In the European context, literary salons of the 18th century are celebrated as important spaces for the evolution and development of the bourgeoisie. Patrons, among them sometimes educated and wealthy women, sponsored such salons. These venues, animated by poets, provided for the possibility to think anew and also to freely articulate this newness. Similar developments can be discerned in the major urban centers of Mogul India such as Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad, at a time when the empire toppled into a deep crisis under the absolutist emperor Aurangzeb (d. 1707), owing much to his system of fiefdom among other factors. Apocalypse was the mood of the day, but one could also find a heightened concern for morality and sensitivity, the cherishing of interpersonal relations and disclosure in literary and convivial circles. Mystics and literary figures from all social strata infused these literary salons with inwardness and self-criticism, thereby blending sensuality with virtue and reasoning. This can be traced with the help of vernacular languages coming into literary vogue and the emergence of this new salon culture. Examples for these reassessments are provided by poetry readings (mušāʿira), such as those by the Naqshbandi sufi, Mīr Dard (d. 1785) and his epigones; or in the metamorphosis of names or noms de plume (taḫalluṣ), such as the one known for Dard’s father, Nāṣir ʿAndalīb (d. 1758), his sobriquet being ʿAndalīb or “Nightingale”; but also in genres such as šahr-e ašūb and wāsoḫt. My contribution will reintroduce these literary fields on the basis of original Urdu texts. The aim is to excavate possible traces of an Indian-Islamic modernity buried under the weight of orientalisms, and to reconstruct their trajectories.