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Negotiating Mughal Law
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  • Open access
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  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: April 2020
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online ISBN: 9781108623391

Book description

Based on a completely reconstructed archive of Persian, Hindi and Marathi documents, Nandini Chatterjee provides a unique micro-history of a family of landlords in Malwa, central India, who flourished in the region from at least the sixteenth until the twentieth century. By exploring their daily interactions with imperial elites as well as villagers and marauders, Chatterjee offers a new history from below of the Mughal Empire, far from the glittering courts of the emperors and nobles, but still dramatic and filled with colourful personalities. From this perspective, we see war, violence, betrayal, enterprise, romance and disappointment, but we also see a quest for law, justice, rights and righteousness. A rare story of Islamic law in a predominantly non-Muslim society, this is also an exploration of the peripheral regions of the Maratha empire and a neglected princely state under British colonial rule. This title is also available as Open Access.


‘This book is an important work that enriches our understanding of family, empire and estate in South Asia. The analysis moves away from state policy and image-building to the micro-processes that actually reproduce state power. It achieves this through the mastery of difficult sources presented in a wide comparative frame.'

Sumit Guha - University of Texas, Austin

‘In tracking a single family's legal documents over three centuries, Nandini Chatterjee has written an extraordinary book, upturning our understanding of how Mughal law worked and how it was experienced by its subjects. It will be revelatory for anyone interested in Islamic, South Asian, or Mughal history.'

Samira Sheikh - Vanderbilt University


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