Meaningful Rituals: Persian, Arabic, and Bengali in the Nurnama Tradition of Eastern Bengal
Thibaut d'Hubert
  • ISBN : 9789355723369
  • year : 2022
  • language : English
  • binding : Hardbound
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Meaningful Rituals: Persian, Arabic and Bengali in the Nūrnāma Tradition of Eastern Bengal explores a corpus of texts that centre around the creation of the world by God through his prophet Muḥammad in his primordial form as a luminous entity. These short accounts, which bear the title Nūrnāma (The Book of Light), played two roles: as conveyers of knowledge regarding basic Islamic beliefs and cosmology, and as ritual texts meant to protect and bring prosperity to those who read and preserved the physical artefact of the book that contained that knowledge. In addition to introductory chapters on Muslim literacy in eastern Bengal and the treatment of light in scholastic and non-scholastic Muslim literature, Meaningful Rituals contains the text and annotated translations of several Persian and Bengali versions of the Nūrnāma, written between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. A close study of this tradition in eastern Bengal demonstrates the rural literati’s engagement with the Persian and Arabic languages and literacy. Beyond the domain of Bengali language and literature, the book opens a new chapter on Indo-Persian studies by shedding light on the didactic and ritual uses of Persian texts in rural Bengal.