Religion, Devotion and Medicine in North India: The Healing Power of Sitala Fabrizio M. Ferrari

ISBN: 9781441163806

Published: January 15th 2015

Paperback

256 pages


Description

Religion, Devotion and Medicine in North India: The Healing Power of Sitala  by  Fabrizio M. Ferrari

Religion, Devotion and Medicine in North India: The Healing Power of Sitala by Fabrizio M. Ferrari
January 15th 2015 | Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, ZIP | 256 pages | ISBN: 9781441163806 | 4.15 Mb

This volume examines notions of health and illness in North Indian culture, with particular attention paid to the worship of the goddess Sitala, the Cold Lady. The goddess Sitala, consistently portrayed in colonial and postcolonial literature as theMoreThis volume examines notions of health and illness in North Indian culture, with particular attention paid to the worship of the goddess Sitala, the Cold Lady. The goddess Sitala, consistently portrayed in colonial and postcolonial literature as the dreaded smallpox goddess, is here discussed on the basis of textual and iconographic sources, material culture, contemporary media and narratives.Despite the eradication of smallpox, the goddess Sitala continues to be an extremely popular goddess and Religion, Devotion and Medicine explores her evolution in North Indian Culture.

While Sitala still protects from the effects, and the fear, of old diseases (chickenpox, fevers, etc.) she also protects against new disorders (e.g. HIV/AIDS), blameful behaviours (drug and sex addiction, homosexuality) and catastrophes (earthquakes and environmental pollution). The book explores the rituals and devotional performances in honour of Sitala that range from scheduled festivals, songs, vows, pilgrimages, austerities, animal sacrifices and various forms of offering.Built on extensive fieldwork and a close textual reading of sources in Sanskrit and vernacular languages (Hindi, Bhojpuri and Bengali) as well as on a rich bibliography on the struggle against smallpox in colonial and post-colonial India, the book reflects on the transformative nature of Sitala as a phenomenon vastly dependant on the enduring fascination with the exotic that has pervaded Indian history, her colonial experience and now global culture.To aid study, it includes maps, images, a glossary, web links, appendixes and a filmography.



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