Feature: Indian Hagiography (for Jan-Feb 2018 issue)





In India, the hagiographical tradition is enriched with Hindu (including Siddha), Sikh, Christian and Sufi aspects. The Feature will reflect the pluralistic feature of the Indian hagiographical tradition.

The hagiographical tradition in India has contributed to documenting, interpreting and contextualising the discursive and experiential aspects of darsana (theology/philosophy) and mystical experience of saints, spiritual masters, devotees and philosophers. From Buddhist and Jaina hagiographies that bring to mind Asvaghosa and Hemachandra to philosophers like Sankara and Ramanuja to saints like Ravidas, Chokhamela, Mira, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, John de Britto, Gorakhnath and others, to modern spiritual masters like Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda, to Sufi thinkers and practitioners and Sikh namsakhis, the hagiographical tradition is alive and continues to shape religious, historical, social as well as political discourses in and about India. This tradition is comprised of different shades of communal, sectarian, ideological, political as well as pluralistic dimensions of hagiographical writing. There are works like Therigatha or Charyapadas, which can neither be classified as hagiographies nor can their relevance to hagiography be overestimated given the positionality of their composers and the absence of documentation in their respective traditions. There are also hagiographies written in Tamil and Malayalam that bring to focus the themes of evangelism and religious pluralism in India. There are colonial hagiographies and neo Oriental hagiographies. There are works on Indian saints by writers located outside India like Swami Ram's, while there are Indian writers composing works on non-Indian preachers like de Nobili and saints like St. Thomas.

With such diverse ways and moments in the tradition, this issue intends to focus on the themes, range and forms of the hagiographical tradition in India.

Some suggested topics that are obviously not exhaustive include:

  1. Colonialism and hagiographical tradition – the definition and contexts of hagiographies, their composition and /or translation.
  2. Hagiography and autobiography/memoir/travelogue-the 'self' and narrativisation.
  3. Hagiography and/as political theology.
  4. Christian hagiographies- apostolic and evangelical.
  5. Hagiography and Sufi/Bhakti tradition.
  6. Pluralism, inter faith dialogue and hagiographies.
  7. Poetics of hagiographies- genres like poetry, epic, novel, drama.
  8. Continuity and inter traditional dialogue in hagiographies.
  9. Hagiographical tradition and politics of marginalisation- women saints, dalit saints, numerically marginal religious traditions.
  10. New Religious Movements and hagiographies.

The desired word length for papers should be between 3000-4000 words (due to space limitation), MLA 7th edition.

Interested writers may contact our Guest Editor Dr Namrata Chaturvedi, Assistant Professor (English), Zakir Husain Delhi College at her Email: namrata.chaturvedi@gmail.com

Last date for submission: Nov 15, 2017

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