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Draupadi Among Rajputs, Muslims and Dalits

Alf Hiltebeitel (Author)
Synopsis Throughout India and Southeast Asia, ancient classical epics—the Mahabharata and the Ramayana—continue to exert considerable cultural influence. Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims and Dalits offers an unprecedented exploration into South Asia’s regional epic traditions. Using his own fieldwork as a starting point, Alf Hiltebeitel analyses how the oral tradition of the South Indian cult of the Goddess Draupadi and five regional martial oral epics compare with one another and tie in with the Sanskrit epics. Drawing on literary theory and cultural studies, Hiltebeitel argues that the Draupadi cult, Mahabharata and the five oral epics share subtexts of regionality, the peripherality of ‘little kingdoms’ landed dominant classes, and the Goddess of the land. He reveals how the traditional plots are twisted and classical characters reshaped to reflect local history and religion and, in doing so, sheds new light on the intertwining oral traditions of medieval Rajput military culture, Dalits (‘former untouchables’), and Muslims. Breathtaking in scope, this work is indispensable for those seeking a deeper understanding of South Asia’s Hindu and Muslim traditions.
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About the author

Alf Hiltebeitel

Alf Hiltebeitel is professor of religion and director of the Human Sciences Program at the George Washington University. He is the author and editor of numerous books including Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims and Dalits : Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics

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Bibliographic information

Title Draupadi Among Rajputs, Muslims and Dalits
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195655044
length xiv+560p.