The Many Ways of Mughal Warfare – Looking Beyond the Military Revolution – LECTURE

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Date / time: 17 January, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Royal Armouries Museum (and Online)

The Many Ways of Mughal Warfare - Looking Beyond the Military Revolution - LECTURE


Speaker: Pratyay Nath, Associate Professor of History, Ashoka University, India

This lecture explores the wide variations in Mughal warfare in early modern India, using them to unlock the debate over whether the introduction of firearms caused a revolution in war, society and politics.

Since the 1950s, early modern warfare has primarily been analysed through the lens of the Military Revolution. This theory suggests that the spread of firearms and cannon required larger and more professional armies, which in turn drove the formation of the modern state to make such armies possible. By looking at the Mughal Empire, the lecture brings to light other ways of understanding the period.

Mughal warfare was influenced by a range of factors, including environmental conditions, military pragmatism, financial considerations, and distance from the imperial heartland. These caused Mughal war-making to vary over time and across space, in strategy, tactics, and deployment of technologies. In turn, these variations affected the broader processes of Mughal war-making and empire-building.

In building this argument, the lecture offers new information and perspectives about warfare in early modern South Asia in a global comparative context. It also offers a new way of writing of comparative military histories, and a way of studying early modern warfare while looking beyond the Military Revolution framework.

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