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Book explores life and times of king Krishnadevaraya


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The life of king Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara embodies all the vibrant dynamism of his era, a time that witnessed radical transformations in the social, cultural and political life of South Asia, and the world at large, says a new biography of the iconic ruler of south India.
Author Srinivas Reddy says his book "Raya: Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar" is just one telling of Krishnadevaraya's life and based on Portuguese and Persian chronicles, as well as many overlooked Telugu literary sources.
This is Juggernaut's first digital book release in the lockdown period. The ebook will be available on the Juggernaut app until the lockdown lasts and then the print version will be released after the bookshops and warehouses open up, the publishing house said.
Today, Krishnadevaraya is remembered not only because of his successes on the battlefield or the dazzling splendour of his empire, but also because he was India's first truly global leader, a compassionate and wise king and a celebrated poet in his own right.
Krishnadevaraya's two-decade reign from 1509 to 1529 falls in what scholars call the early modern period, a precipice of world history when new global networks were being forged - cultures merged and cultures clashed, but the vast lands of the earth were not yet claimed by European colonialism, the book says.
"Krishnadevaraya thus represents a critical transformation from ancient king to modern politician. And in that sense, he was India's first global leader. He had to confront very modern problems such as building international alliances and negotiating overseas trade deals while grappling with the challenges of globalism and multiculturalism," it says.
According to Reddy, the Deccan of his time was a place where Hindus and Muslims, north Indians and south Indians, Persians and Portuguese, all intermingled as they made their lives and fortunes.
"This cultural dynamism also inspired Krishnadevaraya to look back at India's past and reflect on her histories and traditions. He presided over an Indian renaissance, when ancient texts and traditions were reinvigorated and infused with a fresh and modern vitality," he says.
The book, Reddy says, is based on the available historical archives, but it listens with sympathy to the legends, songs and memories of people.
"I was first enchanted by Krishnadevaraya when I read the remarkable poetry of his Amuktamalyada. Although literary texts like these are often viewed as works of pure imagination, rarely if ever mined as historical sources, I believe a sensitive reading of such material gives us a unique window into a poet's mind, and in this case, the spirit of a great king," he adds.

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First Published: Apr 30 2020 | 3:42 PM IST

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