New book by Professor Heidi Rika Maria Pauwels


Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century India: Poetry and Paintings from Kishangarh

Professor Heidi Rika Maria Pauwels' book is titled Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century India: Poetry and Paintings from Kishangarh. This book studies the hybrid intellectual culture of the eighteenth-century late-Mughal India, tracing the circulation of poetic and art styles between cosmopolitan Delhi and provincial centers.

 It presents a case study of the Rajput principality of Kishangarh, which is famous for its paintings, but was also an important literary center.  Highlighted are the works of Savant Singh (1699-1764), alias Nagaridas, who was a prolific poet in Old Hindi and commissioned Kishangarhi paintings to illustrate his own devotional poetry to Krishna.

Using newly discovered manuscript sources, this book highlights the interface between art and literature.  Taking as its point of departure calligraphies of Nagaridas’ poetry in Rekhta, now known as early Urdu, this study provides a first chapter in the as yet unwritten history of the reception of early Urdu in non-Muslim provincial milieus.  It demonstrates the exchange of both painting and poetry between cultural communities before the hardening into ‘Hindu-Hindi’ and ‘Muslim-Urdu’.