Refashioning Kingship in Manipur in the 18th Century: The Politico-Religious Projects of Garibniwaz and Bhāgyacandra

In the 18th century, Manipuri kings Garibniwaz and Bhāgyacandra sought to transform the indigenous religious landscape to absorb Vaiṣṇava beliefs and practices due to increasing contact with other Indian states and hostilities with Burma. Garibniwaz aligned himself with the Rāmānandī Vaiṣṇava tradit...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Religions
Main Author: Sebastian, Rodney
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: MDPI 2021
In: Religions
Year: 2021, Volume: 12, Issue: 12
Further subjects:B Meitei
B Manipur
B Hindus
B Vaiṣṇava
B Kingship
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Summary:In the 18th century, Manipuri kings Garibniwaz and Bhāgyacandra sought to transform the indigenous religious landscape to absorb Vaiṣṇava beliefs and practices due to increasing contact with other Indian states and hostilities with Burma. Garibniwaz aligned himself with the Rāmānandī Vaiṣṇava tradition because he saw it as an effective way to increase his military prowess. He refashioned kingship to portray himself as a warrior king and a devotee of Rāmā. However, he met with resistance from other royal elites for oppressing the indigenous religious practices of Manipur. In contrast, Bhāgyacandra aligned himself with the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition and established his sovereignty on the basis of being a devotee of Krishna and patron of the indigenous gods. By carefully curating a hybrid religious schema, he was able to refashion Manipur kingship for generations to come. I compare the two strategies of negotiating transculturation and sociopolitical transformation and show that the latter approach proved more successful in the long term because it allowed a more organic unification of religious and political factions.
ISSN:2077-1444
Contains:Enthalten in: Religions
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.3390/rel12121041