When the World Becomes Female : Guises of a South Indian Goddess
During the goddess Gangamma's festival in the town of Tirupati, lower-caste men take guises of the goddess, and the streets are filled with men wearing saris, braids, and female jewellery. By contrast, women participate by intensifying the rituals they perform for Gangamma throughout the year, such as cooking and offering food. Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger argues that within the festival ultimate reality is imagined as female and women identify with the goddess, whose power they share. Vivid accounts by male and female participants offer new insights into Gangamma's traditions and the nature of Hindu village goddesses.
- Hardback | 288 pages
- 152 x 228 x 25.15mm | 598.74g
- 19 Jul 2013
- Indiana University Press
- Bloomington, IN, United States
- 20 b&w illustrations
Table of contents
Introduction Part I. Imaginative Worlds of Gangamma 1. An Aesthetics of Excess; 2. Guising, Transformation, and Recognition; 3. Narratives of Access and Excess; 4. Women's Narrative Interpretation; 5. Gangamma as Ganga River Goddess Part II. Those Who Bear the Goddess 6. Wandering Goddess, Village Daughter: Avilala Reddys; 7. Temple and Vesham Mirasi: The Kaikalas of Tirupati; 8. The Goddess Served and Lost: Tattayagunta Mudaliars; 9. Exchanging Talis with the Goddess; 10. "Crazy for the Goddess:" A Consuming Relationship Conclusion: Possibilities of a World Become Female
"Flueckiger's rich and colorful descriptions of the stories, festivals, and worshipers connected with the goddess Gangamma evoke a world that previously had been accessible to very few living outside southern India. This work makes available to readers a close-up view of an extremely fascinating aspect of living Hinduism." David L. Haberman, Indiana University, author of Journey through the Twelve Forests: An Encounter with Krishna "Unusually polished and carefully crafted, with an evident if subtle organizational logic that emerges fluently for the reader. The writing itself is clear, and the mythic narratives are nicely contextualized and integrated into the flow of the author's overarching ethnographic and interpretive story... Through these rituals, stories and lives - the author reveals new ways of comprehending gender both at the cosmological and human level." Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University, co-author of In the Time of Trees and Sorrows: Nature, Power, and Memory in Rajasthan
About Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger
Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger is Professor of Religion at Emory University. She is author of In Amma's Healing Room: Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India (IUP, 2009) and Gender and Genre in the Folklore of Middle India.