Handling diversity with absolute civility: The global historical legacy of Mughal Sulh-i Kull

Rajeev Kinra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Despite many advances in recent scholarship, a good deal of Mughal cultural historiography - not to mention the popular memory of the Mughal era - is still dominated by attention to the patronage and liberal outlooks of two figures, the Emperor Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar (r. 1556-1605) and his great-grandson, Prince Dara Shukoh (1615-1659), both of whom are viewed as having been especially, even heroically, tolerant toward the non-Muslims in their midst. However, while both of these men are certainly worthy of the attention they have received, the emphasis on their individual contributions to the Mughal attitude of 'universal civility' (s.ulh.-i kull) has in some ways obscured the broader cultures of everyday tolerance that pervaded Mughal life in the seventeenth century. This article aims to present a preliminary - though far from exhaustive - survey of evidence for this broader and continuing Mughal approach to handling India's diversity in the post-Akbar period and to try and connect it, via the suggestive comments of several influential European commentators of the early Enlightenment, to the larger connected histories of tolerance in global early modernity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-295
Number of pages45
JournalMedieval History Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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