In the Company of Gods: Essays in Memory of Günther-Dietz Sontheimer
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts [in association with] Manohar, 2005 - Bhakti - 409 pages
Published in association with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. When G nther Sontheimer died at the early age of fifty-eight on 1 June 1992, he had done a good thirty years of research and teaching on a variety of subjects including traditional Indian law and ethics, contemporary literature in Marathi, Hinduism, and folk religion in Maharashtra. He guided a generation of students at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg and a Sontheimer School' had begun to take shape there. This volume contains twenty essays divided into four sections: folk religion, bhakti, history and law, and an epilogue that reflects on Sontheimer's thoughts on Hindu law, the constitutents of Hinduism, his interest in folk bronzes, documentary film-making, and a poem by Dilip Chitre on Sontheimer. The chapters on folk religion reflect his deep understanding of this aspect as being boundary crossing, incorporating the trans-local and the local, the high and the lowa simultaneous networks of traditions. The chapters on bhakti show how devotion, in the Varkari tradition in Maharashtra and in Kabir's poetry, transcends the categories of folk, tribal and brahmanical. The chapters on history and law deal with the application of the forest (vana) and settlement (ksetra) spatial and symbolical categories used by him in his analysis and customary law during the early colonial period in Maharashtra. The contributions in the fourth section are biographical and trace his thoughts on law, his analysis of Hinduism, his fascination with folk bronzes' and his discovery of the film medium. The resultant volume is testimony to the shoreless reach of Sontheimer's work.
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