Indiana University Press

Contemporary Indian Studies

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Contemporary Indian Studies

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Art and Devotion at a Buddhist Temple in the Indian Himalaya

Melissa R. Kerin

Sixteenth-century wall paintings in a Buddhist temple in the Tibetan cultural zone of northwest India are the focus of this innovative and richly illustrated study. Initially shaped by one set of religious beliefs, the paintings have since been reinterpreted and retraced by a later Buddhist community, subsumed within its religious framework and communal memory. Melissa Kerin traces the devotional, political, and artistic histories that have influenced the paintings' production and reception over the centuries of their use. Her interdisciplinary approach combines art historical methods with inscriptional translation, ethnographic documentation, and theoretical inquiry to understand religious images in context.

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Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India

The Making of a Mother Tongue

Lisa Mitchell

What makes someone willing to die, not for a nation, but for a language? In the mid-20th century, southern India saw a wave of dramatic suicides in the name of language. Lisa Mitchell traces the colonial-era changes in knowledge and practice linked to the Telugu language that lay behind some of these events. As identities based on language came to appear natural, the road was paved for the political reorganization of the Indian state along linguistic lines after independence.

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Temple to Love

Architecture and Devotion in Seventeenth-Century Bengal

Pika Ghosh

"[A]n excellent analytical study of a sensationally beautiful type of temple.... This work is not just art historical but embraces... religious studies, anthropology, history, and literature." —Catherine B. Asher

"[A]dvances our knowledge of... Bengali temple building practices, the complex inter-reliance between religion, state power, and art, and the ways in which Western colonial assumptions have distorted correct interpretation.... A splendid book." —Rachel Fell McDermott

In the flux created by the Mughal conquest, Hindu landholders of eastern India began to build a spectacularly beautiful new style of brick temple, known as Ratna. This "bejeweled" style combined features of Sultanate mosques and thatched houses, and included second-story rooms conceived as the pleasure grounds of the gods, where Krishna and his beloved Radha could rekindle their passion. Pika Ghosh uses art historical, archaeological, textual, and ethnographic approaches to explore this innovation in the context of its times. Includes 82 stunning black-and-white images of rarely photographed structures.

Published in association with the American Institute of Indian Studies

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Wandering with Sadhus

Ascetics in the Hindu Himalayas

Sondra L. Hausner

In this moving ethnographic portrait of Hindu renouncers -- sadhus or ascetics -- in northern India and Nepal, Sondra L. Hausner considers a paradox that shapes their lives: while ostensibly defined by their solitary spiritual practice, the stripping away of social commitments, and their break with family and community, renouncers in fact regularly interact with "householder" society. They form a distinctive, alternative community with its own internal structure, but one that is not located in any single place. Highly mobile and dispersed across the subcontinent, its members are regularly brought together through pilgrimage circuits on festival cycles. Drawing on many years of fieldwork, Hausner presents intimate portraits of individual sadhus as she examines the shared views of space, time, and the body that create the ground for everyday experience. Written with an extraordinary blend of empathy, compassion, and anthropological insight, this study will appeal to scholars, students, and general readers alike.

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