Raja Nal and the goddess: The North Indian epic dhola in performance

Susan Snow Wadley

Research output: Book/Report/EssayBook

17 Scopus citations


"... [T]ells a wonderful story, one much loved in northern India.... fills an important lacuna in the work on oral epic." -- Lindsey Harlan. Dhola is an oral epic performed primarily by lower-caste, usually illiterate, men in the Braj region of northern India. The story of Raja Nal, "a king who does not know he is a king," this vast epic portrays a world of complex social relationships involving changing and mistaken identities, goddesses, powerful women, magicians, and humans of many different castes. In this comprehensive study and first extended English translation based on multiple oral versions, Susan Snow Wadley argues that the story explores the nature of humanity while also challenging commonplace assumptions about Hinduism, gender, and caste. She examines the relationship between oral and written texts and the influence of individual performance styles alongside a lyrical translation of the work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIndiana University Press
Number of pages242
ISBN (Print)9780253344786
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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