In an antique land The cover proclaims IAAL “History in the guise of a traveller’s tale,” and the multi-generic book moves back and forth between Ghosh’s. Once upon a time an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to. In An Antique Land is written by the anthropologist, Amitav Ghosh and the publishers marketed it as ‘..a subversive history in the guise of a.

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Where at other times of the year the lanes and paths were generally empty by eight o’ clock, they were now full of na and activity: The basic gist of the book is that Amitav Ghosh has been given some cash to pursue his PhD in social anthropology and, at a loss what to study, he comes across the mention of a slave in the letters of a Jewish businessmen living in Egypt in the 12th century.

I am not amotav. A phenomenon on that scale was beyond my imagining, but the exercise helped me understand why so many people in the hamlet had told me smitav to fast: The building was destined to last until a good seven hundred years after Ben Yiju’s lifetime; it was still standing late into the nineteenth century.

I had spent one night there when I first arrived, but I had seen nothing other than the airport, and the station.

In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale by Amitav Ghosh

The fault for this lay entirely with me, for neither they nor anyone else in Lataifa wore veils nor indeed did anyone in the regionbut at that time, early in my stay, I was so cowed by everything I had read about Arab traditions of shame antiqke modesty that I barely glanced at them, for ajtique of giving offence. These men out of curiosity might ask him to show them his uncircumcised hindu penis. I had wanted to join in the fast, but everyone insisted, ‘No, you can’t fast, you’re not Muslim — only Muslims fast at Ramadan.

The Geniza of the Synagogue of Ben Ezra was added when the synagogue was rebuilt in ad, but for some reason — possibly reverence for the past, possibly mere oversight — it was never cleared out. As a reader, I feel transplanted in the Egyptian countryside. It’s not Zn shining his torch in the water — that’s a reflection of the ij moon. They live only for the present and have no thought for the hereafter. I read all about India when I was in college in Alexandria.


Mar 07, Khush rated it it was amazing. Jabir attempted a couple of mighty heaves himself, to no effect, so he jumped off, shrugging dismissively. But there were also at least three Jewish amitag in Babylon, each with a synagogue of its own — they were the ‘Iraqis’, the ‘Palestinians’ and the Karaites. I often wondered whether there were any people in the village who were occasionally delinquent in their observance of the fast.

The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Amitav have the ability to draw exact images by words ,while you read you can hear the voices of speaker and watch the reactions on their faces. The road served a large network of villages around Lataifa and a ragged procession of pick-up trucks roared up and down it all day long, carrying people back and forth from Damanhour, the capital of the Governorate and the largest city in the region.

His torch is very powerful. I really couldn’t stop laughing at that. But when the moment had come, I’d known that I wouldn’t be able to do it: My father and my family want you.

It is a story of Wmitav research that takes him from England to various obscure places in Egypt. The first, an anthropological narrative, revolves around two visits made by Ghosh to two villages in the Nile Deltawhile he was writing his doctoral dissertation —81 and again a few years later Many of the Ben Yiju and his slave sub-stories were long winded accounts of trivial interactions that, most of the time, didn’t really add anything to the more interesting central story of “ya Doktor” traveling about the small villages of Egypt as an outsider.

On the other hand, the stories of the agricultural communities of Lataifa and Nashawy, where In Angique an Antique Land, Amitav Zmitav intertwines the story of the life of medieval Jewish trader, Abraham Ben Yiju, with an account of his own journeyings as an anthropology student in a rural Egyptian community in the early s.


Mar 29, Pages.

It was that shared background perhaps that lent Shaikh Musa’s voice a natique note of affection when he spoke of Hasan: The entrance to Babylon was once guarded by two massive, heavily buttressed towers: We want to hear about it, about Masr.

Soon the month of Ramadan arrived and I began to think of taking a holiday.

Amitav Ghosh – “In An Antique Land”

But perhaps one of the things that most surprised Ghosh is, in today’s world of oil and post-colonialism and derivatives trading and Israel, how unlikely and foreign such a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual story from a millenium ago sounds. It is known ghksh as Judaeo-Arabic; it was a colloquial dialect of amiyav Arabic, written in the Hebrew script.

Often his customers were more supplicants than patrons, for there was nothing to prevent him from choosing whom to sell to: I could not help wondering about the nuances of their present situation, about how they dealt with each other as stepmother and stepson.

Shaking hands with them now, as we sat down to dinner, I tried to work out the connections between them and the rest of the family.

Or rather, there are just so many theses presentand they are all coherent and graspable despite their number because this book is a piece of rock carved from the mountain of Reality, perhaps sculpted and polished, but evoking the whole within the part, like a fractal or a hologram.

When I handed him the package I had brought with qmitav he acknowledged it only with a slight inclination of his head. It’s a comforting proposition.

You have met her uncle, haven’t you? First, the story of the author, an Indian actually a Bengali and a Hindu, living in a very small, rural Egyptian village.

Now there’ll be a feud there. A seventeenth-century English law, for example, states:

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