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Hidden in Plain View: Brajbhasha Poets at the Mughal Court*


Brajbhasha literature is a domain of Mughal culture seldom investigated by scholars, to the detriment of our understanding of both. While the Mughal court is famed for its lavish support of Persian writers, a surprising number of Brajbhasha poets also attracted the notice of Mughal patrons. In this paper I look at the lives and texts of important Braj writers who worked in Mughal settings, with a view to uncovering the nature of the social, political and cultural interactions that this kind of patronage represents. Why these poets have been largely lost to social and literary history is another concern, along with the challenges of trying to recover their stories.

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Muzaffar Alam , ‘The Pursuit of Persian: Language in Mughal Politics’, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 32, No. 2 (1998), pp. 317349

Cynthia Talbot , ‘Becoming Turk the Rajput Way: Conversion and Identity in an Indian Warrior Narrative’ in Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1 (2009), p. 230

Allison Busch , ‘The Anxiety of Innovation: The Practice of Literary Science in the Hindi Riti Tradition’ in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 24, No. 2 (2004), pp. 4559

Lee Novetzke , ‘Bhakti and its Public’ in International Journal of Hindu Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3 (2007), pp. 255272

Katherine Butler Brown , ‘Did Aurangzeb Ban Music? Questions for the Historiography of his Reign’ in Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 41, No. 1 (2007), pp. 77120

Rosalind O'Hanlon , ‘Manliness and Imperial Service in Mughal North India’ in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 42, No. 1 (1999), pp. 4793

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Modern Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0026-749X
  • EISSN: 1469-8099
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-asian-studies
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