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Author: Ursula Rao
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8173045151
The book investigates contemporary discourses on religion in urban India through the prism of Hindu temples. It is based on material collected during extensive fieldwork in Bhopal between 1996 and 1998. Presenting and interpreting data of the history as well as the ritual, social and political life of two central goddess temples, the author presents the first comprehensive study of Hindu temples as socio-religious institutions in the urban environment of contemporary India.
She also addresses several issues of general importance: questions of changes in community life in urban India with reference to caste and religious communities; the role of traditions in a fast changing cultural environment; the problematic relationship between religion and politics in the political life of India and a critical assessment of discussions of subalternity and resistance.
These discussions appear in a new light in a study the avoids the classical dichotomies of politics and religion, tradition and modernity, elite and subaltern. In a detailed analysis of the religious / political practices and reflexive processes of a broad range of people the author shows how discourses are interconnected and dynamically re-created in practice.