The King and the People: Sovereignty and Popular Politics in Mughal Delhi (Hardback)
  • The King and the People: Sovereignty and Popular Politics in Mughal Delhi (Hardback)
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The King and the People: Sovereignty and Popular Politics in Mughal Delhi (Hardback)

(author)
£64.00
Hardback 368 Pages / Published: 02/04/2020
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An original exploration of the relationship between the Mughal emperor and his subjects in the space of the Mughal empire's capital, The King and the People overturns an axiomatic assumption in the history of premodern South Asia: that the urban masses were merely passive objects of rule and remained unable to express collective political aspirations until the coming of colonialism. Set in the Mughal capital of Shahjahanabad (Delhi) from its founding to Nadir Shah's devastating invasion of 1739, this book instead shows how the trends and events in the second half of the seventeenth century inadvertently set the stage for the emergence of the people as actors in a regime which saw them only as the ruled. Drawing on a wealth of sources from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this book is the first comprehensive account of the dynamic relationship between ruling authority and its urban subjects in an era that until recently was seen as one of only decline. By placing ordinary people at the centre of its narrative, this wide-ranging work offers fresh perspectives on imperial sovereignty, on the rise of an urban culture of political satire, and on the place of the practices of faith in the work of everyday politics. It unveils a formerly invisible urban panorama of soldiers and poets, merchants and shoemakers, who lived and died in the shadow of the Red Fort during an era of both dizzying turmoil and heady possibilities. As much an account of politics and ideas as a history of the city and its people, this lively and lucid book will be equally of value for specialists, students, and lay readers interested in the lives and ambitions of the mass of ordinary inhabitants of India's historic capital three hundred years ago.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190070670
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 628 g
Dimensions: 235 x 160 x 31 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
I was deeply impressed by Abhishek Kaicker's The King and the People: Sovereignty and Popular Politics in Mughal Delhi (OUP). In this delightful, highly readable book, Kaicker offers up a pioneering study of popular politics during Mughal rule. You'll be amazed at how much shoemakers and coffee contributed to the making of sovereignty in early modern India! * BBC History Magazine's Books of the Year 2020 *
The King and the People is an exemplary exploration of the relationship between the Mughal emperor and his subjects in the empire's newly-built capital, Shahjahanbad. Spanning a period of a hundred years, Kaicker tells an enthralling story of how trends and events in the second half of the seventeenth century inadvertently set the stage for the emergence of the people as actors in a regime which saw them only as the ruled. A major intervention in the field of state sovereignty and popular politics. * Shahid Amin, Delhi University *
The King and the People offers an invaluable story of the intersection of popular politics and Mughal sovereignty in the city of Delhi between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Complex, insightful, and drawing on little known Persian-language materials, this book will inform and excite specialists of South Asian history as well as early-modern world historians. Engagingly written and filled with colorful characters and anecdotes, this book will also delight lay readers. * Munis D. Faruqui, Associate Professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley *
In describing how people woke from a powerful fantasy about the omnipotence and sacrality of Mughal rule to start asserting themselves as a political force in the eighteenth century, Abhishek Kaicker's extraordinary and beautifully crafted book conjures up the often cacophonous voices of Mughal Delhi, both Hindu and Muslim, as they worked out their complicated allegiances to sovereign, city, family, and faith. * Samira Sheikh, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies, Vanderbilt University *
A strikingly original and extraordinarily vivid account of the making and unmaking of Mughal sovereignty through centuries of power and poetry, regicide and revolution. Crucial to Kaicker's narrative is the emerging voice of ordinary people in Mughal history, one that both dooms and yet paradoxically preserves it for posterity. * Faisal Devji, Professor of Indian History, University of Oxford *

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