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The field of South Asian history has been polarized and paralyzed by stereotypes of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir (1658–1707). Demonized by many Indians as anti-Hindu and celebrated by many Pakistanis as the historical inspiration for a separate Muslim state, Aurangzeb has been the proverbial blank screen on to which twentieth and twenty-first century political fantasies are projected. Truschke’s book seeks to correct this state of affairs by offering a calm and detached assessment of Aurangzeb that evaluates his place in history according to the values and traditions of his own day.
Audrey Truschke is an Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. She specializes in Mughal history and has made significant contributions to scholarship on the Mughal Empire. Her first book, Culture of Encounters, investigates the literary, social, and political roles of Sanskrit in the Persian-speaking, Islamic Mughal courts from 1560–1650.