In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

I’ve just started reading William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. I loved his last book The Last Mughal (my review), and if the Introduction chapter of Nine Lives is any indication, another great read is on the way! Excerpt below:

Much has now been written about the way that India is moving forward to return the subcontinent to its traditional place at the heart of global trade, but so far little has been said about the way these earthquakes have affected the diverse religious traditions of South Asia, or explored how the people who live out these rich traditions have coped with living in the eye of the storm. For while the West often likes to imagine the religions of the East as deep wells of ancient, unchanging wisdom, in reality much of India’s religious identity is closely tied to specific social groups, caste practices and father-to-son lineages, all of which are changing very rapidly as Indian society transforms itself at speed.

All this raises many interesting questions: What does it actually mean to be a holy man or a Jain nun, a mystic or a tantric seeking salvation on the roads of modern India, as the Tata trucks thunder past?

Also read the following article by Dalrymple that provides a glimpse into the format of this book (which is, oral histories and personal accounts): Serving the Goddess – The dangerous life of a sacred sex worker.

And here’s one of his recent articles about a remarkable festival in South India where Hindu pilgrims celebrate a Muslim warrior. [Hat Tip: Ultrabrown]

[Picture Courtesy: The New Yorker]

Advertisements

3 responses to “In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

  1. thank you for sharing. It is just sad that the word “sacred” has a fake coating in today’s context, just like many other things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 66 other followers

On Twitter

Categories

%d bloggers like this: