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04 May 2012 @ 11:23 am
(A very little bit) About the Mughal Empire  
So, the Mughal Empire was founded by descendants of the Timurids, who ruled much of Central Asia.  It began in 1526 and went into decline after Aurangzeb died in 1707; it limped on, in name at least, till 1857, but for much of that time it was actually a British puppet state.

At its greatest (actual-historical) extent, around 1700, it covered most of what's now India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and some of what's now Afghanistan.  Map, from wikipedia:

Map of the Mughal Empire's greatest extent

In my alternate world, the Mughal Empire never stretches quite this far west (or nearly this far south); it did so in Aurangzeb's time because, frankly, he overextended pretty catastrophically, which is why the empire collapsed after he died.

Here's the Empire under Akbar (wikipedia again):

Map of the Mughal Empire under Akbar

And here it is in 1650, which is the greatest extent it has in my alternate world. (In my world, Jahanara goes for stability over expansion.) From the WHKMLA historical atlas, which has a nice progression of the expansion & collapse of the empire:



Now, (some of) what we now call the Middle East was in fact considered a cultural center to the Mughals; obviously Mecca was the religious center, but Iran, especially, was the cultural center they both looked up to and chafed against (my interpretation). From Akbar's time onward, the official language of the Empire was Persian (though Urdu took over in actual usage), and there's a whole range of paintings whose rhetorical/political purpose is to demonstrate that the Mughals are JUST AS GOOD AS THOSE PERSIANS REALLY OR NO EVEN BETTER SO THEEEERE!

So, three things to take from this:

1) it's unsurprising that the setting might register as Middle Eastern, but really, no.
2) it's also not accurate to call it Indian, per se, except that - specifically - my story in the Mammoth book is set in a part of the Empire (near Agra) that's in India.
3) Never get involved in a land war in Asia.
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
 
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on May 4th, 2012 11:02 am (UTC)
Thank you. One of the great world empires, shamefully ignored and elided in the west.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 11:11 am (UTC)
Something of a tangent, but, you know what's sort of horrifying? >_
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(no subject) - shweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 12:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ on May 4th, 2012 11:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
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shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 12:07 pm (UTC)
Me toooo wrt maps! I need to have visuals, or it's all garble. And I think it's so helpful to see maps changing over time.

Lol, that's just so reminiscent of Vietnam vs China (especially in the first dynasties after China left, er, got pushed out)

:D
A. A. McNamaraaamcnamara on May 4th, 2012 12:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I had never heard of the Mughal Empire apart from in your story, so it's neat to learn a little bit about its history. (I really need to find excuses/time to learn more actual world history--speaking of, are there any books about the Mughal Empire you'd recommend?)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 12:28 pm (UTC)
That's um. Sort of a huge topic! Any particular aspects of it you'd be interested in? I could probably recommend books on, say, the art, or... actually the art is the only aspect I feel at all qualified to recommend books on but I could brainstorm others. I need a reading list myself...
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 12:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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Gaudy Salamandergaudysalamander on May 4th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
there's a whole range of paintings whose rhetorical/political purpose is to demonstrate that the Mughals are JUST AS GOOD AS THOSE PERSIANS REALLY OR NO EVEN BETTER SO THEEEERE!


LOL. Truth!

If I'm recalling the history correctly, Persia was also a military center, where occasionally dispossessed siblings of Mughal rulers would flee to regroup/recruit support.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 01:07 pm (UTC)
:D
Yeah, and they did keep trying to push west & conquer bits & pieces of Iran, for the same reason.
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Itinerant hacker adventuress: forest heart closethewronghands on May 4th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
I have a soft spot for rulers/leaders who make good, stabilising decisions in fiction, instead of RAH RAH WAR EXPANSION WAR.

Yes, I love this too. Particularly when it's neither rah rah war expansion nor "those evil empire folks invaded us so Just War Theory now we are the winningest". Diplomacy and conflict resolution are brilliant.
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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Itinerant hacker adventuress: polite raventhewronghands on May 4th, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
Love the post; maps help me out a lot too. Thanks for the information!
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
yay!
C.S.E. Cooneycsecooney on May 6th, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
This was great. I have your Jahanara up on my wall, where I can look at her while I write. It never fails to please my eyes spectacularly.
Samantha Hendersonsamhenderson on May 9th, 2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
The day you posted this I was at the Huntington Library and saw two small paintings by Mughal artists of scenes from India - I'm NOT sure of the period, but I'm guessing it's before the expansion into India, because according to the information it was generally European merchants who imported Indian goods to the Mughals. This resulted in the depiction of "Indian" scenes in which the people had distinctively European features.

It was also interesting how much it resembled your Mughal miniature.