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Text and Tradition in Early Modern North India$
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Tyler Williams, Anshu Malhotra, and John Stratton Hawley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199478866

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199478866.001.0001

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Muslim Mahākāvyas

Muslim Mahākāvyas

Sanskrit and Translation in the Sultanates

(p.58) 3 Muslim Mahākāvyas
Text and Tradition in Early Modern North India

Luther Obrock

Oxford University Press

In his essay on Muslim mahākāvyas, Luther Obrock studies exchanges between the cosmopolitan idioms of Sanskrit and Persian at pre-Mughal Sultanate courts. He introduces three remarkable texts: Udayaraja’s Rājavinoda, an encomium that praises the Muzaffarid Sultan Mahmud Begada of Gujarat using terms adapted from idealized representations of Hindu kingship; Kalyana Malla’s Sulamaccarita, a retelling of both the Biblical narrative of David and Bathsheba and the story of the jinn and the fisherman that appears in the Thousand and One Nights; and finally Shrivara’s Kathākautuka, a translation of Jami’s Yūsuf wa Zulaykhā that effectively transforms the Persian, Sufi-influenced masnavī into a Sanskrit kāvya of Shaivite devotion. These works can be understood as sites of cultural and literary encounter where poets and intellectuals experimented creatively to secure Sanskrit’s continuing relevance in the changing literary ecology of the regional sultanates.

Keywords:   mahākāvya, Sultanate, Udayaraja, Kalyana Malla, David and Bathsheba, Shrivara, Jami, kāvya

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