January 25, 2016

India: The Space of Street-side Religiosity - Miniature Shrines in Chennai (Pushkal Shivam)

Economic and öltical Weekly, Vol. 51, Issue No. 4, 23 Jan, 2016

The Space of Street-side Religiosity: Miniature Shrines in Chennai

Pushkal Shivam (pushkalrajsin[at]gmail.com) is at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras.

There are two competing theorisations of street-side religiosity in India. One is process-centric; the other is event-centric. While the former approach conceptualises artefacts such as street-side shrines as offering resistance to the dominant ideological spaces, the latter seeks to understand the "event" of their construction and demolition within the "multiple modernities" framework. However, both the approaches take an instrumental view of these shrines. This view is reinforced by dualisms such as modernity and religiosity, local and global, space and place. These shrines co-construct and constitute an interconnected, open-ended, autonomous space. This space is shaped by practices and does not exist prior to the identities. Both space and identities are perennially under construction. The autonomy of the space is derived from its contingent nature.

See more at: http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/4/special-articles/space-street-side-religiosity.html