Culture of Encounters

Culture of Encounters

Islamic History

Culture of Encounters
Sanskrit at the Mughal Court

Author(s): Audrey Truschke

Reviewed by: Sajjad Rizvi, University of Exeter, UK



The study of Islamicate South Asia suffers from being on the periphery of two fields of inquiry, Islamic studies and Indology, and as a periphery never fully participates in either. This is simply because the trend towards more connected histories may have forced historians to mine the various European archives, supplementing the Dutch, Russian and Portuguese to the British and French, but has yet to compel researchers to be familiar with Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit as well as various other Indian languages – and I stress Indian since in their contexts, vernacular networks and usages, these languages, albeit somewhat elite, were very much Indian within the multilingual semiosphere of South Asia. A more connected approach to South Asia in the Mughal period would require precisely the skills displayed by Truschke. And this is because the present mindedness of much historiography in South Asia cannot break out of nationalist categories brought about by partition: as Truschke shows in her more recent little monograph on Aurangzeb, the Pakistani nationalist historian sees within the Mughals hardy Muslim invaders forging a new community of faith on the South Asian frontier,....

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