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Beyond power and praise : Nayacandra Sūri’s tragic-historical epic Hammīra-mahākāvya as a subversive response to hero glorification in early Tomar Gwalior

Sander Hens (UGent)
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Abstract
This article offers a reappraisal of Nayacandra Suri's Sanskrit epic, Hammira-mahakavya, narrating the heroic but unsuccessful struggle of the warrior-king Hammira Chauhan of Ranthambhor (r.1283-1301) against the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji (r. 1296-1316). Created at the Gwalior court of Virama Tomar (r.1401-1423), this historical court epic stands out in the history of Sanskrit poetry for its tragic ending. Challenging conventional socio-political readings of the epic as a eulogy of an admirable Hindu/Rajput/ksatriya hero, this article foregrounds the poem's playful and tragic literary logic, arguing that it can be read as a subversive response to more overtly heroic presentations of Hammira elsewhere. As such, it reveals the poet's underlying concern to provoke an estrangement from the ideals of 'Rajputizing' elites and their obsession with heroic pride and fame. I show this to be the case through a literary analysis of Nayacandra's poem against its specific historical background, namely the emergence of an independent Tomar kingdom in Gwalior.
Keywords
Hammira, Gwalior, historical poetry, Rajput literature, tragedy, playfulness, heroic masculinity

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MLA
Hens, Sander. “Beyond Power and Praise : Nayacandra Sūri’s Tragic-Historical Epic Hammīra-Mahākāvya as a Subversive Response to Hero Glorification in Early Tomar Gwalior.” SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE, vol. 11, no. 1, 2020, pp. 40–59, doi:10.1080/19472498.2020.1719751.
APA
Hens, S. (2020). Beyond power and praise : Nayacandra Sūri’s tragic-historical epic Hammīra-mahākāvya as a subversive response to hero glorification in early Tomar Gwalior. SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE, 11(1), 40–59. https://doi.org/10.1080/19472498.2020.1719751
Chicago author-date
Hens, Sander. 2020. “Beyond Power and Praise : Nayacandra Sūri’s Tragic-Historical Epic Hammīra-Mahākāvya as a Subversive Response to Hero Glorification in Early Tomar Gwalior.” SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE 11 (1): 40–59. https://doi.org/10.1080/19472498.2020.1719751.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Hens, Sander. 2020. “Beyond Power and Praise : Nayacandra Sūri’s Tragic-Historical Epic Hammīra-Mahākāvya as a Subversive Response to Hero Glorification in Early Tomar Gwalior.” SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE 11 (1): 40–59. doi:10.1080/19472498.2020.1719751.
Vancouver
1.
Hens S. Beyond power and praise : Nayacandra Sūri’s tragic-historical epic Hammīra-mahākāvya as a subversive response to hero glorification in early Tomar Gwalior. SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE. 2020;11(1):40–59.
IEEE
[1]
S. Hens, “Beyond power and praise : Nayacandra Sūri’s tragic-historical epic Hammīra-mahākāvya as a subversive response to hero glorification in early Tomar Gwalior,” SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 40–59, 2020.
@article{8646866,
  abstract     = {{This article offers a reappraisal of Nayacandra Suri's Sanskrit epic, Hammira-mahakavya, narrating the heroic but unsuccessful struggle of the warrior-king Hammira Chauhan of Ranthambhor (r.1283-1301) against the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji (r. 1296-1316). Created at the Gwalior court of Virama Tomar (r.1401-1423), this historical court epic stands out in the history of Sanskrit poetry for its tragic ending. Challenging conventional socio-political readings of the epic as a eulogy of an admirable Hindu/Rajput/ksatriya hero, this article foregrounds the poem's playful and tragic literary logic, arguing that it can be read as a subversive response to more overtly heroic presentations of Hammira elsewhere. As such, it reveals the poet's underlying concern to provoke an estrangement from the ideals of 'Rajputizing' elites and their obsession with heroic pride and fame. I show this to be the case through a literary analysis of Nayacandra's poem against its specific historical background, namely the emergence of an independent Tomar kingdom in Gwalior.}},
  author       = {{Hens, Sander}},
  issn         = {{1947-2498}},
  journal      = {{SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE}},
  keywords     = {{Hammira,Gwalior,historical poetry,Rajput literature,tragedy,playfulness,heroic masculinity}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{1}},
  pages        = {{40--59}},
  title        = {{Beyond power and praise : Nayacandra Sūri’s tragic-historical epic Hammīra-mahākāvya as a subversive response to hero glorification in early Tomar Gwalior}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19472498.2020.1719751}},
  volume       = {{11}},
  year         = {{2020}},
}

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