Tue. 11th May, 2021
16:15-17:45 Hrs (CEST/UTC+2h)
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Meeting ID: 832 6480 4133
▍ Jurisprudence and Geography in the Making of Hindu Majoritarianism: The Cases of Ayodhya and Banaras
Prof. Dr. Knut A. JACOBSEN
(University of Bergen)
Dr. Vera LAZZARETTI (Heidelberg University)
In a joint publication project that we recently began, we seek to investigate jurisprudence and geography as crucial sites for the making of Hinduism. Concerted analysis of the judicial realm and Hinduism already detailed the crucial role of the courts in continuously defining the boundaries of religion itself, and highlighted that legal actions and courts’ decisions have a far-reaching impact on religious practices, practitioners and space. However, we suggest that the opposite might also be true, inasmuch as religious practices around places of worship and documentation of their continuity have proven to be crucial in legal disputes, particularly those concerning land possession.
To what extent, then, do spatial practices and understandings of divine abodes affect and play a role in legal controversies about places of worship? And how do these practices and conceptions of religious spaces pave the way to majoritarian judgements such as the 2019 Ayodhya verdict?
In this talk we begin a conversation around these questions by discussing some material from ongoing research in Ayodhya and Banaras (Varanasi). In particular, we look at parikramās and sthān kī pūjā, or sthān māhātmya, and explore their potential as ‘land grabbing’ forms. In so doing we wish to illuminate interactions and cross-fertilisation of jurisprudence and geography in the making of Hinduism as a religion that suits the majoritarian state.
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