22 October, 2012

Negotiating The Divine: Temple Religion and Temple Politics in Contemporary Urban India

Negotiating The Divine: Temple Religion and Temple Politics in Contemporary Urban India

By- Ursula Rao

The book investigates contemporary discourses on religion in urban India through the prism of Hindu temples. It is based on the material collected during extensive fieldwork in Bhopal between 1996 and 1998. Presenting and interpreting data of the history as well as the ritual, social and political life of two central goddesses temples, the author presents the first comprehensive study of Hindu temples as socio-religious institutions in the urban environment of contemporary India. She also addresses several issues of general importance: questions of changes in community life in urban India with reference to caste and religious communities; the role of traditions in a fast changing cultural environment; the problematic relationship between religion and politics in the political life of India and a critical assessment of discussions of subalternity and resistance. These discussions appear in a new light in a study that avoids the classical dichotomies of politics and religion, tradition and modernity, elite and subaltern. In a detailed analysis of the religious/political practices and reflexive processes of a broad range of people the author shows how discourses are interconnected and dynamically re-created in practice.

Ursula Rao is lecturer in Anthropology at the University Halle, Germany. Her areas of interests are: ritual studies, the relationship bween religion and politics and the anthropology of cultural performances. Most recently she has started a study on the production of news through journalistic practices, with field research located in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

ISBN  81-7304-515-1   2003   186p.   Rs.500/Pounds 45

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