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Bruckner, Anne Feldhaus, Aditya Malik (eds.)
volume contains fourteen selected papers in English by the late G.-D.
Sontheimer and follow up on his earlier volume King of Hunters, Warriors, and
Shephers: Essays on Khandoba (Delhi 1997). The articles chosen for publication
here pan a wide thematic and temporal range and will be of interest to students
of Hinduism. The volume contains essays on the juristic personality of Hindu
deities, the history and religion of pastoral groups in the Deccan and the
interdependence of folk and scriptural religion. The articles reflect
Sontheimer’s multidisciplinary approach, combining the methodologies of
philosophy, anthropology, history, archaeology, epigraphy and iconography.
Three other articles, illustrated by over a hundred photographs, focus on hero
and sati-stones of the Deccan and Western India. Sonteimer identified the
worship of heroes and satis as an important element of folk religion. He
analyses the memorial stones in the context of other historical, social and
religious references, physical ecology and literary sources. Yet another set of
articles deals with aspects of oral literature. Two papers can be considered
building blocks for a model of Hinduism that was finally worked out in
‘Hinduism- The Five Components and their Interaction’ (1989), the article which
concludes the present volume.
Gunther-Dietz Sontheimer died in 1992. He was Professor of
Indian Religion and Philosophy at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg
Heidrun Bruckner is Professor of Indology and South
Asian Studies at the University of Wurzurg.
Anne Feldhaus is Professor of Religious Studies at
Arizona State University.
Aditya Malik is Senior Lecturer in the Department
of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Canterbury in
Christchurch, New Zealand.
based on the field survey, is about a village society in Bengal, and its
relationships with Hindu kingship on the ritual organization of an old temple.
The village temple is well known for being one o 51 sakta-pithas scattered over
the Indian subcontinent. Sakta-pithas mean centres of Sakti worship or seat of
the goddess Sati (another name of the goddess Durga) in Bengali, where the body
parts of the goddess Sati fell to earth after she had been cut to pieces by the
discus of Vishnu. Every place believed to have a Sati’s limb became the centre
for the worship of the sakti-cult, or an
abode of the goddess (pritha-sthan).
temple prospered under the patronage of Maharaja Kirtichand (1702-40) of
Bardhaman Raj, though the temple history is fr older than this. At the
beginning of British rule, the Royal family of Bardhaman became the largest
zamindar in Bengal. They exercised great authority over the local society which
is still observable in the various ritual processes.
organization consists of the ritual posts and roles assigned to the various
castes, lineages and households, which are fundamentally based on the kinship
relations in the village. At the same time, the temple organization is founded
on the service tenures granted by the Bardhaman Raj since the early eighteenth
century, and even the village untouchables are endowed with indispensable roles
in the temple ritual as servants of the goddess. The analysis reveals the
strong influences of the indigenous polity over ordinary life in the rural
Masahiko Togawa is Associate Professor of Cultural
Anthropology at Hiroshima University, Japan.
This volume includes essays
on a wide range of themes, marked by various distinct approaches to the study
of connections between religion and warfare in Indian history from earliest
times to the present. Such a collection could possibly cause some
consternations, even as editors began with the basic premise that some of the
critical questions be discussed as freely as possible, despite constraints of
ideological barriers limiting the fields of inquiry.
Written by a mix of veterans
as well as young scholars—Raziuddin Aquil, Richard B. Barnett, C.A. Bayly,
Torkel Brekke, Richard M. Eaton, Michael H. Fisher, Pratyay Nath, Kaushik Roy,
Arupjyoti Saikia, and Sandhya Sharma—the essays will provoke some debate on
what all could possibly be undertaken as legitimate historical exercise and
whether it is impossible to write a professional and non-partisan history of
such politically sensitive issues as the entanglement of religion and warfare
in Indian history and society.
Raziuddin Aquil: is Associate
Prof. in the Dept. of History, University of Delhi.
Kaushik Roy: is Senior
Researcher at the Centre for the Studies of Civil War (CSCW) at International
Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), Norway, and Reader, in the Dept. of
History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
ISBN 978-81-7304-958-3 2012 340p. Rs.995/
World: Environment, Gender, Ritual and Myth
By- Vijay Nath
The present book is a collection of
essays written at different points of time and published in reputed journals
and books. What blends them together is the use of the primary source material
in the form of a vast compendium of Puranic literature (backed by epigraphic,
archaeological and anthropological data), which has been utilized to arrive at
conclusions pertaining to changes in Indian society and religion during the
later half of first millennium AD when the major Puranas were being compiled.
The period represents a watershed in Indian history, for it marked a transition
from a commercially viable economic order to a closed feudal economy. The
social and religious dimensions of the brahmanical system were particularly
impacted by such a transition resulting in some innovative forms of
It has been the purpose behind most of the present articles to
reassess and utilize the available
Puranic evidence for getting fresh insights into the rationale and precise
nature of these changes. The key areas of thrust in these articles are changes
in material culture, awareness and mode of dealing with environmental issues,
gender based differentiation, recent ritual formations such as Mahadana and
Tirthas as well as the utilization of myth as a mode of expressing
Vijay Nath, retired as Associate
Professor, Department of History, Jankidevi Memorial College, University of
2009 310p. Rs.775/ pounds 50
The Infinite Story: The Past and
Present of the Ramayanas in Hindi
By- Danuta Stasik
The story of the Ramayana is
well-known in all Indian language and Hindi literature is no exception to it.
It has a long and rich tradition based on Ramkatha that through the centuries
has challenged many authors.
The main aim of this work is
twofold. Firstly, it seeks to analyse the development of the Ramayana tradition
in Hindi literature from the perspective of its most important achievements
against their historical background and socio-cultural context. Secondly, it
attempts to examine the relationship between the story, i.e. Ramakatha, as told
by different authors, and Ram, the protagonist of the Ramayana, who functions
as a cultural hero and serves as model of right behaviour for the others and at
the same time appears to be one of the most important factors in the continuing
popularity of the tradition.
The volume opens with an
introduction that outlines the diversity of the Ramayana tradition in India,
beginning with the first known Ramayana ascribed to the sage Valimiki. It
discusses later developments in Sanskrit and vernacular literatures, as
exemplified by their best achievements originating from Hindu, Buddhist and
Jaina contexts. It also considers the implications of all these works for the
unfolding of the tradition in Hindi. In its closing portion, the volume
provides an overview of the growth of the cult of Ram in north India.
This is an indispensable volume
for scholars of Hinduism and north Indian cultural life.
Danuta Stasik is Professor
and Head of the Department of South Asian Studies. Faculty of Oriental Studies,
University of Warsaw. Her research interests are the Ramayana tradition in
Hindi literature, Rambhakti in north India and the Indian diaspora in the West
(particularly as represented in Hindi writing).
She is the author and co-author
of seven books, among them: Image of the West in Hindi Literature (1994);
a grammar of the Hindi language (in Polish, 2nd edn 2008); a
textbook of Hindi in two parts (in Polish, part 1 – 4th edn 2007 and
part 2 – 2nd edn 2008), as well as of more than fifty articles
published in different books and journals in Polish, English and Hindi. She is
also Editor-in-Chief of a Polish journal Przeglad Orientalistyczny (Oriental
2009 334p. Rs.995/ pounds 50
Politics: Performative Nation-building and Religion in Modern India
By- Clemens Six
and Rekha Kamath Rajan
How does one
explain the historical processes through which abstract ideas such as the idea
of a nation become a motivation for mass mobilization, political
re-organization and even violence on a large scale? This book seeks to find
answers to this question in the context of India’s modern history during its
long eventful twentieth century.
the early stages of Gandhian mass mobilization after the First World War and
subsequently proceeding to more recent examples of Hindu-nationalism, the book
analyses ‘spectacular politics’ as a distinct form of political communication.
It thereby seeks to understand not only how the idea of the nation turned into
the most powerful political idea in modern India, but also how political
communication and mobilization work in an extremely heterogeneous and
fragmented society. As Indian society becomes more and more involved
globalization and internationalization, many seemingly self-evident paradigms
of India’s self-understanding such as its national identity, democracy, or
secularism are once again subject to intense political controversies and social
example of religiously motivated terrorism illustrates the profound ambivalence
of performative politics between inclusive, even participatory effects on the
one hand and destabilizing, even destructive consequences of those political
discourses, which emphasize their form as much as their content.
Clemens Six is Assisstant Professor at the Department of History, University of
Rajan is Professor of German, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi, India.
264p. Rs.725/ pounds 45