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Muslim Societies in South Asia Seminar

Munis Faruqui, Associate Professor, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley

Chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program

For almost 200 years, the Mughal emperors ruled supreme in northern India. How was it possible that a Muslim, ethnically Turkish, Persian-speaking dynasty established itself in the Indian subcontinent to become one of the largest and most dynamic empires in the early-modern period? Using the figure of the Mughal prince, Munis D. Faruqui offers a new interpretive lens through which to comprehend Mughal state formation. In a challenge to previous scholarship, Prof. Faruqui’s work suggests that far from undermining the foundations of empire, the court intrigues and political backbiting that were features of Mughal political life – and that frequently resulted in rebellions and wars of succession – actually helped spread, deepen, and mobilize Mughal power through an empire-wide network of friends and allies. Ultimately, however, because Mughal imperial and princely success were interlinked when both experienced political stress in the late 1600s and early 1700s, they atrophied together with negative results for the empire.

Cosponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program


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