The South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ) recently published a special edition on "Wayside Shrines: Everyday Religion in Urban India." This issue contains an introductory article by Borayin Larios (Department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia) together with Raphaël Voix on "Introduction. Wayside Shrines in India: An Everyday Defiant Religiosity" and also Larios´ article entitled „From the Heavens to the Streets: Pune’s Wayside Shrines“.
Further information as well as all articles are freely available here.
Borayin Larios and Raphaël Voix: Introduction. Wayside Shrines in India: An Everyday Defiant Religiosity
Drawing on this special issue’s ethnographic data and analysis this introduction aims to offer an analytical framework for understanding the notion of wayside shrines. It does so by defining wayside shrines as sites that enshrine a worshipped object that is immediately adjacent to a public path, visible from it and accessible to any passerby. Further, we argue that wayside shrines are spaces in which we can observe a unique form of everyday religiosity that challenges sedimented discourses and practices at three different scales: at the level of the individual, of the community, and of the state.
Borayin Larios: From the Heavens to the Streets: Pune’s Wayside Shrines
This article presents the results from brief ethnographic research conducted in 2016 in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. Through two case studies of wayside shrines in Pune—the first, a tiny pavement shrine which is steadily growing in popularity, and the second, a small shrine turned into an extravagant temple in just a few years—I consider them as more than just spontaneous expressions of devotion. Taking into consideration the roles that urban conditions and social configurations have been playing in how social actors forge connections between localities and different communities, this paper will look at how these shrines can be spaces of creative subversion of the established socio-religious order and its structures of power. In in this contribution, I argue that the wayside shrine reveals the blurred boundaries between the rural and the urban, the sacred and the mundane, the institutionalized and the popular as well as the legal and the illegal.
CrossAsia recently published the Festschrift in honour of Professor Dr. Gita Dharampal-Frick entitled “HerStory. Historical Scholarship between South Asia and Europe”, edited by Rafael Klöber and Manju Ludwig (both members of the Department of History at the South Asia Institute). The volume brings together innovative contributions by friends, colleagues and former students to the multiple research areas in the field of history of South Asia that Gita Dharampal-Frick has enriched over the last decades. The essays included in this volume address a broad number of topics and periods, ranging from transcultural encounters between South Asia and Europe, reassessments of colonial discourses and their legacies, novel approaches to the maritime history of the Indian Ocean, and to perspectives on M. K. Gandhi.
Further information is available here.
The British foundation ARCADIA awarded Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius (HCTS Professor of Visual and Media Anthropology) a grant of 775,000 euros for the documentation of endangered historical sites in Nepal. Over a test period of two years, 400 temples, monasteries, and other building types will be documented and inventoried in an freely available online database of the “Nepal Heritage Documentation Project”.
It will comprise descriptions, pictures, inscriptions, and architectural drawings of buildings that have been destroyed or damaged by earthquakes and urban change and emphasise the need for their preservation or reconstruction. Under the direction of Prof. Brosius, 16 specialists from the fields of architecture, anthropology, history, indology, and digital humanities from Heidelberg and Kathmandu will collaborate to achieve this goal.
(Picture: Patan Durbar Square, Nepal, 2017 | © Christiane Brosius)