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Old 05-13-2009, 07:22 AM   #1
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Default Timurids, the Mughal Empire and Persianate Societies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timurids

Quote:
The origin of the Timurid dynasty goes back to the Mongolian nomadic confederation known as Barlas, who were remnants of the original Mongol army of Genghis Khan. After the Mongol conquest of Central Asia, the Barlas settled in Turkistan (which then became also known as Moghulistan - "Land of Mongols") and intermingled to a considerable degree with the local Turkic and Turkic-speaking population, so that at the time of Timur's reign the Barlas had become thoroughly Turkicized in terms of language and habits. Additionally, by adopting Islam, the Central Asian Turks and Mongols also adopted the Persian literary and high culture which had dominated Central Asia since the early days of Islamic influence. Persian literature was instrumental in the assimilation of the Timurid elite to the Perso-Islamic courtly culture..........


Language

During the Timurid era, Central Asian society was bifurcated and had divided the responsibilities of government and rule into military and civilian along ethnic lines. At least in the early stages, the military was almost exclusively Turko-Mongolian, and the civilian and administrative element was almost exclusively Persian. The spoken language shared by all the Turko-Mongolians throughout the area was Chaghatay Turkic. The political organization hearkened back to the steppe-nomadic system of patronage introduced by Genghis Khan. The major language of the period, however, was Persian, the native language of the Tājīk (Persian) component of society and the language of learning acquired by all literate and/or urban people. Already Timur was steeped in Persian culture and in most of the territories which he incorporated, Persian was the primary language of administration and literary culture. Thus the language of the settled "diwan" was Persian, and its scribes had to be thoroughly adept in Persian culture, whatever their ethnic origin. Persian became the official state language of the Timurid Empire and served as the language of administration, history, belles lettres, and poetry. The Chaghatay language was the native and "home language" of the Timurid family while Arabic served as the language par excellence of science, philosophy, theology and the religious sciences..........
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mughal_Empire

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The Mughal Empire (Persian: شاهان مغول Shāhān-e Moġul; self-designation: گوركانى - Gūrkānī)[1][2] was a Muslim Persianate[3] imperial power of the Indian subcontinent which began in 1526, ruled most of the Indian Subcontinent by the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and ended in the mid-19th century.[4] The Mughal Emperors were descendants of the Timurids, and at the height of their power, around 1700, they controlled most of the Indian Subcontinent — extending from present-day Bangladesh in the east to Balochistan in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south........

The name Mughal is derived from the original homelands of the Timurids, the Central Asian steppes once conquered by Genghis Khan and hence known as Moghulistan, "Land of Mongols". The Mughals were Persianized Turko-Mongols and are responsible for transferring the Persian literary and high culture to India, thus forming the base for the highly sophisticated Indo-Persian culture.......
Their story is familiar, the Persian language, culture and religion (Islam) spread to the Indian sub-continent as a result of expanding Mongol power led by the Timurids. There are some interesting parallels in the Asian expedition of the Macedonians and the spread of Greek elements as a by-product.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:25 AM   #2
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A familiar story indeed.
I note no attempts to describe these people as Persian.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:15 AM   #3
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Nice parallels
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:30 AM   #4
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A little comparison.

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At least in the early stages, the military was almost exclusively Turko-Mongolian, and the civilian and administrative element was almost exclusively Persian. The spoken language shared by all the Turko-Mongolians throughout the area was Chaghatay Turkic.........

The major language of the period, however, was Persian, the native language of the Tājīk (Persian) component of society and the language of learning acquired by all literate and/or urban people.
Now, let's substitute the Turko-Mongolian with Macedonian, and the Persian with Greek. In the below case, reference is made to the areas north of India, where Persian-speakers were in abundance, so let's assume it is the Macedonian conquest of Greece and the Greek-speaking areas of Europe and Asia.

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At least in the early stages, the military was almost exclusively Macedonians, and the civilian and administrative element was almost exclusively Greek. The spoken language shared by all the Macedonians throughout the area was Macedonian............

The major language of the period, however, was Greek, the native language of the Greek component of society and the language of learning acquired by all literate and/or urban people.


As the Macedonians used the language of learning and literature (Greek) when they countinued their conquests past Greek-speaking areas, so too did the Mongol's continue to use Persian when they went south of Persian-speaking areas into India.

The Mongols are not Persians, and the Macedonians have never, and will never be Greek.
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Old 05-15-2009, 04:05 AM   #5
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I had a conversation with one of my Punjabi friends today, who is a Sikh, who remarked that his people had great battles against the Mughal's. He was aware of them as people who were 'probably Turks', and as the 'Muslims' who were ruthlessly killing and converting all the locals in the north of India. Not a word about Persians. I elaborated on the history of the Mughal's and their Mongol heritage.

Here is some reference to the events from Wikipedia,
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The Afghan defeat of the Maratha armies accelerated the breakaway of Punjab from Delhi and helped the founding of Sikh overlordship in the northwest. Rooted in the bhakti movements that developed in the second century B.C. but swept across North India during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the teachings of the Sikh gurus appealed to the hard-working peasants. Facing extended persecution from the Mughals, the Sikhs, under Guru Gobind Singh formed the Khalsa (Army of Pure). The khalsa rose up against the economic and political repressions in Punjab toward the end of Aurangzeb's rule. Guerrilla fighters took advantage of the political instability created by the Persian and Afghan onslaught against Delhi, enriching themselves and expanding territorial control. By the 1770s, Sikh hegemony extended from the Indus in the west to the Yamuna in the east, from Multan in the south to Jammu in the north. But the Sikhs, like the Marathas, were a loose, disunited, and quarrelsome conglomerate of twelve kin-groups. It took Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), an individual with modernizing vision and leadership, to achieve supremacy over the other kin-groups and establish his kingdom in which Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims lived together in comparative equality and increasing prosperity. Ranjit Singh employed European officers and introduced strict military discipline into his army before expanding into Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Ladakh.
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:07 AM   #6
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Here is something more with regard to Persianate Societies. It serves as an excellent example to dispute the claims of some that Hellenic and Hellenistic societies were essentially the same - which, despite the similarities, is in fact a false assertion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persianate_society
Quote:
A Persianate/Persified society (Persian: فرهنگ فارسى زبانان - "farhang-e-farsi zabanan") is a society that is either based on, or strongly influenced by the Persian language, culture, literature, art, and/or identity.[1]
Quote:
The term does not necessarily designate ethnic Persians, but has also been applied to those societies that may not have been ethnically Persian or Iranic, but whose linguistic, material, or artistic cultural activities were influenced by, or based on Persianate culture. Examples of pre-19th-century Persianate societies were the Seljuq,[2][3][4] Timurid,[5][6] and Ottoman dynasties,[2][7][8][9] as well as the Qarmatians who entertained Persianate notions of cyclical time even though they did not invoke the Iranian genealogies in which these precepts had converged. "Persianate" is a multiracial cultural category, but it appears at times to be a religious category of a racial origin.[10]
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Persianate culture flourished for nearly fourteen centuries. It was a mixture of Persian and Islamic cultures that eventually became the dominant culture of the ruling and elite classes of Greater Iran, Asia Minor, and South Asia.[12]
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When, in the 7th and 8th centuries, the peoples of Greater Iran were conquered by Islamic forces, they became part of an empire much larger than any previous one under Persian rule.[12] The new Islamic culture was largely based on pre-Islamic Persian traditions of the area,[13] as well as the Islamic rites that were introduced to the region by the Arab conquerors.[14]
Quote:
Persianate culture, particularly among the elite classes, spread across the territories of western, central, and south Asia, although populations across this vast region had conflicting allegiances (sectarian, local, tribal, and ethnic affiliation) and spoke many different languages. It was spread by poets, artists, architects, artisans, jurists, and scholars, who maintained relations among their peers in the far-flung cities of the Persianate world, from Anatolia to India.[15]
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After the Arab Muslim conquest of Iran, Pahlavi, the language of Pre-Islamic Iran, continued in wide use well into the second Islamic century (8th century) as a medium of administration in the eastern lands of the Caliphate.[12] Despite the Islamisation of public affairs, the Iranians retained much of their pre-Islamic outlook and way of life, adjusted to fit the demands of Islam. Towards the end of the 7th century, the population began resenting the cost of sustaining the Arab Caliphs, the Umayyads, and in the 8th century, a general Iranian uprising—led by the Iranian national hero Abu Muslim Khorrasani—brought another Arab family, the Abbasids, to the Caliph's throne.
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The Persianate culture that emerged under the Samanid dynasty rule in Khorasan, in northeast of Persia and borderlands of Turkistan and Turks were exposed to Persianate-Islamic culture;[22] the preparation for the incorporation of the Turks into the main body of the Middle Eastern Islamic civilization, which was followed by the Ghaznavids, thus began in Khorasan; "not only did the inhabitants of Khurasan not succumb to the language of the nomadic invaders, but they imposed their own tongue on them. The region could even assimilate the Turkic Ghaznavids and Seljuks (11th and 12th centuries), the Timurids (14th and 15th centuries), and the Qajars (19th and 20th centuries).[23]
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The culture of the Persianate world in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries was tested by invading armies of inland Asia. The Mongols under Genghis Khan (1220–58) and Timur (Tamerlane, 1336–1405) stimulated the development of Persianate culture in Central and West Asia, because of the new concentrations of specialists of high culture created by the invasions. Many Iranians had to seek refuge in few safe havens, primarily India, where scholars, poets, musicians, and fine artisans intermingled and cross-fertilized, and because the broad peace secured by the huge imperial systems established by the Il-Khanids (in the 13th century) and Timurids (in the 13th century), when travel was safe, and scholars and artists, ideas and skills, and fine books and artifacts circulated freely over a wide area. Il-Khanids and Timurids were patrons of Persianate high culture. Under their rule developed new styles of architecture based on pre-Islamic Iranian tradition, Persian literature was encouraged, and flourished the Persian school of miniature painting and book production established in Herat, Tabriz and Esfahan.[citation needed]
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In the 16th century, Persianate culture became sharply distinguishable from the Arabic Islamic world to the west, the dividing zone falling along the Euphrates. Socially the Persianate world was marked by a system of ethnologically defined elite statuses: the rulers and their soldiery were non-Iranians in origin, but the administrative cadres and literati were Iranians. Cultural affairs were marked by characteristic pattern of language use: New Persian was the language of state affairs and literature; New Persian became the languages of scholarship; and Arabic the language of religion.[24]
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South Asian society was enriched by the influx of Persian and Islamic scholars, historians, architects, musicians, and other specialists of high Persianate culture who fled the Mongol devastations. After the invasion of Persia, and sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258, Delhi became the most important cultural centre of the Muslim east.[24] The Delhi Sultans modelled their lifestyles after the Persian upper classes. They patronized Persian literature and music, but became especially notable for their architecture, because their builders drew from the Irano-Islamic world architecture, combined with Indian traditions to produce a profusion of mosques, palaces, and tombs unmatched in any other Islamic country.[24] The speculative thought of the times at the Mughal court, as in other Persianate courts, leaned towards the eclectic gnostic dimension of Sufi Islam, having similarities with Hindu Vedantism, indigenous Bhakti and popular theosophy.[33]

The Mughals strengthened the Persianate, or Indo-Persian culture, in South Asia. For centuries, Iranian scholar-officials had immigrated to the region where their expertise in Persianate culture and administration secured them honoured service within the Mughal Empire.[34] Networks of learned masters and madrasas taught generations of young South Asian men Persian language and literature in addition to Islamic values and sciences. Further, educational institutions such as Farangi Mahall and Delhi College developed innovative and integrated curricula for modernizing Persian-speaking South Asians.[35] They cultivated Persian art, enticing to their courts artists and architects from Bukhara, Tabriz, Herat, Shiraz, and other cities of Greater Iran. The Taj Mahal and its Charbagh were commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his half-Iranian bride.

Iranian poets, such as Sa’di, Hafez, Rumi and Nezami, who were the great masters of Sufi mysticism from the Persianate world, were favorite poets of the Mughals. Their works were present in Mughal libraries and counted among the emperors’ prized possessions, which they gifted to each other; Akbar and Jahangir often quoted from them, signifying that they had imbibed them to a great extent.[36] The court poets Naziri, ‘Urfi, Faizi, Khan-i Khanan, Zuhuri, Sanai, Qodsi, Talib-i Amuli and Abu Talib Kalim were all masters imbued with a similar Sufi spirit, thus following the norms of any Persianate court.[37]
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