This article looks at the changes in the concepts used to write about emotions
in Urdu between 1870 and 1920. It argues that while emotions at the beginning
of the period were still thought of as premised upon notions of equilibrium
and balance, which accorded a crucial role to the will and to rationality,
fifty years later concepts celebrated the elementary power of emotions and
their capacity to overwhelm the individual. This can be read as an indicator
and factor of a profound emotionalization of private as well as public life.
The first section looks at ethical and pedagogical texts, the second at articles
published in journals linked to the reformist Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental
College at Aligarh, and the final section at the reconfiguration of emotion
knowledge through the translation and adaptation of psychological treatises.