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Grant number like: FB-55612-11

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Valerie Stoker
Wright State University (Dayton, OH 45435-0001)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 6/30/2013

Polemics and Patronage: Vyasatirtha and the 16th-Century Vijayanagara Court

This project examines the life and work of a Hindu religious leader, Vyasatirtha (1460-1539). Vyasatirtha was head of the Madhva Brahmin sect and active at the court of the historically significant pre-colonial South Indian polity, the Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1565). Vyasatirtha's life and work reflect a concerted effort on the part of a Hindu sectarian leader to curry favor, both with the imperial powers and with the populace, to raise his sect's profile. Vyasatirtha accomplished this through a combination of polemical criticism of his rivals as well as through selective interaction with those rivals in the arena of popular religious practice. Using a combined approach of biographical, textual, and philosophical analysis to illuminate Vyasatirtha's life and thought, this project reassesses conventional understandings of religious identity in early modern South India.