The history of composite religious cultures in India has over recent decades attracted much more consistent attention than the history of syncretic political and intellectual cultures. During the 1970s and 1980s, when the study of pre-colonial India drew greater numbers of scholars than has been the case more recently, a number of historians of the Mughal north concerned themselves with the means by which Akbar and his political allies were able to draw into imperial service a very disparate range of ethnic groups—Irani, Turani, Afghan, Rajput, Indian Muslim, high-caste Hindu scribalists—and to generate for them a new corporate and inclusivist ideology of service to emperor and state. John Richards has described how a powerful dynastic ideology, formulated by Akbar's close friend and servant Abu'l Fazl in his monumental history of the empire the Akbar-Nāma, and given dramatic public expression in the ceremonial of the imperial court, glorified Akbar as the living embodiment of the Empire itself, and focus for the direct personal devotion of the imperial nobility. Stephen Blake has drawn out the importance of patrimonial themes in the techniques which Akbar and his successors devised to maintain the sense of a personal familial bond between the emperor and his servants. Historians of Mughal administration such as M. Athar Ali have explored the ways in which the systematisation of mansab grants and appointments to offices under Akbar provided a common framework within which imperial servants from different backgrounds could seek advancement. With a different emphasis again, Mughal art historians have drawn attention to Akbar's intense interest in the power of images as a means of communicating new understandings of the nature of kingship and its place in the natural and social worlds, particularly through the dazzling illustrations for the Akbar-Nāma produced in Akbar's imperial atelier. S.A.A. Rizvi and Peter Hardy have focussed on the role of Abu'l Fazl in helping to project, through the massive illuminated history of his Akbar-Nāma, a new and more inclusive style of rulership for Akbar, which drew on sufi and medieval ishrāqī theories of the divine illumination of kingship. This presented Akbar as insān-i kāmil, ‘the perfect man’, whose inner virtues of justice, self-control and renunciation of worldly attachments enabled him to attain the divine blessing of sulh-i kull, an attitude of universal concord and toleration.