Rhythms and Religions in old Pune – A multi-disciplinary research project (provisional title)


Borayin Larios

This research project aims at studying the production and dynamics of religious spaces and their linked communities in contemporary urban South Asia. Here, I follow up on the topic of seemingly prosaic sacred sites in urban spaces and, in particular, wayside shrines that I have been studying for the past few years as part of this book project. With a multi-disciplinary approach rooted in methodology and theory from anthropology and religious studies, this research project proposes to study a number of religious sites (temples, wayside shrines, churches, mosques, make-shift altars etc.) in an area that roughly covers two neighborhoods of old Pune. It seeks to elucidate how these sites are produced, maintained, transformed, and erased and how these sites contribute to shaping everyday religion in urban India.

The multi-religious geography of the streets of Pune is a dense mixture between ancient and modern, private and public, established and ephemeral. The project will consider how different religious sites mediate the relations of distinct communities and the physical space they claim in the city. By paying close attention to wayside shrines and other forms of popular religion in the public space, the project will look at how specific biological, psychological and social rhythms (Lefebvre 2004) orchestrate and produce everyday religion and how religion becomes visible and is experienced in the streets of this neighborhood.