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Stonemill and Bhakti: From the Devotion of Peasant Women to the Philosophy of Swamis (Series: Reconstructing Indian History & Culture 3)

by Guy Poitevin,Hema Rairkar

Publisher: D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd., New Delhi

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About the book

Tangible patrimony usually attracts attention and efforts of preservation. Intangible cultural traditions do often go with the winds of history when their social and material setting disappears. Such is the case with the songs that women in India, while grinding before dawn, have kept singing for ages on their hand-mill. Aside from the male society, they hoarded up for themselves a non-material matrimony. Today, though, motor driven flour-mills have put to rest these voices of silence, their legacy remains with them: immense and immemorial, purely feminine and oral, anonymous and personal, collective and intimate. Words from the heart, they glitter like flames in the domestic hearth. This book is the first attempt of systematic cultural-anthropological study of that unique tradition. It offers keys to apprehend it. Why should this tradition, first of all, originate from a shared compulsion to "open up one's heart"? This differentiates the women singers' intentionality from the didactic treatment of pundits and sants who make grinding and grindmill the allegory of an advaitic bhakti. For women-Laksmis dedicated to serve the Fortune of their family and its lineage-life in plenty is their raison d'etre. When preachers and swamis advocate a holy insensibility to earthly things and fellow human beings, the work of grinding-epitome of woman's office-carries worldly Utopias of abundance and reveal a quest for salvation through bonds of affective attachment. Eventually, the study raises radical questions on such crucial concepts as those of bhakti, tradition, the status of popular traditions versus elaborate constructs of literati. The symbolism of the stonemill in religious Marathi literature is constrated with the experience of grinding of peasant women as the latter articulated it in their work-songs. What is sought is an epistemological insight into the cognitive processes which result in the dialectic blend of affinity and glaring inconsistency that one observes between those two levels of cultural creativity. Contents Foreword Introduction : Handmill and Anthropology Part I : THEOLOGICAL RATIONALISM FROM NAMDEV TO MAHIPATI (A WRITTEN TRADITION OF PUNDITS) : 1. Christian Strategy for India's Salvation 2. Deliverance from the Pangs of Earthly Life 3. Considerate Love of God for the Lowly 4. Mystical Crushing of Duality 5. God's Companionship with the Destitute Part II : THE FLOUR AND THE SONG PEASANT WOMEN AT THE MILLSTONE (AN ORAL TRADITION OF WOMEN) : 6. The Call to Grind 7. The Compulsion to Sing 8. A Breath of Laksmi 9. Divine Liberties 10. Worldly Utopias Part III : THE BONDS OF HOPE A SET OF ATTACHMENTS AS SYSTEM OF AFFECTIVE SECURITY : 11. Mother and Daughter : Intimate Identification 12. Mother and Son : Reassuring Presence 13. The Daughter-in-law : In Search of Belonging 14. Salvation through Appropriation Conclusion : Epistemological Perspectives

Details of the book

Book :
Stonemill and Bhakti: From the Devotion of Peasant Women to the Philosophy of Swamis (Series: Reconstructing Indian History & Culture 3)
Book ID :
1804
Author :
Guy Poitevin,Hema Rairkar
ISBN 13 :
9788124600597
Year of Publication :
1996
Edition :
First
Publisher :
D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd., New Delhi
Binding :
Hardcover
Pages :
275
Size :
19 x 25 cm
Weight :
0.712 kg
Illustrations :
18 coloured illustrations & 2 Maps.

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