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Pratyay Nath

Associate Dean, AshokaX, & Assistant Professor of History, Ashoka University

Ph.D. Jawaharlal Nehru University

Pratyay Nath is Assistant Professor of History, Ashoka University, and Associate Dean, AshokaX. His research lies at the crossroads of environmental history, military history, and imperial history, with a focus on early modern South Asia. He is the author of Climate of Conquest: War, Environment, and Empire in Mughal North India (Oxford University Press, 2019); and with Kaustubh Mani Sengupta, the co-editor of ইতিহাসের বিতর্ক, বিতর্কের ইতিহাসঃ অতীতের ভারত ও আজকের গবেষণা (Kolkata: Ananda Publishers, 2022). His latest publications include ‘Looking beyond the Military Revolution: Variations in Early Modern Warfare and the Mughal Case’, Journal of Military History 86, no. 1 (2022): 9-31, and ‘What is Military Labour? War, Logistics, and the Mughals in Early Modern South Asia’, War in History 28, no. 4 (2021): 736-754. He is one of the editors of The Medieval History Journal. He writes in English and Bengali.

Nath is currently writing his second monograph, which analyses the military campaigns during the reign of the third Mughal emperor Akbar, and their roles in the overall process of empire-building. His forthcoming publications include the co-edited volume (with Meena Bhargava) The Early Modern in South Asia: Querying Modernity, Periodization, and History (Cambridge University Press). His ongoing projects include editing a special issue on ‘environment and empire in the early modern world’ for Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient; co-editing (with Ranabir Chakravarti) a collection of essays for Routledge on the history of the horse in South Asia; and co-editing another collection of essays (with Kaustubh Mani Sengupta) for Cambridge University Press on recent methodological shifts and innovations in South Asian historiography.

At Ashoka University, Nath’s courses focus on the history of empires and warfare in South Asian history, and global histories of environment, warfare, and empire. Before joining Ashoka University in 2016, he taught medieval and early modern history at Miranda House, University of Delhi. He earned his MPhil and PhD in History from Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Before this, he completed his MA in History from University of Calcutta, and BA in History from Presidency College, Calcutta. He is the recipient of DAAD-funded ‘Short-Term Guest Professorship’ (2022) and DAAD-funded ‘A New Passage to India III’ fellowship (2013-14), both to Georg-August Universität, Göttingen, Germany.

 

Monograph

Edited Volumes

  1. Nath Pratyay, and Kaustubh Mani Sengupta (eds), ইতিহাসের বিতর্ক, বিতর্কের ইতিহাসঃ অতীতের ভারত আজকের গবেষণা (Kolkata, Ananda Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2022).
  2. Nath Pratyay, and Meena Bhargava (eds), The Early Modern in South Asia: Querying Modernity, Periodization, and History (New Delhi, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2022).

Journal Articles

  1. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Pilgrimage, Performance, and Peripatetic Kingship: Akbar’s Journeys to Ajmer and the Making of the Mughal Empire’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, forthcoming.
  2. Nath, Pratyay. ‘War and the Non-Elite: Towards a People’s History of the Mughal Empire’, The Medieval History Journal 25, no. 1 (2022): 127-158.
  3. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Looking beyond the Military Revolution: Variations in Early Modern Warfare and the Mughal Case’, The Journal of Military History 86, no. 1 (2022): 9-31.
  4. Nath, Pratyay. ‘What is Military Labour? War, Logistics, and the Mughals in Early Modern South Asia’, War in History 28, no. 4 (2022): 736-754.
  5. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Through the Lens of War: Akbar’s Sieges (1567-69) and Mughal Empire-Building in Early Modern North India’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 41, no. 2 (2018): 245-258.
  6. Nath, Pratyay. ‘সাম্রাজ্য ও পরিবেশঃ মুঘল ইতিহাসের পুনর্পাঠ’, ইতিকথা 9, no. 1 (2021): 153-185.

Book Chapters

  1. Nath. Pratyay. ‘Mughal Empire and the Natural Environment’, in Cambridge History of Modern India (2nd edition), edited by Prasannan Parthasarathi, Mrinalini Sinha and David Gilmartin, under review.
  2. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Physical Geography and Mughal Expansion’, in Oxford Handbook of Warfare in Asia, edited by Dennis Showalter and Kaushik Roy. Oxford, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  3. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Strategies of the Mughal Empire (1526-1707)’, in The Cambridge History of the Practice of Strategy, edited by Beatrice Heuser and Isabelle Duyvesteyn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  4. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Was Mughal Warfare ‘Early Modern’?’, in The Early Modern in South Asian History: Querying Modernity, Periodization, and History, edited by Pratyay Nath and Meena Bhargava. New Delhi, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  5. Nath, Pratyay. ‘‘লেভায়াথান না কাগুজে বাঘ?’ মুঘল রাষ্ট্রের চরিত্র’ in ইতিহাসের বিতর্ক, বিতর্কের ইতিহাসঃ অতীতের ভারত আজকের গবেষণা, edited by Pratyay Nath and Kaustubh Mani Sengupta (Kolkata, Ananda Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2022), pp. 156-188.
  6. Nath, Pratyay. ‘‘The Wrath of God’: Legitimisation and Limits of Mughal Military Violence in Early Modern South Asia’, in A Global History of Violence in the Early Modern World, edited by Peter Wilson, Erica Charters, and Marie Houllemare. Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2020, pp. 161-176.
  7. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Narratives of Akbar’s Sieges and the Construction of Mughal Universal Sovereignty’, in The World of the Siege: Representations of Early Modern Positional Warfare, edited by Jamel Ostwald and Anke Fischer-Katner. Leiden, Brill, 2019, pp. 175-204.
  8. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Warfare in Early Modern South Asia, c. 1520 – c. 1740’, in The Indian Ocean in the Making of Early Modern India, edited by Pius Malekandathil. London and New York, Routledge, 2016, pp. 175-212.
  9. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Battles, Boats and Bridges: Modalities of Mughal Amphibious Warfare, 1571-1612’, in Chinese and Indian Warfare: From Classical Age to 1870, edited by Peter Lorge and Kaushik Roy. London and New York, Routledge, 2015, pp. 146-165.
  10. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Building an Empire: Military Infrastructure and the Career of Muhammad Qasim Khan in Mughal North India’, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 75th Session. Delhi, 2014, pp. 270-274.
  11. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Rethinking Early Mughal Warfare: Babur’s Pitched Battles, 1499-1529’, in Warfare, Religion, and Society in Indian History, edited by Raziuddin Aquil and Kaushik Roy. New Delhi, Manohar, 2012, pp. 109-145.
  12. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Siege Warfare in Mughal India, 1519-1538’, in Warfare and Politics in South Asia from Ancient to Modern Times, edited by Kaushik Roy. New Delhi, Manohar, 2011, pp. 121-144.

Short Pieces

  1. Nath, Pratyay. ‘যুদ্ধ-যুদ্ধ খেলা’, daakbangla.com, 29 January 2022.
  2. Nath, Pratyay. ‘পিতৃতন্ত্রের হিংসাঃ যুদ্ধ, ধর্ষণ, নারী’, Bama 1, no. 8 (2021).
  3. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Three Times When the Mughal Military Juggernaut Ran up against the Immutable Force of Nature’, Scroll, 11 January, 2021.
  4. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Terracotta Tales: Entangled Histories of Bhakti, Violence and Empire from Early Modern Bengal’, The Wire, 4 September 2016.

Book Reviews

  1. Nath, Pratyay. ‘Military History Meets Labour History’. Review of Radhika Singha, The Coolie’s Great War: Indian Labour in a Global Conflict 1914-1921 (New Delhi: Harper Collins, 2020), Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 56, no. 29 (2021): 32-34.
  2. Nath, Pratyay. Review of Suraiya Faroqhi, The Ottoman and Mughal Empires: Social History in the Early Modern World (London and New York: IB Tauris, 2019), Medieval History Journal, vol. 23, no. 1 (2020): 170-174.
  3. Nath, Pratyay. Review of Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, Fathpur Sikri Revisited (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013), South Asian History and Culture, vol. 5, no. 3 (2013): 389-393.

Journal Special Issue under Preparation

  • Nath, Pratyay (ed.), ‘Environment and Empire in the Early Modern World’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (under review)

Monograph under Preparation

  • Nath, Pratyay. War and the Region: Military Campaigns in the Making of the Mughal Empire.

Edited Volumes under Preparation

  1. Nath, Pratyay, and Ranabir Chakravarti (eds), History of the Horse in South Asia.
  2. Nath, Pratyay, and Kaustubh Mani Sengupta (eds), New Histories of South Asia: Methods, Themes, Fields.
  1. Nath is currently working on his second monograph titled War and the Region: Military Campaigns in the Making of the Mughal Empire. It is the first detailed analysis of military campaigns undertaken under the third Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605). It explores issues of tactics, strategy, geopolitics, logistics, and representation of war. It also studies the interaction between military campaigns and the different regions of South Asia, the processes of conversion of military conquest into administrative control, and the making of the province as an administrative unit. Using a comparative historical framework, it situates these South Asian processes vis-a-vis the global military and imperial tendencies of the sixteenth century.
  2. He is editing a special issue titled ‘Environment and Empire in the Early Modern World’ for Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient. It brings together seven different essays that explore the complex interactions between the natural environment and processes of early modern empire-building. The essays investigate a wide range of cases, including Ming China, Habsburg Spain, the Russian Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Atlantic empire, and maritime polities of the Indian Ocean. The manuscript is currently under review.
  3. He is co-editing a volume titled The History of the Horse in South Asia with Ranabir Chakravarti for Routledge. It presents a long-term, multi-dimensional history of the animal through a mix of landmark published articles and new commissioned essays.
  4. He is co-editing a volume titled New Histories of South Asia: Methods, Themes, Fields with Kaustubh Mani Sengupta for Cambridge University Press. Focusing on five themes – visuals, language, space, environment, and nonhumans, it brings together fifteen essays to analyse the recent intellectual shifts and methodological developments in South Asian history.

Spring 2022

  • Negotiating Nature in the Early Modern World (History Elective)
  • The World of War in South Asia, 1000-1800 (History Elective)

Monsoon 2021:

  • War and Empire in the Early Modern World (History Elective)
  • Introduction to Mughal History (History Elective)

Summer 2021:

  • War, Politics, Society (History Elective)

Spring 2021:

  • Environment and Empire in the Early Modern World (History Elective)
  • The World of War in South Asia, 1000-1800 (History Elective)

Monsoon 2020:

  • War and Empire in the Early Modern World (History Elective)
  • Introduction to Mughal History (History Elective)

Spring 2020:

  • Environment and Empire in the Early Modern World (History Elective)
  • History of India III (Gateway Course)

Monsoon 2019:

  • The World of War in South Asia, 1000-1800 (History Elective)
  • Age of Empires: A Global History of Early Modern Imperialism (History Elective) 

Summer 2019:

  • War, Culture, Society (History Elective)

Spring 2019:

  • Introduction to Mughal History (History Elective)
  • History of India III (Gateway Course)
  • War and Empire in Central Eurasia, 1000-1700 (Independent Study Module)

Monsoon 2018:

  • War in the Early Modern World (History Elective)

Summer 2018:

  • Gender, War, History (History Elective)
  • War, State, and Society in Early Modern Europe (Independent Study Module)

Spring 2018:

  • Twentieth Century-Wars and the Politics of Representation (History Elective)
  • A Royal Performance: Kingship and Political Culture in South Asia, 1000-1700 (History Elective)
  • Space and Cartography in the Early Modern World (Independent Study Module)

Monsoon 2017:

  • Age of Empires: A Global History of Early Modern Imperialism (History Elective)
  • Medieval India (History Gateway Course)
  • War and Empire in Central Eurasia (Independent Study Module)

Summer 2017:

  • Trends in History (Foundation Course)

Spring 2017:

  • Introduction to Mughal History (History Elective)
  • War in History (Critical Thinking Seminar)

Monsoon 2016:

  • Trends in History (Foundation Course)
  • Medieval India (Gateway Course)
  • War, State, and Society in Early Modern Europe (Independent Study Module)

Pratyay Nath is interested in supervising research on the following fields:

  • the Mughal Empire
  • state, kingship, political culture, warfare, and empire in medieval and early modern South Asia
  • medieval and early modern Bengal

Interested students are welcome to get in touch with him directly at pratyay.nath@ashoka.edu.in.

 

Ongoing and past supervision:

PhD Thesis:

  • Nandita Goswami, ‘Heavenly Lords: Ahom Kingship and Political Culture in Early Modern Assam’
  • Akansha Singh, ‘Afghans in North India, 1556-1773: Political Culture, Identity, and State-Formation’
  • Bidisha Sengupta, ‘Early Modern Bengal and the Mughal Empire’
  • Karil Soral, ‘Wrestling Communities in Early Modern Western India’
  • Mariyam Siddiqui, ‘Abdur Rahim Khan-i Khanan: The Life of a Mughal Noble’

MLS Thesis:

  • Anuraag Khaund, ‘Zamindars and the Formation of the Mughal Empire’ (2019-2020)

ASP Thesis:

  • Shigraf Haque, ‘Non-Agrarian Communities in Sedentary South Asia, 1000-1850: The Case of the Ghakkars’ (2021-22)
  • Tanveer Malik, ‘Nature of Mughal Kingship under Aurangzeb’ (2021-22)
  • Raghu Malhotra, ‘The Military Labour Market of North India, 1500-1800’ (2018-19)
  • Sadaf Bandeali, ‘Clothing Mughal India’ (2018-19)

UG Thesis:

  • Akshaj Awasthi, ‘Power as Patronage: Imperial Art and Architecture under the Mughals and the Ottomans’ (2020)
  • Raghu Malhotra, ‘The Making of a Mughal: Ideas of Kingship and Authority’ (2017)
  • Sadaf Bandeali, ‘Religion, Politics, and Conversion to Islam in the Ottoman Empire and Early Modern North India’ (2017)
  • Aastha Singh, ‘The Emperor’s Voice: Babur’s Imperial Self-Identity through the Lens of Baburnama’ (2017)
Study at Ashoka

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