What we lost with Persianate modernity

Cultural exchange is often assumed to be progressive, but it has neither an inherent politics nor an inevitable outcome. As nationalism rises across the globe, many see ‘cultural exchange’ as the antidote to nationalist xenophobia. Such exchange was, in fact, an integral part of the emergence of national literatures, cultures and identities in Iran and South Asia. Rather than resulting in greater cosmopolitanism, Indo-Iranian exchange fostered modern nationalism.