The Sikh Zafar-namah of Guru Gobind Singh: A Discursive Blade in the Heart of the Mughal Empire

Front Cover
OUP USA, Jan 31, 2013 - History - 304 pages
0 Reviews
Louis E. Fenech offers a compelling new examination of one of the only Persian compositions attributed to the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708): the Zafar-namah or 'Epistle of Victory.' Written as a masnavi, a Persian poem, this letter was originally sent to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (d. 1707) rebuking his most unbecoming conduct. Incredibly, Guru Gobind Singh's letter is included today within the Sikh canon, one of only a very small handful of Persian-language texts granted the status of Sikh scripture. As such, its contents are sung on special Sikh occasions. Perhaps equally surprising is the fact that the letter appears in the tenth Guru's book or the Dasam Granth in the standard Gurmukhi script (in which Punjabi is written) but retains its original Persian language, a vernacular few Sikhs know. Drawing out the letter's direct and subtle references to the Iranian national epic, the Shah-namah, and to Shaikh Sa'di's thirteenth-century Bustan, Fenech demonstrates how this letter served as a form of Indo-Islamic verbal warfare, ensuring the tenth Guru's moral and symbolic victory over the legendary and powerful Mughal empire. Through analysis of the Zafar-namah, Fenech resurrects an essential and intiguing component of the Sikh tradition: its Islamicate aspect.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

1 Diplomacy at the Court of Guru Gobind Singh
3
2 ZafarN257mah FathN257mah Hik257yats and the Dasam Granth
18
Guru Gobind Singh Ferdausi and Sadi
36
4 Authorship
69
5 The Sikh Sh257hN257mah of Guru Gobind Singh
79
6 The Historiography of the Zafarn257mah
101
Conclusion
124
Glossary
133
Notes
139
Bibliography
267
Index
295
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)


Louis E. Fenech is Professor of South and Sikh History at the University of Northern Iowa.

Bibliographic information