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The Mythic King: Raja Krishnacandra and Early Modern Bengal

Bordeaux, Joel

Raja Krishnacandra Ray (1710-1782) was a relatively high-ranking aristocrat in eastern India who emerged as a local culture hero during the nineteenth century. He became renowned as Bengal's preeminent patron of Sanskrit and as an ardent champion of goddess worship who established the region's famous puja festivals, patronized major innovations in vernacular literature, and revived archaic Vedic sacrifices while pursuing an archconservative agenda as leader of Hindu society in the area. He is even alleged in certain circles to have orchestrated a conspiracy that birthed British colonialism in South Asia, and humorous tales starring his court jester are ubiquitous wherever Bengali is spoken. This dissertation explores the process of myth-making as it coalesced around Krishncandra in the early modern period, emphasizing the roles played by classical ideals of Hindu kingship and print culture as well as both colonial and nationalist historiography.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Religion
Thesis Advisors
McDermott, Rachel Fell
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 27, 2015
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