A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement

A panel discussion on A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement authored by John Stratton Hawley was held on 17 March 2017 at CSDS. The discussion was chaired by Rajeev Bhargava. The panelists included: John Stratton Hawley, Shail Mayaram, Ananya Vajpeyi, Ravikant, Rakesh Pandey & Rinku Lamba.

India celebrates itself as a nation of unity in diversity and its sense of unity comes from the ‘Bhakti movement’, a religion of the heart, of song, of common participation, of inner peace, of anguished protest. Between 600 and 1600 CE, poet-saints sang bhakti from India’s southernmost tip to its northern Himalayan heights, laying the religious bedrock upon which the modern state of India would be built. Challenging this canonical narrative, John Stratton Hawley’s book A Storm of Songs clarifies the historical and political contingencies that gave birth to the concept of the bhakti movement. The interactions between Hindus and Muslims, between the sexes, between proud regional cultures, and between upper castes and Dalits are crucially embedded in the narrative, making it a powerful political resource.

The book is scheduled to receive the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize (S. Asia) in 2017 from The Association for Asian Studies (AAS).

John Stratton Hawley is Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Shail Mayaram is Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Ananya Vajpeyi is Associate Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Ravikant is Associate Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Rakesh Pandey is Assistant Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Rinku Lamba is Assistant Professor at Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Rajeev Bhargava is Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Friday, 17 March 2017
4.30 pm, CSDS Seminar Room