Nuns, Yoginis, Saints and Singers - Women Renunciation in South Asia

Nuns, Yoginis, Saints and Singers - Women Renunciation in South Asia

Product ID: 23494

Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Shipping Note: This item usually arrives at your doorstep in 10-15 days

Author: Meena Khandelwal
Several Contributors/
Translator(s)/ Edito: Meena/Sondra L. Hausner / Ann Grodzins Gold
Publisher: Kali/Zubaan
Year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 375
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788189884345


Vividly showcasing new ethnographic research on extraordinary South Asian women who have abandoned worldly life for spiritual pursuits, the contributors to this collection offer feminist insights into Jain, Buddhist, Hindu, Baul, and Bon ascetic traditions. With intimate narratives documenting contemporary women’s experiences, the book explores the lives of women who have renounced involvements such as sex, financial security, kin, and the pursuit of beauty, in favour of higher spiritual ideals.

The authors consider the hardships endured by women and warn against any easy romanticization of their lives. At the same time, the book offers a refreshing antidote to the relentless image of South Asian women as dependent on male kin and defined by their sexual and procreative roles.

“This book provides a series of fascinating, lively ethnographic studies of South Asian women who reject the normative roles of wife and mother – and then sometimes conform to them after all. Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Muslim, living in north India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, these women attempt to transcend their roles, their sexuality, or even their bodily existence. Their very different, very individual lives represent a much more varied array of possibilities for South Asian women than almost anyone has been aware of. The book will be a wonderful source for courses on south Asian culture, gender studies, and religious studies, as well as for anyone who simply wants to think about the many different ways in which human beings can live.’
-Anne Feeldhous
Foundation professor of Religious studies, Arizona State University


List of illustrations


Introduction: Women on Their Own
Sondra l. Hausner and Meena Khandelwal


Do Saints Need Sleep? Baiji’s Renunciation
As Service
Meena Khandelwal

Living practical Dharma: A Tribute to
Chomo Khandru and the Bonpo women of
Lubra Village, Mustang, Nepal
Sara Shneiderman

The True River Ganges: Tara’s Begging Practices
Kristin Hanssen

Staying in Place: The Social Actions of Radha Girie
Sondra L. Hausner


Passionate Renouncers: Hindu Nationalist
Renouncers and the Politics of Hindutva
Kalyani Devaki Menon

How Buddhist Renunciation Produces Difference
Kim Gutschow

Renouncing Expectations: Single Baul women
Renouncers and the Value of Being a Wife
Lisa I. Knight

These hands Are Not For Henna
Anne Vallely

Afterword: Breaking Away...
Ann Grodzins gold


Notes on contributors