Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

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


Award Winner
  • Date Published: December 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107118560

$ 110.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an evaluation copy?

This title is not currently available for evaluation. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an evaluation copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • 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
    Read more


    • Winner, 2018 Ananda Kentish Coomaraswany Book Prize, Association for Asian Studies

    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

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107118560
    • length: 325 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • 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

  • 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.


    • Winner, 2018 Ananda Kentish Coomaraswany Book Prize, Association for Asian Studies

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.