ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Jān’s rhetorical strategies in Kāyam Khā̃ Rāso and other poems


Tekiela Radoslaw - University of Warsaw, Doctoral School of Humanities, Warszawa, Poland


31 – The Forms, Genres and Languages of Early Modern Indian Philosophy


 Kāyam Khā̃ Rāso (1634; additional text added before 1664) is a Braj Bhāṣā genealogical poem exploring the deeds of the eponymous Kāyam Khānī dynasty of Fatehpur in Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Its author, Nyāmāt Ālī Khān (known more widely as poet Jān), was a member of this dynasty himself.

Kāyam Khā̃ Rāso’s audience was not limited to Kāyam Khānī but also included others inhabitants of Shekwawati. This cultural milieu was predominantly Hindu. It is especially notable because while Jān wrote in Braj Bhāṣā and his aesthetic are typical of Piṅgal poetry, he also did not shy away from making a number of points deeply rooted in Islamic (especially Sufi) thought. Some of these Islamic influences are obscured and could be overlooked others are pretty evident. Taken together, these points form a significant portion of the ideological fundament of Jān’s work. Once these points are identified a question arises: how was it that these points achieved tellability?

This paper will explore various ways which Jān employed to make his ideological message resonate with Rajasthan audiences. The paper will focus on fragments of Rāso’s and supplement them with others poems of Jān to show wider approach to making ideologically charged fragments palpable for Hindu millieu.