Eastern African doyens in South Asia: Premodern Islamic intellectual interactions

Mahmood Kooria*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article explores fragmented historical references on African itinerants in South Asia between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries who worked in the coastal regions as Islamic scholars, benefactors, and leaders. Utilizing epigraphic, architectural and textual sources on a few such personalities from Malabar and Bengal, I take a preliminary step towards debunking the exclusive association of Africans in South Asia with slavery and military labour. These historical figures are not anomalies rather they are representatives of a larger intellectual, legal, and religious network that fared between Asia and Africa. Although they are evident in historical sources, they have been systematically forgotten in contemporary memories and scholarship while this forgetfulness befits the prevalent stereotyping tendencies of Africa and Africans in South Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-373
Number of pages11
JournalSouth Asian History and Culture
Issue number4
Early online date15 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Eastern Africa
  • Indian Ocean Muslims
  • Islam
  • Swahilis
  • Zanjīs
  • Ḥabshīs


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