Published November, 2017, UW Asian Languages and Literature Professor Heidi Pauwels has released her new book, Mobilizing Krishna’s World The Writings of Prince Savant Singh of Kishangarh.
Savant Singh (1694-1764), the Rajput prince of Kishangarh-Rupnagar, is famous for commissioning beautiful works of miniature painting and composing devotional (bhakti) poetry to Krishna under the nom de plume Nagaridas. After his throne was usurped by his younger brother, while Savant Singh was on the road seeking military alliances to regain his kingdom, he composed an autobiographical pilgrimage account, “The Pilgrim’s Bliss” (Tirthananda); a hagiographic anthology, “Garland of Anecdotes about Songs” (Pad-Prasang-mala); and a reworking of the story of Rama, “Garland of Rama’s Story” (Ram-Carit-Mala).
Through an examination of Savant Singh’s life and works, Heidi Pauwels explores the circulation of ideas and culture in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries in north India, revealing how Singh mobilized soldiers but also used myths, songs, and stories about saints in order to cope with his personal and political crisis. Mobilizing Krishna’s World allows us a peek behind the dreamlike paintings and refined poetry to glimpse a world of intrigue involving political and religious reform movements.
“A tour de force. Heidi Pauwels brings into focus the histories and relationships of the sectarian communities that lived, thrived, and competed in eighteenth-century north India.”
-John Stratton Hawley, author of A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement
“Pauwels takes us deep into the world of a renowned rasika or connoisseur of divine beauty and love who transcended sectarian debates to seek out joyful companionship in devotional feeling.”
-Molly Aitken, author of The Intelligence of Tradition in Rajput Court Painting