The Multiple Lives of Lokenath Brahmachari. Multiple Affiliations and Religious Belonging in Bengal

27.06.2023 17:00 - 18:30

Raphaël Voix | Anthropologist, Research Fellow at the Center for South Asian and Himalayan Studies, CESAH, Paris

Lokenath Brahmachari, an ascetic from Bengal, passed away in 1890 in East Bengal. Various hagiographers have depicted his life, portraying him as a revered figure who had devoted followers from both the Muslim and Hindu communities. While he continues to be honored by followers from both communities in Bangladesh, his cult in India has predominantly become Hindu. This talk aims to explore how the initial hagiographic text describes this religious diversity and how subsequent texts and accounts, including books, films, and pamphlets, have influenced the growth of his cult. Additionally, we will compare the tangible manifestations of religious coexistence in Lokenath's contemporary cults in India and Bangladesh. Through these examples and this twofold analysis, the aim of this talk is to give an account of the rationale behind the recomposition of Bengali religiosity over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, particularly in relation to the partition of the Indian subcontinent.

Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Seminarraum 1 des ISTB, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.7, 1090 Wien