© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/156852009X434337 Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 52 (2009) 187-228 brill.nl/jesh Th e Saint, the Warlord, and the Emperor: Discourses of Braj Bhakti and Bundelā Loyalty Heidi Pauwels * Abstract Th is paper investigates the way in which bhakti was used by upwardly mobile Rajputs in their struggle to come to terms with their role as local powerbrokers for the centralizing imperial regime. I will present the case study of the Bundelās in the mid-sixteenth century. I will study their complex relationships with the newly established Mughals and their expressions of devotion, particularly in connection with the newly (re)established pilgrim- age center of Braj. Th e paper documents a shift from an older form of religion to bhakti under Madhukar Shāh (r. 1552-92). Th is change may well have functioned as a bid for local legitimacy, an assertion of regional independence vis à vis the Mughal empire, and was directed against its imperial rhetoric. However, this study also shows that although Madhu- kar promotes bhakti for his own purpose, the bhakti saint-advisor of the king explicitly resists such socio-political functionality of the religious insights he has to
Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2009
Keywords: BHAKTI; AKBAR; ORCHHA; RAJPUTIZATION; MEDIEVAL INDIAN HISTORY
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