Bhakti and India’s Early Modernity
Rabi Prakash
SUNDAR KE SWAPN: ARAMBHIK ADHUNIKTA, DADUPANTH AUR SUNDARDAS KI KAVITA by Dalpat Singh Rajpurohit Rajkamal Prakashan, 2022, 240 pp., ₹ 695.00
June 2023, volume 47, No 6

Dalpat Singh Rajpurohit’s book is primarily about the relatively lesser-known religious-literary figure, Sundardas (1596-1689 CE), a bhakti sant with primary allegiance to Dadupanth. For the author, however, Sundardas is not just a sectarian figure who should be viewed only within the boundaries of bhakti, but rather a momentous figure in the emerging vernacular intellectual culture and early modernity in 17th century Mughal India.  And thus, through layered accounts of Sundardas’s life and works, Rajpurohit seeks to unravel the ‘muddle of modernity’ and its entangled relationship with the historiography of Hindi literary culture. A dominant strand in the historiography of Hindi literary culture has been obsessively concerned with creating neat periodization of progress in Hindi literary trends to mark the break between modern literary sensibility and pre-modern literary ambiguity.

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