Mutating Goddesses: Bengal's Laukika Hinduism and Gender Rights

ISBN : 9780190124106

Saswati Sengupta
375 Pages
x mm
Pub date
Jun 2020
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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.


List of Tables
1. Invoking the Goddesses
2. Mapping the Terrain
3. Manasa
4. Candi
5. Sasthi
6. Laksmi
About the Author

About the author: 

Saswati Sengupta has been teaching English literature at Miranda House, Delhi University, for more than thirty years. Her primary research and academic publications have been feminist interventions in the areas of myths, Hindu goddesses and their material locations, mutations and political mobilizations. Believing in, and enjoying, collective endeavour she has jointly published papers analyzing the problems of foregrounding post-colonial theories in understanding contemporary India and co-edited the anthologies Towards Freedom: Critical Essays on Rabindranath Tagore's Ghare Baire/The Home and the World, 2007, Revisiting Kalidasa's Abhijnana-Sakuntalam: Love, Lineage and Language in Kalidasa's Nataka, 2011, and Bad Women of Bombay Films: Studies in Desire and Anxiety, forthcoming 2019.

Saswati's novel, The Song Seekers (2011)
was listed for DSC prize for South Asian Literatures,

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