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Historian Richard Eaton talks to Prashant Keshavmurthy about his latest book, India and the Persianate Age: 1000 to 1765. Richard and Prashant discuss how the complex interaction, coexistence, and clash of Persian and Sanskritic worlds shaped the Indian subcontinent for nearly 800 years. They discuss how it was the linguistic and cultural spheres, and not just modern views of religions, that defined society, statecraft and culture in India.
Richard and Prashant also discuss different amalgam ideas on statecraft and worldviews, the role of military recruitment in driving caste formations and caste identities, of Sufism and its equations with kingship, and a lot more.
Richard M. Eaton is a Professor of History at the University of Arizona who focuses on the social and cultural history of pre-modern India. He has previously written monographs on the social roles of Sufis (Muslim mystics) in the Indian sultanate of Bijapur (1300-1700), on the growth of Islam in Bengal (1204-1760), and on the social history of the Deccan from 1300 to 1761, and on the interplay between memory and art in the Deccan plateau between 1300 and 1600.
Prashant Keshavmurthy is an Associate Professor of Persian-Iranian Studies at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. His first book was published in 2016 titled, Persian Authorship and Canonicity in Late Mughal Delhi: Building an Ark (Routledge).
Prof Richard Eaton’s primary interest is the social and cultural history of pre-modern India (1000-1800). He has published monographs on the social roles of Sufis (Muslim mystics) in the Indian sultanate of Bijapur (1300-1700), on the growth of Islam in Bengal (1204-1760), and on the social history of the Deccan from 1300 to 1761, and on the interplay between memory and art in the Deccan plateau between 1300 and 1600. These four historical monographs employ as analytical tools, respectively, Weberian social thought, Annales School methodology, biography, and architectural history. 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.
Richard Eaton is also active in the growing subfield of world history, as well as comparative history. He has regularly taught courses include History of Medieval India, History of Modern India and Pakistan, Comparative History, and World History.
Prashant Keshavmurthy earned his doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from the department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures in Columbia University in 2009.
He is Associate Professor of Persian-Iranian Studies and has worked in the Institute of Islamic Studies since 2009. He teaches across all periods of Persian literature with a specialisation in the Persian poetry of pre-colonial South Asia. His first book, Persian Authorship and Canonicity in Late Mughal Delhi: Building an Ark (Routledge, 2016), is a study of poetics and politics in the work of the poet ‘Abd al-Qādir Bedil (d.1720) and his circle.
His research focuses on ideas of fiction, literary theory and authorship in pre-colonial and colonial Persian-Urdu literary culture.