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In 1924, Raihana Tyabji composed a small book of Bhakti devotionalism entitled The Heart of a Gopi. This chapter considers how far it may be read as a kind of personal narrative, an evocation of the self. Does the referencing of an established narrative tradition give the author’s feelings and experiences, especially as a Muslim woman devoted to Krishna at a time of increasing religious rigidity and growing communal strife, a validity not achievable otherwise? And, if so, how do we separate the author’s “self” from the literary conventions—in this case, the gopi tradition—that structure the story? In the...

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