“The sultan as a rāya: war, rhetoric, and the memory of Vijayanagara in Bijapur”
Conférencier : Dr. Roy Fischel, SOAS (Londres)
Tuesday 7 May 2019 (17h15 - 19h00) - Anthropole - 4088
Colonial and nationalist views of precolonial Indian history often highlighted religious hostility as a central factor in shaping the relationship between polities and societies. In the early modern Deccan, this perspective was expressed as a strict boundary dividing the Muslim-ruled polities in the northern Deccan, namely the Bahmani and the successor Deccan Sultanates, from the Hindu-ruled Vijayanagara to their south. This understanding was further supported by the language used in early modern sources, which often described the other side in hostile terms. Recent studies have challenged the dichotomy, promoting a view that emphasised the permeability of the boundary and the flexibility in relationships across it. These writings tend to dismiss the violent tone in contemporary accounts as mere rhetoric. However, early modern sources do not all converge to offer a homogenous hostile perspective. Rather, they present more nuanced and diverse voices. In this paper, I examine the ideologies that emerged from early modern historiography produced in the Deccan Sultanates in regard to Vijayanagara. Focusing on early seventeenth-century Persian chronicles, I argue that Vijayanagara emerges not only as a foe and the ‘Other’, but also as a source of inspiration and imitation. With that, I suggest, Muslim rulers employed these chronicles to incorporate Vijayanagara––or the memory thereof––into their own political imagination.