Of Encounters between Two Literary Traditions
Vikas Rathee
THE LOTUS & THE LION: ESSAYS ON INDIA’S SANSKRITIC AND PERSIANATE WORLDS by Richard M. Eaton Primus Books, Delhi, 2022, 391 pp., ₹1895.00
May 2023, volume 47, No 5

This collection of essays is representative of the themes pursued by Richard Eaton. As a definitive, prolific and meaningful scholarly voice studying medieval India since the 1970s, Eaton’s essays cover a swathe of topics in the domains of social and cultural history. While some themes—such as the cultural history of Islam, and the social history of religious communities—are regularly featured in writings by historians of medieval India, others—specifically, slavery in medieval India, and frontier studies focused on Punjab, Bengal or Deccan—come from comparative studies of questions originally germane to the writing of American history. As may be expected of a collection of essays, some of the entries in the book merely scan the surface of a theme, while others engage with their themes in a more exhaustive manner. Although the subtitle of the book suggests that the focus is on ‘India’s Sanskritic and Persianate Worlds’, it is divided into five parts which digress into related territory as well.

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