Varanasi, a place on the banks of the sacred River Ganges, is one of the holiest cities of India. This paper examines a post-wedding river ritual wherein a seemingly mundane activity like boating is turned into a sacred event. An attempt is made to re-examine the influential organizing ideas of domination and hierarchy with attention to how the subaltern boatmen ingeniously subvert their assigned position as 'the dominated' thus interrupting the traditional priestly order. It is shown how the hard dichotomies of great/little tradition, subaltern/ elite, dominant/dominated, contestation/co-operation, become more fluid when examined in the context of daily interactions at the grassroots level.
|Journal||South Asia-Journal of South Asia Studies|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|