Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Rethinking the early modern sant tradition: Sundardas and his poetic discourse

Wed, January 24, 2018 | Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118), UT Austin Campus

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Rethinking the early modern sant tradition: Sundardas and his poetic discourse

Dalpat Rajpurohit

Lecturer, Hindi-Urdu

Columbia University, New York 

The Sant tradition which includes such popular poet-saints as Kabir, Namdev, Raidas, and Dadudayal is often thought to be less concerned with poetic conventions in their writings. Instead their works are believed to be simplistic in style with the singular intention of easily communicating to a broad audience. Without denying the popular intentions of the sant community, I will introduce how sants began to employ rhetorical techniques in their poetry; a topic which has not received the same scholarly attention. The career of Dadudayal’s most prominent disciple Sundardas (c.1596-1689) provides an excellent opportunity to do precisely this. Sundardas relied on the financial support of both merchants and kings in Fatehpur, where he spent a majority of his life, composing texts. Due to the patronage he received from courtly circles, Sundardas adopted the textual models and literary conventions of the more refined rītī poetry. He embedded these stylistic traditions in his writings of didactic poetry for sant audiences. This talk will explore the religious and literary exchanges, courtly and devotional dialogues, as well as the intersection of the cosmopolitan and vernacular in early-modern Hindi literature.

 

 

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