Please join us for this exciting event!
The Empire and Modernity Working Group, the UIC Institute for the Humanities, and the Global Asian Studies Program present
Daniel Majchrowicz, Asian Languages and Culture, Northwestern University
March 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, lower level Stevenson Hall (UIC)
"The Case of the Vanishing Maharaja: Travel Literature and Princely Politics in South Asia"
In 1851, the teenage maharaja of Indore, Tukoji Holkar, went missing under suspicious circumstances. Some said his regent wanted him out of the picture. Others speculated that he’d been kidnapped and taken to Calcutta by nefarious colonial agents. In reality, he’d disguised himself as an Iranian tourist and slipped away to make a clandestine tour of of North India. On his return, Holkar did something that was doubly unprecedented for a Persian-speaking court of his time: he wrote a travelogue - and he wrote it in Urdu. Following his lead, other princes across the region soon began to write their own, increasingly elaborate travel accounts. By the end of the 19th century, writing about travel had become a well established aspect of princely praxis. Focusing on two competing Urdu travel narratives from 1851, this talk will explore why the princely travel account emerged at this particular historical juncture, sparking new literary practices and marking a decisive shift in the balance of linguistic power in the region.
Daniel Majchrowicz is Assistant Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture in the Asian Languages and Culture Department at Northwestern University. His current research project is a history of the idea of travel in South Asia as if found expression in Urdu, Hindi and Indo-Persian travel writing of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Empire and Modernity Working Group organizers: Sunil Agnani, English and History / Nasser Mufti, English