Political, economic and cultural connections between Iran and India were a striking feature of the Safavid-Mughal era in the sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. These connections were also affected, and at times heavily modified, by the action of European actors in the western Indian Ocean. These two lectures seek to address this set of issues, the analysis of which has seen a number of important contributions in the past by Iranian, Indian and Western scholars.
Lecture 1: The Deccan Frontier in the Time of the Sultanates
This lecture will examine Iranian relations with the Deccan, beginning from the time of the later Bahmanid dynasty, and then extending into the time of the Sultanates of Ahmadnagar, Bijapur and Golkonda. A particular focus will be on the presence of Iranian migrants in the Deccan, some of whom belonged to elite groups such as Sayyids, but who also included far more humble military specialists from Larestan, who used migration as a means to social mobility. A central figure whose career is examined will be that of As’ad Khan Lari in Bijapur (d. 1543), who also features in contemporary Portuguese sources.