Religion in Translation and the Acculturation Patterns in South and Central Asia

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Religion in Translation and the Acculturation Patterns in South and Central Asia
Stream: Translation
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Pegah Shahbaz, University of British Columbia - Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation (American Council of Learned Societies), Canada (organizer, presenter)
Satoshi Ogura, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan (presenter, chair)
Noémie Verdon, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science - Kyoto University, Japan (presenter)
Jean Arzoumanov, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, France (presenter)


South Asia has been the site of a wide-ranging exchange of religious, linguistic and cultural knowledge systems for over a millennium. Recent scholarship compares the magnitude of the translation movement of Indian knowledge from Sanskrit into Persian in the pre-modern and modern periods, to grand cross-cultural interactions in history such as the ones from Greek to Latin and Arabic, or from Sanskrit into Chinese and Tibetan. This panel seeks to examine the leading roles of Persian as a lingua franca and Arabic as the language of science for Muslims, and both languages as literary mediators among different Indian erudite traditions - some Sanskritic in derivation and some local and vernacular - within the cosmopolitan and multi-lingual South Asian context. The papers in this panel will focus on the articulation of translation and exchange between Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic under the influence of the religious systems that developed in these languages during the Ghaznavids (977-1186), the Muslim Sultanates in Delhi (1206-1526) and the Mughal empire (1526-1858) in South Asia, as well as during the realm of local Buddhist rulers in certain Persian-speaking areas in Central Asia after the Mongol invasion in the 13th and 14th centuries. The dynamics of knowledge transmission through diverse strategies of translation, and patterns of acculturation of religious elements will be explored in Perso-Arabic and Indo-Persian texts which reflect the concurrences and conflicts of Muslims, Hindus, and other South Asian religious groups such as Jains and Buddhists.