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Chānd Bībī, a Queen of Two Realms: Power, Authority, and the Political Language of the Early Modern Deccan

Fischel, Roy S. (2015) 'Chānd Bībī, a Queen of Two Realms: Power, Authority, and the Political Language of the Early Modern Deccan.' Indian Economic and Social History Review. (Forthcoming)

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Chānd Bībī (d. 1600) is one of the best remembered figures in Deccan History. Daughter of Ḥusayn Niẕām Shāh I of Ahmadnagar (1554–65), she was married to ‘Alī ‘Ādil Shāh I of Bijapur (1558–79). She first rose to prominence as the guardian of ‘Alī’s nephew and successor, Ibrāhīm ‘Ādil Shāh II (1580–1627), becoming temporarily one of the strongest people in Bijapur. In 1585 she returned to Ahmadnagar, where a decade later she led the resistance to the Mughals. Her unusual career turned her into a symbolic figure, whose name has been repeatedly evoked to our time. This article examines the story of Chānd Bībī as a historical figure, while analysing her career on the political, social, and institutional background of the early modern Deccan and within the wider context of Perso-Islamic courts. I argue that whereas the existing theoretical framework explains some aspects of Chānd Bībī’s life, they are insufficient in referring to the particularities of her case. Rather, we should seek additional factors, particularly in her immediate social and political environment. By that, I emphasise the role of vernacular factors in the particular manifestation of widespread political and social institutions and in the crystallisation of political idioms.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISSN: 00194646
Depositing User: Roy Fischel
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2015 15:51
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21414


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