Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lecture (15): Anglo-Persian Taxonomy of Indian Religions

Carl Ernst, who really needs no introduction for scholars of Islam or South Asia, is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a long time investigator of Muslim encounters with Indic learned traditions, particularly yoga. His publications on the subject include seminal articles such as "Situating Sufism and Yoga" (JRAS, ser. 3 15, no. 1 [2005]) and "Muslim Studies of Hinduism" (Iranian Studies 36, no. 2 [2003]), made available on Dr. Ernst's website.

Today's talk "An Illustrated Anglo-Persian Taxonomy of Indian Religions: The Silsila-i Jogiyan (Chain of Yogis) of Sital Singh Bikhwud" was an Annemarie Schimmel Memorial Lecture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a series featured before on this blog. Luckily for us, the MET has kindly made the lecture available here and embedded below. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Orientalist Bon Mot

Many apologies are due for having all but disappeared but with the end of coursework, the beginning of comprehensive exams, and the unenviable task of writing a thesis proposal I have not had the chance to update much. I return (for now) with a little find from Charles Rieu's Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, vol. 1, p. 246. While describing the manuscript for Taẕkirat al-vāqi'āt of Jawhar Aftabchi Rieu notes that:

The Museum possesses an interleaved copy of the English version, Add. 26,608, [that is, Major Charles Stewart's translation] with extensive corrections in the manuscript, amounting almost to a re-translation of the work, by Mr. Wm. Erskine, to whom Major Yule had lent the present MS. The rough draught of the same corrections is preserved in Add. 26,620.

In a short notice prefixed to the former volume, Mr. Erskine passes on Major Stewart's version the following judgement, which, coming from so eminent an authority, carries great weight: "The translation of Major Stewart is no translation at all. It is full of errors. It adds, takes away, alters. It is not trust-worthy, and one does him no injustice in pronouncing him ignorant of the history and manners of the times, ignorant of the geography of the country, ignorant of the language, ignorant of the duty of a translator."

(Makes one doubly grateful for Wheeler M. Thackston's translation of the work!)