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1 MSA, JDP, Vol. 20 of 1839.
2 Ibid. Vakālat- and muḵẖtār-nāmas are deeds of representation or powers of attorney. (Reference MohiuddinMohiuddin, The Chancellery and Persian Epistolography, 127). On the formalisation of these roles in Banaras, see Cohn, “From Indian Status to British Contract,” 626–7.
4 On legal intermediaries, see Reference LikhovskiLikhovski, Law and Identity in Mandate Palestine; and Reference SharafiSharafi, “A New History of Colonial Lawyering” among others. On the qazi’s office, see Reference GerberGerber, State, Society, and Law in Islam (especially chapter 2); Reference Masud, Peters and Stephan PowersMasud, Peters, and Powers, Dispensing Justice in Islam; and Reference PeircePeirce, Morality Tales.
5 I borrow this expression from Messick.
7 The literature on this subject is vast. Relevant examples for South Asia include, Reference AnghieAnghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty, and the Making of International Law; Reference BaylyBayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 299–300; Benton, A Search for Sovereignty; and Reference GuhaGuha, A Rule of Property for Bengal.
8 Translation as appropriation dominates postcolonial discourse but disentangling these translations requires further enquiry. (See Cohn, “The Command of Language” and “Some notes on Law and Change,” along with Reference AndersonAnderson, “Islamic Law and the Colonial Encounter”; and Reference BeverleyBeverley, “Property, Authority, and Personal Law.”)
Reference BaylyBayly, Empire and Information; Reference BaylyBayly, “Colonial Rule and the ‘Information Order’”; Reference BaylyBayly, “Knowing the Country”; Reference BaylyBayly, “Orientalists, Informants, and Critics”; Reference FisherFisher, “The Office of Akhbār Nawīs”; Reference HeviaHevia, The Imperial Security State; Reference OgbornOgborn, Indian Ink; and Reference RamanRaman, Document Raj.
11 See Reference AndersonAnderson, “Islamic Law and the Colonial Encounter”; Reference BeverleyBeverley, “Property, Authority, and Personal Law”; Reference CohnCohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge; and Reference KugleKugle, “Framed, Blamed, and Renamed.” For Hindu law, see, Reference DonigerDoniger, “Rationalizing the Irrational Other.”
14 MSA, JDP, Vol. 21 of 1842.
16 MSA, JDP, Vol. 6 of 1864.
17 MSA, JDP, Vol. 3 of 1831.
19 MSA, JDP, Vol. 21 of 1848.
20 MSA, JDP, Vol. 20 of 1839.
21 MSA, JDP, Vol. 6 of 1864.
23 Most scholarship on Islamic law in colonial contexts has focused on aspects of codification and translation in relation to courtroom litigation and the construction of sovereign authority. This article considers the negotiation of legal terms and documentary forms at the level of local practice.
24 NAI, Acquired Manuscript No. 2200.
Reference MasudMasud, “Adab al-qāḍī”; Reference MasudMasud, “Adab al-muftī”; and Reference KhassafKhassaf, Adab Al-Qadi. On inshāʾ, see Reference KinraKinra, Writing Self, Writing Empire; Reference KinraKinra, “Master and Munshī”; and Reference Alam and SubrahmanyamAlam and Subrahmanyam, “The Making of a Munshi.” Some works of inshāʾ, like Malikzādah’s Nigār-nama-yi Munshī, do discuss training and office etiquette in addition to providing epistolary formulae. See Reference Nurul HasanNurul Hasan, “Nigar Nama-i Munshi,” 296–7.
26 NAI, Acquired Manuscript No. 2200. The Urdu title, Qāẓīōñ aur muftīōñ kē liyē taḥrīrāt kē liyē fārsī musauwadat (Persian Drafts of documents for Qazis and Muftis), is more faithful to the contents.
27 NAI, Acquired Manuscript No. 2200, 31–40; Reference HarikaṇaHarikaṇa, Inshā-yi Harkaran, 162–76; and BL, OMS Add. 26140, 46a–54a. (On Harkaran, see Reference KinraKinra
, Writing Self, Writing Empire, 28–9; Reference Alam and SubrahmanyamAlam and Subrahmanyam, “The Making of a Munshi,” 61; Reference QasemiQasemi, “Harkarn Dās Kanbōh”; and Balfour’s preface to Reference HarikaṇaHarikaṇa, Inshā-yi Harkaran, 1–7.)
28 Other works include Malikzādah’s Nigārnāma-yi Munshī, Maḥmūd Reference GāwānGāwān’s Riyāz̤ al-inshāʼ, Maulānā Reference ḤakīmḤakīm Yusufi’s Badaʿi al-Inshāʿ, and Reference NiṣārNiṣar ʿAlī ibn Aʿẓam ʿAli’s Inshā-yi Dilkushā, and Reference NaḵẖjavānīNaḵẖjavānī’s Dastūr al-kātib. For translations from and discussions of these texts as historical sources, see Reference AliAthar Ali, “Use of Sources in Mughal Historiography,” 364–7; Reference Nurul HasanNurul Hasan, “Nigar Nama-i Munshi”; Reference RichardsRichards, Document Forms; and Reference ZilliZilli, ed., The Mughal State and Culture. (I thank Rajeev Kinra for these references.)
29 The compiler is unknown. The colophon gives the date 4 Ramẓān 1213 AH / 9 February 1799 CE but the cover identifies Nūr-ud-dīn Ḥusain as the text’s “owner” or “mālik.” (NAI, Acquired Manuscript No. 2200.)
31 These processes were not mutually exclusive but connected in what Hallaq calls the “dialectic of doctrine and practice.” Reference HallaqHallaq, “Model Shurūṭ Works” and “The ‘Qāḍī’s Dīwān’.”
32 NAI, Acquired Manuscript No. 2200, 37. (It is possible to read the Persian fā as pā in a nāqiṣ [defective] manuscript, but a more likely explanation lies in the transposition from Gujarati.)
34 MSA, JDP, Vol. 20 of 1839.
35 For the Regulation XXVI of 1827, see, BL, IOR/V/8/24.
36 NAI, Manuscripts Microfilmed at Bharuch, Miscellaneous Documents, Sr. No. 45, Nos. 1–13.
38 Many assume that only elites had access to written law. Records from Bharuch suggest that other—agricultural and artisanal—groups also benefitted from legal writing. References to community membership (qaum) within the documents and registers support this claim.
East India Company, Rules, Orders, and Directions; Reference HullHull, Government of Paper, 9–10; Reference MasterMaster, Diaries; Reference OgbornOgborn, Indian Ink, 67–103; Raman, Document Raj, 23–52; Reference Saumarez SmithSaumarez Smith, Rule by Records.
40 I depart from Reference RamanRaman in “Duplicity of Paper” to suggest that Company officials employed categorical understandings of written documentation when assessing claims to accuracy and veracity.
Reference BurnsBurns, “Notaries, Truth, and Consequences,”; Reference BurnsBurns, Into the Archive; Reference HardwickHardwick, The Practice of Patriarchy; and Reference NussdorferNussdorfer, Brokers of Public Trust. For a description of similar collections, see Reference GrewalGrewal, In the By-Lanes of History; and Reference ShakebShakeb, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Batala Collection.
42 In his petitions, Nūr-ud-dīn refers to the practice of maintaining registers for the purposes of validating documents against possible forgeries, but there is no evidence from this or other collections that this practice existed, aside from the use of the term “naql” (copy) in the registers.
43 NAI, Manuscripts Microfilmed at Bharuch, Sr. Nos. 41 and 42.
44 For law cases see Gungeshwur Deoram (Appellant) vs. Purmanund Nundram (Respondent), Case No. 2; and Raeechund Poorshotum (Appellant) vs. Moolla Muhmood Hashum (Respondent), Case No. 11 in Reference BorradaileBorradaile, Reports, 6–7; 48–52. For dictionary definitions, see Reference Eliot and BeamesEliot and Beams, Memoirs on the History, 157; Reference ForbesForbes, A Dictionary, 378; Reference BalfourBalfour, Cyclopædia of India, Vol. 1, 1078; and Reference GilchristGilchrist, Hindoostanee Philology, 520 (under “quittance”). For use among non-Muslim groups, see Reference EnthovenEnthoven, The Tribes and Castes of Bombay, 330–4.
45 It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that divorce became permissible (without requiring an Act of Parliament) in Britain under the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857. Marriage as a religious, rather than a civil, agreement likely shaped Company understandings. Reducing access to the fārig̱ẖḵẖat̤t̤ī was one way to reform Muslim marriage—morally and legally. On the history of “civil” marriage in Britain and British India, see Reference ChatterjeeChatterjee, “English Law, Brahmo Marriage”; and Olive Reference AndersonAnderson, “The Incidence of Civil Marriage in Victorian England and Wales.”
46 BL, OMS/Add. 26140, f. 49b.
48 NAI, Manuscripts Microfilmed at Bharuch, Sr. No. 41, No. 2.
50 NAI, Manuscripts Microfilmed at Bharuch, Sr. No. 41, No. 2.
53 The 1772 Plan for the Administration of Justice, otherwise known as the Warren Hastings Plan, placed “Inheritance, Marriage, Caste, and all other religious Usages or Institutions” into the category of personal law. See Reference ForrestForrest, Selections from the State Papers, 295–6; Reference CohnCohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge, 26; and Reference SturmanSturman, Government of Social Life, 6–8.
54 This argument contradicts Reference MaineMaine’s theories in Ancient Law, passim and Cohn’s observations about Benares in “From Indian Status to British Contract,” 616–19.