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Mutating Goddesses: Bengal's Laukika Hinduism and Gender Rights

Saswati Sengupta (Author)

Mutating Goddesses traces the shifting fortunes of four specific Hindu deities - Manasa, Candi, Sasthi and Laksmi--- from the fifteenth century to the present time. It focuses on the goddess-invested tradition of Bengal's Hinduism to argue for a historical evolution/devolution of divinities in tandem with sectarian interests and illumines in the process the knotted correlation of gender, caste and class in the sanctioning of female subjectivities through goddess formation.

The critical studies of Hindu goddesses have been dominated by the sastrik perspective deriving from the Sanskrit scriptures authorized by the male Brahman. But there are religious practices and beliefs under the broad rubric of Hinduism that are neither governed by the male Brahman nor articulated in Sanskrit. It is this vibrant laukika archive-- - considered low from the hegemonic perspective---that Mutating Goddesses explores to realize the politic trafficking between this realm and the sastrik. The book excavates the multiple and layered heritage of the region which includes tribal culture, Buddhism, Tantricism, and so on, as is available in rituals, proverbs, verses, circulating myths, poetic genres and kathas, caste manuals, census records etc to illustrate how tradition is a matter of strategic selection.

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About the author

Saswati Sengupta

Saswati Sengupta holds a PhD in "Kolam of Tamil Nadu" from the National Museum Institute under the Minstry of Culture in New Delhi, whereahe also completed her M.A. in History of Art Born in Chennai in 1975, Saswati Sengupta has travelled widely and lived in various places. Her early childhood was spent in Nigena from where she visited parts of Europe and Africa and later Southeast Asia. She completed her schooling in Chennai from where her flair for art took her to study design in Kala Bhavan at Visva Bharati University, Sabtiniketan and to Delhi for creative jewellery design under S. R. Schuoeder at Jewellery Prodpct Development Council In 1996 she received a research grant from the Nehru Trust under which she documented tribal Dokra bronzes in North East of India. She has published several articles in art journals and her poetic reflections in the from of personal diary titled Fragments was published in 2001. Dr. Saswati Sengupta continues to research, write and paint and her extubited her art works in Llit Kala Academy, New Delhi, Birla Academy of Art, Kolkata and at other venues an India.

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Bibliographic information

Title Mutating Goddesses: Bengal's Laukika Hinduism and Gender Rights
Date published: 31.12.2020
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
length xiii+371p., Bibliography; 23cm.