In Praise of Death: History and Poetry in Medieval Marwar (South Asia)
This study is meant as a contribution to debates about literary and martial cultures in history as conducted by Joshua Goldstein (2001), Sheldon Pollock (2003) and the celebrated Indian historian Romila Thapar (1999). It offers insights into martial ethics and identity politics through an analysis of the development of medieval and contemporary heroic and epic genres. And it adds to our understanding of the literary-historical processes that lead to the deification of warrior-heroes in South Asia. By describing the different degrees of narrative importance that Rajasthani poets attached to battle-death and the martial and/or religious role ascribed to warrior-heroes in Rajasthan and Sindh, the author suggests new ways of interpreting the region's past.
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