Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Notes on Political Thought in Medieval and Early Modern South India


This essays deals with a neglected and significant strand of Indian political thought by describing and analysing the corpus known as nīti in the context of medieval and early modern South India (in particular with reference to the Telugu-speaking region). Works of nīti are presented here within a larger context, as they evolve from the medieval Andhra of the Kakatiyas into the Vijayanagara period, the Nayakas, and beyond. They are also opposed and contrasted to other texts written within the broad category of dharmashāstra, which seem to deal with a far more conservative project for the management of society and politics within a caste-based framework. Authors and compilers dealt with include Baddena and Madiki Singana, but also the celebrated emperor-poet Krishnadevaraya (r. 1509–29). An argument is made for the continued relevance of these texts for the conduct of politics in South Asia, into and beyond the colonial period.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Sanjay Subrahmanyam , ‘Agreeing to disagree: Burton Stein on Vijayanagara’ in South Asia Research, Vol. 17, No. 2 (1997), pp. 127–39.

Jonathan Parry and Maurice Bloch (eds.), Money and the Morality of Exchange (Cambridge, 1989)

Stéphane Breton , ‘Social body and icon of the person: A symbolic analysis of shell money among the Wodani, western highlands of Irian Jaya’ in American Ethnologist, Vol. 26, No. 3 (1999), pp. 558–82.

Ashis Nandy , ‘The culture of Indian Politics: A stock taking’ in The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 (1970), pp. 5779

Cynthia Talbot , Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (Delhi, 2001).

Sanjay Subrahmanyam , Penumbral Visions: Making Polities in Early Modern South India (Delhi/Ann Arbor, 2001).

Richard W. Lariviere , ‘Dharmaśāstra, Custom, ‘Real Law’ and ‘Apocryphal’ Smrtis’ in B. Koelver , ed., Recht, Staat und Verwaltung in klassischen Indien (Wiesbaden, 1997), pp. 97110.

Jocelyne Dakhlia , ‘Les Miroirs des princes islamiques: Une modernité sourde?’ in Annales HSS, Vol. 57, No. 5 (2002), pp. 11911206.

N.K. Wagle , ‘The government, the jāti, and the individual: Rights, discipline and control in the Pune Kotwal Papers, 1766—94’ in Contributions to Indian Sociology, N.S., Vol. 34 (2000), pp. 321–60

T.N. Madan , ‘Secularism in its place’ in Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 46, No. 4 (1987), pp. 747–59

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Modern Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0026-749X
  • EISSN: 1469-8099
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-asian-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 25 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 315 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.