chapter  3
11 Pages

Pre-modern accommodations of difference

The making of Indo-Islamic cultures
WithSugata Bose, Ayesha Jalal

Richard Eaton's portrayal of Bengali peasants as a 'single undifferentiated mass' with a uniform 'folk culture' neatly erases the problem of difference. The emergence of India as the hub of an integrated Indian Ocean economy and culture by the eleventh century preceded the fashioning of Indo-Islamic accommodations within the subcontinent's society and polity in the fourteenth century. One of the most spectacular of the processes of accommodation was the fashioning of an Indo-Islamic cultural tradition in the South Asian subcontinent. The Turkish, Persian and Afghan invasions of northern India from the eleventh century onwards injected the Turko-Persian content into the formation of an Indo-Islamic culture. During the era of the Delhi Sultanate – its expansion and attrition – northern India developed a distinctive Indo-Islamic culture. The cultural fusion on which Indo-Islamic civilization was coming to be based was frowned upon by certain social groups.