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Rethinking Kingship and Authority in South Asia: Amber (Rajasthan), ca. 1560-1615

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The literature on South Asian kingship has typically explored the idioms in which kingship—a king’s assertion of his right to rule—was articulated, while assuming ready consent to such assertions of royal authority among a king’s subjects, vassals, peers, and overlords. This paper re-examines the nature and limits of South Asian kingship by investigating the modes in which Man Singh Kachhwaha, a prominent regional chief in the Mughal Empire, claimed royal status. I examine how target audiences—consisting of literati, peers, rivals, and the Mughal overlord—may have received an ambitious chief’s claims to kingly status in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This essay reinterprets the abundant evidence from Man Singh’s reign to reveal the character of kingship in South Asia as much more circumscribed and contingent than has often been assumed, and as continually open to challenge and contestation.

Affiliations: 1: University of Pennsylvaniarsreenivasan@sas.upenn.edu

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2014-09-26
2017-11-25

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