Logic in a Popular Form

Essays on Popular Religion in Bengal

Sumanta Banerjee


 

6 x 9 inches, 300pp. May 2019

ISBN : 9780857426161


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Taking its title from Karl Marx’s description of religion as the world’s 'logic in a popular form', this volume explores the hidden logic behind popular religions in nineteenth-century Bengal. Sumanta Banerjee examines cross-religious cults and the construction of Bengali myths and beliefs about godlings and spirits, approaching them as popular inventions that attempt to make sense of human existence in the face of an overwhelming and often hostile environment.

These religious manifestations of popular logic—ranging from Kali to Radha–Krishna to Satyapir to Tantric practice—are fluid and constantly innovating. Banerjee argues that they represent an alternative stream running parallel to, and often challenging, the more strictly structured beliefs and practices of the Indian religious establishments, whether Hindu, Islamic or Christian. Logic in a Popular Form brings to light many significant aspects of the multifaceted phenomenon of popular religion in Bengal, while tracing the impact of urbanization, colonialism and nationalism, and re-examines the relevance of the beliefs and rituals that continue to survive in Bengali society. 


Sumanta Banerjee is an historian, journalist and cultural theorist. He has been a leading public intellectual for many decades and has earlier been a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla. His most recent publications include Memoirs of RoadsCalcutta from Colonial Urbanization to Global Modernization.

 

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