My research project focuses on the ascetic presence at the Timurid court of South Asia (1526-1857) and the role that these ascetic individuals, institutions and doctrines played in the shaping of a Timurid identity and idiom of poweṛ. This research draws heavily on previous scholarship and has a compilatory aim: to produce as exhaustive a monography on the topic as possible. As such, my approach draws on a multitude of sources, of a textual and iconographical nature, as well as on a multitude of languageṣ. On of the most important features of this research is the study of Persian translations of Sanskrit texts on asceticism and ascetic practice. Sanskrit plays an important role as I mainly look at the presence and role of Indic ascetics, with a further focus on Jainas and Jogis.
Could you please tell us a bit more about your scholarship/exchange programme?
I came here thanks to an exchange program between the EHESS in Paris, where I am affiliated and the MFO.
First impressions of Oxford/the University?
The experience of first reaching and discovering Oxford is, I believe, a shared one : the urban features of the city enhance the rich intellectual experience by their aesthetics and efficiency in giving us easy access to the ressources necessary for the furthering of our research. I was most impressed by the depth of the manuscript and literary collections; though I would only speak part of the truth if I did not acknowledge my pleasure at finding that the distance between libraries and pubs is not so great…