Iranian Influence on Arabic Literature

marbun 10:06 ص
Professor Inostranzev is in little need of introduction to English scholars. He has already been made known in India by the indefatigable Shams-ul-Ulma Dr. Jivanji Modi, Ph.D., C.I.E., who got translated, and commented on, his Russian paper on the curious _Astodans_ or receptacles for human bones discovered in the Persian Gulf region. He shares with Professor Browne of Cambridge and the great M. Blochet a unique scholarly position: he combines an intimate knowledge of Avesta civilization with a familiarity with classical Arabic. It is not wilfully to ignore the claims of Goldziher, Brockelmann or Sachau or the Dutch savants de Goeje and Van Vloten. Deeply as they investigated Arabic writings, it was M. Inostranzev who first revealed to us the worth of Arabic: he unearthed chapters embedded in Arabic books which are paraphrase or translation of Pahlavi originals. He had but one predecessor and that was a countryman of his, Baron Rosen.

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In preparing the Appendices, which are there to testify to the value of Arabic literature especially the annals and the branch of it called Adab, I have availed myself of the courtesy of various institutions and individuals. Bombay, perhaps the wealthiest town in the East where prosperous Musalmans form a most important factor of its population, has not one public library containing any tolerable collection of Arabic books edited in Europe. Time after time wealthy Parsis whose interest I enlisted have received from me lists of books to form the nucleus of an Arabic library but apparently they need some further stimulus to appreciate how indispensable Arabic is for research into Iranian antiquities. The Bombay Government have expended enormous sums in collecting Sanskrit manuscripts--a most laudable pursuit--and have published a series of admirable texts edited by some of the eminent Sanskrit scholars, Western and Indian. But the numerous Moslem Anjumans do not appear to have demonstrated to the greatest Moslem Power in the world, or its representative in Bombay, the necessity of a corresponding solicitude for Arabic and Persian treasures which undoubtedly exist, though to a lesser extent, in the Presidency. And what holds true of Bombay holds good in case of the rest of India. Some of the libraries in Upper India in Hyderabad, Rampur, Patna, Calcutta possess along with manuscript material cheap mutilated Egyptian reprints of magnificent texts brought out in Leiden, Paris and Leipzig. Nowhere in India is available to a research scholar a complete set of European publications in Arabic, which a few thousand rupees can purchase. The state of affairs is due to Moslem apathy, politics claiming a disproportionate share of their civic energy, to Government indifference and to some extent Parsi supineness and prejudice which, despite the community's vaunted advancement, has failed to estimate at its proper worth their history as enshrined in the language of the pre-judged Arab.


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