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 2: Traveling Mirrors for Princes
The second lecture will turn to Iranian and European relations with the Mughal Empire. From the time of Humayun, Iranians played a central role in Mughal politics, as the well-known case of the family of I’timad al-Daula Tehrani shows. Here, we turn to the question not just of political participation but of the theorizing of politics, as reflected notably in texts of the ‘Mirror of Princes’ genres. These will be compared to a curious attempt by a Jesuit author, Jeronimo Xavier, to produce such a text for the Mughal ruler Jahangir.