Today we mainly think of Persian as the national language of Iran. But this region is just the core of what was once a huge strip of the Eurasian landmass, in which Persian was the language of communication for almost 1,000 years. From the Bosphorus to the Brahmaputra and from the Oxus to the Indian Ocean, what historians call the Persian world today was a vast, coherent setting linked by the Persian language, its literature, and the ideas and cultural values it contains.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Persian was most successful in India between around 1000 and 1860 as the language of office, trade, and high culture: from the poetic genius of Amir Khusrau (died 1325) to the encyclopedic intellect of Abu l Fazl (d .1602) to Mir’at ul-AkhbariRaja Ram Mohun Roy's pioneering newspaper f
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