By Joanne Punzo Waghorne
Many Hindus at the present time are city middle-class individuals with many non secular values in universal with their expert opposite numbers in the USA or Europe. simply as such a lot of sleek execs proceed to construct new church buildings, synagogues, and mosques, modern Hindus attend to the development and upkeep in their non secular associations anywhere their paintings and existence takes them. In Diaspora of the Gods, Joanne Punzo Waghorne lines the altering non secular sensibilities of the Hindu center category. Waghorne leads her readers on a trip during the global of the recent Hindu middle-class, concentrating on their efforts to construct and help locations of worship. She invitations the reader into the neighborhoods of Chennai to view often-innovative new and renovated temples developed in a occasionally probably incongruous city setting. Her trip, in spite of the fact that, doesn't finish there. The cousins and brothers--literal and figurative--of temple consumers and devotees in Chennai are developing divine homes in another country which are remaking the spiritual landscape of the uk and the USA. Waghorne leads us into the London local of Tooting, mountaineering upstairs in a former warehouse to determine a Goddess temple produced from plywood painted in trompe l'oeuil to create all the positive aspects of a formal temple. somewhere else in London, we meet the God Murugan in a nearly hidden temple immured in the stone shell of a former Church and one other Goddess whose temple is tucked within a beautiful white church on a quiet road. In Washington, a multiplicity of Gods stocks an excellent white temple in an in a different way traditional suburban local. Waghorne bargains specific comparisons of those temples, and interviews temple clergymen, devotees, and consumers. within the strategy, she illuminates the interrelationships among ritual worship and non secular edifices, the increase of the trendy international economic climate, and the ascendancy of the nice heart type. this can be the 1st finished portrait of Hinduism as lived this day via such a lot of either in India and in the course of the global.
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Extra info for Diaspora of the Gods: Modern Hindu Temples in an Urban Middle-Class World
Several devotees explained the new deity to me as we all stood near the new shrine looking in at the remarkable bronze image-body that it housed. ” An ofﬁcial provided more detail, using both Tamil and English terms. The beginning of life starts with sound, which is Ganesha’s nonmaterial form. The end of life is the loss of breath, which belongs to Hanuman as the son of the ancient god of the wind. “When a child is born, he/she cries but at the end there is no breath. So ¯ tiyantam. ” Everyone saw the oval shape as innovative and possibly deriving from the form of an egg, subtly continuing the life-death theme.
First a word of warning: understanding middle-class religious sensibilities— I use this term cautiously—in India requires a pragmatic method of listening carefully and looking closely at the words, the actions, and the visual productions of those who identify themselves as middle class. Social categories in India today are increasingly ambiguous—a matter of a person’s shifting sense of identity and changing status within various social contexts. Even caste, that supposedly quintessential Indian social system, has anthropologists once again puzzled.
We expect gods in an urban world 15 to see a secular city, not a sacred city, in urban centers that rose during that crucial period of European expansion into and eventual dominance of a worldwide trading network variously named “Universal Oekumene” (Redﬁeld and Singer 1954, 56) or the “modern world system” (Wallerstein 1980). ” The difference between a city and other clusters of population such as a village cannot be reduced to trade versus agriculture. Cities often depend as much on agriculture as do villages.
Diaspora of the Gods: Modern Hindu Temples in an Urban Middle-Class World by Joanne Punzo Waghorne