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Forest King in the Mirror of Courtly Culture


· Raphaël Rousseleau University of Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)


07/29 | 11:20-11:40 UTC+2/CEST


In this paper, I intend to show that some long-standing derogatory clichés about adivasi can be traced from the depiction of “forest kings” in precolonial sources. Drawing notably from translations of Bana’s Kâdambarî and following medieval sources like Somadeva’s Kathasaritasgara and Dandin’s Dasakumaracarita, I will show that the Forest dwellers (sabara, nishada) are depicted not so much in contrast with Brahmanic ideals than in relation to courtly culture (relying on Daud Ali 2006). Thus, they appear as inverted reflections of the perfect prince ideals; in short, as rude, violent incarnations of Indian ‘savagery’.