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Un Grand Dérangement: Dreaming an Indo-Persian Empire in South Asia, 1740-1800

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The essay proposes a counterfactual historical exercise centered around the conquest of the Mughal empire in nothern India in 1739 by Nadir Shah Afshar, ruler of Iran. This episode, which was of enormous significance for contemporaries, has largely been neglected by more recent historians. After a survey of Nadir Shah's career and of the politico-economic conditions of the period, I propose a scenario here wherein the ruler of Iran does not return to his country (as he did), but instead participates in the articulation of a new political system, which would (in my view) have obviously been far more resistant to European ambitions than the Mughal empire turned out to be. A sketch of this counterfactual state system is provided, and the essay concludes by considering the implications of such a view for standard narratives of the 'Rise of the West' in the early modern period.

Affiliations: 1: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

10.1163/157006500X00042
/content/journals/10.1163/157006500x00042
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2000-01-01
2016-12-04

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