What Should the Bhakti Movement Be?

In this lecture the speaker attempts to unearth the historical, political, and performative contingencies that gave birth to the concept of the bhakti movement-starting with the Mughals and their Kachvaha allies, and concluding in a back-and-forth conversation between Hindi and English that crystallized in the intellectual circle surrounding Rabindranath Tagore in Bengal. What should we do with the idea of the bhakti movement once we recognize that this portrait of history is deeply conditioned by a history of its own?  Throw it away?  Abandon it for something else-say, “the bhakti network”?  Respect it for the conversational and political work that it continues to do in Indian society today?  What should the bhakti movement be?

John Stratton Hawley is Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University.  He has written or edited eighteen books.  Many of these concern the religious traditions of north India, Three Bhakti Voices (2005), edited volume, Holy Tears:  Weeping in the Religious Imagination, with Kimberley Patton (2005).  Two recent books are Sur’s Ocean:  Poems from the Early Tradition (with Kenneth E. Bryant), one of the initial volumes in the Murty Classical Library of India, and A Storm of Songs:  India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement

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

Tuesday, 5 January 2016
2 pm, CSDS Seminar Room