This book about the classical Hindi tradition brings alive the world of Mughal-era poetry and court culture. Allison Busch draws on literary, social, and intellectual history to elucidate one of premodern India’s most significant textual traditions, documenting the rise of a new type of professional Hindi writer. She also offers insights into the motives that animated this literary community and its patrons.
She examines how riti literature served as an important aesthetic and political resource in the multicultural world of Mughal India, looking in detail at Keshavdas, whose seminal Rasikpriya (Handbook for Poetry Connoisseurs, 1591) was the catalyst for a new Hindi classicism.
The circulation of Hindi literature among diverse communities during this period is testament to a remarkable pluralism. Modern Hindi and Urdu, this book shows, cannot be understood as “Hindu” and “Muslim” languages.
Allison Busch (1969–2019) was Assistant Professor of Hindi and Indian Literature at Columbia University, New York. Her research centred on early modern Hindi literature and intellectual history, with a special interest in courtly India.