The Reasons Behind the Rise of Western Europe from an “Indian Perspective”

Kaveh Yazdani (U Witwatersrand)


The vast majority of books and articles that have addressed the important question of Europe’s ascension adhere to the Eurocentric school of thought. Yet, during the past two decades, especially adherents of the “California School” have increasingly engaged in the arduous work of understanding and analyzing the “West and the rest” from a non-Eurocentric and global perspective. The lively discussion is mostly concerned with the reasons behind the Industrial Revolution and why it took place in England and not in other European core areas or advanced regions of China. Few historians and social scientists have examined Mughal and post-Mughal India relative to the rise of the West and the journey towards modernity from a particularly “Indian perspective”. In his recent book India, Modernity and the Great Divergence (Brill 2017), Yazdani examines and analyzes the socioeconomic, technoscientific, military, political, and institutional developments of two regions: Gujarat (Northwestern India) between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries and Mysore (Southern India) under the Muslim rule of Haidar ‘Ali and Tipu Sultan during the second half of the eighteenth century. The study aims at gaining a more profound understanding of the transitional processes in the regions at hand by proposing an alternative perspective with regard to the dynamics of modernity.


Biographical Note

Dr. Kaveh Yazdani (Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)
Kaveh Yazdani received his PhD degree in social sciences at the University of Osnabrück in 2014. His scholarly interests include the “Great Divergence” debate and the history of South and West Asia between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. Most recently, he was granted the Prince Dr. Sabbar Farman-Farmaian fellowship at the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam where he works on the socio-economic impact of India’s Parsis on Persia’s Zoroastrians (1853–1925) under the supervision of Touraj Atabaki.

Image source: U Witwatersrand, Link (30 May 2017)