Book: Sultans, Traders, and Pilgrims in Gujarat

Samira Sheikh, Forging a Region: Sultans, Traders, and Pilgrims in Gujarat 1200-1500, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2010, 265 p.

As a historian of Medieval India, Samira Sheikh publishes a slightly revised version of the Ph. D. she prepared at Oxford University some years ago. The book is most useful since it provides both a broad synthesis of the formative period of Gujarati identity, as well as a very comprehensive analysis of the interaction between the different strata which gave birth to the pre-modern state, namely the Sultanate. Moreover, the issues addressed by Sheikh obviously concern a large part of North India. For example, she gives valuable arguments regarding the processes of formation of groups like the Rajputs. Last but not the least, Sheikh is well aware of the most recent trends in the history of India, in other words the post-colonial studies, and she is thus able to provide a balanced understanding on how pre-modern Gujarat provided the essential features on which modern Gujarat was to be built.

Michel Boivin

 

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