[INDOLOGY] Techniques of Blinding

Walter Slaje walter.slaje at gmail.com
Sun May 3 10:22:31 EDT 2020


Dear Madhav and Matthew,

first, thank you for alerting me to my "touching" connotation blunder, and
second, yes, blinding - especially of pretenders to the throne - was
certainly not uncommon. To the references already given by you to Ottoman
and Mughal practices we can furthermore add Humayun’s blinding of his
brother Mirza Kamran and Jahangir’s blinding of his first son Khusrau by
using the needle (in 1607). In this context it is perhaps interesting to
note that what Śrīvara has reported dates only from Sultanate Kashmir of
the 15th century. To my knowledge no earlier occurrences are documented in
the Rājataṅgiṇīs. Should we regard the practice of blinding with the needle
an Islamic import? How does this technique conform to the Sanskrit notion
of utpāṭana ("tearing out"). This is why I was asking for evidence of
techniques from other and ideally pre-Islamic sources.

Thanks again,
Walter
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