• Is Mahishasur a myth (Book Review by Kanwal Bharti)

    Kanwal Bharti
    Pramod Ranjan (see profile)
    Cultural Studies, Festivals, Rituals, Public Spectacles, and Popular Culture, Gender Studies, History, Sociology
    Indian mythology, Indigenous peoples--Social life and customs, Durgā (Hindu deity), Dalits, Blasphemy, Culture conflict, Book reviewing, Culture, Cultural pluralism, Martyrdom
    Item Type:
    myths in Dalit Literature, Mahishasur: Mithak va Paramparayen, Durga Puja, Dalitbahujan literature, Bahujan Sahitya, OBC, Backward class, JNU
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    Recently, an important book, Mahishasur: Mithak va Paramparayen (Mahishasur: Myth and Traditions), edited by Pramod Ranjan, was published by Forward Press in collaboration with Marginalised Publication. The book lets the reader travel through the living history of the myths of Durga and Mahishasur. The book is divided into five parts – ‘Yatra Vrittanta’ (Travelogues), ‘Mithak aur Paramparayen’ (Myths and Traditions), ‘Andolan Kiska, Kiske liye?’ (Whose movement? Who is it for?), ‘Asur: Sanskriti aur Samkaal’ (Asur: Culture and the Past), and ‘Sahitya’ (Literature). It also has an appendix. Pramod Ranjan travelled to far-off places in search of historical, archaeological traces of Mahishasur. It is an exciting and thrilling narrative. Pramod Ranjan draws a few important conclusions from his travels. He says, “The one evident difference between the Bahujan-Shraman traditions related to Mahishasur in Bundelkhand and the Brahmin traditions is that while the gods belonging to the latter live in temples (they need buildings), the Bahujan-Shraman tradition does not even have a God – they have ancestors who live in their homes, fields and barns, mostly in the open. In the Brahmin tradition, god lives in idols. They have been given the human form through the idols. The Bahujan-Shraman tradition mostly does not have idols – it has mounds which in the beginning perhaps symbolized a special place accorded to someone. In the Bahujan-Shraman tradition, their ancestors are part of their lives and occupations – they come to them and speak to them.” Title: Mahishasur: Mithak aur Paramparayen Editor: Pramod Ranjan Publisher: Forward Press Pages: 360
    In this short introduction to 'Mahishasur: Mithak va Paramparayen', Kanwal Bharti says three travelogues – Pramod Ranjan’s ‘Mahoba mein Mahishasur’, Nawal Kishore Kumar's 'Chhota Nagpur ke Asur' and ‘Anil Varghese's 'Rajasthan se Karnatak via Maharashtra – Talaash Mahishasur ki' – throw critical light on the topic.
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    Book review    
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago


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