Modern South Asian Studies seminar MT20: Week 5: Rajput Loyalties in the Mughal Age

Conveners: Imre Bangha, Nayanika Mathur, Polly O'Hanlon, and Kate Sullivan de Estrada

Speaker: Professor Cynthia Talbot (University of Texas at Austin)


What did loyalty mean to warriors in the rapidly changing political landscape of early modern North India? I look at three case studies from the late sixteenth century in which elite warriors had to make hard choices about their competing loyalties to family members and to their imperial overlord. The Rajputs of Bikaner, Bundi, and Udaipur all faced situations in which brothers and sons disagreed about submitting to Mughal authority and could be forced to fight each other as a consequence. The demands of new political allegiances thus came into conflict with older Rajput values derived from the heavily kin-based polities of the past, in an age before patriotism. This is part of a larger project that studies the martial sentiments found in Rajput narratives, as a foray into the history of emotions.   



Cynthia Talbot is Professor of History & Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is author of Precolonial India in Practice (a study of temple inscriptions from medieval Andhra) and The Last Hindu Emperor (on historical traditions relating to Prithviraj Chauhan), as well as co-author with Catherine B. Asher of India before Europe (a survey of South Asian history from 1200 to 1750). Her current research explores Mughal-era Rajput narratives as historiography and as reservoirs of martial sentiments.

Pre-registration required. Please visit to book either for this seminar or the whole series.