Special Reports

Seminar on Travelogues

New Delhi: A 3-day national seminar on Indian travelogues as a source material for the Arabian peninsula’s history and culture was held here at the India Islamic Cultural Centre during 21-23 January. A joint venture of the office of the Saudi Cultural Attaché in India and the Deel-based Global Research Academy, the seminar was inaugurated by Justice Suhail Siddiqui, chairman of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, in the presence of the Saudi ambassador Faisal Trad. AMU Vice Chancellor P. K. Abdul Azis and ICCR Vice Chairman Shahid Mehdi participated as chief guests. Prof. Zubair Ahmad Farooqi and Dr. Habibullah of Jamia Millia played a leading role in the organisation of the seminar.

In his keynote address, JMI’s Prof. Akhtarul Wasey said that hitherto we have been looking at India with the prism of Arab travelogues and now is the time to look at the Arab world through the Indian eyes. There is a huge literature left behind by Indian travelogues and visitors of Arab countries, especially pilgrims of the Holy Land, over the centuries in Arabic, Persian and Urdu and time has come to take notice of this treasure. The working sessions of the seminar started with a study of Jalaluddin Jahaniyan Jahangasht by Prof. Syed Muhammad Azizuddin Husain. Dr. Muhammad Arshad studied the influence of world social changes on the Saudi society in the light of Indian travelogues.

Next day, Prof. Ishtiyaq Ahmad Zilli spoke on the academic, religious and social conditions in the 16th century Makkah and Madinah in the light of Zad al-Muttaqin. Prof. Muhammad Nu’man Khan studied the travelogue of the ruler of Bhopal Sultan Jahan Begum, Safarnamah-e Haj Rauzatul riyahain. Written by a purdah-clad ruler of an Indian state, it has a feminine touch. Dr. Iqtidar Muhammad Khan studied the Main Hazir Hoon Yahan written by a pilgrim from Rampur.

Other papers included: Dr. Shazad Anjum on Kaleem ‘Aajiz travelogue and Prof. Zafar Ahmad Siddiqui on Shefta’s. Dr. Ateequr Rahman studied travelogues of the thirteenth century hijri. Dr. Muhammad Akram spoke on the travelogues of Maulana Syed Sulaiman Nadwi while Prof. Shafiq Ahmad Khan Nadwi studied the glimpses of religious and cultural life in the Arabian Peninsula in the light of the writings of Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi. Participants were basically teachers and students of universities who lively discussed each paper. The Saudi Cultural Attaché Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Batshan participated in all sessions and enriched with his comments and insights.

The valedictory session on the third day summed up the discussions. It was decided to publish papers after editing. Dr. Al-Batshan announced that another seminar on a similar theme will be held next year in Delhi.     MG News Desk

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2011 on page no. 17

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