Vijayanagara A Forgotten Empire of Poetesses
The study, Vijayanagara: A Forgotten Empire of Poetesses, is devoted to two works: the Madhuravijaya of Ga?gadevi and Varadambikapari?aya Campu by Tirumalamba.
The Madhuravijaya, on which the present book concentrates, is a fourteenth-century epic poem (mahakavya) preserved in nine cantos and written by Ga?gadevi, who belonged to the court of Kampana, the son of Bukka I (reigned: 1357 - 1377) of the Sangama Dynasty. This Sanskrit work, according to its title, “The Conquest of Madhura”, was written in order to celebrate Kampana's victory over the Madurai Sultanate. The assessment of its literary qualities is not the main objective of the present project. Historical epic poems depicted royal histories and they must have aspired to enter the domain of public political texts articulating kingly power. That is why it would be far more important to analyse and describe the historical context of the poems representing Vijayanagara culture. Comparison with other literary and inscriptional sources written at that time will help to achieve this aim.
It is hoped that the present study will bring to light some data concerning the culture of the Vijayangara Empire but most importantly depict the court poets and their patrons reflected in poems. However, as we are dealing with women's writing here it is expected that, despite the fact that Sanskrit classical literature (kavya) was highly conventionalised, it would be possible to recognize the views and feelings of Vijayangara royal women and perhaps understand what their position was, in the literary marketplace included.
LIDIA SUDYKA is Associate Professor in the Department of Indology at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland. She is one of the very few Polish specialists dealing with classical Sanskrit literature (kavya), including indigenous literary theory. In the scope of her interests are also selected aspects of the contemporary and historical forms of textual transmission and persistence of literary cultures in India.