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22 November 2012 - Conference
Wright Lecture Series, University of Cambridge

Persian Culture and Indian Medicine in Pre-Modern South Asia

Fabrizio Speziale (Sorbonne Nouvelle – CNRS, Paris)

This paper offers an overview of the Persian texts on Ayurvedic medicine that were composed in South Asia starting from the Sultanate period (13th-16th centuries), especially focussing on the subsequent Mughal era (1526-1858). This can regarded as the most remarkable effort of translation of scientific texts from a non-Muslim tradition undertaken in the Muslim world during the Early Modern period. Some of these works were translations of Indic sources, although many of them were original treatises, compiled by Muslim and Hindu scholars alike. A number of Hindus studiedat the madrasas, and were proficient in Persian. Some of them even authored works on the sciences of the Avicennian tradition in this language. Several Persian works on Indian sciences were composed for and presented to Muslim aristocrats, and Persian works on Ayurvedic medicine were even dedicated to Awrangzeb (r. 1658-1707). However, as this paper will point out, these studies were largely triggered by practical reasons, as the assimilation of Indian pharmacopoeia represented a means through which the adaptation of the practice of Muslim physicians to local conditions was effected.

Location and info

Thursday, 22 November 2012, 5:00 pm Room 8&9

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Sidgwick Avenue
University of Cambridge