The Needle and the Sword: boatmen, priests and the ritual economy of Varanasi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)345-367
    JournalSouth Asia-Journal of South Asia Studies
    Volume29
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Needle and the Sword: boatmen, priests and the ritual economy of Varanasi'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this