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The Islamic Background To Indian History

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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

The medieval period of Indian history, as conventionally fixed by historians, c. 1000 to c. 1750 had so deep an imprint of Islam, that during much of the period, India could be held to belong culturally to the Islamic World, not on its periphery, but close to its core. It is, of course, the uniqueness of India's situation, that at the very same time, strictly in terms of its Hindu component, it could be said to be a world in its own right, with Islam only as a peripheral phenomenon. Yet, since the Islamic connexion greatly influenced the political structure, the fiscal system and even much of the network of internal commerce and external trade, it is crucial to understand the background that Islam provided to Indian history, or in other words, to understand Islamic history till the arrival of Islam in Northern India, c. 12001). A splendid effort to do so was provided by Professor Mohammad Habib in his introduction to a reprint of Vol. II of Elliot and Dowson's History of India as told by its Own Historians, Aligarh, 1952. A year later Hamilton Gibb came out with his well known essay, "An Interpretation of Islamic History", published in Journal of World

Affiliations: 1: (Aligarh, India


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