I left off last time with the question as to how it came to be that the language of literary writing in Mughal times was Persian. How did the language acquire a distinctly regal character? How did it come to be associated with the Indian subcontinent when other places with the same ethnicity of rulers had nothing to do with the tongue?

To go into the depths of this question, one needs to go into the realm of a history of Mughal invasions itself. It is a fact well established that Humayun was accompanied by several Iranians when he took refuge on defeat by the Afghans. The Iranians had assisted Humayun in reconquering the Indian subcontinent.

Iranians held a prominent position in Akbar’s court as well. And even earlier, Babur had sought Iranian help too. Akbar, the most tolerant of the Mughals, had a “peace with all” doctrine that saw Iranian talents flourishing in his court and under his patronage.

With this, India grew to have close cultural ties with Iran during the Mughal period and Persian became the first language of the court and the king. It began to be used under Akbar for all administrative purposes too.

While the local Hindavi existed, it was not given the status as Persian. This was done, it is conjectured, to help the elite stay elite. The prestige associated with Persian was not something easily found and it helped enrich a diverse cultural heritage.