The ruby in the dust
The Padmavat (1540 CE) by the Indian Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi is a classic of pre-modern Indian literature. It relates how the Rajput king Ratansen of Chitor finds and marries the beautiful princess Padmavati, and how the sultan Alauddin Khilji, on hearing of her beauty, besieges Chitor in a fruitless attempt to capture her. 'The Ruby in the Dust' presents a reading of Padmavat that challenges existing interpretations of Jayasis work and describes how its semantic polyphony reflects the poets role as mediator between his spiritual and worldly patrons. The perspective of De Bruijns reading corrects the identification with modern, nationalist notions of Hindu and Muslim identity that have dominated interpretations of this work until now, revealing a confluence of poetry and history that inspired the many retellings of the tale of Padmavati in Persian and other Indian languages made until the present day. Dr. Thomas de Bruijn is specialist op het gebied van vroege en moderne Zuid-Aziatische literatuur. Hij was felllow aan het International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) en doceerde aan INALCO, Paris.