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Today numbering more than twelve million people, the Virasaivas constitute a vibrant south-Indian community renowned for its bhakti (devotional) religiosity and for its entrenched resistance to traditional Brahminical values. For eight centuries this tradition produced a vast and original body of literature, composed mostly in the Kannada language. Siva's Saints introduces the Ragalegalu, a foundational and previously unexplored work produced in the early thirteenth century. As the first written narrative about the traditions progenitors, this work inaugurated a new era of devotional narratives accessible to wide audiences in the Kannada-speaking region. By closely reading the saints stories in the Ragalegalu, Gil Ben-Herut takes a more nuanced historical view than commonly-held notions about the egalitarian and iconoclastic nature of the early tradition. Instead, Ben-Herut argues that the early Siva-devotion movement in the region was less radical and more accommodating toward traditional religious, social, and political institutions than thought today. In contrast to the narrowly sectarian and exclusionary vision that shapes later accounts, the Ragalegalu is characterized by an opposite impulse, offering an open invitation to people from all walks of life, whose stories illustrate the richness of their devotional lives. Analysis of this seminal text yields important insights into the role of literary representation of the social and political development of a religious community in a pre-modern and non-Western milieu.
This is the seventh title in the Monumental Legacy series. With its single temple complex dominated by the shrine dedicated to the sun, built by King Narasimha (CE 1238-64), Konarak has become an extremely important historico-cultural site, as well as a popular tourist destination. In this short book, Thomas Donaldson provides a rich descriptive account of this epitome of the unique Orissan style of temple architecture. Placing the temple complex in its historical context, Donaldson proceeds to discuss the architectural and sculptural details of the primary temple and the adjoining shrines. Detailed site information provided at the end of the volume, a helpful glossary, and extensive photographs and plans make this an extremely useful book for visitors to Konarak.
This book challenges the view, common among Western scholars, that precolonial India lacked a tradition of military philosophy. It traces the evolution of theories of warfare in India from the dawn of civilization, focusing on the debate between Dharmayuddha (Just War) and Kutayuddha (Unjust War) within Hindu philosophy. This debate centers around four questions: What is war? What justifies it? How should it be waged? And what are its potential repercussions? This body of literature provides evidence of the historical evolution of strategic thought in the Indian subcontinent that has heretofore been neglected by modern historians. Further, it provides a counterpoint to scholarship in political science that engages solely with Western theories in its analysis of independent India's philosophy of warfare. Ultimately, a better understanding of the legacy of ancient India's strategic theorizing will enable more accurate analysis of modern India's military and nuclear policies.
Bollywood Horrors is a wide-ranging collection that examines the religious aspects of horror imagery, representations of real-life horror in the movies, and the ways in which Hindi films have projected cinematic fears onto the screen. Part one, "Material Cultures and Prehistories of Horror in South Asia" looks at horror movie posters and song booklets and the surprising role of religion in the importation of Gothic tropes into Indian films, told through the little-known story of Sir Devendra Prasad Varma. Part two, "Cinematic Horror, Iconography and Aesthetics" examines the stereotype of the tantric magician found in Indian literature beginning in the medieval period, cinematic representations of the myth of the fearsome goddess Durga's slaying of the Buffalo Demon, and the influence of epic mythology and Hollywood thrillers on the 2002 film Raaz. The final part, "Cultural Horror," analyzes elements of horror in Indian cinema's depiction of human trafficking, shifting gender roles, the rape-revenge cycle, and communal violence.
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