Aurangzeb as Iconoclast? Vaishnava Accounts of the Krishna images' Exodus from Braj
This paper studies how Brajbhs Vaishnava narratives describe the role the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb played in the displacement of Krishna images from the Braj heartland in the 1660s and 1670s. While contemporary discourse frequently suggests that the emperor was a villain persecuting beloved Hindu deities, who in turn are victims forcibly moved from their original homeland, the early-modern vernacular narratives we consider here perceive these peregrinations in rather more complex ways. This article foregrounds the case of the best-known dispersed Krishna image: r Nthaj, a deity of the Vallabha-Sampradya, now residing in the Mewar area of Rajasthan. It analyses mostly the discourse of the r Nthaj k Prkatya-Vrt, or The story of the Appearance of r Nthaj', attributed to Vallabha's descendant, Hariry. The sectarian logic presents Aurangzeb as an ardent, if uncouth, devotee and r Nthaj as an autonomous agent, not a victim, but rather a victor.
Pauwels, Heidi, and Emilia Bachrach. 2018. "Aurangzeb as Iconoclast? Vaishnava Accounts of the Krishna images' Exodus from Braj". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 28(3): 485-508.
Cambridge University Press
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies