Siddhicandra's Bhanucandraganicarita (Biography of Bhanucandra, ca. 1620s) enacts a stunning development in Sanskrit historiography. The text's title bills it as a biography of a Jain mendicant, a standard genre of Jain-authored works. But, in fact, the text treats cross-cultural relations between Jain ascetics and Mughal elites as its main subject. It is arguably the first Sanskrit text to focus specifically and exclusively on Mughal contexts. This literary and historiographical choice is all the more noteworthy because of the text's carefully delineated approach to negotiating between Sanskrit, Jain, and Mughal cultural norms. Throughout the work Siddhicandra depicts the Mughals as steeped in Sanskrit literary culture while showing himself to be fluent in a Persianate cultural zone. In the tradition of Sanskrit writing on Indo-Persian political figures, which was several hundred years old by the early seventeenth century, the Bhanucandraganicarita marks a moment when the Mughals ceased to be other in any identifiable way, except as offering a new cultural context for Jain self-expression.

You do not currently have access to this content.