This book studies the hybrid intellectual culture of eighteenth-century late-Mughal India, tracing the circulation of poetic and art styles between cosmopolitan Delhi and provincial centers.
It presents a case study of the Rajput principality of Kishangarh, which is famous for its paintings, but was also an important literary center. Highlighted are the works of Savant Singh (1699–1764), alias Nagaridas, who was a prolific poet in Old Hindi and commissioned Kishangarhi paintings to illustrate his own devotional poetry to Krishna.
Using newly discovered manuscript sources, this book highlights the interface between art and literature. Taking as its point of departure calligraphies of Nagaridas’ poetry in Rekhta, now known as early Urdu, this study provides a first chapter in the as yet unwritten history of the reception of early Urdu in non-Muslim provincial milieus. It demonstrates the exchange of both painting and poetry between cultural communities before the hardening into ‘Hindu-Hindi’ and ‘Muslim-Urdu’.
Heidi Pauwels is Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has authored two books on sixteenth-century Krishna devotion and one comparing classical, medieval and contemporary film and television retellings of the stories of Krishna and Rama.