Kingship and Authority in South Asia.

Author:Rocher, Ludo
Position::Brief Reviews of Books - Book Review

Kingship and Authority in South Asia. Edited by J. F. RICHARDS. Delhi: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1998. Pp. 7 + 375. $35 (cloth).

This volume reprints the proceedings of two conferences on "kingship and authority in South Asia," the first held in Madison in June 1974, the second at Leiden in July 1976. The proceedings were first published, from a typescript copy, by the Department of South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin (1978, rpt. 1981).

The editor's introduction is followed by nine contributions, by J. C. Heesterman (the "conundrum" of kingship and the brahman-king dyarchy in classical Sanskrit texts), Ronald Inden (the cyclic alternation between the king's ritual and political sovereignty according to early "medieval" Sanskrit texts, especially the Visnudharmottarapurana), Toshikazu Arai (the contrast between Jaina and Hindu kingship in Merutunga's fourteenth-century Jaina Prabandhacintamani), Burton Stein (the Pallavas' adoption of the Jaina ideal of the moral king as opposed to the warrior king of the Tamil puram poetry), Brenda E. F. Beck ("The Story of the Brothers," a contemporary Tamil oral epic of Coimbatore district), Peter Hardy (the early Delhi sultanate as a case study of "the growth of authority over a conquered political elite"), Norman P. Ziegler (the sixteenth-century chronicles on the Mughal-Rajput relations), J. F. Richards (the building of a cohesive and efficient service elite of Muslim nobility in the period of Akbar and Jahangir), and Steward Gordon (political reconstruction in the Muslim successor states of the eighteenth century, exemplified by the case of Dost Muhammad).

The purpose of the volume is to contribute to a reevaluation of monarchy in South Asia, because--with few...

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