Studies on Culture and Politics
Between the mid-sixteenth and early nineteenth century, the Mughal Empire was an Indo-Islamic dynasty that ruled as far as Bengal in the east and Kabul in the west, as high as Kashmir in the north and the Kaveri basin in the south. The Mughals constructed a sophisticated, complex system of government that facilitated an era of profound artistic and architectural achievement. They promoted the place of Persian culture in Indian society and set the groundwork for South Asia's future development.
In this volume, two leading historians of early modern South Asia present nine major joint essays on the Mughal Empire, framed by an essential introductory reflection. Making creative use of materials written in Persian, Indian vernacular languages, and a variety of European languages, their chapters accomplish the most significant innovations in Mughal historiography in decades, intertwining political, cultural, and commercial themes while exploring diplomacy, state-formation, history-writing, religious debate, and political thought.
Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam center on confrontations between different source materials that they then reconcile, enabling readers to participate in both the debate and resolution of competing claims. Their introduction discusses the comparative and historiographical approach of their work and its place within the literature on Mughal rule. Interdisciplinary and cutting-edge, this volume richly expands research on the Mughal state, early modern South Asia, and the comparative history of the Mughal, Ottoman, Safavid, and other early modern empires.
Sanjay Subrahmanyam and Muzaffar Alam are two of the leading scholars in the world on Mughal history. Brought together in a single volume, their book offers a connected view of the political culture of Mughal India that is without doubt an immensely significant contribution to the field. The value of this book is vastly enhanced by the introduction, which picks up the major themes of Mughal history and comments on trends in scholarship, marking out the Alam-Subrahmanyam position in relation to other major researches on the subject. The range of languages and archives at their command is unparalleled.
Partha Chatterjee, author of Empire and Nation: Selected Essays and Lineages of Political Society: Studies in Postcolonial Democracy
This book is a landmark in the field. It is also a great pleasure to read.