Between Temple and Court: The Pushti Marga in Mewar at the 20th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (ECMSAS) in Manchester, UK, July 8-11,, 2008
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My presentation will be on a 17th century text called the Srinathji Prakatya ki Varta (SPKV), a Braj Bhasha text which deals with the establishment of the Pushti Marga in Mewar under the patronage of Raj Singh who gave the community shelter after it fled from Braj during the Jat Rebellion. The SPKV, however, is more about the legitimation of religious and political authority. It is about the legitimation of the the relationship between the Mewar royal house and the Pushti Marga. It is equally about the control of the Srinathji image that was housed in Nathdvara. The tilkayats who had possession of the image encountered frequent challenges from within the community by other maharajas who sought to have access to the image. These challenges from within the community to the authority of the Nathdvara tilkayats at times would entail physical force and threats of violence. Consequently, the text has to find some sort of justification for these events and explain exactly why the tilkayat should still have possession of the Srinathji image in the face of such opposition. In order to achieve this goal, the text tends to either manipulate historical events and provide elaborate theological explanations to explain what at times are embarassing events in the history of the community.