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India in the Persianate Age Reviews

India in the Persianate Age by Richard M Eaton

India in the Persianate Age: 1000-1765

Richard M Eaton

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 29 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9780520325128

Protected by vast mountains and seas, the Indian subcontinent might seem a nearly complete and self-contained world with its own religions, philosophies, and social systems.

4 stars out of 5
William Dalrymple
7 Dec 2019

"Richard Eaton’s brilliant book stands as an important monument to this almost forgotten world"

In the 19th century, following the expansion of the Company across India, English gradually replaced Persian, and south Asia was drawn into a third transnational world: the westernising Anglosphere. Mastering English now became the route to advancement, and Indians who wished to get ahead had to abandon, or at least sublimate, much of their own culture, both Sanskrit and Persian, becoming instead English-speaking ‘brown sahibs’, or what V.S. Naipaul called ‘Mimic Men’. Literacy in Persian has now been lost to most Indians. Richard Eaton’s brilliant book stands as an important monument to this almost forgotten world.


3 stars out of 5
3 Aug 2019

"This sweeping history shows how much Indian culture owes to Muslim invaders"

Eaton, who teaches at Arizona University, has mastered the facts, but he isn’t an instinctive narrative historian. This is the epic period in which India was invented. The Hindi language, the biryani and to some extent Hinduism (a Persian word) all come from this Persianate age, but Eaton says less on these subjects than on the growth of arable land. Still, his book is a fine tribute to India. Those who conquer it are always, in the end, conquered by it.