The History, Art and Architecture of the Mughal Empire

Dialogism and Territoriality in a Mughal History of the Islamic Millennium


Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak presenting the Akbarnama to Akbar

Ali Anooshahr has published an article entitled Dialogism and Territoriality in a Mughal History of the Islamic Millennium  in tha latests issue of the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient.

The sixteenth century witnessed the flowering of European literature that claimed to describe the encounter between Western travelers and the indigenous population of the rest of the world. Similarly, some Persianate writings of the same period present a dialogical encounter, not so much with the European other, but with rival Muslim empires. One of the writers in this genre was Jaʿfar Beg Qazvīnī, sole author of the third part of the Taʾrikh-i alfī (Millennial History), supervised by the Mughal emperor Akbar. In his book, Jaʿfar Beg drew on an unprecedented store of sources from rival courts and treated the Ottomans, Mughals, and Safavids as essentially equal political and cultural units following identical historical trajectories. He also developed one of the earliest Mughal expressions of “Hindustan” encompassing South Asia in its entirety. While most analyses of this outstanding example of dialogical historiography have downplayed its value because of its paucity of new information, the present article will seek instead to demonstrate its significance for its unusual worldview.

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