Folklore, Religion and the Songs of a Bengali Madman

A Journey Between Performance and the Politics of Cultural Representation

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Carola Erika Lorea
Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture, Volume 22
  • Leiden, Netherlands: 
    , August
     350 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Shandip Saha forthcoming.


This book explores historical and cultural aspects of modern and contemporary Bengal through the performance-centred study of a particular repertoire: the songs of the saint-composer Bhaba Pagla (1902-1984), who is particularly revered among Baul and Fakir singers. The author shows how songs, if examined as 'sacred scriptures', represent multi-dimensional texts for the study of South Asian religions. Revealing how previous studies about Bauls mirror the history of folkloristics in Bengal, this book presents sacred songs as a precious symbolic capital for a marginalized community of dislocated and unorthodox Hindus, who consider the practice of singing in itself an integral part of the path towards self-realization.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Carola Erika Lorea, PhD (2015), University of Rome, is a researcher in Bengali oral traditions. She has published books on Bengali language and literature, translations of contemporary Bengali authors and several articles on the folklore and sacred songs of the Bauls of West Bengal.


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