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The Mogor as Venomous Hydra: Forging the Mughal-Portuguese Frontier

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The present article seeks to discuss the prevailing ideas and practices of frontier among the Mughals. Concurrently, it considers the ways in which the Portuguese Asian Empire perceived this expanding imperial space. The Mughal emperors engaged in a strong universalistic discourse, which ultimately pointed towards the idea of an infinite Timurid India. To be sure, the Portuguese were hit by this imperial rhetoric, but they rested on intriguing mechanisms of self-legitimacy, like arguing that the Northern white neighbors of the Estado da Índia were newcomers and actually foreigners in India. Additionally, The Portuguese understood the striking difference between Mughal imperial rhetoric and the actual frontier turbulence on the ground and, since the early years of Mughal rule, they sought to identify spaces of demarcation in Gujarat, Bengal and the Deccan.

Affiliations: 1: European University InstituteFlorenceItaly


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