The website scroll.in published a review entitled „What the manifestations of Navaratri tell us about religious expression and narratives of power“ on the book „Nine Nights of the Goddess: The Navaratri Festival in South Asia“, editet by Caleb Simmons, Moumita Sen and Hillary Rodrigues. The book includes articles by Prof. Ute Hüsken (Head of Department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia) on "Ritual Complementarity and Difference: Navarātri and Vijayadaśamī in Kāñcipuram" and by Astrid Zotter on „Which Durgā? What Navarātra? Remarks on Reconfigurations of Royal Rituals in the Kathmandu Valley“. The review is available here and further information on the book is available here.
Nine Nights of the Goddess explores the festival of Navaratri—alternatively called Navaratra, Mahanavami, Durga Puja, Dasara, and/or Dassain—which lasts for nine nights and ends with a celebration called Vijayadasami, or ‘the tenth (day) of victory’. Celebrated in both massive public venues and in small, private domestic spaces, Navaratri is one of the most important and ubiquitous festivals in South Asia and wherever South Asians have settled. These festivals share many elements, including the goddess, royal power, the killing of demons, and the worship of young girls and married women, but their interpretation and performance vary widely. This interdisciplinary collection of essays investigates Navaratri in its many manifestations and across historical periods, including celebrations in West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Nepal. Collectively, the essays consider the role of the festival’s contextual specificity and continental ubiquity as a central component for understanding South Asian religious life, as well as how it shapes and is shaped by political patronage, economic development, and social status.
Outside of the narratives that tell the deeds of the Goddess, Navaratri is perhaps most connected with the story of Rama within the popular imagination of its celebrants.
As the epic story goes, Rama, the erstwhile prince of Ayodhya, was engaged in a long and difficult battle with Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka who had abducted his wife, Sita, and held her captive. Finding his adversary not easily vanquished, Rama performed puja to the goddess Durga. The Goddess, pleased with his worship since it was Navaratri, appeared and granted him victory over his foe. With the boon from the Goddess, Rama was able to defeat Ravana on Vijayadasami.
Link of this volume: https://katalog.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/titel/68299747
The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) published in their current Newsletter (issue 82, Spring 2019) on the topic "Reading space, society and history in Asia through its ruins" an article about the new Heidelberg Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) by Axel Michales and Barbara Mittler. You can read the article here.
Furthermore, the Newsletter includes an article by Nicole Merkel-Hilf on "Spreading knowledge easily - Open access publishing in Asian Studies". You can read the article here.
The full Newsletter is available here.
CrossAsia-ePublishing recently published the first volume of the new open access journal Dastavezi: The Audio-Visual South Asia. It is a journal for scholars and filmmakers, filmmakers as scholars, and filmmaking scholars working on regional and transregional South Asia. The journal provides a platform for linking audio-visual and scholarly practice from and on South Asia.
Dastavezi is an open-access archive of audio-visual knowledge. By providing films published in the journal with Digital Object Identifier (DOI) numbers, Dastavezi encourages filmmakers and scholars working on South Asia to cite documentary film as a legitimate source of academic production. Furthermore, it aims to make the films accessible to audiences beyond the structures of the market domain.
Please find further information here:
The first issue includes an introduction by the main editors (Max Kramer and Jürgen Schaflechner) and films and essays by:
- Fathima Nizaruddin. My Mother’s Daughter (19:05). Delhi.
- Mahera Omar. Perween Rahman: The Rebel Optimist (1:06:57). Karachi.
- Yaminay Chaudhri. Mera Karachi Mobile Cinema (22:22). Karachi.
- Aditya Basu. Kaifiyat (8:13). Mumbai.