Universiteit Leiden

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Dialogic Network Presents: Two Lectures

Thursday 23 January 2020
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

A text dialoguing with Indo-Persian readers: the Gulzār-i ḥāl by Banwālīdās ‘Walī Rām’

Giuseppe Cappello

The centuries-old cultural interest of Muslim intellectuals for the Indic civilization led to the translation of Sanskrit texts into Arabic and Persian. The literary corpus generated from such translation movement covered a spectrum of subjects encompassing Hindu myths, epic, rituals, philosophy and other forms of local science. Focusing on late-16th-17th century Mughal India, emerged that Muslim nobles actively promoted Persian translations of Sanskrit texts for political and cultural reasons. Among these works emerges the Gulzār-i ḥāl by Banwālīdās “Walī Rām” (1662-63), which is the Persian adaptation of a famous Sanskrit drama, the Prabodhacandrodaya by Kṛṣṇamiśra (after 1060). Another interesting hypothesis is that Banwālīdās used as intermediate with the original Sanskrit a Braj Bhāṣā version by the poet Nanddās, entitled Prabodhacandrodaya Nāṭaka (1570). Banwālīdās was a scholar near to the Mughal heir apparent Dārā Šukūh (d. 1659) and a disciple of the Qādirī spiritual guide Mullā Šāh Badaḫšī (d. 1661). In this lecture, I will explain the intellectual procedures rendering the Gulzār-i ḥāl a source able to dialogue with the Indo-Persian readership. Banwālīdās followed different strategies to adapt the Advaita character of the source-text within an Islamic mystical frame inspired to the doctrine of Ibn ‘Arabī (d. 1240). The analysis of these strategies and their reading against the cultural backdrop of 17th century Mughal India, on the one hand, will help us to understand the reasons of composition of the Gulzār-i ḥāl. On the other, the investigation will show ways Hindu-Muslim metaphysical knowledge interacted in a text circulated among Indian intellectual circles of later times.


Giuseppe Cappello is a PhD in Asian, African and Mediterranean Studies at the Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale. He received the BA and MA at L’Orientale, where he studied both Hindi and Persian literature. This kind of educational path afforded him to win a PhD scholarship at the same institution by presenting a project focused on the Gulzār-i ḥāl by Banwālīdās. Parallel to the research activities, Dr. Cappello has delivered lectures in different universities to divulge the results of his studies. Now, he won a Gonda Fellowship to research at the International Institute for Asian Studies where he will continue the critical edition of the Gulzār-i ḥāl and start the analysis of other Persian mystical texts composed in 17th century Mughal India.

You and me, but mostly me… - Affiliation and alignment in Dutch interaction

Maaike van Naerssen

Each time someone makes a statement, they present their perception or evaluation of the topic of talk. They express their like or dislike of some object or event, their support or opposition. In other words, they take a positive or negative stance toward it. Subsequent, related, contributions not only react to the content of the earlier message, but to the associated stance taken by the other participant as well. Every interaction thus requires careful management of both the content discussed and the interpersonal relations between those involved. Stancetaking is not exclusive to discussions or debate – a context where you would expect people to defend a particular position.  On the contrary, it is a core activity in mundane, everyday activities as well. In this talk, I will discuss how Dutch speakers involved in informal interaction not only make an effort to align their stances, but also “one-up” the other to take the lead position (cf. Pomerantz 1984). With a single contribution, they thus establish affiliation between participants, while emphasizing their independent position on the matter.


Maaike van Naerssen obtained her PhD at Leiden University in 2018 with a dissertation called “Managing informal interaction. Stancetaking and alignment in Dutch and Indonesian.” Her research focuses on cross-cultural and intercultural communication, with a specific interest in the organization of informal interaction. She is involved in the BA International Studies, where she teaches courses about (intercultural) communication and in the area-specialization Europe.

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