‘Bringing Spring to Sahbai’s Rose-Garden’: Persian Printing in North India after 1857

  • Zahra ShahEmail author
Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)


In the late nineteenth century, significant numbers of Persian books were printed in north India. The posthumous printing of the collected works of Imam Bakhsh Sahbai, a Persian scholar killed by British soldiers in 1857, is taken as a case study to demonstrate the importance of ustad-shagird (master-disciple) bonds in ensuring the continued attention to Persian. This study highlights the shifting centres of Persian language activity as different groups entered the arena of Persian print to carve out cosmopolitan and multidirectional identities for themselves in a period when, it is usually assumed, such identities became hardened along ethnic, religious and class lines.


Lithography Printing Persian Ustad Shagird Geography 1857 Decline 



I would like to thank the editors of this volume for their valuable feedback. I am also especially grateful to Dr. Daniel Grey, Danielle Dunbar and Michael Taylor for reading and commenting on this essay.Throughout this essay, all Persian words, with the exception of individual’s names, have been transliterated according to the scheme followed in: Francis Joseph Steingass, A Comprehensive Persian-English dictionary, including the Arabic words and phrases to be met with in Persian literature (London: Routledge and K. Paul, 1892). For ease of reference, titles of Persian works have been translated to match existing references to them in English.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of HistoryUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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