Category Archives: E-Resources

Balochistan Archives now online

“The Balochistan Archives has an impressive collection of the official records, rare books, and rare photographs of the British period. The Directorate has catalogued 27,000 files for research purposes in addition to 29,000 files of defunct Commissioners’ Office. Our collections include the Agent to the Governor General (AGG) Balochistan’s Records (1831-1947), Revenue Commissioner’s Records (1855-1955), Chief Commissioner’s Records (1910-1937), and Balochistan Secretariat Records (1903-1954).” Continue reading Balochistan Archives now online

Centres and Peripheries in Ottoman Architecture: Online conference proceedings

This is to inform you that the proceedings of the conference “Centres and Peripheries in Ottoman Architecture: Rediscovering a Balkan Heritage”, which was organized at the University of Sarajevo in 2010, have been made accessible online.

For more information about the conference (venue, convenors, concept note…), click here

Continue reading Centres and Peripheries in Ottoman Architecture: Online conference proceedings

Panhwar.com: An online digital library

Here we wish to start presenting various digital collections of documents pertaining to Sindh, Pakistan and South Asia in general. We chose to begin this section of our research notebook (‘Resources’) with the impressive collection of digitized manuscripts and other publications set up on a single website dedicated to the life and work of M. H. Panhwar.

Born in the district of Dadu (Sindh), Muhammad Hussain Panhwar (1925-2007) completed his higher studies in the USA (1953), specializing in engineering (water and agricultural development). Besides working as an engineer for both Sindh and West Pakistan governments until 1969 (about which he published extensively), he always dedicated most of his free time to the study of various aspects of Sindh, its history and geography, environment and society. M. H. Panhwar was undoubtedly one of these non-standard intellectuals with an encyclopedic knowledge of Sindh, even if he sometimes drew much criticism from academic historians. Because he dedicated his life to enhancing the knowledge of Sindh, he was often coined as the “one-man Sindhologist”. He is considered by many academics and intellectuals a pioneer for his approach “from below” to the history of Sindh. To some extent, he could have been more broadly recognized as a historian from the subaltern studies movement.

It is noteworthy that M. H. Panhwar published several books and articles not only about irrigation, drainage, climate, geology, etc., but also about the history and society of Sindh, while focusing also on archaeology but mobilizing a number of other materials such as maps, pictures, sketches, etc. Among the most significant works completed by Panhwar which have been recently uploaded on his website, let us mention A Chronological Dictionary of Sindh (1983) and An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Soomra Kingdom of Sindh (2003). One should not miss also one of his major contribution entitled Source Material on Sind (1977, 700 pages), which will be uploaded soon on the website.

During his lifetime, M. H. Panhwar accumulated an astonishing amount of documents. At the time of his death (21st April 2007), his personal library contained a wide range of publications and research materials, among which not less than 12, 000 books, 3 000 maps referring to the Sindh region and a large collection of pictures, all well arranged according to subjects or chronologically ordered (see here its detailed classification). This is probably one of the largest libraries on the Sindh. The library is, as of now, not yet opened to the public so researchers still have to wait to consult this massive amount of information. Panhwar’s descendants plan is to transfer it to the University of Sindh, Jamshoro campus.

Meanwhile, one will be satisfied with all open-access documents displayed on the website, in which 180 digitized books dating from the colonial period are stored. All these can be downloaded free. It constitutes an important digital library where one can navigate freely and get access to a diverse range of historical documents pertaining to Sindh, such as letters, manuals and gazetteers of British India, catalogues, travellers accounts, biographies, reports, histories and geographies of Sindh, historical maps, journal issues, etc.

By Rémy Delage

Shi’ism in Modern South Asia: Online conference audio-papers

An international conference, ‘Contesting Shi’ism: Isna ‘Ashari and Isma’ili Shi’ism in Modern South Asia’, hosted by the History Department, Royal Holloway, was held in London on 9-10 September 2011.

You can listen to all the conference papers on this website.

Here below is the conference programme:

Friday, 9th September

14:30 – 15:00 Francis Robinson, Reflections on the Shia in South Asia and the wider Muslim world

15:00 – 16:30 Session I

Michel Boivin, The Isna ‘Ashari-Isma‘ili divide among the Khojas around 1910: exploring forgotten judicial sources from Karachi

Ian Williams, Shared and disputed symbols within Twelver Shi‘ite and Ahl-i-Sunnat traditions of Islam: an examination of theological constructions and devotional practices among leaders and adherents from nineteenth century South Asia to the contemporary U.K

Tahir Kamran, Sufi shrines, electoral politics and sectarian violence in Punjab: a case study of the dargah of Siyal Sharif

17:30 – 19:00 Session II

Ludovic Gandelot, Isma‘ili Aga Khani religious and social identities, as seen through Sultan Muhammad Shah’s firmans at the beginning of the twentieth century

Soumen Mukherjee, Of ‘religious and social welfare’ and ‘progress of the community’: religious inspiration, leadership and idioms of welfarism among Shi‘a Imami Isma‘ilis in twentieth century South Asia and East Africa

Bashir Damji, The Khoja Isna ‘Ashari communities of East Africa: from newcomers to flag-bearers

Saturday, 10th September

9:00 – 10:30 Session III

Sajjad Rizvi, Establishing the principles of the faith for a new Shi‘ite polity: the theology of Sayyid Dildar ‘Ali Nasirabadi

Justin Jones, Khandan-i-Ijtihad: authority and transition in a family of Shi‘a ‘ulama in Lucknow, c.1850-1950

Ali Khan, Local nodes of a trans-national network: a case study of a Shi‘a family in Awadh, 1900-1950

11:00 – 12:30 Session IV

Simon Wolfgang Fuchs, Third-wave Shi‘ism: Sayyid Arif Husayn al-Husayni and the Islamic revolution in Pakistan

Hasan Ali Khan, The role of the Auqaf Department in redefining Sufi and Shi‘a built heritage in Pakistan

Saleem Khan, The Shi‘a dominance of the legal profession in British India: a study of the lawyer politicians of Bihar