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Title: Text, power, and kingship in medieval Gujarat, c. 1398-1511
Author: Kapadia, Aparna
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2009
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Despite the growing interest in the region of Gujarat, its pre-colonial history remains a neglected area of research. The dissertation is an attempt at redressing this gap, as well as at developing an understanding of the role of literary culture in the making of local polities in pre-modern South Asia. The dissertation explores the relationship between literary texts and political power. It specifically focuses on the fifteenth century, which coincides with the rise of the regional sultanate, which, along with the sultanates of Malwa, Deccan, and the kingdoms of Mewad and Marwar, emerged as an important power in the politics of South Asia in this period. As the sultans consolidated their influence in Gujarat, they were forced to negotiate with a variety of locally powerful chieftains. These negotiations lie at the heart of the narratives studied here. Organised as a series of case studies, the main body of the dissertation focuses on epic poems in Old Gujarati and Sanskrit produced in the courts of these chieftains, as well as an epic poem from the court of Sultan Mahmud Begada (1458-1511). In the latter part of the dissertation, the focus shifts to another literary terrain, also associated with the warrior elite of Gujarat. It analyses the oral 'bardic' narratives as presented by Alexander Forbes (1821-1865) in his Ras Mala: Hindoo Annals of the Province of Goozerat in Western India (1856). Through the analysis of these narratives from the medieval and colonial periods, the dissertation considers different aspects of power and kingship as constructed in the literary traditions of Old Gujarati and Sanskrit, Aparna Kapadia SOAS, London 2009.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral