Scent in the Islamic Garden is an interdisciplinary study that bridges across medicine, horticulture, and poetry in Islamic India. It was first published in 2000 and this new edition is much improved with better-quality illustrations and an updated and partially revised text that makes for greater coherence. The introduction by William Dalrymple expresses the perceptions of a writer who is familiar with the region and its history. It also indicates how the work engages the reader. Scent in the Islamic Garden seeks to find relations between cultural values and landscape expression. It does so through particular reference
to the significance of fragrance in Islam as understood in medicinal and horticultural texts, and through essential focus on Hyderabad, one of the last bastions of Islamic culture in the Indian subcontinent. The nature-culture question is examined in garden poetry, a genre associated with the Arabo-Persian and Urdu literary tradition and, at Hyderabad, the Deccani Urdu tradition. The study makes clear that Deccani gardens, as gleaned through literary texts, are Persian in inspiration but rooted In India and permeated with the rasas of Indian forests. The idea that scents, by enhancing sensory perception, can be a cue for certain kinds of behaviour in garden settings
is also strongly suggested.
Readership: Teachers and students in the areas of Islamic and South Asian cultural studies, as well as those associated with professional programmes in Islamic architecture, such as that sponsored by the Aga Khan at MIT. People who reside, and once lived, in Hyderabad would also be able to relate with much in this book. It would be useful for the undergraduate level of studies. It could be incorporated in coursework in the Islamic landscape traditions, Indo-Islamic and Deccani art, and Early Urdu literature.
Edited by Ali Akbar Husain
Following architectural studies at the University of Minnesota, USA, Ali Akbar Husain spent some years in architectural practice and the teaching of architecture at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, subsequently pursuing an interest in landscape architecture through doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He spent an extended period of teaching and research, initially at the King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, later at the MIT as a Visiting Scholar, afterwards at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico, and the American University of Beirut,
Lebanon, before returning to Pakistan at the end of 2008 to manage the undergraduate architectural programme at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi.
"Ali Akbar Husain, by dint of imagination and considerable scholarship as opened up a new subject. It is a considerable achievement." - Francis Robinson, Times Literary Supplement
List of Appendices
List of Illustrations
1: The Deccan Plateau
2: Hyderabad: Capital of the Qutb Shahis
3: Gardens of the Deccan
4: Garden Ornament
5: Exhilarating Fragrances
6: The Scented Garden in Deccani Court Poetry