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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 556: Medieval Ideas from the East

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Jana Valtrová, Department for the Study of Religions, Masarykova univerzita, Brno
Paper 556-aThe Life and Works of Qaṭarī Ibn al-Fujā`ah, Poet and Leader of the Azraqites: An Application of Critical-Source Methodologies in Khārijite Historiography
(Language: English)
Talha Ahsan, Near & Middle East Section School of Oriental & African Studies University of London
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Numismatics, Rhetoric
Paper 556-bCaste and Hierarchy in Garhwal under the Parmar Dynasty
(Language: English)
Anukta Gairola, Department of History University of Delhi
Index terms: Local History, Social History
Paper 556-cBeast Fables from the East: Similarities in Narrative Mode across Continental Boundaries
(Language: English)
Ved Prabha Sharma, Independent Scholar Delhi
Index terms: Education, Language and Literature - Latin, Rhetoric, Sermons and Preaching

Paper -a:
There is no study in English on the career of Qaṭarī b. al-Fujā`ah (d. c. 79 AH / 699 AD), poet and final leader of the Azraqite Khārijite sub-sect. However, there are few direct primary sources. This paper critically analyses Sunnite heresiographies, and the most direct Azraqite primary sources extant: their poetry and coins. The investigation demonstrates a shift in the portrayal of Qaṭarī in 8th and 14th Century biographies owing to the influence of literary sources. Additionally, a close reading of Qaṭarī's poetry offers unexpected insights. Finally, studying Qaṭarī's coinage challenges the ways Sunnite annals would like us to remember the Azraqites.

Paper -b:
This paper aims to understand the social structure of the region of Garhwal during the time of the Parmar dynasty (9th-19th centuries). The social system in Garhwal follows a unique idea of clean and unclean caste. A typical village in the region of Garhwal is divided into Bith or the clean area inhabited by either Brahmins or Rajputs or both. While Domana or the unclean area is occupied by the Shipkars or Dome. Further, within the Brahmins and Rajputs several subdivisions can be observed. This was due to constant immigration of the two groups from rest of the subcontinent after establishment of the Parmar dynasty. The position of an individual in the social system of Garhwal was fluid and was based on proximity with the power rather than the status by birth.

Paper -c:
The 'literalness' that exuded from beast fables often give an impression of simplicity, which takes away the serious hermeneutic attention that beast fables deserve. Though the targeted audience of these stories were often 'simple' (vulgus) people, the narrative aim was itself challenging. The hitopadesha and panchtantra katha, as well as, the beast fables used in medieval grammar schools (compiled later in Disticha Catonis) were, in fact, serving the fundamental purposes of 'utilitas' and 'moralitas'. They employed the use of ancient liberal arts, primarily, ars rhetoric, as aquifers that facilitated the proper percolation of their non-vulgus dogmas. The paper aims to analyse the adaptation of a non-vulgus dogma to a vulgus audience, and in the process, discuss the birth of the beast literature as a 'vernacular' genre coming out of this adaptation.