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Fischel, Roy S. (2015) 'Origin Narratives, Legitimacy, and the Practice of Cosmopolitan Language in the Early Modern Deccan, India.' Purushartha, 33. pp. 71-95.

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The paper discusses the ways in which the sultanates of Aḥmadnagar and Bījāpūr in the Deccan Plateau of peninsular India employed the Persian cosmopolitan language and the associated political idiom to construct the legitimacy of their ruling dynasties. Focusing on origin narratives from around the turn of the seventeenth century, I demonstrate that the narratives contain counterfactual elements while contradicting one other. At the same time, they consisted of stories and tropes that were familiar to the contemporary reader, and adhered to the social and political realities of the time. This enabled the chroniclers to create some degree of reliability, which was important not for the telling of a historically accurate account but rather for the acceptability of the narratives as foundation of legitimacy. This legitimacy was required to secure the support of the elites within the sultanates and to gain assistance from external powers, most notably the Safavids of Iran, support that was necessary considering the weak position of the Deccan Sultanates vis-à-vis the Mughal Empire.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of History
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
ISSN: 0975024X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2014 15:35

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