The Hajj From India In An Age Of Imperial Transitions, 1707-1820
This dissertation examines the political and religious worlds that emerged from traffic between the late Mughal and Ottoman empires. Focusing on the Hajj pilgrimage, it illustrates how Indian devotional circulations threaded unprecedented webs of state, commercial and cultural exchanges across South Asia and the Middle East. I argue that the Hajj from India produced new visions for state regimes, and forged new pious practices among Indian Muslims. Reflecting on an age defined by the decentralization of the two great Muslim empires and the rise of colonialism, this study observes that Indian Hajjis drew states into polemical and legal conversations even as they established horizontal links between them. Pilgrims breathed life into novel personal and banded forms of religiosity. And, finally, state management of the Hajj quickened expectations that old and new regimes, both Islamic and European, needed to secure durable legacies of religious legitimacy to thrive. So what appears, at first, as a long eighteenth century (1707-1820) caught between the "crisis" of Islamic states and the coming of colonialism, led in fact to lasting changes in religion and rule, in India and beyond. I advance my arguments and analyses through four chronologically organized, thematically distinct chapters. Chapter 1 dwells on the economic horizons of the Hajj. By surveying the expansion of Indian acquisitive and altruistic exchanges in Arabia, I reconsider a straight transition from status to contract in Indian Ocean "bazaar" economies. Chapter 2 reduces the scale of inquiry, treating, in turn, the experiences of the Indian 'ulama in the Hijaz, and their ramifications on local webs of knowledge. Tracking the career of a newly connected "all-India" 'ulama, I reveal how intellectual interactions on the Hajj transformed political morality and provincial judiciaries. Chapter 3 highlights the making of a little-known but sprawling network of corporate Indian pilgrims beyond South Asia. It thus assesses the institutional, diplomatic, and legal entanglements of the "Indian" or Hindi Sufi lodges of the Ottoman Empire. My last chapter demonstrates the contradictory character of pilgrimage under early colonialism. Although the British Company-state offered patronage to pilgrims for the sake of state legitimacy, I assert that it did so under the mounting burdens of war and conflict caused by its own military-fiscal expansion. Ultimately, the dissertation adds to histories of eighteenth-century South Asia that have suspended investigations beyond analyzing political transformations within indigenous regimes. At the same time, it questions if colonialism was the exclusive engine of change in early modern India.
South Asia; Hajj Pilgrimage; Mughal, Ottoman, and British Empires
Tagliacozzo,Eric; Travers,Thomas Robert
Ph.D. of History
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis