Sacred to Profane
Writings on Worship and Performance
Distributed for Seagull Books
Thus, the legendary Ramlila of Ramnagar in Varanasi, which engages the entire community both as performers and as audience, becomes an exploratory site to understand the connections between socio-economic factors and religious devotion. Or the commissioned street performances of the sacred tale of Mother Sitala, Goddess of the Pox, in Calcutta´s by-lanes, are studied to see how professional performers don the mantle of the goddess in order to woo an audience. Or, in another register, the popular nineteenth-century Bengali mystic and sage Bamakshyapa, is seen to deploy performative tactics in the service of spirituality. Contributors include Richard Schechner, Sumanta Banerjee, Hanne de Bruin, Anuradha Kapur, Anjum Katyal.