Religious imaginary is a way of conceiving and structuring the world within the conceptual and imaginative traditions of the religious. Using religious imaginary as a reference, this book analyses temporal ideologies and expressions of historicity in South Asia in the early modern, pre-colonial and early colonial period.
Chapters explore the multiple understandings of time and the past that informed the historical imagination in various kinds of literary representations, including historiographical and literary texts, hagiography, and religious canonical literature. The book addresses the contributing forces and comparative implications of the formation of religious and communitarian sensibilities as expressed through the imagination of the past, and suggests how these relate to each other within and across traditions in South Asia. By bringing diverse materials together, this book presents new commonalities and distinctions that inform a larger understanding of how religion and other cultural formations impinge on the concept of temporality, and the representation of it as history.
1. Introduction Anne Murphy 2. Make it Fresh: Time, Tradition, and Newness in Early Modern Indo-Persian Literary Culture Rajeev Kinra 3. Redemptive Pasts and Imperiled Futures: The Writing of a Sikh History Purnima Dhavan 4. Reading Global Islam Through Messianic Renewal in Dasavatar Teena Purohit 5. A Zoroastrian historical imaginary in India Rastin Mehri 6. The Many Pasts of Mamul: Law and Custom in Early Colonial Madras Aparna Balachandran 7. Telling the History of the Sacred Ramaksetra (Coastal Maharashtra) in the Seventeenth century: The Sanskrit Vadesvarodayakavya by Visvanatha Nicolas Dejenne 8. The Theographic and the Historiographic in an Indian Sacred Life Story Christian Lee Novetzke 9. Hagiography and the Historical Imagination in Eighteenth Century Punjab James Hegarty 10. A Contested Community: Priyadas and the Re-imagining of Nabhadas’s Bhaktamal James P. Hare 11. Images of Nabadwip: Place, evidence, and inspiration in Chaitanya’s biographical tradition Varuni Bhatia 12. Time and Religion-Making in Modern Sikhism Arvind-pal S. Mandair