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Sacred to Profane

These essays explore the intricate connections between worship and performance, the sacred and the profane. In the process they challenge the common assumptions about worship as being simply about religious feeling, and open up the multifaceted possibilities of complex layering and overlapping that make any public act of worship simultaneously an act of socio-historical practice. Thus, the legendary Ramlila of Ramnagar in Varanasi, which engages the entire community both as performers and as audience, becomes an exploratory site to understand the connections between socio-economic factors and religious devotion. Or the commissioned street performances of the sacred tale of Mother Sitala, Goddess of the Pox, in Calcutta's by-lanes, are studied to see how professional performers don the mantle of the goddess in order to woo an audience. Or, in another register, the popular nineteenth-century Bengali mystic and sage Bamakshyapa, is seen to deploy performative tactics in the service of spirituality. The contributors include Richard Schechner, Sumanta Banerjee, Hanne de Bruin, Anuradha Kapur, and Anjum Katyal.
Product Details

Table of Contents

* Introduction* A Dramatist of Popular Angst-The Mystic Bamakshyapa of TarapeethSumanta Banerjee* Performed Imaginaries: Ramlila in the City of Varanasi Richard Schechner* Making Music in the Sacred Assembly: Qawwali and the Sufi Tradition Regula Burckhardt Qureshi * Performing the Goddess: Sacred Ritual into Professional Performance Anjum Katyal* Both Sacred and Profane: The Kattaikkuttu Theatre in Tamil Nadu Hanne M. de Bruin

About the Author

Anjum Katyal is Senior Editor, Seagull Books Calcutta.

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