Hardwar: Spirit, place, and politics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article describes the narratives and projections that shaped the contested character of Hardwar and the river Ganges as symbols par excellence of the Hindus’ claim to India’s sacred geography over the last two hundred years. It deliberates on the tactics and practices through which Hardwar’s ancient and legendary status has been employed to assert Hindu identity and territorial claims vis-à-vis the colonial administrators, but also to exclude the country’s Muslim and Christian populace. The purifying, divine land of Hardwar enabled the nationalist imagination and struggle for a Hindu India, even as it was instituted as a site for the internal purification of Hinduism itself, to mirror its glorious past. The article describes the contests and claims, based on religion and class, as well as the performance of socio-economic and existential anxieties that the sacred quality of Hardwar and the river Ganges continues to authorize and enable in post-colonial India. For this, we draw particularly on the Kanwar Mela, an annual event in which millions of mostly poor young men carry water from the river Ganges on foot, and often over long distances. We deliberate on the significance of the sacred water, rituals, and the journey in reinforcing these pilgrims’ perceptions of the self, and their moral claims over the nation and its territory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121
JournalReligions
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Fingerprint

Rivers
Water
Journey
Colonial India
Colonial Administrators
Anxiety
Hinduism
Tactics
Religion
Sacred Geography
Purification
Pilgrims
Symbol
Muslims
Contests
Economics
India
Nationalists

Keywords

  • Colonialism
  • Ganges
  • Hardwar
  • Hinduism
  • Kanwar
  • Nation
  • Revivalism
  • Territory

Cite this

@article{209fd3151be040e486de9da1c53c3688,
title = "Hardwar: Spirit, place, and politics",
abstract = "This article describes the narratives and projections that shaped the contested character of Hardwar and the river Ganges as symbols par excellence of the Hindus’ claim to India’s sacred geography over the last two hundred years. It deliberates on the tactics and practices through which Hardwar’s ancient and legendary status has been employed to assert Hindu identity and territorial claims vis-{\`a}-vis the colonial administrators, but also to exclude the country’s Muslim and Christian populace. The purifying, divine land of Hardwar enabled the nationalist imagination and struggle for a Hindu India, even as it was instituted as a site for the internal purification of Hinduism itself, to mirror its glorious past. The article describes the contests and claims, based on religion and class, as well as the performance of socio-economic and existential anxieties that the sacred quality of Hardwar and the river Ganges continues to authorize and enable in post-colonial India. For this, we draw particularly on the Kanwar Mela, an annual event in which millions of mostly poor young men carry water from the river Ganges on foot, and often over long distances. We deliberate on the significance of the sacred water, rituals, and the journey in reinforcing these pilgrims’ perceptions of the self, and their moral claims over the nation and its territory.",
keywords = "Colonialism, Ganges, Hardwar, Hinduism, Kanwar, Nation, Revivalism, Territory",
author = "Vikash Singh and Sangeeta Parashar",
year = "2018",
month = "2",
doi = "10.3390/rel10020121",
language = "English",
volume = "10",
journal = "Religions",
issn = "2077-1444",
publisher = "Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute",
number = "2",

}

Hardwar : Spirit, place, and politics. / Singh, Vikash; Parashar, Sangeeta.

In: Religions, Vol. 10, No. 2, 121, 02.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Hardwar

T2 - Spirit, place, and politics

AU - Singh, Vikash

AU - Parashar, Sangeeta

PY - 2018/2

Y1 - 2018/2

N2 - This article describes the narratives and projections that shaped the contested character of Hardwar and the river Ganges as symbols par excellence of the Hindus’ claim to India’s sacred geography over the last two hundred years. It deliberates on the tactics and practices through which Hardwar’s ancient and legendary status has been employed to assert Hindu identity and territorial claims vis-à-vis the colonial administrators, but also to exclude the country’s Muslim and Christian populace. The purifying, divine land of Hardwar enabled the nationalist imagination and struggle for a Hindu India, even as it was instituted as a site for the internal purification of Hinduism itself, to mirror its glorious past. The article describes the contests and claims, based on religion and class, as well as the performance of socio-economic and existential anxieties that the sacred quality of Hardwar and the river Ganges continues to authorize and enable in post-colonial India. For this, we draw particularly on the Kanwar Mela, an annual event in which millions of mostly poor young men carry water from the river Ganges on foot, and often over long distances. We deliberate on the significance of the sacred water, rituals, and the journey in reinforcing these pilgrims’ perceptions of the self, and their moral claims over the nation and its territory.

AB - This article describes the narratives and projections that shaped the contested character of Hardwar and the river Ganges as symbols par excellence of the Hindus’ claim to India’s sacred geography over the last two hundred years. It deliberates on the tactics and practices through which Hardwar’s ancient and legendary status has been employed to assert Hindu identity and territorial claims vis-à-vis the colonial administrators, but also to exclude the country’s Muslim and Christian populace. The purifying, divine land of Hardwar enabled the nationalist imagination and struggle for a Hindu India, even as it was instituted as a site for the internal purification of Hinduism itself, to mirror its glorious past. The article describes the contests and claims, based on religion and class, as well as the performance of socio-economic and existential anxieties that the sacred quality of Hardwar and the river Ganges continues to authorize and enable in post-colonial India. For this, we draw particularly on the Kanwar Mela, an annual event in which millions of mostly poor young men carry water from the river Ganges on foot, and often over long distances. We deliberate on the significance of the sacred water, rituals, and the journey in reinforcing these pilgrims’ perceptions of the self, and their moral claims over the nation and its territory.

KW - Colonialism

KW - Ganges

KW - Hardwar

KW - Hinduism

KW - Kanwar

KW - Nation

KW - Revivalism

KW - Territory

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85062838711&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3390/rel10020121

DO - 10.3390/rel10020121

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85062838711

VL - 10

JO - Religions

JF - Religions

SN - 2077-1444

IS - 2

M1 - 121

ER -