The project aims at rewriting the history of South India’s relations with “its Wests” (the
Middle East and the Mediterranean) during the pre-colonial and the colonial periods in the
light of recent discoveries, namely of a significant amount of new primary sources, held by
local communities, families and Indian state authorities; together, these provide a long-desired
local equivalent to the colonial sources. The material now unearthed is also quantitatively
superior and qualitatively different from what can be found in European research libraries.
Our research will mostly focus on trans-religious communities – those that provided South
India’s openness toward its Wests, namely Jews, Christians and Muslims – and will examine
their manifold relationships with their Hindu neighbours, with each other, with their West
Asian co-religionaries and the European colonisers.