Setting the record wrong: a Sanskrit vision of Mughal conquests

Audrey Truschke
  • South Asian History and Culture, July 2012, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/19472498.2012.693710

Padmasagara's Sanskrit "History" of Early Mughal Conquests

What is it about?

This article analyzes an almost entirely unknown resource for Mughal studies: A Sanskrit pseudo-history of the early Mughal conquests. The Sanskrit history was written by a Jain called Padmasagara in 1589. Padmasagara creatively rewrites the early days of the Mughal Empire, changing the outcome of battles and painting a rosy picture of how Mughal victories benefited all Indians. I argue that this imagined past reflects the social and cultural functions of historical writing in Sanskrit.

Why is it important?

The article introduces a group of texts hitherto entirely ignored in Mughal studies: Sanskrit histories and pseudo-histories. Moreover, the article makes an important intervention in an ongoing debate about how historians of precolonial India can work with "literary" sources. I argue that it is unhelpful to merely judge texts as histories or literature according to modern standards. Instead we ought to recover how early moderns understood the past and recover their historical sensibilities.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Audrey Truschke