[PAST EVENT] Religion to Make a Nation: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement

March 29, 2012
Reves Center for International Studies, Reves Room
200 S Boundary St
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Families have their genealogies and favorite stories; countries have their histories. What history succeeds better for a country than the one capable of molding its citizens into a family? In India, that has been the particular work of a narrative called "the bhakti movement" - bhakti andolan in Hindi. Here bhakti - the religion of the heart, of song and common participation - is seen as a force of history, something like the contagion of America's Great Awakenings but spanning a millennium. It formed the religious bedrock that would ultimately, in the 20th century, make the nation possible.

Or so we have been taught. This lecture will explore the historical contingencies that actually created this received - and largely Hindu - common sense.