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Portrayals of Kashmir valley

A study in some selective European Travel Narratives

Magisterarbeit 2013 64 Seiten




Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Bernier’s Kashmir: Amid the Bizarre Orient The Depiction of an Asiatic paradise

Chapter 3 Moorecroft in Kashmir: His ‘representative’ Narrations and Sikh rule in Kashmir

Chapter 4 Victor Jacquemont in Kashmir: A voice Colonial and Construction

Chapter 5 Baron Charles Hugel: Assigning Territories to Imperial Interests

Chapter 6 Conclusion



In presenting a work of this nature, which took several months of preparation, with theories having to be studied and applied, facts researched and perspectives gathered from different sources and ideas developed over a period of time, it is evident that all this would not have been possible without the active guidance and support of many persons. While it will not be possible to enumerate everyone who so helped, I must acknowledge the assistance of those without whom this work might have remained incomplete or not been ready in time or the errors of omission and commission been more numerous as also those whose support kept me enthusiastic and fully involved in my task and did not let my morale flag even once.

I would like to begin the acknowledgement with expressing my deep sense of gratitude to the almighty Allah on each and every moment. I felt of gaining of the mental strength to continue my work in all kinds of adverse situations whenever I prayed to Him.

I owe a deep sense of gratitude to my guide and supervisor Dr. G. Chandhrika, Professor, Department of History as I am deeply obliged for his valuable suggestions and encouragement which helped me in all the time for the completion of my research. She always listens to me and encouraged me to express my ideas and impress me from time to time through her tremendous knowledge and enlightened ideas. I want to thank the Head of the Department, Prof. Venkata Raghotham without whose help and encouragement I would have not been able to carry out my research work. I am also thankful to other faculty members of the Department including Prof. K. Rajan, Associate Prof. Dr. N.Chandramouli, Dr. Mohammed Mustafa, Dr. K. Venugopal Reddy and Dr.Geeta for their valuable suggestions and cooperation.

I must express my thanks to the office Manager, K. Kaliaperumal and office attendant of the department for their constant help.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the help and cooperation of dynamic scholars of History department including Mr. Bittin Thakur, Mr. S. Kumar, Mr. Manikandan, Mr. Suresh and many others.

I cannot omit to thank those friends who helped and cheered me up from time to time and made my life bearable. I would like to give my special thanks to research scholars who stand by me in all times especially, Khanday Parvaiz Ahmad, Fayaz Ahmad, Jamsheed Ahmad Reyaz Ahmad and Aijaz ahmad. May Allah bless you all!

I am thankful to the members of Allama Iqbal Library, University of Kashmir Srinagar, Mr. Mubarak Ahmad Library Bearer District Library Anantnag, Mr. Tariq Ahmad Library Bearer Tehsil library Bijbehara, and the staff of Pondicherry University Library.

I must express my thanks to my grandfather with whom I have always shared a strong emotional bond and it is because of her blessings that today I am able to complete my research work.

I especially thank my brother Mr. Ashaq Hussain Parray, my sisters Faridah, Shuby, Ishrat, and Shabnum, who always encouraged me and constantly gave me whatever support I needed. And finally, before I end I must acknowledge the enormous debt I owe to my parents. Their love has always been my greatest source of inspiration. They not only encouraged me to come to the Pondicherry for my Research but their faith in my abilities and in my hard work, and their constant supportive and motivational "pep talks" strengthened my resolve and enabled me to surmount all the small and big upsets that took place during this period. They talked me through tough times and patted my back whenever I was able to report the smallest accomplishment. My father remains my role model and my mother is a pillar of emotional strength. I am confident that today they are as proud of my achievements as I am grateful to them.

Bilal Ahmad Parray

Chapter 1 Introduction

There is no denying the fact that the Oriental lands, of which valley of Kashmir was a necessary constituent figure, from the seventeenth century onwards, seemed much closer to the Europe than they had ever been. Of Kashmir valley, indeed even before all this, there was a rudimentary idea that would exist to haunt the people of multitude tastes, aesthetics and professions towards the valley. However, the extensive development in the magnitude of trade ventures and European companies that in the days to come would pave way for the rise of their imperialism gave birth to a process of cultural and cartographic representation of different zones of world including Kashmir valley. Emergence of Kashmir valley as fascinatingly Oriental landscape was the general result of extension of European adventurism, evangelism, commerce and late imperialism in the East.

The overwhelming process of cultural interaction and encounter and its representation started with the European companies exported people and merchandise and brought back spices and luxurious goods to waiting markets of Europe.1 The extensively prosperous process of cultural representation was also to a large extent blessed by the religious and adventurous zeal of the time. More frequently,

“Missionaries from the holy land to the Oriental countries made frequent visits and attempted to convert the masses of „heathens“ or to support besieged Christian communities.”2 Likewise, the role of travellers led by individual curiosities and colonial motivations is uneasy to ignore. Collectively, all these means of travel and intense cultural interactions paved way for the development of vast body of travel chronicles.

Considerable and bulky volumes of travel narratives served as the prime documents of knowledge that were acquired by the Western world before establishing the imperial hold over the Orient. Travel narratives therefore, played a historically an immense and unforgettable part that enabled the West to know and develop notions regarding the Orient. Travel narratives not just introduced the oriental landscapes to the Europe but eventually through Europe, the whole world could know about the existence of idea called Orient. Conceived as the primary eye witnessed and even based on observations echoing dramatic situations of personal encounters of European traveller in the foreign lands, travel narratives fascinatingly enjoyed a wide popularity over a long span of time.

Present study deals with the travel accounts in which the valley of Kashmir figure specifically as an Oriental landscape over an era extended between the 17th and Mid-19th century. The general assumption regarding the travel texts of the time under focus is that travel literature was in a progressive stage for being a cherished source of knowledge, entertainment, and curious information and many other novel attributes. With each passing day contribution to the genre of travels was an expected thing, owing to the extensive development of European expansion and imperialism. Functioning innumerous purposes, as usual, travel narratives were an enormously popular literary genre throughout Europe in this crucial hour of time. For, “the public was intrigued by travellers“ tales, of their adventures, strange lands inhabited by people who seemed to live completely unlike the Europeans.”3 With the growing literary rate and the development of print culture in many of the European countries many of these travel narratives were republished in numerous editions and were translated into other European languages to become the main source of information on Orient. The ever growing travel records born from and in turn nourishing the images of the East and its inhabitants, subsequently collided with colonializing efforts of the time. Not always, but travellers encountering the East even sometimes proved an instrument in giving a lease of life to the imperial constructions. Consequently, travel narratives as the representatives of East were much more than simple geographical descriptions. For, “they were also intended to divert, to entertain, through accounts of dramatic situations, monstrous events and uncivilized people encountered by the travellers.”4 Moreover it is obvious that, „as travellers made contact with new regions and peoples, authors and editors put the world on paper for the new print marketplace at home: the number of new titles published (and old titles reprinted) during the early modern period suggests that there was a significant audience for travel writing, eager to hear news of the wider world and to reflect on England“s place in it.“5 The general assumption is that from these travel narratives emerged a picture of East which had to meet the twin requirements of faithful transcription and the interest of readership6, for which they even compromised with the actual and observed realities.

Kashmir valley as a travel trope central to various travel accounts maintained by European travellers emerged at time when travel narrations were considered very much a bearer of new knowledge and information from a world which remained in large part unknown and which avidly awaited a receptive European public.7 Located in the East, almost akin to the other regions of East, it generated varying amounts of information, depending on the level of contract European and British travellers maintained with the regions comprising Kashmir valley. Kashmir valley therefore, was presented to the European audience through the travel narratives for a significant period, till it finally came under Western imperial domination. As an Oriental landscape Kashmir valley was a host of exotic land surfaces, with people of divergent kinds, their different traditions, culture, and religious beliefs and ultimately the most diverse identities. So apparently, in different travel records it received representations of varied nature. As different European and British travellers over different intervals of time visited and encountered the inhabitants of these lands, a set of images of valley and aspects associated with it developed, depending on the travellers who encountered Orients in a variety of circumstances, observing religious and judicial rites, as well as behaviours, which were all noteworthy precisely because of their apparent difference.

As a part of Oriental lands and culture the valley of Kashmir does not appear at any moment an exception to these European developments and endeavours in the East. Situated in the north extreme of the Indian subcontinent, enjoying strategically a significant position and a world over fame for its natural beauty and landscapes, the valley of Kashmir, like the entire Orient, received a heavy influx of Europeans from the seventeenth century onwards. Their encounter with the valley and inhabitants of the valley found a fine expression in their travel narratives and chronicles, which as a result popularized the valley to almost the entire world, however essentially through a

European mind.8 These European and British travel narratives constitute an important source of Kashmir“s history and are still in print in the valley. They provide insights into different aspects of the valley varying from natural landscape, polity, society, economy, geography and character of its people.

The European and British travellers who made frequent visits to the valley of Kashmir since the seventeenth centaury were men of different cultural backgrounds and at the

Harding and Helen Longino (see note 14), essays in Linda Alcoff and Elizabeth Potter, eds., Feminist Epistemologies (London: Routledge, 1993. acted as the driven force that brought him to India. Contrary to this, Moorecroft seems to be motivated by the desires to benefit the commercial interests of British Empire. Jacquemont nonetheless sounds as a mouth piece to propagate the colonial constructions and stereotypes. And Hugel, is revealing the geo- strategic significance of the valley. same time motivated by specific interests. Even, „most early English travel was carried out (explicitly or implicitly) in the name of trade, and the profit motive marks most of the period“s published accounts – whether in the author“s and printer“s desire to make money or in the sponsorship of specific ventures.“9 Of the set of European travelers who put Kashmir valley on paper, some of them were guided by the unconquered desire to know the world, some by commercial interests and some by colonial interests, and accordingly they perceived, narrated and interpreted things Kashmirian in their travel accounts. The travel accounts maintained by the curious humanist travellers bear a remarkable distinction and character than the later ones maintained by travellers motivated by the colonial interests. What is more important to recognize about the travel accounts is the fact that „travel writing“ made it available not only as a form for new knowledge but as a vehicle for satire, and from a surprisingly early date, actual and imaginative voyages were used to criticise foreign habits, domestic conditions, and even Travel itself.“10 All these factors therefore, have made the representations of Kashmir valley diverse, shifting, historically contingent, complex and competitive, and to address them in a critical and as well as analytical manner is the central concern of present work.

The choice of Kashmir valley as a case study is designed to help develop a carefully contextualized argument about the evolution of European travel literature and its intellectual content, which not only seeks to identify the changes, but also aims to explain their logic. Moreover an effort is made to discern to what extent as Europeans first and as individuals second, they came up against the Kashmir valley, and to what extent they are reflecting the existing Asiatic realities and what limited their attitudes towards the valley of Kashmir.11 Moreover, this work has been constantly guided by the concern, to see how realities had been perceived, how ways of seeing change and what influences and necessities made them to be selective in what was there to be seen.

By considering these European and British writings on Kashmir valley as a part of the corporate institution described as Orientalism (idea of European identity as a superior one in comparison with all the non-European peoples and culture; an European idea of a collective notion identifying „us“Europeans as against all the Non-Europeans) by Edward Said,12 the present work aims to see how far these microscopic representations of Kashmir valley goes in accordance or concordance to his postulations.


The present book is deeply indebted to Edward Said“s “Orientalism”, the pioneering work in the study of colonial discourse. Said“s basic contention is that knowledge of the Orient is linked to the exercise of colonial power and that representations are in some sense misrepresented because representation is culturally located and politically charged.13 Said necessarily concluded that representation has never been neutral, and that what is represented is not necessarily „truth.“ The present approach however slightly varies from him at certain places as well, particularly where the system of knowledge production in dichotomies does not hold strong grounds. As several critics of Orientalism have observed Said“s concept of the Oriental discourse is too monolithic and homogenous14, Said“s sense of unbroken, unchallenging tradition of

European representation of the East, from the time of Greeks to the present day pays insufficient regard to the historical context and neglects the variations, specificities and inconsistencies and instabilities. This book attempts to take into account such aspects and propose against generalizations by arguing in favour of specificities of travel writings.

According to Said Orientalism produces an unshakable assumption of European superiority over the East always functioning as the west“s negative foil.15 But the present a work without derecognized the vitality of Said“s arguments, shows that there have been certain European writings that furnish knowledge without being dichotomous in nature. Moreover at places, by suggesting a comparative method [wherever possible] between non- indigenous and indigenous literary or textual sources one comes across identical images which, therefore proposes a less hostile attitude of European travel writings.

Selection of Texts

Five major travel texts constitute the core corpus of this book. The first one belongs to François Bernier, a French physician by profession who visited India as well as the Kashmir valley during the reign of Aurangzeb, the last great ruler of Mughal Empire. His description of Kashmir valley in his travel narrative entitled , Travels in the Mughal Empire is fascinated and serves as a base for the European travellers that choose write upon Kashmir.

The second travel text entitled Travels in India is that of William Moorecroft. A meticulous study of this account makes it clear that, in his mode of perceiving the existing realities he is more “representative” than the constructor of artificial “truth”. The veracity of his account has been verified in this book through a comparison with the celebrated writings of Mullah Hamidullah Shahbadi.

The third travel account belongs to Victor Jacquemont. He was a French traveller who wrote many letters while visiting the Kashmir valley, which were later on, as an anthology, published bearing title, Letters from India 1829-1832. The fourth travel account is that of Baron Charles Hugel. Just three years before the first Afghan war, he visited the Kashmir valley and published his selective travel experiences, bearing the title, Travels in Kashmir and the Punjab. The subject matter of his travel account reveals the strategic, economic, military and geographical importance of the valley for the British government of India

Review of Literature

European and British writings on Kashmir, as a theme, until recently had hardly attracted the attention of scholars. But at the same time the existence of books which deal with such themes are no way absent. For instance, there is a book entitled , Europeans on Kashmir, edited by Shafi Shouq and others, which mentions about the European travellers who visited the valley of Kashmir and provides slight information about their endeavours in Kashmir valley. This book however lacks critical faculty. Moreover the information given is less significant and lacks above all the debatable issues and discourses. It rather serves only as a summary about European travellers devoid of any concern about their distortions.

Similarly Meera Nanda, in a study of the European travel accounts of Mughal empire under Shahjahan and Aurangzeb, has pointed out that these accounts were limited by cultural preconceptions, but they also stand in contrast to the Persian chronicles of the period- the key indigenous source for the empire as a whole- for their information on trade and the economy, on political forms of organization, and on social life and religious practices They are geographically accurate and historically useful, the more so because they do not speak with a single voice. The problem with this book is the non- inclusion of those travellers with whose writings we are dealing with in this book.

Another scholarly book, European Travellers in India, by Edward Early Oaten, mentions about those European travellers who visited India in the post Renaissance period. This scholarly work however, argues that apart from providing knowledge about political and economic aspects of India, the travellers took less interest in other things, which is however, historically incorrect.

So it becomes apparent that there is a lot of scope in dealing with these writings both on macro as well on micro levels. The present work therefore, focuses on some selective European and British writings on Kashmir from seventeenth century to mid- nineteenth century and assesses how they represented the valley of Kashmir.


This book is consists of six chapters. First chapter is the introductory chapter which outlines the theme of this research work as well as provides insights into the various objectives, methodologies, debatable issues, and the consulted travel texts.

The second chapter of this book tests Said“s thesis that the Orient is consistently represented as Europe“s inferior other by examining the travel writings of François Bernier, a seventeenth century French traveller. This chapter argues any dealing with the European travel account in the context of micro history or regional history opens new dimensions and provides new insights much contrary to the claims of Said“s postulations in Orientalism. Bernier“s travel narrative as an exception makes it certain that there are such accounts about the Orient produced by the Europeans, which no way attempted to Orientalize the Orient or to justify European assumption of superiority.

The third chapter of this book is based on the critical study of Moorecroft“s travel account of the Kashmir valley. Through a meticulous study and by following a comparison and corroboration method the researcher has pointed out the representative character of William Moorecroft“s travel narrations and claim to represent the realities and therefore, argues in favour of acknowledging the specificities of texts at the exclusion of generalizations and notions produced by Said.

The fourth chapter examines the travel letters of Victor Jacquemont, a nineteenth century French traveller to the valley. A careful study of his depictions of Kashmir valley as well as East reveals that he came up against the Orient as a European and could not compromise with or suppress his self prejudices and preconceived notions and therefore produced a bleak and dark picture of the different aspects of the Kashmir valley. All this in turn provides sufficient reason to believe in Said“s thesis as well, because such depiction highly assigns strong footage to him. Further from it one can observe that even some travel narratives, if not all, justified imperialistic dominations and imperial claims. This chapter also brings out, that influences like Mill“s account of India and utilitarian philosophy limited Jacquemont“s attitude towards the inhabitants of the East.

The fifth chapter of this book is based on the general examination of the contents of Baron Charless Hugel“s travel narrations. From the very face value of his travel narrative, it becomes clear that the ultimate aim of his travels was to assist the British government by way of providing necessary information regarding frontier regions like Kashmir. In his depictions he has remained somehow selective, and apart from providing information on military and economic strength of Ranjeet Singh“s state he has nowhere indulged in the production of knowledge into dichotomies. An element of exaggeration however, is inevitably there as well.

Chapter 2 Bernier’s Kashmir: Amid the bizarre Orient the Depiction of an Asiatic Paradise

With the discovery of Cape of Good Hope in 1498, by Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, the watershed development in a long way would pave way for the large scale cultural encounter. Henceforth, India acquired a vital significance in the European consciousness. Though gradually, the subsequent period was marked by great European inroads in the eastern waters including India. All, nonetheless, crucially contributed in the evolution of various portrayals of India that from time to time came into existence through the hands of Europeans that visited the India. Consequently with the each passing day the emergence of idea of India as a land of curiosity, commerce and a fertile ground to implant Christianity figured prominently all across the Europe. To keep these trends all alive, India witnessed number of European traders, missionaries and curious humanists and the pace of cultural interaction increased gradually.

The cultural encounter however for a pretty time long remained confined to the exterior areas of India. Known for the significance of maritime trade and other transitory activities, at the beginning only the coastal regions of India surfaced in the travel accounts, the best proof and primary documents of narratives of cultural encounters. These Travel narratives widely liked genre of European audience of the times, nonetheless tactically placed European countries almost adjacent to India. More than a mere coincidence, the genre of travels progressed with the most parts of Europe“s transition to modern day nation states. Equally, the spirit of expansionism, extensive growth and development in various forms of trade and commerce and other economic transactions ultimately enhanced the scope for wide cultural exchanges.

Travel accounts to report the processes and contours of cultural interactions flourished consistently. For, cultural interactions as the necessary theme had a wide demand in Europe. As Owing to the huge profit incentives from the trade with countries like India different European countries established mercantile companies, the genre of travels prospered more, than any other thing. For, the genres of travels serve the purpose of being the witness as well as the valid source of information to amaze at the development of European trade and commerce and other various cultural and information exchanges with East.

India as an eastern landscape and a necessary figure of what is commonly and collectively known as Orient, with the European adventures in East figured as a necessary trope of various travel accounts. The image of India that emerges from time to time, central to various travel accounts, however, was never uniform. Rather along with the transformation within the Europe, its different commercial positions especially of its East Indies companies and the personal interests and convictions of European travellers eventually led to the emergence of different portraits of India, and not necessarily a uniform reductionist one. As many Europeans with multifarious objectives visited India, consequently different images of India developed in the West.16 For instance, Missionaries whose basic objective was to Christianize Indian masses, their religious zeal led most of them to perceive, proclaim and interpret the existing Indian realities according to their own tastes. Contrast to the set of maligned missionary portraits of India, curious humanists, traders and colonial officials recorded their encounters with Indian society according to their own point of view. Thus as an earnest effort, the legacy of travel reports, in many kinds of travel narratives and chronicles for which European market was quite readily available, made India known to the West.17

As a result it becomes, quite apparent to presume that by the end of seventeenth century different popular images of India were available to the Europeans.

Instead a ubiquitous model, travel assumptions had variedly given place to different parts of India. For, among the different images of India which were more popular and easily available to the European audience were especially those created by Christian Missionaries.18 Among them the most famous was that of Mughal India. Central to this kind of image was an idea of India dominated by Mughal Emperors essentially Mohammedans, with their syncretic court splendour and treacherous imperial politics, set against the background of a Brahman dominated and caste ridden society of naked ascetics, snake charmers, idolatrous temples and inflexible Varna rules.19 In this kind of India“s image, things Indian had received very little admiration. This kind of India“s image was largely popularized by English missionaries. In another image of India, India was no less decisively painted in dark colours. This picture which is supposed to be that of South India was central to the Portuguese travel literature

.With the discovery of India by the Portuguese, many Jesuit missionaries visited India. Consequently, here again among the many travel narratives developed by the Portuguese the most prominent were written by Jesuit missionaries such as Fernao

Lopes de Castheda, Jao de Barnes and Braz de Albuquerque.20 All their assumptions about India, at the end however found a fine expression in Valigano“s travel account. Valigano [Chetti 1539, Melacao 1606] the Jesuit visitor, had written extensively about Asian lands and peoples. His writings constitute an important landmark in the early European discourse on India. His sophisticated account combined with racial and religious forms of classification and thus provides for the comparison of different people under the concept of rational behaviour.21

J. p rubies have pervasively demonstrated that Instead of defining Indians into a unified image, Valigano ruthlessly described Indians, as peoples of many nations and languages and inferior to Europeans. As has been pointed out by J. P. Rubies:

These people who are almost black and go half naked, are universally contemptible and held to be base by the Portuguese and other Europeans; and the truth is that they are little of substance and lack refinement; they are as Aristotle says, of servile nature, poor, miserable and mean, and for any gain they do the lowest; and their kings are licentiousness towards women and all this is above all being buttressed by tyrannical caste system ,superstitious beliefs and religion full of „chimers and monstrosities.22

Since all these sophisticated “Oriental images” of India were produced by Jesuit missionaries whose fundamental task in India was evangelization, one can imagine that their very condition as missionaries limited their attitude towards Indian culture, society and things Indian. In order to glorify Christianity as a European religion they to a greater extent perceived Indians as inferiors. Their depictions of Indians into bad colours provide enough evidence to believe in Said“s Orientalism, wherein, he shows West“s representations of „others“ is simply a way to manipulate them; a way to coming to terms with the orient that is based on the orient“s special place in European Western experience.23 Simultaneously they make it evident to believe in Ronald B. Inden“s book,

Imagining India, wherein he shows how the western world represented India; to what extent is the knowledge of the people and institutions of the Indian subcontinent is based on the west“s own desire for world hegemony, and fantasies about its rationality. Also from such depictions of India as the civilization of caste, spiritualism and sub-divine monarchs etc., it becomes certain that such images of India are essentially the outcome of European constructions.24

Next to the Christian missionaries stands the contribution of curious humanist travelers whose Endeavour“s in describing the Indian Sub-Continent to the Europe and through Europe to the whole world is considered of great vitality. Although Mughal India was first described in detail in the 1580“s by Christian missionaries, the Mughal

Indian theme effectively belongs to a number of well-educated travellers of the seventeenth century.25 Some of them worked for the English East India Company, although the majority was largely of independent observers, mostly French. Among the French travellers of the seventeenth century the most famous was the contribution of Francois Bernier. Bernier [A. D 1625 – 1688] was a doctor of medicine.26 He wrote against astrology and from early 1640s was closely associated with the famous philosopher and competitor of Descartes, Pierre Gassendi.

Bernier“s fame in French society as well as in India is, however, based on his career as a traveller. In A.D 1665 he left France, stayed a year in Cairo, and then sailed for India. He spent twelve years in India, employed as a physician by the Aga Danishmend Khan, a high official (Mansabdar) at the Mughal court. Back in France, he published an account of his travels, in 1670-1. This was reissued by a Dutch publisher in 1671-2 and 1699; published in English, London, 1671 and 1776; in Dutch, Amsterdam, 1672; in German, Frankfurt, 1673; and in Italian, Milan, 1675.

“The desire of seeing the world induced me to visit Palestine and Egypt and still prompted me to extend my travels”,27 with these words Bernier begins the narration of his visit to the great Mughals, and maintains at the very outset, “he sought in the Indies not species, not gold, nor diamonds; but knowledge”.28 It is being accentuated that, 'His interest and observation in the exterior world, however, was stimulated by his travel experience and by the energetic outward looking mood of French nation in A.D 1660- 90, when French Colonial expansion gained new importance, the slave trade boomed, coloniale, Paris, 1991, chap. 5; Dirk van der Cruysse, Louis XIV et le Siam, Paris, 1991, chaps 6, 7. slavery was legally regulated by code Noir [1685], Colbert launched the French West India Company, trade posts were established in south India, a diplomatic mission ventured as for China, Japan, and Turkey.29 In Bernier“s account, the abuses of Mughal Empire are attributed to the fact that emperor owned all the land distributed it life tenure among the nobles .This was a misconception and which was to have a long life;

Montesquieu developed the influential theory of Oriental despotism and Karl Marx his idea of Asiatic Mode of Production.30 Thus the general trend among the modern scholars is to believe that Bernier depicts India languishing under a tyrannical Mughal rule so as to set Asia deliberately in opposition to Europe,31 which seems, however, to a greater extent is a gullible misconception. For, what he is being frequently alleged for being a constructor in a simple manner reflects a small part of a big image of India which runs central to his travel narrative. Even in his account of Mughal India and the adjoining parts, which he refers as country, he falls far being univocal.

Praised for being a traveler philosopher (in Diderot“s encyclopedia) Bernier“s discourse on Mughal India and Kashmir valley, as a part of great edifice of Mughal Empire has many features of being representative in character. The essential representative features make Bernier“s account remarkably to wave as, „between Eurocentric arrogance and willingness to accept Indians as partners on a basis of equality.“32 Bernier speaks with great warmth about his patron, with whom he engaged in long conversations about the philosophy of Descartes and Gassendi. “Astronomy,

Franco Venturi, 'Oriental Despotism', Journal of the History of Ideas 24, 1963, 133-42; Lucette Valensi, 'The Making of a Political Paradigm: The Ottoman State and Oriental Despotism', in Anthony Grafton and Ann Blair (eds), The Transmission of Culture in Early Modern Europe, Philadelphia, 1990, 173-203; Michael Curtis, 'The Oriental Despotic Universe of Montesquieu', Princeton Papers in Near Eastern Studies 3, 1994, 1-38. For Anquetil's criticisms of Bernier, see Abraham-Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron, Legislation Orientale, Amsterdam, 1778. 135-54. See Sylvia Murr, 'Le politique "au Mogol" selon Bernier', in J. Pouchepadass and H. Stern, De la royaute d l'etat: Anthropologie et histoire du politique dans le monde Indien, Paris, 1991. 239-310.


1 Michael Harrigan . Veiled Encounters: Representing the Orient in the 17 th Century French Travel Literature (Newyork: Amsterdam, 2008), p. 11.

2 Michael Harrigan .,P.12

3 Michael Harrigan. P. 11

4 Michael Harrigan. P. 12

5 See Peter Hulme and Tim Young, ed., The Cambridge companion to Travel Writing. (UK: Cambridge University press, 2002), p.19; Further the same book providesi endnotes , „The most detailed bibliographies are Edward Godfrey Cox, A Reference Guide to the Literature of Travel (Seattle: University of Washington, 1935–49); John Parker, Books to Build an Empire: A Bibliographical History of English Overseas Interests to 1620 (Amsterdam: Israel, 1965); and European Americana: AChronological Guide toWorks Printed in Europe Relating to the Americas, 1493–1776 (New York: Readex Books, 1980–8).

6 Michael Harrigan. P. 12

7 See Talal Asad, ed., Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter (London: Ithaca Press, 1973); Sandra Harding, „The Norms of Inquiry and Masculine Experience“, in PSA 1980, ed. Peter Asquith and Ronald Giere pp. 305–24; Helen Longino, „Scientific Objectivity and Feminist Theorising“, in Liberal Education, 67 (1981): 187–95; as well as Harding“s and Longino“s subsequent work. To understand travel tropes fro the feminist point of view, see, Sara Mills“s Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing and Colonialism (London: Routledge,1991), Donna Haraway“s Simians, Cyborgs and Women (New York: Routledge,1991) and Modest Witness@Second Millennium (New York: Routledge, 1997); Andrew Parker, Mary Russo et al., eds., Nationalisms and Sexualities (New York: Routledge, 1992);Gillian Rose“s Feminism and Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993) and Rose and Alison Blunt“s Writing Women and Space: Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies (New York: Guilford Press, 1994); the articles collected in Elizabeth Grosz“s Space, Time, and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies (New York: Routledge, 1995); Caren Kaplan“s Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996) (especially the introduction and final chapter), and Inderpal Grewal“s Home and Harem: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Culture of Travel (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996). On „situated knowledge“ generally see, in addition to Haraway and the work of feminist philosophers Sandra

8 Bernier, in his travel reports advances the view that curiosity to see the world and to secure knowledge,

9 Peter Hulme and Tim Young, ed., The Cambridge companion to Travel Writing. (UK: Cambridge University press, 2002), p.25.

10 Peter Hulme and Tim Young, p. 32.

11 For, it is generally accepted that Representations often reveal more about the culture of the author than that of the people and places represented; see Peter Hulme and Tim Young, ed., The Cambridge companion to Travel Writing. (UK: Cambridge University press, 2002). The books remarks, „Edward Said“s ground breaking Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978) is also a textbook case of this sociological crudity. An early case of looking at who writes back or lives/lived without the presence of the Master is the work of Gordon Brotherston, some of which came out of the Essex conferences: see Image of the New World: The American Continent Portrayed in Native Texts (London: Thames and Hudson, 1979), and his essay „Towards a Grammatology of America: L´evi-Strauss, Derrida, and the Native NewWorld“ in Europe and Its Others, ed. Francis Barker et al. (Colchester: University of Essex, 1985), vol. i, pp. 61–77, which blisteringly exposed the common assumption (by those who could know better) that the peoples of the New World were „people without writing“.

12 Edward Said. Orientism (Newyork: Harmondsworth, 1978), pp.6-7.

13 Edward Said. Pp.10-11.

14 James Clifford. The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth Century Ethnography, Literature and Art (Cambridge: Mass, 1998)262. See also Dennis Porter, Orientalism and its Problems“, The Politics of Theory, Ed. Francis Barker et al. (Colchester, 1982) 181-2; Lata Mani and Ruth Frankenberg, „The Challenge of Orientalism’, Economy and Society, xiv, no. 2(1985)177; Robert Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (London, 1990)128; Sara Mills, Discourse of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing and Colonialism (London) 51.

16 Kate Teltscher. India Inscribed (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995), p.2-9.

17 J. P Rubies . Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000),p.2.

18 Kate Teltscher , India Inscribed, p.4.

19 J. P Rubies. P.1-6.

20 J. P Rubies. Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance, p.7.

21 J.P Rubies.p.8.

22 J. P Rubies . Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance, 9-11 .

23 E. W. Said . Orientalism. (Harmondsworth, 1978), p.1-7.

24 Ronald B. Inden . Imagining India (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), p.16-18.

25 J. P Rubies . Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance, p. 1.

26 Edward Early Oaten . European Travelers in India (London: George Publications, 1989), 2-7.

27 Bernier Francois.. The History of the Late Revolution of the Empire of the Great Moghul.(London: The Hague; 1671),p. 1

28 See Jean Meyer, Jean Tarrade, Annie-Rey Goldzeiger and Jacques Tobie, Histoire de la France

29 Useful information on Bernier is found in Corpus. Revue de Philosophie 20-21, 1992, (Ed.Sylvia Murr).

30 Lissa Low, Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalism ( Ithaca: Newyork, 1991),45; See also

31 Lissa Low, Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalism .45-46.

32 Siep Stuurman. “François Bernier and the Invention of Racial Classification” , History Workshop Journal, No.50 (Autumn, 2000), p.1-21.


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Titel: Portrayals of Kashmir valley