Writing Self, Writing Empire: Chandar Bhan Brahman and the Cultural World of the Indo-Persian State Secretary*
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Associate Professor, Department of History, Northwestern University
This book examines the life, career, and writings of Chandar Bhan Brahman, a Mughal state secretary who was also one of the great Indo-Persian poets and prose stylists of early modern South Asia. Chandar Bhan was a high-caste Hindu whose life spanned the reigns of four emperors—Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir—whose courts dominated the culture and politics of the subcontinent at the height of Mughal imperial power, territorial reach, and global influence. His experience bears vivid testimony to the pluralistic atmosphere of the Mughal court, particularly during the reign of Shah Jahan. His works also touch a range of topics central to contemporary understandings of the court’s literary, mystical, administrative, and ethical cultures, while his letters and autobiographical writings provide valuable examples of early modern Indo-Persian modes of self-fashioning.
* Only for sale in South Asia