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This chapter engages the form and method of the biographical dictionary or tazkira. While historians have used biographical dictionaries to periodize the past, these texts themselves employ the affective power of their stories to elevate the lives they recount above their own time. The chapter retells stories of the Sufi saint, Madho Lal Hussain (d. 1599), who fell in love with a Brahmin boy, Madho. It does not find in their lifelong relationship signs of a more permissive time. Instead, the chapter recovers the reproach Shah Hussain courted by refusing to conform to the social and gender practices of his day. It also shows the respect both men received, and continue to receive, beyond their own times. Together, these retellings underscore the limits of the scholarly periodization of a homophilic past cut off from a homophobic present, and disclose the past's desire to make its own future.

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