Author: Sumanta Banerjee
Publisher: Seagull Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170461626
Taking its title from Karl Marx's description of religion as the 'general theory of this world..and its logic in a popular form', this volume of essays explores the hidden logic behind the popular construction of certain myths, beliefs about godlings and spirits, and cross-religious cults, viewing them as popular inventions attempting to make sense of human existence in the face of an overwhelming and often hostile environment.
These religious manifestations of popular logic - ranging from Kali to Radha-Krishan to Satyapir to Tantrik practice - are fluid, ever-changing, and always innovative. They represent an alternative stream running parallel to, and often challenging, the more strictly structured beliefs and practices of the Indian religious establishment, whether Hindu, Islamic or Christian.
The essays in the present collection are an attempt to rediscover some of the important aspects of this multi-faceted phenomenon of popular religion in the context of nineteenth century Bengal, including tracing the impact of urbanization, colonialism, and nationalism. They also try to re-examine the relevance of some of the beliefs and rituals that have flowed down from that past and continue to survive in Bengali society today.
The Changing Role of Kali
in the Bengali Popular Psyche
The 'Pir' and the 'Narayana -
A syncretistic Accommodation in Bengali Ritual and Folklore
Radha and Krishna
in a Colonial Metropolis
From Aulchand to Sati-Ma - the
Institutionalization of the Karta-Bhaja Sect in Nineteenth-Century Bengal
Bamakshyapa of Tarapeeth - The
Dramatist of Popular Angst
The Ambiguities of Bharat Mata:
A Bhadralok Goddess in Colonial Bengal