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The Last Hindu Emperor
Prithviraj Chauhan and the Indian Past, 1200–2000

£64.99

  • Date Published: December 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107118560

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  • This fascinating new study traces traditions and memories relating to the twelfth-century Indian ruler Prithviraj Chauhan; a Hindu king who was defeated and overthrown during the conquest of Northern India by Muslim armies from Afghanistan. Surveying a wealth of narratives that span more than 800 years, Cynthia Talbot explores the reasons why he is remembered, and by whom. In modern times, the Chauhan king has been referred to as 'the last Hindu emperor', because Muslim rule prevailed for centuries following his defeat. Despite being overthrown, however, his name and story have evolved over time into a historical symbol of India's martial valor. The Last Hindu Emperor sheds new light on the enduring importance of heroic histories in Indian culture and the extraordinary ability of historical memory to transform the hero of a clan into the hero of a community, and finally a nation.

    • Traces the genealogy and historical memory of twelfth-century ruler Prithviraj Chauhan, the 'last Hindu Emperor of India'
    • Surveys a wealth of narratives that span more than 800 years from the twelfth century through to the present day
    • Sheds new light on the enduring importance of heroic histories in Indian culture
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'While Talbot's archive is almost entirely restricted to the written word, she executes a sensitive reading that allows her to furnish a nuanced picture of the communities that wrote and read such works. Especially rich is Talbot's description of the Rajput elites for whom the Raso was a central text beginning in the late sixteenth century.' Audrey Truschke, H-Asia

    '… Cynthia Talbot seeks to excavate the layers of memory sedimented around the celebrated Indian king Prithviraj Chauhan (1166–1192). … Talbot's book … highlights the continued relevance of medieval history in the politics of the past.' Daud Ali, American Historical Review

    'This lucidly written and clearly argued monograph traces the narrative career of Prithviraj Chauhan, the ruler of Ajmer (southwest of Delhi) in the twelfth century, who was defeated by the Turkic ruler from Ghur, Shihab al-Din, in 1192 CE. … this monograph would be a wonderful resource in courses on historical method - on reading of different genres of historical evidence - as well as in comparative courses on history and memory, and in courses on history and memory in colonial and postcolonial worlds.' Ramya Sreenivasan, The Journal of Asian Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107118560
    • length: 325 pages
    • dimensions: 238 x 153 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: layers of memory
    2. Literary trajectories of the historic king
    3. Delhi in the making of the last Hindu emperor
    4. The heroic vision of a regional elite
    5. Imagining the Rajput past in Mughal-era Mewar
    6. Validating Prithviraj Rāso in colonial India, 1820s–70s
    7. Contested meanings in a nationalist age, 1880s–1940s
    8. Epilogue: the postcolonial Prithviraj
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Cynthia Talbot, University of Texas, Austin
    Cynthia Talbot is Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. She is author of Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (2001), co-author (with Catherine B. Asher) of India before Europe (with Catherine B. Asher, Cambridge, 2006), and editor of Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past (2011). Her scholarship has been supported by numerous organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.

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