India and the Silk Roads The History of a Trading World

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Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2021-04-01
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
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Summary

This book brings to life the world of caravan trade--constituting not only merchants, but also pilgrims, pastoralists, and mercenaries; flows not only of goods, credit and money, but also of ideas, secret intelligence and fighting power. Contrary to the view that the ages of sail and steam rendered obsolete these more 'archaic' forms of overland connectivity, Jagjeet Lally demonstrates how the annual transhumance between North India and the Central Asian steppe was critical to the production and exercise of political power into the nineteenth century. Central to this narrative is the waning of the Mughal Empire and the emergence in the mid-eighteenth century of a new Afghan kingdom, whose leaders drew their power from the financial flows and force of arms moving through the networks of caravan trade, and who thus patronised the continued traffic between India and inland Eurasia. India and the Silk Roads is a global history of a continental interior, the first to comprehensively examine the textual and material traces of caravan trade in the 'age of empires'. Lally tells a story resonating with our own times, as China's Belt and Road Initiative once again transforms life across Eurasia.

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