August 2022

6 PM

Online Via Zoom


To Mecca and Beyond: The Rise of a Transregional Gujarati Scholar

Indian Ocean and Beyond: Outward Bound From Gujarat

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Associate Professor of History
Penn State University

By following the life trajectory of Qutb al-Din Muhammad al-Nahrawali (d.1582), a Muslim intellectual from northern Gujarat who achieved tremendous professional success in Mecca, this talk recovers the intellectual and socio-political connections that tied Gujarat to the Red Sea region and beyond in the sixteenth century. As a scholar who served the Gujarat Sultans, the Meccan Sharifs, and the Ottoman Sultans over the course of his life, al-Nahrawali offers us important insights into the making of a successful transregional scholar at the time of shifting political alignments in the western Indian Ocean.

Online Via Zoom
Meeting ID: 969 8888 0985
Passcode: 073620


Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran is Edward J. and Eleanor Black Nichols University Endowed Fellow in History and Associate Professor of History at Penn State University. She is a historian of medieval and early modern South Asia with a focus on the history of Muslim communities in Gujarat and the wider Indian Ocean world. Her first book, Narrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in Gujarat, 1400-1650 (Oxford University Press, 2020), was a finalist for the British South Asian Studies Association Book Prize 2022. It retrieves the social history of a Muslim community in Gujarat by reconstructing the literary, social and historical world of Sufi preceptors, disciples, and descendants from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. Her current research focuses on reconstructing scholarly connections between Gujarat and the Red Sea region in the sixteenth century through a variety of Arabic textual materials.