Imagining Time in India: Persian Chroniclers and their Interpreters by Shahzad Bashir

This event is in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Histories Research Cluster, the Department of Asian Studies, and the Early Modern Research Cluster


India was the scene for the production of a vast, internally diverse chronicle literature in Persian during the period 1500-1900 CE. During the nineteenth century, European scholars (such as the famous Elliot and Dowson) made selective use of this material to create the modern understanding of South Asian history that remains dominant to the present. I will discuss concepts pertaining to time that undergird a variety of understandings of the past in the original literature, highlighting matters left out by nineteenth-century interpreters and their later followers invested in nationalist histories. The exploration is part of a larger project aimed at questioning the framework for ‘Islamic’ history in modern scholarship.