The Many Lives of a Rajput Queen: Heroic Pasts in India, c. 1500-1900

Paperback | December 17, 2007

byRamya Sreenivasan

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Winner of the 2009 Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize, sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies

The medieval Rajput queen Padmini - believed to have been pursued by Alauddin Khalji, the Sultan of Delhi - has been the focus of numerous South Asian narratives, ranging from a Sufi mystical romance in the sixteenth century to nationalist histories in the late nineteenth century. The Many Lives of a Rajput Queen explores how early modern regional elites, caste groups, and mystical and monastic communities shaped their distinctive versions of the past through the repeated refashioning of the legend of Padmini.

Ramya Sreenivasan investigates these legends and traces their subsequent appropriation by colonial administrators and nationalist intellectuals, for varying different political ends. Using Padmini as a means of illustrating the power of gender norms in constructing heroic memory, she shows how such narratives about virtuous women changed as they circulated across particular communities in South Asia between the sixteenth and early twentieth centuries.

This book will interest historians of memory, gender, community, culture, and historywriting in South Asia. Illustrating how enduring legends emerged out of particular precolonial repositories of "tradition," the book also addresses the nature of colonial transitions and precolonial historical consciousness.

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Winner of the 2009 Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize, sponsored by the Association for Asian StudiesThe medieval Rajput queen Padmini - believed to have been pursued by Alauddin Khalji, the Sultan of Delhi - has been the focus of numerous South Asian narratives, ranging from a Sufi mystical romance in the sixteenth century to nati...

Ramya Sreenivasan is assistant professor of history at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 8.96 × 5.98 × 0.7 inPublished:December 17, 2007Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029598760X

ISBN - 13:9780295987606

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsNote on Transliteration and UsageList of Maps1. Introduction2. Sufi Tale of Rajputs in Sixteenth-century Avadh3. Rajput Kings and their Pasts in the Mughal Period4. Tales of Past Glory under Early Colonial Indirect Rule (c. 1750-1850)5. Exemplary Patriotism in the Late Nineteenth Century6. Conclusion7. Appendix 1: Summaries of Selected Versions of the Legend8. Appendix 2: List of Known Versions / Manuscripts / Editions of the Padmini LegendBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the 2009 Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize, sponsored by the Association for Asian StudiesThe medieval Rajput queen Padmini - believed to have been pursued by Alauddin Khalji, the Sultan of Delhi - has been the focus of numerous South Asian narratives, ranging from a Sufi mystical romance in the sixteenth century to nationalist histories in the late nineteenth century. The Many Lives of a Rajput Queen explores how early modern regional elites, caste groups, and mystical and monastic communities shaped their distinctive versions of the past through the repeated refashioning of the legend of Padmini.Ramya Sreenivasan investigates these legends and traces their subsequent appropriation by colonial administrators and nationalist intellectuals, for varying different political ends. Using Padmini as a means of illustrating the power of gender norms in constructing heroic memory, she shows how such narratives about virtuous women changed as they circulated across particular communities in South Asia between the sixteenth and early twentieth centuries.This book will interest historians of memory, gender, community, culture, and historywriting in South Asia. Illustrating how enduring legends emerged out of particular precolonial repositories of "tradition," the book also addresses the nature of colonial transitions and precolonial historical consciousness.In an astoundingly original and ambitious piece of scholarship Ramya Sreenivasan answers difficult questions, in modest and accessible prose, about the genres and popularity of an epic legend. She draws on literary analysis and historical research which is combined with acute insight into the changing shape of gender relations in north India. The study explores a range of primary sources in many scripts including several modern Indian vernaculars. This book is going to be immensely important to the new cultural and social history of medieval and modern India. - K. Sivaramakrishnan, Yale University