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The Sikh Zafar-Namah of Guru Gobind Singh: A Discursive Blade in the Heart of the Mughal Empire


The Sikh Zafar-Namah of Guru Gobind Singh: A Discursive Blade in the Heart of the Mughal Empire Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Louis E. Fenech offers a compelling new examination of one of the only Persian compositions attributed to the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708): the Zafar-namah or 'Epistle of Victory.' Written as a masnavi, a Persian poem, this letter was originally sent to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (d. 1707) rebuking his most unbecoming conduct. Incredibly, Guru Gobind Singh's letter is included today within the Sikh canon, one of only a very small handful of Persian-language texts granted the status of Sikh scripture. As such, its contents are sung on special Sikh occasions. Perhaps equally surprising is the fact that the letter appears in the tenth Guru's book or the Dasam Granth in the standard Gurmukhi script (in which Punjabi is written) but retains its original Persian language, a vernacular few Sikhs know.

Drawing out the letter's direct and subtle references to the Iranian national epic, the Shah-namah, and to Shaikh Sa'di's thirteenth-century Bustan, Fenech demonstrates how this letter served as a form of Indo-Islamic verbal warfare, ensuring the tenth Guru's moral and symbolic victory over the legendary and powerful Mughal empire. Through analysis of the Zafar-namah, Fenech resurrects an essential and intriguing component of the Sikh tradition: its Islamicate aspect.

About the Author

Louis E. Fenech is Professor of South and Sikh History at the University of Northern Iowa.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Diplomacy at the Court of Guru Gobind Singh

Chapter 2: Zafar-Namah, Fath-Namah, Hikayats, and the Dasam Granth

Chapter 3: The Text of the Zafar-Namah: Guru Gobind Singh, Ferdausi, and Saúdi

Chatper 4: Authorship

Chapter 5: The Sikh Shah-Namah of Guru Gobind Singh

Chapter 6: The Historiography Of The Zafar-namah




Product Details

Fenech, Louis E.
Oxford University Press, USA
Religion & Theology | Comparative Religion | Other
Religion Eastern-Sikhism
Religion & Theology | Comparative Religion | Othe
Publication Date:
6.1 x 9.2 x 1.1 in 0.95 lb

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Religion » Eastern Religions » Sikhism

The Sikh Zafar-Namah of Guru Gobind Singh: A Discursive Blade in the Heart of the Mughal Empire New Trade Paper
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Product details 336 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199931453 Reviews:
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