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From the Oxus to the Indus: Looking Back at India-Central Asia Connections in the Early Modern Age

  • Laurent Gayer
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series

Abstract

The Great Mughal Jahangir (1569–1627) had a weakness for Central Asian fruits—a weakness that he inherited from his venerable ancestors. Thus, Babur, the founder of the Indian Mughal Dynasty, considered that “better than the Andijan nashpati,3 there is none.”4 On Babur’s part, this definitive statement was probably informed by some nostalgic feeling for his lost homeland (Andijan, the largest town of the Ferghana Valley, was Babur’s birthplace). Three generations later, the nostalgia might have receded but the passion remained. Although providing fresh comestibles from so distant a region as Central Asia was quite a challenge for the time, Jahangir took pride in receiving melons from Karis as well as grapes and apples from Samarkand.5 More than the nostalgia of a Mughal emperor for a “homeland” he had never known, this péché mignon suggests that by the early seventeenth century, India-Central Asia trade was flowing unhindered and at a relatively high pace. Traders, soldiers, Sufis, poets, and all sorts of adventurers circulated freely between the two regions, which—along with Iran and the Ottoman Empire—formed “a single domain of circulation, an ecumene with powerful shared cultural values and symbols.”6

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Silk Road Pastoral Nomad 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Marlène Laruelle, Jean-François Huchet, Sébastien Peyrouse, and Bayram Balci 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurent Gayer

There are no affiliations available

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