This book offers a focused examination of the Bengali Vaiṣṇava tradition in its manifold forms in the pivotal context of British colonialism in South Asia.
Bringing together scholars from across the disciplines of social and intellectual history, philology, theology, and anthropology to systematically investigate Vaiṣṇavism in colonial Bengal, this book highlights the significant roles—religious, social, and cultural—that a prominent Hindu devotional current played in the lives of wide and diverse sections of colonial Bengali society. Not only does the book thereby enrich our understanding of the history and development of Bengali Vaiṣṇavism, but it also sheds valuable new light on the texture and dynamics of colonial Hinduism beyond the discursive and social-historical parameters of an entrenched Hindu "Renaissance" paradigm.
A landmark in the burgeoning field of Bengali Vaiṣṇava studies, this book will be of interest to scholars of modern Hinduism, religion, and colonial South Asian social and intellectual history.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Vai¿¿avism in Colonial Bengal: Beyond the Hindu Renaissance, LUCIAN WONG AND FERDINANDO SARDELLA;
Part One: Recovering the Legacy: How Vai¿¿avas Adopted Colonial Modalities; 1 The Afterlife of an Avatara in Modern Times, VARUNI BHATIA; 2 Theorising Bengal Vai¿¿avism: Bipin Chandra Pal and New Perspectives on Religious Life and Culture, AMIYA P. SEN; 3 Vai¿¿ava Institutional Processes in Colonial Bengal, SANTANU DEY; 4 Baba Premananda Bharati: His Trajectory into and through Bengal Vai¿¿avism to the West, GERALD T. CARNEY; 5 Claiming High Ground: Gau¿iya Missionising Rhetoric on the Adhikara of Worship, KENNETH VALPEY; 6 Directions for Future Research on Vai¿¿avism in Colonial Bengal, JOSEPH T. O’CONNELL AND AMIYA P. SEN;
Part Two: Contending the Portrayal: How Ethics Shaped This Religion of Love; 7 The Power of the Secret: The Tantalising Discourse of Vai¿¿ava Sahajiya Scholarship, TONY K. STEWART; 8 Sahajiya Texts of Nadia: Beyond Reform and Revival, SUKANYA SARBADHIKARY; 9 Love of Woman: Love of Humankind? Interconnections between Ba¯ul Esoteric Practice and Social Radicalism, JEANNE OPENSHAW; 10 Divine Transgression: Devotion and ethics in Bengali Vai¿¿avism, KIYOKAZU OKITA; 11 Colonial Morals, Vai¿¿ava Quarrels: Tracing the Sources of Nineteenth Century Anti-Sahajiya Polemics, LUCIAN WONG
Ferdinando Sardella is Assistant Professor at Stockholm University, Sweden. He is a Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, University of Oxford, UK.
Lucian Wong is a Post-Doctoral fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS), University of Oxford, UK and is Co-Director of the Bengali Vaiṣṇavism in the Modern Period Project of the OCHS.