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Malay Kingship in Kedah

Religion, Trade, and Society

Maziar Mozaffari Falarti

The book probes and examines traditional sources of royal power and control, as well as indigenous socio-political systems in the Malay world. It is focused on the north-western Malaysian Sultanate of Kedah which is acknowledged as the oldest unbroken independent kingship line in the ‘Malay and Islamic world’ with 1,000 years of history. Little scholarly attention has been paid to its pre-modern history, society, religion, system of government and unique geographic situation, potentially controlling both land and sea lines of communication into the remainder of Southeast Asia. It will thus provide the first comprehensive treatment in English, or other languages, on Kedah’s pre-modern and nineteenth century historiography and can provide a foundation for comparative studies of the various Malay states which is presently lacking. The proposed book also sheds much needed light on a range of important topics in Malay history including: Kedah and the northern Melaka Straits history, colonial expansion and rivalry, Southeast Asian history and politics, interregional migration and the influence of the sea peoples or orang laut, traditional Malay socio-political and economic life, Islamic influences and the course of Thai-Malay relations. The book attempts to offer a new understanding, not only of Kedah, but of the political and cultural development of the entire Malay world and of its relationships with the broader forces in both its continental and maritime settings. It argues that Kedah does not seem to follow, and in fact, often seems to contradict what has been commonly been accepted as the “typical model” of the traditional Malay state. Thus it concludes that the ruling dynasty has historically exploited a wide range of unique environmental conditions, local traditions, global spiritual trends and economic forces to preserve and strengthen its political position. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 252Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-6842-4 • Hardback • November 2012 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
978-0-7391-6843-1 • eBook • November 2012 • $84.99 • (£54.95)
Series: AsiaWorld
Dr Maziar M. Falarti (PhD, QUT) is an academic and researcher in International Relations and Asian Studies, with a focus on the Malay-Indonesian World. In 2014 Dr Falarti co-founded the Forum for the Study of Developments in Emerging Economies (FSDEE), within ‘The Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies (CEWCES)’ at the Faculty of Society & Design, Bond University (Australia), Dr Falarti has previously taught, and held various positions in a number of Australian and international universities. He has also researched, lived and conducted field trips in a number of countries, universities and speaks several languages. Dr Falarti can be contacted by email at mfalarti@bond.edu.au

List of Maps & Illustrations
Foreword (Professor C. A. Trocki)
Chapter 1: From Raja to Sultan: The Islamic Conversion of the Tantric Malay Ruler
Chapter 2: The Malay Ethos: The Sultan and his Subjects
Chapter 3: Controlling Kedah’s maritime lines of communication: The Sultan and the Raja di-laut, or Sea Lords
Chapter 4: Bay to Gulf or Gulf to Bay: the Sultan and the trans-peninsular routes of Kedah
Maziar Mozaffari Falarti's book is different: a radically novel presentation of the history of Kedah, one of the oldest powerhouses on the Malay Peninsula, inspired by a wide variety of texts that have been unknown and inaccesible to other historians of Malaysia. The author manages to make sense of Kedah in a global context, and in the process, leads our understanding of the dynamics of might and right in the Malay world and beyond along new vistas. Impressive and exciting work.
Hendrik M. J. Maier, Luce Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Riverside

The author successfully portrays the historical world of Kedah. . .The author makes important points; for example, he points out that the historical acceptance of foreign rulers for the Malays are well explained by the covenant that existed between the ruler and subject, even when a sovereign was not Malay. . . .The methodology of this book is not only applicable to restructuring the historical world but also in foreseeing and interpreting the future.
Pacific Affairs