A millenarian sultan and a teacher to the world: New directions in early modern Indo-Muslim kingship

The language of kingship in early modern India has often been discussed as an issue of power and spiritual authority with a millenarian flavour. Multiple origins were grouped to create a composite yet coherent idea of kingship that linked the local with Islamicate tropes, casting kings in the mould of Solomonic rulers. This representation, however, does not account for all aspects of Indo-Muslim kingship. Focusing on imperial as well as Perso-Islamic and Turco-Mongol concepts, much of the historiography underplays the role of localised, Indic-infused concepts. This preliminary paper asks to examine these often overlooked aspects of Indo-Muslim kingship. Focusing on Ibrahim Adil Shah II of Bijapur (r. 1580-1627), I argue that additional elements took part in shaping his royal image. These ranged from Indic concepts and symbols of rulership to artistic expression and affective projection. Identifying these aspects, I suggest, will shed new light on royal practices and their public display in Bijapur and beyond. By that, the paper will suggest possible directions towards a more nuanced understanding of this central institution.