depression, asthma and sexual dysfunction
It has been trialled in research for conditions from memory loss to cancer, but the evidence so far is inconclusive
And yet the reputation of the spice, dubbed “red gold”, still does not glister quite as brightly as perhaps it should.
Keith Alaniz, an American soldier-turned-entrepreneur, thinks he understands why.
After serving in Afghanistan, he and two other veterans decided to establish a social enterprise based on a crop that could offer locals better returns than illegal opium poppy cultivation.
Their company, Rumi Spice, buys saffron crocuses from local growers and employs 380 Afghan women to do the painstaking work of separating the tiny rust-red stigmas in the centre of the crocus from its petals, stamens and the rest of the flower head, prior to being dried and packed for export.
It’s those long laborious hours of work that makes saffron so expensive. Rumi Spice sells its saffron – higher grade than the one from my kitchen cupboard – for $18 (£۱۴) per gram.
Mr Alaniz says saffron’s high price tag is the reason it has so much promise in war torn Afghanistan. But it is also in many ways the root of its biggest problem: it makes it extremely tempting for counterfeiters.
“A lot of the reason saffron hasn’t taken off is because of the adulteration that you’ve seen.”
He says they’re battling against the disappointment some shoppers have felt in the past. They’ve spent money on an extravagant product, only to find it didn’t have much flavour because it was substandard or even fake saffron.
“What we’ve seen with chefs and foodies is, once they see what high quality saffron tastes like, they’re blown away by the flavour and aroma,” says Mr Alaniz.I
Their saffron is now doing well with specialist buyers and high end restaurants. And they hope to rebuild its reputation amongst ordinary consumers in the same way.
But the plan will only work if the product consistently delivers on its promise; and despite recent efforts to introduce more rigorous standards, stories continue to circulate of horse hairs, corn silks, and shredded paper, all masquerading as saffron.
Earlier this year there were reports of the synthetic food colourings tartrazine and sunset yellow being used in counterfeit powdered saffron.
Sally Francis, botanist and saffron grower, says only a few weeks ago she saw safflower, a common substitute from the unrelated thistle family, being sold as saffron in a street market in the Netherlands. And she’s met plenty of tourists returning from exotic holidays with what they thought was bargain saffron, only to find out it was bogus.
Even legitimate saffron can vary enormously depending on how it’s produced, she says.
“You can have a huge range in saffron quality, with no indication on the packaging as to what you are buying,” says Ms Francis.
Often it’s simply that careless harvesting has meant some of the flavourless parts of the crocus have found their way into the final mix. It’s still saffron but rather than “packing a punch” like the purest spice, what you’re basically getting is “expensive yellow food colouring,” she says.
“The difference between a grade I and a grade III that’s huge. You’re talking Trabant and Lamborghini,” she says.
How to check if saffron is genuine
Check it has strands which are frayed at one end
Look for a deep red hue that colours water orangey-yellow when submerged
Smell it and put it on your tongue – fake saffron has very little aroma or flavour
Real saffron will smell slightly fruity and floral
It should taste sweet and bitter at the same time
Ms Francis produces saffron on a small scale in Norfolk. The UK is a tiny player in the global saffron market, despite a saffron tradition going back several centuries.
But it is one of many countries from New Zealand to Germany, Greece to India, where producers are recognising the potential for high-grade saffron, with transparent country of origin and quality labelling, to reassure consumers that it is worth the high price tag.
In Iran which supplies around 90% of the world’s saffron, there are signs that traceability and certification are becoming priorities.
“We are trying to show the quality of Iranian saffron to other people in the world,” says Mehrdad Rowhani, chief executive of a family-owned wholesaler from Mashhad, the city at the heart of Iran’s saffron growing region.
After years hampered by American sanctions, which meant a lot of Iranian saffron ended up exported in bulk to be repackaged and sold as “produce of Spain” or sold via backdoor bartering deals, Iranian producers are again able to sell directly to western customers.
This could have more impact than anything else on the standard of saffron available to ordinary shoppers, as Iran’s producers embrace the opportunity to emphasise the authenticity, origin and quality of their product.
Mr Rowhani says his firm’s exports have already more than doubled since sanctions were lifted.
“We started exporting to the United States and we have good – and big – customers from there,” he says.
Now he’s focusing on improving every step of the production process from planting, harvesting and drying, to selling in smaller, better designed packaging.
“When they see Persian saffron is of high quality, they want to buy more,” he adds.
.کتابخانه ديجيتال جهان افتتاح شد.
علاقمندان از سراسر جهان مي توانند به منابع الکترونيکي اين کتابخانه از طريق وب سايت آن دسترسي داشته باشند.
اين وب سايت در اداره ي مركزي يونسكو در پاريس كار خود را آغاز کرد. در اين وب سايت كتاب هاي نادر، نقشه هاي تاريخي، نسخ خطي، فيلم و عكس از كتابخانه ها و آرشيوهاي سراسر جهان ارائه مي شود. مراجعه كنندگان به اين سايت قادر خواهند بود تا به تمام اين موارد به هفت زبان عربي، چيني، انگليسي، فرانسوي، پرتغالي، روسي و اسپانيائي دسترسي يابند.
32 موسسه از برزيل، بريتانيا، چين، مصر، فرانسه، ژاپن، روسيه، عربستان سعودي، و آمريكا براي اجراي اين پروژه به ياري سازمان يونسكو شتافتند.
اجراي اين پروژه نخستين بار در سال 2005 به وسيله ي بزرگ ترين كتابخانه ي جهان يعني كتابخانه ي کنگرس آمريكا به يونسكو پيشنهاد شد. كتابخانه ي الكترونيكي جهاني به آدرس:
شرکت گوگل و بنياد قطر هر کدام با سه ميليون دلار، بنياد کارنگي با دو مليون دلار، دانشگاه علم و تکنولوژي ملک عبدالله با يک ميليون دلار و شرکت مایکروسافت با يک ميليون دلار کمک، از جمله پشتيبانان مالي اين طرح هستند. کتابخانه ديجيتال جهان جلوههاي فرهنگي نقاط گوناگون جهان را به صورت چندزبانه و رايگان در اختيار کاربران قرار ميدهد .
هدف از راهاندازي اين کتابخانه در چهار محور خلاصه شده است :
– ارتقاي تفهيم و تفاهم ميان ملتها و فرهنگها
– افزايش ظرفيت و تنوع مضامين فرهنگي در اينترنت
– فراهم ساختن منابع براي آموزگاران، پژوهشگران و مخاطبان عام
– ظرفيتسازي براي مؤسسههاي مشارکتکننده براي کم کردن خلا ديجيتالي درون و ميان کشورها
– افزايش ظرفيت و تنوع مضامين فرهنگي در اينترنت
– فراهم ساختن منابع براي آموزگاران، پژوهشگران و مخاطبان عام
– ظرفيتسازي براي مؤسسههاي مشارکتکننده براي کم کردن خلا ديجيتالي درون و ميان کشورها
برای نمونه چند لينك جالب از اين سايت:
|The Wonders of Creation
Zakarīyā ibn Muhammad al-Qazwīnī (circa 1203–83), was a distinguished Iranian scholar who was conversant in poetry, history, geography, and natural history. He served as legal expert and judge in several localities in Iran and at Baghdad. After traveling throughout Mesopotamia and Syria, he wrote his famous Arabic-language cosmography, ‘Aja’eb ol-makhluqat wa qara’eb ol-mowjudat (The wonders of creation, or literally, Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing). This treatise, frequently illustrated, was immensely popular and is preserved today in many copies. It has been translated …
|The Spiritual Couplets
The most significant contribution of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (popularly known in Persian as Mawlānā, and in English as Rumi, 1207–73), the renowned poet and mystic of Iran, to Persian literature may be his poetry, and especially his famous Masnavi (The spiritual couplets). This work, which is said to be the most extensive verse exposition of mysticism in any language, discusses and offers solutions to many complicated problems in metaphysics, religion, ethics, mysticism, and other fields. Masnavi highlights the various hidden aspects of Sufism and their relationship to the …
|The Treasure of Khvarazm’Shah
Ismā‘īl ibn Ḥasan Jurjānī (circa 1042–circa 1136, also seen as Jorjānī and Gurjānī), known popularly as Hakim Jurjānī, was among the most famous physicians of 12th-century Iran. In the period between the Islamic conquest and the time of Jurjānī, almost all scientific books by Iranians were written in Arabic, including such famous works as al-Qānūn fī al-tibb (The canon of medicine) by Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Jurjānī’s medical encyclopedia, Zakhīrah-i Khvārazm’Shāhī (The treasure of Khvarazm’Shah) was the first major medical book in post-Islamic Iran written in …
|Molla Sadra’s Miscellany
Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm Ṣadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī (1571–1640), commonly known as Molla Sadra, was a Persian Islamic philosopher, theologian, and mystic who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. The foremost exemplar of the Illuminationist, or Eshraqi, school of philosopher-mystics, Molla Sadra is commonly regarded by Iranians as the greatest philosopher that Iran has produced and is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world of the last four centuries. His school of philosophy is called Transcendent Theosophy. Molla Sadra’s philosophy and ontology …
|The Book of Kings
Shahnameh Baysonqori is a copy of Shahnameh (Book of kings) composed by the highly revered Iranian poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). The importance of Shahnameh in the Persian-speaking world is comparable that of Homer’s epics in the West. The book recounts in verse the mythological history of ancient Persia and tales of the famous heroes and personalities of Iranian history, from legendary times to the 7th-century reign of Yazdgerd III, the last king of the Sassanid dynasty. The tales are based on earlier historical works, but are mixed …
|Treatise on Holy War
The first Persian printing press in Iran was established in 1816 in Tabriz, and the first book published by the press was Jihādīyyah (Treatise on holy war), written by Abu al-Qasim ibn ‘Isá Qa’im’maqam Farahani (circa 1779–1835), the prime minister of Persia at that time. During the reign of King Fath Ali Shah (1772–1834, reigned 1797–1834), while the Qajar government was absorbed with managing domestic turmoil, rival European colonial powers sought to establish themselves in the region. The British competed for influence in the south …
|The Book of Horses
This work is an undated manuscript copy of the Faras-nāma (The book of horses) of ʻAbd Allāh Khān Bahādur Fīrūz. It apparently was written during the reign of Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–58) and based in part on a versified source in Sanskrit of 16,000 shloka (couplets), the Shalihotra, dating from 2500–1500 BC. Among the topics treated are the color of a horse’s coat and its significance (chapter 2), the horse’s mane (chapter 3), signs indicating the agility of a horse on the battlefield (chapter …
|Compendium of Latin Translations of Persian Astronomical Tables
This volume is a compendium of six works that includes Latin translations of portions of the Zīj-i Sulṭānī by Muḥammad Ṭaraghāy ibn Shāhrukh ibn Tīmūr (1394–1449), known as Ulugh Beg. The other works include an excerpt from the Taqwīm al-Buldān (entitled “A Description of Khwārazm and Transoxiana from the Tables of Abū al-Fidāʾ”) by Abū al-Fidāʾ Ismāʿīl Ibn ʿAlī (1273-1331), and a star table by Muhammad ibn Muhammad Tizīnī. Ulugh Beg (“Great Commander” in Turkish) was a grandson of Tīmūr (known in the West as Tamerlane) and the …
|Anthology of Ḥakīm Ruknā Masīḥ
This diwan (a collection of poems in Arabic or Persian, usually by a single author) of Persian poems by physician and poet Ḥakīm Ruknā Masīḥ dates from 1638. “Ḥakīm” is an honorific for a wise man or physician. “Masīḥ” (the Christian), which appears elsewhere in the manuscript, was a pen name of the author. It is believed that the poems were dictated by the author to his calligrapher. The manuscript is in four sections, containing qasidas (odes),ghazals (lyric poems), rubaiyat (quatrains), and muqatta’t (poetic fragments).The first two …
|Representatives of the First Iranian Parliament
This photograph shows the representatives of the first Iranian Majles (parliament) in front of the military academy, which served as the first parliament building. In the 1870s–early 20th century, leading political figures in Iran concluded that the only way to save country from government corruption and foreign manipulation was to make a written code of laws, an attitude that laid the foundation for the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905–7. The movement for a constitution bore fruit during the reign of Muẓaffar ad-Dīn Shah of the Qajar dynasty, who …
|Memoirs of Babur
This book is a lithograph edition of the Persian translation of Bāburnāmah(Memoirs of Babur), the autobiography of Ẓahīr al-Dīn Muḥammad Bāburshāh (1483–1530), the first Mughal emperor of India. Bāburnāmah originally was written in Chagatai Turkish and was translated into Persian during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The translation was undertaken by Bairam Khan (died 1561), an Afghan bureaucrat and military commander who served under Emperor Humayun and who was briefly appointed regent over his successor, Emperor Akbar, when Akbar was a child. This book was printed …
|The War of Kabul and Kandahar
Muḥārabah-ʼi Kābul va Qandahar (The war of Kabul and Kandahar) is an account of the First Afghan War (1839–42) by Munshi ʻAbd al-Karīm, an associate of Shāh Shujāʻ, the emir of Afghanistan. Mawlawī Muḥammad ʻAbd al-Karīm was an Indo-Persian historian from Lucknow, India, who was active in the mid-19th century. He was a prolific munshi (writer, secretary, and language teacher) and translator. He rendered into Persian from Arabic such works asTārīkh al-Khulafā (History of the Caliphs), by al-Sūyūtī (1445–1505) and a history of Egypt by Ibn Iyās …
|Book of Effects of Drugs
This work is a lithographic print of a manuscript containing a treatise on pharmacology. It was produced in Kabul, in the Royal Printing House, by Ṣāliḥ ibn Ṣāliḥ Muḥammad and Sardār Gul Muḥammad Khān. Ṣāliḥ ibn Ṣāliḥ Muḥammad was an officer and commander from the Muhammadzai clan in the Pashtun tribal confederacy that ruled Afghanistan in the Barakzai period (1826–1973) after the fall of the Durrani Dynasty in 1842. Sardār Gul Muḥammad Khān served as the chief editor of the printing press in Kabul, where his activities included publishing …
|Worthy Advice in the Affairs of the World and Religion: The Autobiography of Emir Abdur Rahman Khan
This work is an autobiography of ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Khān, emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. It is styled, however, as a manual of advice and a mirror for princes. It is divided into 16 chapters, which are arranged according to the topics on which the author provides advice and worthy examples, in this case drawn from his own conduct. Subdivision by topic of this kind mimics the pattern of books in the advice genre. The colophon dates the work to the month of Muharram of 1303 AH (October–November …
|Collected Poems of Aisha Durrani
This work is a lithographic print, published in Kabul, of the collected poems of ‘Āyisha Durrānī, an Afghan poetess from the Durrani family, who was active in the second half of the 19th century. The poems include qasidas (a lyric form) and ghazals (a metrical form expressing the pain of loss and the beauty of love), and are arranged alphabetically according to qāfiya (the effect of rhyme). The collection was compiled during the reign of ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Khān, emīr of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. The Durrani family led a …
|Copy of Hoondee in Payment of Moorcroft’s Ransom
This photograph of a hondee, or hundi, is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. A hundi is a Hindi word for a negotiable financial instrument, such as a bill of exchange or promissory note, by which the signer authorized the recipient to pay a specified sum of money to a third party. This document, in English and Persian, was a ransom payment for 11,000 rupees, signed by the English explorer William Moorcroft (1767–1825) on December 20, 1824 …
|General Map of the Turkish War Theater
This map, published in Berlin in July 1916, shows the Turkish theater of World War I. It is based on an 1884 map in French of the Asian provinces of the Ottoman Empire by German geographer and cartographer Heinrich Kiepert (1818–99). The map contains additional notes in German and its coverage of existing and projected railroads is updated to 1916. The Ottoman territories, shown in pink, include present-day Turkey, Cyprus, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, as well as Saudi Arabia. The Ottoman Empire, or Turkey as it was …
|“Munajat” of ‘Abdallah Ansari
This calligraphic fragment includes a maxim drawn from the Munajat(Supplications) of the great Persian mystic and scholar Khwajah ‘Abdallah Ansari (died 1088). The two lines describe the benefits of prayer and generosity. The two lines of text are executed in black nasta’liq script on beige paper and framed by delicate cloud bands on a gold illuminated background. The text panel is framed by a variety of borders and pasted to a sheet of purple paper decorated with gold interlacing flower motifs. Between and below the two main lines …
This calligraphic fragment is the first page of an album in a longitudinal shape (safinah). At the top are a fine illuminated panel and finial (sarloh) with gold and blue flower and vine motifs. In the upper and lower corners, two gold and blue illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces) fill the spaces between the rectangular frame and the diagonal lines of text. The text is written in black nasta’liq on beige paper. It includes three bayts (verses) praising God and describing humans’ inability to comprehend His power: “Praise …
|Verses in Persian and Chaghatay
This calligraphic fragment includes a number of verses in Persian and Chaghatay Turkish (Turkish spoken in Central Asia). A continuous Persian lyrical poem (ghazal) is written in the top and bottom horizontal rectangular panels. Another ghazal appears written in diagonal in the right and left vertical columns. Both ghazals are by the famous Persian poet Shaykh Sa’di (died 1292) and address moral issues. In the central text panel, verses in Chaghatay Turkish are written in black nasta’liq script on beige paper, surrounded by cloud bands on a gold …
|Eulogy to a Ruler
This calligraphic fragment includes a central panel with a eulogy to a king written in the “hanging” ta’liq script. Except for one line in black ink, all other horizontal and diagonal lines are written in white and outlined in black. Above the text panel appears, divided into two columns, a bayt (verse) by the great Persian poet Niẓāmī Ganjavī (died 1202 or 1203) about the power of miracles. The bayt is in black nasta’liq script on beige paper. Around the text panel is a blue border inscribed with …
|Ghazal by Sa’di
This calligraphic fragment contains a ghazal (lyric poem) by the Persian poet Shaykh Sa’di (died 1292 [691 AH]). The verses describe a lover’s search for his beloved and his request that she show herself to him. The verses are written in nasta’liq script using white, light blue, red, and yellow ink on a blue paper. Rangin (colored) inks add variety to the composition and are found in a number of calligraphies produced during the 16th century. The corners left open by the intersection of the diagonal verses …
|Verses by Jami
This calligraphic fragment includes verses composed by the Persian poet Jami (died 1492 [897 AH]), whose full name, Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami, is noted in the topmost panel. In larger script appears a ghazal (lyric poem) in which a lover sighs about the lack of news from his beloved. The central text frames are bordered on the right and left by illuminated panels and contain aruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain) written in smaller script. The quatrain encourages true and eternal love of God rather than passing infatuations: “Every beautiful …
|Ghazals of Asifi
This calligraphic fragment includes a variety of ghazals (lyric poems) from theCompendium of Poems (Divan) of the Persian poet Asifi. A student of the famous poet Jami (died 1492 [897 AH]) in Herat (present-day Afghanistan), Asifi remained in the Timurid capital city until his death (1517 [923 AH]), even during and after the Uzbek invasions. These particular verses on the fragment’s recto and verso portray a lover’s madness and his complaints about the pains of separation from the object of his affection. At the end of the …
|The Feast of Iskandar and Nushabah from Niẓāmī’s “Iskandarnamah”
The painting on the recto and the text on the verso of this fragment describe an episode in Niẓāmī’s Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great), the last text of the author’s Khamsah (Quintet). In his work, the great Persian author Niẓāmī Ganjavī (1140 or 1141–1202 or 1203) describes the adventures and battles of Alexander the Great as he travels to the end of the world. On his way to the Land of Darkness, he visits the queen of the Caucasian city of Barda, Nushabah, in order …
This calligraphic sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script nasta’liq is favored over the more “broken” shikastahscript. These sheets–known as siyah mashq (literally “black practice”) in Persian–were entirely covered with writing as a means of practicing calligraphy and conserving paper. In time, they became collectible items and thus were signed and dated (this fragment, however, does not appear to be signed or dated). Many fragments such as this one were given …
|Prayers for Safety and Success
This calligraphic fragment includes verses in Persian praying for the patron’s personal well-being and the prosperity of his kingdom. The verses read: “May the world be (your) fortune and the firmament (your) friend / May the World-Creator (God) protect (you) / May all your works be successful / May God of the World look after you / May your heart and your kingdom be collected and well-frequented / May division stay far away from your realm.” The verses are executed in black nasta’liq script on beige paper. They are framed by cloud bands …
|Verses by Hilālī
This calligraphic fragment includes three distinct text panels all executed in Nasta’liq script: one written in black ink on blue paper, another in white ink on beige paper with two illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces) in the upper and lower corners, and a third (lowest on the page) written in black ink on beige paper. All three panels were cut out and placed together, provided with a gold frame, and pasted to a larger sheet of paper decorated with flecks of gold. The blue text panel includes verses composed …
|Three Bayts (Verses) to a Loved One
This calligraphic fragment includes three bayts (verses) of poetry in the main text panel and ten verses around this panel, creating a textual frame decorated with gold vine and leaf motifs. The entire calligraphic piece is pasted to a paper decorated with blue geometric and vegetal motifs highlighted in gold. The central text panel is topped by an illuminated rectangular panel and includes a decorative triangle in the upper left corner. The verses in the central panel are written in nasta’liq script on a white ground decorated with …
|Correct Words and Variations in the Persian Language
This 16th-century manuscript is a Persian dictionary, written at the time of the Mongol expansion into Persia (present-day Iran). The format of the dictionary follows that of older Arabic dictionaries, in which words were arranged according to the last consonant. The manuscript is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870-1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript …
|The Rose Garden
The Persian poet and scholar Muṣliḥ ud-Dīn Sadī Shīrāzī (circa 1213-1292) is known primarily as the author of Gulistan (The rose garden), one of the great masterpieces of Persian literature, which he completed in 1259. The work has a didactic and ethical character, and is still widely read, in the original Persian and in translations in many languages. This manuscript copy is written in theta’liq script in two different hands, and contains numerous explanations and remarks in the margins and in the text. The manuscript is dated 1585 …
This manuscript, most likely from the second half of the 19th century, is a collection of poems by the great Persian poet Urfi, who lived and worked in Mughal India in the late 16th century (died 1591), and who was known for his splendid and deeply melancholy qasidas (odes). Urfi had a great influence on the development of poetry in Turkey and throughout the Ottoman Empire. The manuscript is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO …
|Grammar and Its Standards
This anonymous work from 1553 is a Persian grammar, written in Arabic. It includes some Arabic adjectives translated into Persian, and is written in a poornasta’līq script. The manuscript is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870-1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print volumes that reflect the development of Islamic …
|Commentary of Husayn
Tafsīr-i Ḥusaynī (Commentary of Husayn) is a commentary on the Qur’an, transcribed in two volumes. The original commentary was written in 1504 (910 AH), but this copy was made in 1855–57 (1272–74 AH) by Wali ul Din. The first volume of this manuscript covers the chapters (surahs) in the Qur’an fromFatihah (Opening verse) to Kahf (The cave); the second volume the surahs from Maryam (Mary) to Al-Nās (The people). The manuscript is beautifully transcribed on handmade paper, with commentary devoted to each concept, word, or …
|Anthology of Rumi’s Poetry
Divan-i Mawlavī Rumi (Anthology of Rumi’s poetry) is a collection by the great Persian poet, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, popularly known in Persian as Mawlānā and in English as Rumi (1207–73). The collection includes poems on Sufism, supplications, and philosophy. The manuscript does not have a title page. Every poem is individual and self-contained, and the name of the poet appears at the end of most of the poems. Nothing is known of the copyist, although it is thought that this volume is 19th century.
|Book of Akbar
Akbar Namah (Book of Akbar) is a historical discourse on Akbar’s rule in India written by Ḥamīd ullah Shāhabādī Kashmirī, a reputed historian and poet of Kashmir, India. Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (1542–1605), also known as Akbar the Great, was a Mughal emperor who ruled India from 1556 to 1605. The manuscript was made by an unknown copyist in the 19th century. The fringe of the manuscript is adorned with gold inlaid on each page; the first page is specially decorated with gold inlaid floral designs. The manuscript …
|Shirin and Khusraw
Shirin va Khusraw (Shirin and Khusraw) is a story written in the 12th century by Shaykh Niẓāmī Ganjavi (circa 1140-1202), based on a tale found in Shahnamah (Book of kings), the epic-historical work of Persian literature composed at the end of the tenth century by the poet Firdawsi (circa 940–1020). The legend was well known before Firdawsi and further romanticized by later Persian poets. The story chosen by Niẓāmī was commissioned by and dedicated to the Seljuk Sultan Tughrul and to the sultan’s brother, Qizil Arsalan. This copy …
|The Great History of the Events of Kashmir
Tārīkh-i A‘ẓami: Vāqi‘at Kashmīri (The great history of the events of Kashmir) is a history of Kashmir, India, from the 12th century to the 18th century, written in 1747 by the saint, scholar, and poet of Kashmir, Mohammad A‘zam Diddimrī Kashmirī (flourished 18th century). The work is considered to be one of the important authentic sources for the medieval history of Kashmir. This volume is a 19th-century copy from an unknown hand.
|The Days of Mutiny
Ayām-i Ghadr (The days of mutiny) is a historical account of events related to the Indian Mutiny of 1857, an uprising of native soldiers (sepoys) against the army of the British East India Company, which marked an important step in India’s struggle for independence and freedom from British rule. The manuscript is a rare unpublished source on Indian history, and particularly on the Mutiny of 1857. It contains two paintings, at page 108 and page 175, which depict events described in the text.
|Letters by ‘Alī Ḥamdānī
Maktūbāt-i Sayyid ‘Alī Ḥamdānī (Letters by Ali Hamdani) is a collection letters by the famous Persian scholar, saint, and preacher Sayyid ‘Alī Ḥamdānī (1314–85 A.D.; A.H. 714–87). He came from Hamdan in Central Asia and traveled to Kashmir in 1372–73 A.D. to spread the message of Islam. This is one of the rarest extant manuscripts of letters from the saint to his disciples, directing them how to unravel the secrets of Islamic mysticism. In the letters, Sayyid ‘Alī Ḥamdānī quotes a number …
|The Life of the Prophet
Maghāzī al-Nabī (The life of the Prophet) depicts the life of the Prophet Muhammad in poetical form. The original work was composed by a famous Arabic and Persian scholar of Kashmir, Ya‘qub Ṣarfī (1521–95). The unique poetic and biographical work, transcribed in two columns on each page of manuscript, includes some supplications and eulogies for the Prophet of Islam. Each column is bordered in lines inlaid with gold. The writing of the manuscript is clear and vivid.
|Treatise on the Rules and Meters of Poetry
Risalat-i‘Urūḍ va Qafiyah (Treatise on the rules and meters of poetry) is about rules and conventions to be followed in writing good poetry. The manuscript, copied in Kashmir, India, in 1677 (1088 AH) from a work by an unknown author, discusses different aspects of the writing of poetry and elucidates the different elements and considerations used in creating good poetry.
|Commentary on “The Compendium of Plain Astronomy”
The author this commentary, Ṣalāh al-Din Musa ibn Muḥammad, also known as Qādī Zāda (the son of the judge), was born in Bursa (present-day Turkey) in 1364 and died in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) in 1436. His first teacher, al-Fanāri, suggested that he move to the scientific centers of the time, Herat in Khorasan (present-day Afghanistan) or Bukhara or Samarkand in Transoxiana, in order to develop his extraordinary ability in the mathematical and astronomical sciences. Following this advice, Qāḍī Zāda presented himself to the Samarkand court of the very promising Ulugh …
|The Explanation of the Abridgment on Calculus
The present manuscript preserves an extensive commentary on the 17th-century mathematical treatise Al-Ḫulāṣa fī al-Ḥisāb (The abridgment on calculus), which was composed by Bahā’ al-Dīn Al-‘Amilī (1547–1621), one of the leading intellectuals of 17th century Safavid Persia (present-day Iran). Born in the city of Baalbek (present-day Lebanon), Al-‘Amilī was an important figure in many different fields of knowledge, including theology, mysticism, poetry, astronomy, mathematics, and architecture. His main contribution to mathematics, the Al-Ḫulāṣa fī al-Ḥisāb, was well known and is the subject of the commentary by …
This folio contains, on the right side, verses 2–8 of Surat al-Kahf (The cave) of the Qur’an and, on the left side, verses 67–70 of the Surat Bani Isra’il (The children of Israel), also known as Surat al-Isra’ (The night journey). The text is in Arabic with interlinear Persian translation in red ink. The borders include a commentary in Persian, written in black ink and laid out diagonally in the margin. On the rightmost margin of the verso appears a note cross-referenced to the sixth ayah …
|Interlinear Qur’an: Surat al-Nisa’
The recto of this Qur’an fragment contains parts of the first three verses of the fourth chapter of the Qur’an, Surat al-Nisa’ (Chapter of the women). At the top left side of the folio are the chapter title and the number of its verses (176) in bold gold Kufi letters. The title is in a gold-painted rectangular band ornamented with a gold medallion outlined in blue projecting into the left margin. Below the surah heading appears the first half of the first verse in large black muhaqqaq script …
|Divination by the Qur’an
This single sheet of a Fal-i Qur’an lays out in rhyming Persian distichs (couplets) the means of fal (divination) by letters selected at random when opening to a page of the Qur’an. This folio originally was included at the end of a Safavid Persian Qur’an, immediately after the last surah (chapter), Surat al-Nas, and a closing prayer on behalf of the Prophet and his family. The layout of the divination text, the script, and the remaining original illumination in the text frame are typical of fals placed …
|Interlinear Qur’an (5: 89-95)
This interlinear Qur’an fragment of Surat al-Ma’idah (The table/the repast) is believed to belong to a manuscript dating from A.H. 1207 (A.D. 1792–93). The Qur’an includes translation in Persian written in complete sentences in red ink between each verse of the Arabic original. The late 18th-century practice of translation (or even paraphrasing) reflects the development of the production of interlinear Qur’ans over the centuries. Some of the earliest bilingual Qur’ans include only word-by-word translations; this is especially the case for Qur …
|Anonymous Arabic and Persian Poetic Verses
This fragment contains an Arabic poem in eight verses in the center panel and Persian poetical verses in small rectangular registers arranged around the central panel and pasted above a light blue background. The Arabic poem stresses Muhammad’s ability to provide intercession for his community on the Day of Judgment. It is a kind of praise or request directed towards the Prophet that is seen in a number of other calligraphic panels meant either for public display or included in albums of calligraphies. The Arabic and Persian verses are …
This Qur’anic fragment includes verses 85–88 of the third surah (chapter) of the Qur’an, Al ‘Imran (The family of ‘Imran). The verses continue on the fragment’s verso. In this surah, all people are invited to accept Islam, while Muslims are encouraged to seek friendship and security within their communities. Between each horizontal line of Arabic text are diagonal word-by-word translations into Persian. Unlike similar interlinear Qur’ans that include a Persian translation in red ink, this fragment makes no color differentiation between the Arabic original and …
|Beginning of Niẓāmī’s “Iqbalnamah”
This illuminated folio continues the beginning of Niẓāmī Ganjavī’s Iqbalnamah(The book of progress), the second of two sections in the last book,Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great), of the author’s Khamsah(Quintet). It follows the first two illuminated folios of the book and provides multiple subhan (praises) of the Creator, as well as a eulogy on Muhammad, the Lord of the Messengers. Niẓāmī introduces each of his five books with introductory praises of God and His Prophet before launching into a narrative. The verso of …
|Colophon of Niẓāmī’s “Sharafnamah” and Title Page of Niẓāmī’s “Iqbalnamah”
This folio contains the last lines and colophon of the Sharafnamah (The book of honor), the first section of the fifth book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī’s Khamsah (Quintet) entitled Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great). On the folio’s verso appears the beginning of the second section of the Iskandarnamah calledIqbalnamah (The book of progress), arranged in an illuminated title page, which contains a heading written in white ink: Kitab Iqbalnamah-yi Shaykh Nizami, ‘alayhi al-rahmah wa-al-maghfarah (The book of progress of Niẓāmī, mercy and forgiveness upon him). The …
|Colophon of Niẓāmī’s “Makhzan al-Asrar” and Title Page of Niẓāmī’s “Khusraw va Shirin”
This folio contains the illuminated title page of the second book of Niẓāmī’sKhamsah (Quintet), entitled Khusraw va Shirin, and the colophon of the preceding work, Makhzan al-Asrar (The treasury of secrets). Written during the last few decades of the 12th century, the Khamsah consists of five books written in rhyming distichs. Along with Firdawsī’s Shahnamah (Book of kings), the Khamsah stands out as one of the great monuments of medieval Persian poetry. It is about the love relationship of the last great Sasanian ruler, Khusraw Parvīz (590 …
|Beginning of Niẓāmī’s “Khusraw va Shirin”
This illuminated folio contains the introductory praise dar tawhid-i Bari (to God and His Unity, or on the Unity of the Creator) of the second book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī’s Khamsah (Quintet), entitled Khusraw va Shirin. It continues the text of the first two folios of the book, also held in the Library of Congress, and thus completes the praise of God typically found at the beginning of each book of theKhamsah. This first section is then followed, as seen on this folio, by an examination of the istidlal …
|The Fainting of Laylah and Majnun from Niẓāmī’s “Khamsah”
This folio depicts a well-known passage from the tragic story of Laylah and Majnun described in the third book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī’s Khamsah (Quintet). Forcibly separated by the animosity of their respective tribes toward each other, forced marriages, and years of exile in the wilderness, the two ill-fated lovers meet again for the last time before each is to die, thanks to the intervention of Majnun’s elderly messenger. Upon seeing each other in a palm-grove outside of Laylah’s camp, they faint from pain and extreme passion. The …
This calligraphic practice sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script Nasta’liq is favored over the more “broken” Shikastah script. These sheets, known as siyah mashq (literally black practice in Persian), were entirely covered with writing as a means to practice calligraphy while conserving paper. In time, they became collectible items and thus were signed and dated (this fragment, however, has no signature or date). Many fragments such as this one were provided …
This calligraphic practice sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script Nasta’liq is favored over the more “broken” Shikastah script. This fragment, decorated with a blue frame and pasted onto a light-pink sheet painted with gold vine and flower decorations, bears a striking resemblance to another sheet in the Library of Congress. It appears that both sheets came from the same muraqqa (album) of calligraphies, which belonged to a patron who placed his …
This calligraphic practice sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script Nasta’liq is favored over the more “broken” Shikastah script. The calligraphic exercise is executed in black ink on a background painted in brown. It is provided with a purple frame decorated with gold vines and a second plain pink frame. The framed composition is pasted onto a thicker blue sheet decorated with gold flower sprays. These sheets, known as siyah mashq (literally …
This calligraphic practice sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script Nasta’liq is favored over the more “broken” Shikastah script. This fragment includes two individual leaves of siyah mashq(literally black practice in Persian) pasted together onto a single sheet of paper and provided with dark-blue and pink frames decorated with gold vine and leaf motifs. The fragment on the right also includes light-blue horizontal frames at the top and bottom on the …
This calligraphic practice sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script Nasta’liq is favored over the more “broken” Shikastah script. This fragment, decorated with a blue frame and pasted onto a light-pink sheet painted with gold vine and flower decorations, bears a striking resemblance to another sheet in the Library of Congress. It appears that both sheets came from the same muraqqa’at (album) of calligraphies, which belonged to a patron who placed …
|Bal’ami’s Persian Translation of al-Ṭabarī’s “Ta’rikh”
This fragment contains the beginning pages of the historical encyclopediaTa’rikh al-Rusul wa-al-Muluk (History of prophets and kings) composed in Arabic by the celebrated historian al-Tabari (circa 223–310 AH/circa 838–923), later abridged and translated into Persian in 963 by the writer Bal’ami. The verso of the fragment continues the first two pages and includes a later note identifying the work as tawarikh-i Tabari-yi farsi (Histories of Tabari in Persian). The work includes a history of kings and dynasties from pre-Islamic times to the prophecy of …
This fragment includes the beginning of Sa’di’s Gulistan (The rose garden) on its recto, as well as the work’s final page on its verso. The first page includes the title of the work written in white ink on a blue background decorated with orange leaf spirals. The rest of the illuminated top panel contains interlacing flowers and gold panels on a blue ground. A didactic work in both prose and verse, Gulistan was composed in 1258 by the Persian poet and prose writer Shaykh Sa’di Shirazi …
|Poetic Verses Offering Advice
This thin fragment is quite damaged by worm holes and has been pasted to a larger sheet for the purpose of preservation. Written in black Nasta’liq script tending towards Shikastah, the text begins with a ruba’i (iambic quatrain), continues with two tak bayt (single verses), and ends with a ghazal (lyrical poem) with the rhyming terminal sound sati. The verses are separated by diagonal lines in red ink, and the term aydan (also) at the top of the left column initiates the ghazal. These various poetical verses provide …
This calligraphic fragment is in very poor condition. The four verses of Persian poetry are interrupted by a number of large holes in the paper. A few words are still legible, however: “[I want] to see your face again / Seeing your beauty… made my fortune / Hand… without end / [Their] presence made (my) heart and eye happy.” In the upper-right corner appears a pasted gold panel, while the lower-right corner contains the truncated name of the calligrapher, Safi al-Husayni. This calligrapher is otherwise unknown; he may have been active in Persia …
|Fragmentary Persian Poem
This small calligraphic fragment includes one line of poetry describing a lover’s secret passion: “Yesterday I passed by you quickly for fear of the others.” The text is executed in black Nasta’liq script on a brown piece of paper, and it is framed by cloud bands and placed on a gold background filled with subtle decorative motifs. Several illuminated panels frame the top and bottom horizontals, while two black and gold borders decorate the right and left verticals of the text panel. The composition is pasted to a …
|Verses from Niẓāmī’s “Divan”
This calligraphic fragment includes several verses from the Divan(Compendium of poems) by Niẓāmī’ (1140 or 1141–1202 or 1203). After a beginning invocation to God, the verses describe how certain things and people fulfill particular roles in the world: “(For) every idol that they fashioned / They sewed a robe the size of its body / Not everyone can be the confidant of power / Not every donkey can carry Jesus.” The verses are executed in dark-brown ink on a beige paper framed by a blue border. The text is pasted to …
|Praise (Madh) to ‘Ali
This calligraphic fragment includes four lines of Shi’i poetry encouraging thetalib (seeker) to derive spiritual knowledge of God by means of understanding the Prophet’s son-in-law, ‘Ali. The verses read: “Oh seeker, search for the secret of Truth (God) from (His) Names / From the Name, search the epitome of What is Named / From the essence of ‘Ali recite the name of the Exalted One / And from the name of ‘Ali search the favor of the Lofty One.” These verses draw on the symbolic dichotomy between al-ism (the name …
This sanad (document) is in the form of a namah (letter) written in black Nasta’liq script and outlined in cloud bands on a gold background. The letter is from a ruler to a certain Mirza Yadigar, from whom he requests military assistance. In response, the ruler sends a reputable fighter named Mirza Qilich (qilich means “sword” in Turkish) to the ruler. Known as Rustam-i Zaman (the Rustam of his day, Rustam being a great Persian hero) because of his fighting prowess, Mirza Qilich provides military assistance to vanquish the …
|Petition to a Ruler
This fragment probably formed part of a collection of munsha’at (literary compositions) showing how to write appropriate praises and petitions to a ruler. Some of these calligraphies, including this piece, appear to have been executed in Ta’liq script in India during the 17th and 18th centuries. This fragment tells how to compose a na’t or munajat (formal praise) to a ruler using his manyalqab (honorific epithets). A number of praises of the ruler’s mulkuhu (power) and his sultanuhu (dominion) precede the ardh or arz (formal …
|Quatrain on the Virtue of Patience
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain), on the need for endurance. The verses read: “I went to the doctor, asked about my severe pain / (And) what could he do for my lovesickness / He ordered as a drink the blood of liver and water of the eye / I said: ‘What kind of food (is that)?’ and he answered: ‘You must eat liver.’” The doctor recommends his lovesick patient to jigar khwurdan (endure, literally, “eat liver”) the pains of love, as there is no medicinal potion that will …
|Verses on Perceived Value
This calligraphic fragment includes a Persian poem that describes how luxury goods such as semi-precious stones and furs are devoid of any inherent worth. Beginning with an invocation to huwa al-muizz (God, the Glorified), the verses read: “I suppose your throne is made of crystal and jasper / Everyone who has an eye knows that they are just stone / That seat made from weasel and ermine (and with) a banner / To those who sit in wicker is but skin.” The calligrapher Muhammad Mahdi Husayni states that he has written these lines …
This calligraphic fragment belongs to a series of 22 literary compositions or letters written by the calligraphers Mir Kalan, Khan Zaman (son of Khan Khanan), Qa’im Khan, Lutfallah Khan, and Mahabat Khan. Judging from the script (Indian Nasta’liq), a seal impression bearing the date 1113 AH/1701–2, and a letter mentioning the city of Jānpur in India, it appears that these writings were executed in India during the 18th century. The calligraphies are typically written a hasty Nasta’liq on white paper, framed in blue, and pasted …
|First Page of Sa’di’s “Bustan”
This calligraphic fragment consists of the first seven pages of Bustan (The fruit garden), a famous and beloved work composed by Shaykh Sa’di (died 691 AH/1292) in 1256–57. The work contains histories, personal anecdotes, fables, and moral instruction. This copy of Bustan may have been produced in India during the 17th century. The back of the second page includes a note supporting this provenance, as it states that the work was written by ‘Abd al-Rashid Daylami, one of the famous calligraphers active at the court of the …
|Two Bayts (Verses) on Modesty
This calligraphic fragment includes two bayts (verses) of poetry that describe the desire of unidentified antagonists to break or humble the beloved: “They want to break the wild-eyed / They want to break the black-eyelashed / They want to break the heart from the spirit / They want to break the objects of beauty.” In these verses with repetitive phrasing, the beloved ones or objects of beauty—the kajkulahan (literally, the “ones wearing crooked helmets,”)—are the target of violence and animosity. Written in black Nasta’liq script on orange paper decorated with …
|Ghazals by Sa’di
This calligraphic fragment includes a number of ghazals (lyrical verses), composed by Shaykh Sa’di (died 691 AH/1292). Many of these verses express the pain at separation from a friend and exhort faithfulness to one’s companions. Sa’di’s name appears in one of the verses at the very bottom of the right column. The text is executed in black Shikastah script and is surrounded by cloud band motifs on a background covered with gold leaf. The central gutter separating the main text panel into two columns is …
|Laylah and Majnun Meet in School from Niẓāmī’s “Khamsah”
This calligraphic fragment describes the first encounter between the star-crossed lovers Laylah and Majnun when they are children in school, as described by Niẓāmī Ganjavī (1140 or 1141–1202 or 1203) in the third book of his Khamsah (Quintet). In the story, Qays (also known as Majnun) is sent to school by his father to learn to read and write. One day, however, young Qays notices a lovely girl with hair that is laylah (literally as black as night) and falls deeply in love with her. The layout of this …
|Ruba’i of Ḥāfiẓ
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain), by the famous Persian poet Ḥāfiẓ (died 791/1388–89). Beginning with an invocation to God as the Glorified (huwa al-‘aziz), the verses read: “Those who turn dust to gold by the gaze, / Could they also glance at me from the corner of (their) eyes? / Hiding my pain from pretentious doctors is better. / May they cure (me) from the treasury of the invisible.” Ḥāfiẓ uses the metaphor of al-kimiya (alchemy) to describe a man’s painful and ardent desire …
|Quatrain on Separation
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain), that uses hyperbolic expressions to describe the all-consuming affection and pain of separation from a loved one. It says: “If I were to write an explanation of (my) wishes / A fire would burn up the reed of (my) pen, / And if I were to speak again of the burden of separation / The (upright) shape of the nine skies would hunch over.” The verses are executed in black Nasta’liq script on a beige sheet of paper. The text panel is …
|Three Bayts (Verses) on Worldly Desires
This calligraphic fragment includes three bayts (verses) of poetry in Persian that describe the true meaning of life in verses that read: “In this ancient monastery built in olden days / Strange that man’s substance is so neglected / If he were to spend his whole life with riches / He would not know their value until they are lost / In this house of sandalwood and ebony / Sometimes (there is) mourning, at others a wedding.” The poem describes the world as an ancient monastery and a house of sandalwood and ebony. The …
|Ruba’i of Ḥāfiẓ
This calligraphic fragment includes an iambic pentameter quatrain, or ruba’i, by the famous Persian poet Hafiz (died 791 AH/1388–89). The verses read: “Those who turn dust to gold by the gaze, / Could they also glance at me from the corner of (their) eyes? / Hiding my pain from pretentious doctors is better. / May they cure (me) from the treasury of the invisible.” Hafiz uses the metaphor of al-kimiya (alchemy) to describe a man’s painful and ardent desire to witness the realm of God, where earthly dust turns …
|Quatrain on Divine Mercy
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain), a few words of which are lost due to water damage. The poem begins with an invocation to God as “Ya Malak al-Muluk” (the King of Kings) and then praises God’s mercy as a torrential rain, which allows humans to find fana'(annihilation) in the Divine. This spiritual blossoming resembles the growth of plants on the surface of a hard stone. On the back of this fragment appears the inscribed attribution “Mawlana Sultan Mīr ʻAlī,” intended to identify the …
|Lyric Poems of Hāfiz
Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī (known as Hāfiz; circa 1320–90) is considered by many to be the greatest lyric poet of Persia (present-day Iran) and one of the most remarkable Eastern poets. Born to a poor family in Shiraz, where he lived most of his life, Hāfiz enjoyed the patronage of Shah Shujah for many years and in his last years that of Timur (Tamerlane). This work presentsghazals (lyric poems) of Hāfiz. As in all Sufi poetry, the ghazals are layered with meanings, from the most basic to the …
|Quatrain Praising Vision
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain), praising vision as the most keen of the human senses. The text is written in black Nasta’liq script on a beige paper decorated with gold paint. The text panel is framed by two borders in beige and gold and pasted to a blue paper decorated with gold flower and vine motifs. Beginning with an invocation tohuwa al-mu’izz (God as the Glorified), the verses read: “The heart is a place of sadness and the eye is the site …
|Ghazals of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi
This calligraphic fragment includes a number of ghazals (lyric poems) composed by the Persian poet Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (circa 1253–1325), whose pen name or signature “Khusraw” appears at the top of the central column of diagonal verses. The ghazals are executed in black Nasta’liq script in three columns, with the verses appearing on a beige paper and framed by cloud bands on a background painted in gold. Several triangular panels fill in the spaces remaining at the intersection of the diagonal verses and the rectangular frame. These panels …
|Quatrain Eulogizing a King
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain), in honor of a king. Written diagonally in black Nasta’liq script and framed by cloud bands on a rather crudely painted purple background, the verses read: “Oh King, may the mornings of your fortune / Last until the morning of [the Day of] Gathering / May good luck take you to the utmost limit of hope / And may the evil eye not reach you.” With these words, the poet wishes the king good fortune until the end of time, literally until …
|Good Wishes for Eid
This calligraphic fragment includes four lines in Persian wishing its owner good fortune and happiness on the occasion of Eid (also seen as ‘Id). Initiated by praise to “huwa al-‘aziz” (God, the Glorified), the verses read: “Oh, the joy of Eid is from your name / The comfort of the world is from your peacefulness / The bubbling of the sky reaches the celestial spheres / The wine of chance is in your glass.” The verses are written in black Thuluth script on a beige paper framed by cloud bands and placed …
|Burning and Melting
This manuscript is an illuminated and illustrated copy of the poem Sūz va gudāz (Burning and melting) by Naw’ī Khabūshānī, who died in 1019 AH (1610 AD). It recounts the love story of a Hindu girl who burns herself on the funeral pyre of her betrothed. The codex was written in Nasta’līq script in black ink by Ibn Sayyid Murād al-Ḥusaynī and illustrated by Muḥammad ‘Alī Mashhadī in 1068 AH (1657 AD). According to the colophon, Ibn Sayyid Murād al-Ḥusaynī copied the manuscript for the painter Muḥammad ‘Alī …
|Quatrain for a King
This calligraphic piece includes a ruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain), written diagonally in black Nasta’liq script outlined in cloud bands on a gold background. The text panel is provided with several monochromatic frames and is pasted onto a larger pink sheet strengthened by cardboard. In the top right corner, an invocation to Huwa al-fard al-ahad (God, “the Unique and the Only”) begins the poem. The subsequent verses read: “Oh King, the retinue of good fortune escorts you. / Rise if you intend to capture the world. / With such a summit …
This large-format illuminated Timurid copy of the Qur’an is believed to have been produced in northern India in the 15th century. The manuscript opens with a series of illuminated frontispieces. The main text is written in a large, vocalized polychrome muhaqqaq script. Marginal explanations of the readings of particular words and phrases are in thuluth and naskh scripts, and there is interlinear Persian translation in red naskh script. The fore-edge flap of the gold-tooled brown leather binding is inscribed with verses 77 through 80 from surah 56 (Sūrat al-wāqi …
|Stories of the Prophets
Qisas al-anbiya (Stories of the prophets) by the 12th-century Persian writer Ishaq Ibn-Ibrahim al-Nishapuri contains the history of the prophets up to Muhammad, recounted on the basis of the Qur’anic narration. It includes stories drawn from the biblical traditions of the Old Testament as well as material on the pre-Islamic prophets of the Arabian Peninsula. This splendid and richly illuminated manuscript containing 22 miniatures was copied in Shiraz (in present-day Iran) in 1577, at the time a center of the arts in Safavid Persia. The manuscript once belonged to …
|Memoirs of Babur
Recognized as one of the world’s great autobiographical memoirs, theBāburnāmah is the story of Zahīr al-Dīn Muhammad Bābur, who was born in 1483 and ruled from the age of 11 until his death in 1530. Babur conquered northern India and established the Mughal Empire (or Timurid-Mughal Empire). Originally from Fergana in Central Asia, Babur descended on his father’s side from Timur (Tamerlaine) and on his mother’s from Chingiz (Ghengis) Khan. Babur wrote his memoir in Chagatai, or Old Turkish, which he called Turkic, and it was …
This small Qajar album from the time of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar (1772–1834; ruled, 1797–1834) combines calligraphic art from various epochs with early 19th-century illustrations of high artistic quality. Although the depiction of persons is standardized and lacks individuality, the use of perspective, especially in the background, reveals European influence. Two of the miniatures portray princely scions dressed in expensive robes. Two other pages are dedicated to one of the most popular motifs of Persian book painting: the love of the nightingale for the rose, a symbol of unconditional …
|The Book of Kings
This manuscript containing 215 illustrations is one of the largest pictorial cycles of the Shāhnāma, the Persian Book of Kings. Several painters, working at different times, were involved in its illumination; the miniatures thus are not uniform in style. Four distinct groups can be identified, with the two oldest groups dating from the 16th century. The miniatures of the first group show large-scale compositions with many figures, executed in minute detail using brilliant colors. The pictures of the second group are of lesser quality with regard to composition and figure …
|The Khamsah of Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī
This is a deluxe copy of the Khamsah (quintet) of Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (circa 1253–1325), who was India’s foremost Sufi poet who wrote in Persian. His quintet is a retelling of the five stories by 12th-century poet Nizāmī Ganjavī. The manuscript was written in nasta‘līq script by one of the greatest calligraphers of the Mughal atelier, Muhammad Husayn al-Kashmīrī, who was honored with the epithet Zarrīn Qalam (Golden Pen). This copy of Dihlavī’s Khamsah probably was produced in Lahore (present-day Pakistan) in the late 16th century …
|Mihr and Mushtari
This manuscript is an illustrated copy of the well-known poem recounting the platonic love story between Mihr (the Sun), the son of Shāhpūr, and his vizier’s son Mushtarī (Jupiter). The story of 90 chapters was composed by Muhammad ibn Ahmad ‘Assār Tabrīzī, who died in around 1382. The present copy was written in nasta‘līq script in 1476 by Murshid al-Kātib, who came from Shiraz (in present-day Iran). Considering the number of surviving manuscripts in which this calligrapher’s name is found, it seems he was particularly prolific. The …
|Collection of Poems by Jāmī
This work dating from the 16th century is an illuminated and illustrated copy of the first collection of poetry (called Dīvān-i avval or Fātihat al-shabāb) by Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Rahmān Jāmī (1414–92), a great Persian poet, scholar, and mystic, who lived most of his life in Herat, in present-day Afghanistan. According to the colophon (folio 306a), the manuscript was copied by the illustrious Safavid calligrapher Shāh Mahmūd Nīshāpūrī, who died in the mid-1560s. The codex opens with a double-page illustrated frontispiece followed by a double-page illuminated incipit. There are …
|Collection of Poems by Hasan Dihlavī
This is an illuminated and illustrated Mughal copy of a dīvān (collection of poems) by the eminent poet and hagiographer of Islamic India, Hasan Dihlavī, who died in about 1338. The manuscript was written in nasta‘līq script by ‘Abd Allāh Mushkīn Qalam (Amber-Scented Pen), in Allāhābād in 1011 AH (1602 AD), according to the colophon on folio 187a, although the illustration on that page identifies the calligrapher as Mir `Abd Allah Katib. Both were celebrated royal calligraphers. Abd Allāh Mushkīn Qalam worked in Allāhābād for Prince Salim, who later …
|Collection of Short Love Poems by Jāmī
This is an illuminated and illustrated manuscript of a small collection of short love poems of the type called tarjī`band by Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 898 AH / 1492 CE). It was copied in black nasta‘līq script by the calligrapher Muḥammad Zamān al-Tabrīzī in 998 AH / 1589-90 CE in Safavid Iran. The text is written on orange-tinted paper, and the bluish-green borders are illuminated throughout. The manuscript opens with an incipit page with illuminated headpiece (fol. 1b), and there are two illustrations (fols. 3a and 6a). The …
|Ottoman Turkish Version of “Sindbād-nāmah”
This work is an Ottoman illustrated and illuminated copy of the Tuhfet ül-ahyār, which is an Ottoman Turkish version of the well-known story of Sindbad (Sindbād-nāmah). It concerns Sindbad the Wise (not Sindbad the Sailor), who was tutor to the son of an Oriental king. It was written by ‘Abdülkerīm bin Muhammed during the reign of Sultan Süleyman I, called the Magnificent, who ruled from 1520 to 1566. The text is written in black naskh script with incidentals in gold and red, and the chapter headings are in gold. The …
|The Essentials of Arithmetic
Bahā’ al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn al-‘Āmilī, also known as Sheiykh Bahā’ī, was a famous polymath and intellectual luminary of Safavid Persia. He was born in 1547 (953 AH) near the Jabal ‘Āmila in Syria. He migrated with his family to Persia (perhaps to escape the persecution of Shi’a Muslims at the hand of the Ottomans), where he eventually obtained an honored place at the court of Shāh ‘Abbās. He died in Isfahan in 1621 (1030 AH). A prolific author of works on astronomy, mathematics, fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence …
|The Little Canon
This book contains the Arabic text of Maḥmūd ibn Muḥammad Jighmīnī’s medical book, the Qānūncha, or Qānūnja. The title refers to Avicenna’s seminal work on medicine, the Canon. The suffix -cha is a diminutive in Persian, so the title of Jighmīnī’s work can be translated as the Little Canon or Mini-Canon. Jighmīnī (also seen as Jaghmīnī), a renowned Persian mathematician and astronomer, was born in the village of Jaghmīn, in Khwarizm, present-day Uzbekistan. He died in 1221 during the Mongol conquest of Khwarizm. TheQānūncha is written …
|The Clarification of the General Principles of Medicine
In the introduction of this manuscript entitled al-Īḍāḥ fī kullīyāt al-ṭibb (The clarification of the general principles of medicine), the author identifies himself as ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdullāh al-Anwarī, but nothing else is known about him. As the title suggests, the work is a medical text in the tradition of second-century physician and philosopher Galen and the great polymath and physician, Abū ʻAlī ibn Sīnā (known as Avicenna, 980–1037). The manuscript is arranged as an introductory section containing definitions followed by sections on theoretical medical knowledge and on …
|Selected Poetry of Zafar
Muntakhib Kulliyat-I Zafar is a collection of poetry by the last Mughal emperor and last ruler of the Timurid Dynasty, Muhammad Bahadur Shah II (1775–1862), generally known as Bahadar Shah Zafar. The son of Akbar Shah II, the ruler of a declining empire, Zafar was a prolific writer and a great Urdu poet. He was influenced by Sauda, Meer, and Insha, eminent Urdu poets of the 18th–early 19th centuries. Zafar was also a noted patron of contemporary poets, including Ghalib, Dagh, Shah Naseer, Momin, and Zauq. He came …
|Farah’s Encyclopedia of Nature
This Persian manuscript contains the text and accompanying illustrations ofFaraḥ nāmah (Farah’s encyclopedia of nature), also known by the title Ajayib al-dunya (Wonders of the world). The work is a treatise on natural history by al-Muṭahhar ibn Muḥammad al-Yazdi (flourished circa 1184). The manuscript was copied in the 17th century in a large Taliq script, and is illuminated with detailed multicolored illustrations of animals, birds, plants, rocks, and humans. Persian miniature painting was becoming a fine art genre in the 12th–13th centuries, and portrayal of the …
|A Compendium of Medicine
The author of this untitled medical treatise is unknown. The introduction states that the work consists of four chapters: 1) on the basic principles of classification of medical sciences; 2) on medication and nutrition; 3) on diseases that infect certain parts of the body; and 4) on diseases that infect other parts of the body. The main text is in Arabic, and some notes are in Persian. The manuscript, written in a Nastaliq script with nine lines per page, is difficult to date because the colophon is missing. A printed …
|The Canon of Medicine
Al-Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sīnā (980–1037), commonly known by the Latinized version of his name Avicenna, was born near Bukhara in Persia (present-day Uzbekistan). He was the most famous and influential of the many Islamic scholars, scientists, and philosophers of the medieval world. He was foremost a physician but was also an astronomer, chemist, geologist, psychologist, philosopher, logician, mathematician, physicist, and poet. His Al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb(The canon of medicine) became the authoritative reference on medicine in the Middle Ages, not only in the Islamic world but …
The Persian physician Manṣūr ibn Muḥammad ibn Ilyās, who flourished around 1384, came from a family of physicians and other intellectuals living in the city of Shiraz in present-day Iran. Tashrīḥ-i badan-i insān (The anatomy of the human body), usually known as Tashrīḥ-i Manṣūrī (Manṣūr’s anatomy), is his best-known work. It contains the earliest surviving Islamic anatomical illustrations of the whole human body. They include full-page figures, drawn in pen using various colors of ink. The treatise consists of an introduction followed by chapters on the bones, nerves, muscles …
My review for The Friday Times
South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures is a comprehensive volume of essays edited by Adil Najam and Moeed Yusuf. Given the importance of the South Asian region, this book attempts to fill in a huge gap that has existed for decades. Discourses on South Asia for reasons well known, have been obsessive about all things security and in recent times terrorism. The editors note that South Asia “sits atop a globally strategic location” and gladly move on to other important topics, which makes this volume a useful contemporary reference. The introduction notes the immense potential for energy trade as well as the significant regional security implications for the world at large. This is why the future of South Asia is not just important to those who live in the region; it is duly a global concern. The 37 papers authored by 44 experts, in the volume trace the multiple futures and mercifully avoid the common fallacy of reducing South Asia to India and Pakistan and their bitter rivalries.
The introduction summing up the book rightly identifies that the idea of South Asia is a contested one and its ownership – political and economic – would determine the future. Commenting on the term Southasia introduced by Nepal based Himal magazine, the editors state: “…the future of the geography we know as South Asia will depend, at least in part, on what happens to the idea of Southasia. We are not in a position to say what that will be just yet, but it is clear that the aspiration of Southasianness is entrenched more deeply in the South Asian mind than we had imagined. It is an idea that our regional politics has often rejected and fought against. But the resilience of the aspiration suggests regional politics may eventually have to embrace it.” Thus the emergence of Southasia, a regionalized identity, will be a political process and the book suggests that there is no one course or prediction to hold it.
In this context the paper, the paper by US based Pakistani historian Manan Ahmad Asif entitled “Future’s Past” contends that though the immediate history of Pakistan and India might broadly be cause for pessimism (such as the violent partitions of ’47 and ’71), there is nevertheless a greater, storied and shared history that can be recalled in order to realize how communities in South Asia can peacefully co-exist.
Asif argues that our “immediate past” is what informs our understanding of the present, leading to interpretations that are rooted in differences and in ‘otherizing’. As he points out, “We take these ahistoricized words [coercion, submission, invader, Muslim, indigenous] and categories and proceed to give them universality that they don’t deserve even for the here and the now.” Similarly, he points out how the British too saw the divisions and focused on them, thereby exacerbating them. One cannot disagree with Asif when he posits: “To imagine a South Asia where difference is mutually comprehensible is also to look at the desi diaspora around the world.”
“We take these ahistoricized words [coercion, submission, invader, Muslim, indigenous] and categories and proceed to give them universality that they don’t deserve”
The editors of the volume identify the following common themes around which the book is organised: ‘Idea of South Asia’, ‘Regionalism’, ‘The South Asian State’, ‘Security and Development’ and ‘South Asia and Its People’.
The essays highlight how South Asia is a more of a competitive region than a cooperative one. The troubled experience of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and other attempts at regionalism testifies to this reality. Smaller states with much to gain from regionalism are themselves exasperated with Pakistan and India – the primary reason behind the regions failure to integrate. As pessimism reigns however, there are murmurs of optimism as Pakistan and India seek to open trade, perhaps leading to the reinvigoration of SAARC.
The theme pertaining to South Asian State is an insightful part of this volume as it traces the trajectory of the postcolonial states and how they have failed to maintain the social contract leading to a less charitable view of the future in many quarters. At the same time, the essays also highlight the immense potential for ‘constant metamorphosis’ of the state idea and are open to change with sufficient external and internal impetus. A pertinent observation extracted by the editors relates to the possibility of an inclusive, regionalized state. In a similar fashion the papers tell us that a region confronted with multitude of conflicts trumpets human development. The editors and some of the essays emphasise ‘co-dependence’ of security and development and an outcome which would be more people-centric rather than the current state or military oriented security discourse common in South Asia.
In her cogent essay, ‘Towards cooperation for poverty reduction?’
Safiya Aftab mentions the importance of entwining poverty reduction with economic growth, arguing that even if South Asia’s rate of development hovers around an acceptable 8%, that in itself will not lead to a reduction in poverty – or at least not a considerable enough reduction. She posits that there needs to be a “serious realignment of government policy towards income redistribution and investment in human development”, and that in the face of a lack of regional integration, growth on itself will not solve the region’s significant issue of poverty. A focus solely on economic growth without factoring in human development and wealth redistribution will only lead to greater disparity in wealth and prosperity, which in turn can lead to social unrest. South Asian states need to revisit their dependence on neo-liberal prescriptions and read Aftab’s essay carefully. In fact, the key factor influencing the future of the region relates to the future trajectories of economic cooperation.
Another well-researched essay in the volume, ‘Trade Relations: Some Predictions and Lessons by Pradeep S. Mehta and Niru Yadav tells us the gritty realities. The authors state how in 2011 “the total trade of South Asian countries amounted to $928.17 billion, with only $28.23 billion exchanging hands through regional trade.” Only less than 4% of South Asia’s trade was interregional making it the least regionalized areas of the world. Despite the numerous free trade agreements, political mistrust and a lack of political will have led to states pursuing their own bilateral FTAs, thereby circumventing the choked provisions of regional agreements such as SAFTA.
The key theme of volume – South Asia and its people – highlights how the countries in the region need to shift from a state centric position to people-oriented polities. There is now an emerging consensus that the people of South Asia are dynamic cultural, economic and political agents. With advances in technology, a burgeoning young population and democratic consolidation the power of South Asians to drive ‘change’ and demand rights is likely to increase. Regional cooperation initiatives such as Aman ki Asha and other movements are showing the path.
There are three kinds of graffiti in Delhi – one needs to be preserved, the second prevented and the third encouraged
Graffiti is plural for graffito and is defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as “a piece of writing or drawing, scribbled, scratched or sprayed on a surface”. This piece is about all the three kinds of graffiti as seen on the walls of Delhi. There are other kinds of graffiti that use visuals or language that one prefers to avoid and we will not talk about those for that may lead to the raising the collective moral heckles of those whose sentiments are easily hurt.
We will begin with writing, go on to the scratched and conclude with the painted and sprayed kinds of graffiti. The first, and to my mind one of the finest examples of the traditional art of graffiti, can be found in an unnamed mausoleum inside the Mehrauli Archaeological Park.
To reach this graffiti you will have to enter the Mehrauli Archaeological Park from the GandhakkiBaoli side. After crossing an ancient and now encroached upon mosque and a few houses to your left, you will be in front of a large square structure surmounted by a dome. The ruin dates back to the Sultanate period. Enter the structure and you will notice that the central arch (Mehrab) on the western side is blocked; this is to indicate the direction of Mecca for visitors, who might want to pray for the soul of the departed.
On one of my visits I saw some Persian poetry written on this central Mehrab, the person who wrote it had obviously come prepared. He had a fine hand; he could have been a trained calligrapher. Part of the first line, written in bold strokes with a reed pen and in Indian ink, was still legible as was part of the second line, written in smaller and less well formed strokes. I copied the words that I could read and took them to the Persian scholar Dr. Akhlaq Ahmad Aahan who teaches at Jawaharlal Nehru University. I showed him the words and he said this is most likely the poetry of Sheikh Hafiz Sheerazi.
The complete couplet is:
Dar Namazam Kham-e-abroo-e-tau bayaadaayad
Haalati raft keMehraabbaFaryaadaamad
A very rough almost verbatim translation would be:
As I stood (facing the arch) for prayer, I remembered the arch of your brow
Things came to such a pass that the Arch (of the mosque) came pleading before me
This is subversive Sufi poetry at its best and the graffiti artist knew what he was doing, to write this couplet from one of the greatest poets of Persian and to write it on the arch, that functioned as the qibla, is so well founded in the tradition of graffiti that one begins to wonder if graffiti too, like so many other great things have its origin in the east.
The example of the scratched graffiti that we present here is taken from the mosque and baoli popularly known as RajonkiBaoli from the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. The structures commissioned in 1516 by Daulat Khan, a noble in the court of Sikander Lodi, came to be called RajonkiBaoli because a group of masons (Raj-Mistris) had begun to live inside the mosque in the early 20 century. The graffito is taken from Daulat Khan’s mosque and will come in the category of ‘Scratching’. The text is written in a bad hand and the content “JitenderJyoti Romeo” has no meaning except the obvious.
From Hafiz Sheerazi to Romeo, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The third example of graffiti that we bring for you, from near Shivalik, near Malviya Nagar, in South Delhi is the latest addition to street art in Delhi and is something that needs to be encouraged. This is modern graffiti and our civic authorities will do a lot of good to the city to allot the drab and colourless government walls to these artists and let them paint without fear of being hauled up under the “Bengal Act” on defacement of public property. Right now these creative young people are forced to work surreptitiously like guerrilla squads using names like Daku, Rane, Zeb Star, Rush and Treble.
We also need to develop a policy that helps us protect the first kind of graffiti because this graffiti is now part of history; to prevent the vandalism of the second variety; and to encourage the third kind and hope that Delhi will soon become the ‘Centre of Graffiti’.