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Before Timur Came: Provincialization of the Delhi Sultanate Through The Fourteenth Century

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The present essay examines information on the relationship of provincial settlements in the territories of the Dehli Sultanate with the capital city during the fourteenth century. This is drawn mainly from hagiographical sources in Persian rather than the much-utilized series of chronicles compiled in the city of Dehli itself. After a brief discussion of some of the factors of continuity and change operative in the fourteenth century in the territories of the Dehli Sultanate, it turns to a series of case studies, where evidence is available, of the processes of settlement of Muslim communities under the aegis of the Sultans of Dehli and in a radius extending from the capital city in northern India. The main routes of extension were to the south and to the east. Evidence suggests a process of growth of provincial centers of power to the detriment of the authority of the Sultan and the administration lodged in the capital city before the collapse of this authority in 1398. The latter part of the paper examines the linguistic consequences of the provincial political developments of the fourteenth century. It is argued that these affected changes in North Indian climates of sensibility that have endured to the present day. L'article étudie les informations sur la relation entre les établissement régionaux dans les territoires du Sultanat de Dehli et la ville capitale durant le XIV e siècle. Ces données sont surtout puisées aux sources hagiographiques en langue persane plutôt qu'aux séries de chroniques compilées dans la ville de Dehli elle-même. Après une discussion concise de certains facteurs responsables de la continuité et du changement en vigueur au XIVe siècle dans les territoires du Sultantat de Dehli, un nombre d'études de cas passe la revue — en fonction des temoignages disponibles. Elles traitent les processus d'établissement des communautés musulmanes sous la protection des sultans de Dehli et dans un rayon autour de la ville capitale de l'Inde septentrionale. Les principales routes d'épanouissment menèrent du Sud vers l'Est. Les temoignages suggèrent une croissance des centres de pouvoir régionaux au détriment de l'autorité du Sultan et son administration, logées dans la ville capitale jusqu'à son écroulement en 1398. La dernière section de l'article étudie les conséquences linguistiques des développements politiques et régionaux du XIV e siècle. Il est avancé que ces changements engendrèrent des modi fications dans les climats de sensibilité dans l'Inde septentrionale qui ont duré jusqu'à nos jours.


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