Women and religion - a reading list?

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#1 Dec 8th, 2014, 18:55
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#1
As the title says, I'm trying to put together a reading list on Women and Religion in the South Asian context - it would ideally be a mix of literature, folklore, autobiography, anthropology, history, apart from source texts of the major Indic religions.

Any suggestions?
#2 Dec 8th, 2014, 19:44
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#2
Perhaps you may need to be more specific. The canvas of topics in your post covers a huge range of gender issues, not just religion. Many issues will be universal and not restricted to the South Asian context either.

As a starter though, I am sure that you have heard of "Yuganta: The End of an Epoch" by Irawati Karve.

ISBN-10: 8125032282
ISBN-13: 978-8125032281
ASIN: 8125014241

Another is "May You Be The Mother of a Hundred Sons - A Journey Among the Women of India", by Elisabeth Bumiller (ISBN: 0-394-56391-3)
#3 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:05
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Yes, Yuganta would be on any list of religion and gender..okay, I'm looking for stuff that's usually slotted under 'folk' or 'popular' - practices like the cult of Manasa on the one hand, and women's religious experience on the other, particularly renunciation. For instance, is there anything comparable to the Buddhist Therigathas in Jainism?

I know the canvas is too vast but if anyone has ideas about more recent work..? Not the standard texts like 'Women Writing in India', but.. well, anything you may have liked and would like to share
Last edited by doksanomo; Dec 8th, 2014 at 20:14.. Reason: readability
#4 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:05
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Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (Vicki Mc Kenzie) author of a cave in the snow.

http://tenzinpalmo.com/tenzin_palmo/biography.htm

http://vimeo.com/45500914
SOS: Missing Person...

Please look at this thread: http://www.indiamike.com/india/uttar...012-a-t159252/

He could be anywhere now: You might have met him, be able to help, or give information.
#5 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:09
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Thanks KulluKid, I've read that one. Do you know of any other biographies/autobiographies(namthar as the tibetans call them) of yoginis in the himalayan region? Hindi/English, anything..
#6 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:17
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#6
I don't know whether this will come through legibly but here is a pic of a selection from my shelf on gender issues. I can send a higer res one or give you details of any of these books if they help you.

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#7 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:25
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#7
I went to look at my bookshelves but they're not as impressive as Vishva's

Quote:
Originally Posted by doksanomo View Post ... okay, I'm looking for stuff that's usually slotted under 'folk' or 'popular' - practices like the cult of Manasa on the one hand, and women's religious experience on the other, particularly renunciation.
The only one I found which I thought relevant to the 'folk' aspect is "The Honey Gatherers. Travels with the Bauls: the wandering minstrels of rural India" by Mimlu Sen. It's a remarkable book.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...n-1957173.html
#8 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:26
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I think the fountainhead of the subject "women and religion in India" would be the Manusmriti; more specifically the Laws of Manu pertaining to the role of women in society.

Amongst biographies, I liked Indira Gandhi by Katherine Frank.

I've heard high praise for Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee; a retelling of Mahabharata from Draupadi's perspective.

Chapters on the status of women, the role of religion as well as on the overlappings between the two in Amartya Sen's Argumentative Indian made for good reading.

Have you heard of the feminist, Urvashi Butalia? I've read some of her pieces and heard her speak at the Jaipur Lit Fest. I found her generally to be insightful and balanced.

I also heard KR Indra speak at the said festival a couple of years back. Her book reimagines Kamasutra from a woman's perspective. Her talk was very interesting, too.

http://m.indiatoday.in/story/kamasut.../1/198603.html
#9 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:28
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#9
thanks..I'm reading Altekar now - position of women in hindu civilization - which i see on your book shelf..
#10 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:32
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#10
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has done a retelling of the Mahabharata from Draupadi's standpoint.
#11 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:36
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BholeBaba View Post
I also heard KR Indra speak at said festival a couple of years back. Her book reimagines Kamsutra from a woman's perspective. Her talk was very interesting, too.

http://m.indiatoday.in/story/kamasut.../1/198603.html
thanks BB..amongst retellings of the mahabharata I like yuganta very much, though I'll try Chitra Divakaruni if you recommend it. Yes, I'm familiar with some of Butalia's work..Didn't know Amartya Sen had a chapter on women..the Kamasutra book sounds very interesting - that's the kind of retelling that I'm looking for..apart from actual practices of course, rites and rituals and the like

To be more specific, I'm looking for source texts - like the Manusmriti, but others we may not have heard of..and ethnographic studies that look at actual practice in the context of what the texts enjoin..like this study by Kim Gutschow which is a landmark work in the field

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.p...=9780674012875

or the biography of Tenzin Palmo which is based on her actual practice, including a twelve year solitary retreat in the Himalayas.
#12 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:36
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#12
Vikram Seth's "A Suitable Boy" is excellent for a woman's perspective too. Pupul Jayakar's biography of Jiddu Krishnamurti is quite insightful too.








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Last edited by ViShVa; Dec 8th, 2014 at 23:15.. Reason: Corrected name
#13 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:39
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#13
I love that book though for this I had something more obviously religious in mind
#14 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:40
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ViShVa View Post Vikram Seth's "A Suitable Boy" is excellent for a woman's perspective too.
He is so amiable. I had the opportunity to dine with him in London once. He asked my friends and me for tips on contemporary youth culture, with his upcoming A suitable girl in mind.
#15 Dec 8th, 2014, 20:41
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#15
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Originally Posted by JuliaF View Post
The only one I found which I thought relevant to the 'folk' aspect is "The Honey Gatherers. Travels with the Bauls: the wandering minstrels of rural India" by Mimlu Sen. It's a remarkable book.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...n-1957173.html
Hey julia, that sounds nice..will look it up..thanks. The Bauls have a particularly interesting relationship with gender..I'm looking forward to reading this one, which also has a section on Bauls

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