Accepted Paper:

Metaphisical and strategical legitimation for peace and war in the Vijñānagītā by Keśavdās   


Stefania Cavaliere (University of Naples "L'Orientale" )

Paper short abstract:

In the literary framework of the Prabodhacandrodaya tradition, my paper aims to illustrate some dynamics of peace and war both as political strategies the virtuous king has to follow to achieve a fruitful rule and as a moral conduct to liberate his soul

Paper long abstract:

Notwithstanding its theoretical complexity, the versatility of the the allegorical war between Mahāmoha and Viveka allowed it to adapt to completely different religious, historical and linguistic traditions. The Vijñānagītā by Keśavdās is a Hindi adaptation of the Prabodhacandrodaya drama reflecting the historical and cultural background of 17th century North India. Stressing on the soteriological power of its content, this text acquired a tremendous momentum and became a kind of moral vademecum for the audience, ranging from classical purāṇic lore to treatises on morals for the sake of the king's education. Interpreted within the framework of classical treatises on nītiśāstra, the ideals of peace and war expounded in this story assume a practical application in the legitimation of the political and moral autority. Along with their metaphisical implications, they are utilitarianly employed in the narration of power and this allegorical battle becomes a lens to unveil some historical events belonging to the Indo-Islamicate milieu against which it is set.

Panel P24
Secular knowledge systems in early modern literary cultures