India in the Persianate Age: 1000–1765

11 December 2021

Protected by vast mountains and seas, the Indian subcontinent might seem a nearly complete and self-contained world with its own religions, philosophies, and social systems. And yet this ancient land and its varied societies experienced prolonged and intense interaction with the peoples and cultures of East and Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, and especially Central Asia and the Iranian plateau.

Richard M. Eaton tells this extraordinary story with relish and originality, as he traces the rise of Persianate culture, a many-faceted transregional world connected by ever-widening networks across much of Asia. Introduced to India in the eleventh century by dynasties based in eastern Afghanistan, this culture would become progressively indigenized in the time of the great Mughals (sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries). Eaton brilliantly elaborates the complex encounter between India’s Sanskrit culture—an equally rich and transregional complex that continued to flourish and grow throughout this period—and Persian culture, which helped shape the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughal Empire, and a host of regional states. This long-term process of cultural interaction is profoundly reflected in the languages, literatures, cuisines, attires, religions, styles of rulership and warfare, science, art, music, and architecture—and more—of South Asia.

Watch the video below.



Richard M Eaton


Richard M Eaton is a professor in the University of Arizona with a primary interest in the social and cultural history of pre-modern India (1000-1800). Most recently, he has published the second volume of the new Penguin history of India, entitled India in the Persianate Age, 1000-1765, which explores the long-term interaction between the Persianate and Sanskritic worlds, between the Iranian Plateau and South Asia, and between Islam and Indian religious traditions.

Alka Patel

Alka Patel is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and in the PhD Program for Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Her research has focused on South Asia and its connections with Iran and Central Asia, including overland and Indian Ocean maritime networks including mercantile networks and architectural patronage in 18th-19th century South Asia.

Roy S. Fischel

Roy S. Fischel is a lecturer in the History of South Asia at SOAS University of London. He completed his PhD at the University of Chicago in 2012. His work focuses on state, society, ideology, and identity––and the intersection between them––in early modern South Asia and the Muslim world. His first monograph, Local States in an Imperial World: Identity, Society and Politics in the Early Modern Deccan, was recently published by Edinburgh University Press and the Royal Asiatic Society. His current work examines kingship, sovereignty, and historiography in Bijapur between the Persianate, Islamic, and Indic worlds.