Singing a Hindu Nation

Marathi Devotional Performance and Nationalism

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Anna Schultz
  • New York, NY: 
    Oxford University Press
    , December
     256 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


This book has been reviewed in JAAR by Christian Lee Novetzke. Click here to read the review.

Singing a Hindu Nation explores how the political becomes devotional through musical performance. At the heart of author Anna Schultz's study is r=ashtr=iya k=irtan, a western Indian performance medium that combines song, Hindu philosophical discourse, and nationalist storytelling. Performers of r=ashtr=iya k=irtan have impacted the political environment throughout the last century, inspiring Marathi-speaking people to resist colonial domination both violently and non-violently in the early twentieth century, supporting state health and national integration projects in the early post-colonial era, and in the last decade of the century, using their performances to buttress the rhetoric of Hindu nationalists as these groups rose to power. By performing in regional idioms with rich associations for Maharashtrian congregations, singers of r=ashtr=iya k=irtan use music to combine political and religious signs in ways that seem natural and desirable, and as a result effectively promote embodied experiences of nationalist devotion. As the first monograph on music and Hindu nationalism, Singing a Hindu Nation presents a rare glimpse into the lives and performance worlds of nationalists on the margins of all-India political parties and cultural organizations. The book is an essential resource for ethnomusicologists, as well as scholars of South Asian studies, religion, and political theory.

Date of Review: 
May 5, 2016
About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Anna Schultz earned the Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois. She is an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Stanford University, where she works on Marathi kirtan, Indo-Caribbean music, paraliturgical Indian Jewish music, and country/bluegrass music.


Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments