By Timothy S. Dobe
"In the mid-nineteenth century, the yankee missionary James Butler estimated that Christian conversion and British legislations jointly may remove Indian ascetics. His disgust for Hindu holy males (sadhus), whom he referred to as "saints," "yogis," and "filthy fakirs," used to be principally shared by means of orientalist students and British officers, who likewise imagined those non secular elites to be a number one symptom of India's degeneration. but inside of a few thirty years of Butler's writing, sleek Indian ascetics reminiscent of the neo-Vedantin Hindu Swami Rama Tirtha (1873-1906) and, sarcastically, the Protestant Christian convert Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929) completed overseas reputation as embodiments of the religious superiority of the East over the West. Timothy S. Dobe's fine-grained account of the lives of Sundar Singh and Rama Tirtha deals a window at the dazzling reversals and potentials of Indian ascetic "sainthood" within the colonial touch area. His examine develops a brand new version of Indian holy males that's historicized, religiously pluralistic, and found in the tensions and intersections of ascetic perform and modernity. the 1st in-depth account of 2 internationally-recognized glossy holy males within the colonially-crucial zone of Punjab, Hindu Christian Faqir deals new examples and contexts for pondering via those wider matters. Drawing on unexplored Urdu writings by means of and approximately either figures, Dobe argues not just that Hinduism and Protestant Christianity are right here in detail associated, yet that those hyperlinks are solid from the stuff of nearby Islamic traditions of Sufi holy males (faqir). He additionally re-conceives Indian sainthood via an in-depth exam of ascetic perform as embodied faith, public functionality, and dating, instead of as a theological, otherworldly, and remoted ideal"-- Read more...
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Additional info for Hindu Christian Faqir : modern monks, global Christianity, and Indian sainthood
As the recent emergence of these terms in scholarship suggests, there is no simple consensus for complexifying standard models of classics, canons, and religions, thus keeping scholarly categories open to revision. 56 The idioms shared by South Asian holy men help locate them in the spaces betwixt and beyond singular religious traditions. More specifically, the concept moves beyond models of syncretism long applied in discussions of popular religious practice. ”60 Rather than take Punjabi “shared piety” primarily in the sense of shrine veneration, then, I focus on the figure of 22 Hindu Christian Faqir the faqir, whose presence, narratives, and memory are at the center of such communities, and consider the role of ascetic practice and values to be central to understanding such relationships.
As Sundar Singh preached the Gospel to the imperial police and was widely venerated in Europe and America, so Rama Tirtha made disciples of the very colonial spies who came to investigate him. For both, colonial suspicion and the subduing of those who saw themselves as powerful superiors function as the very stuff of sainthood. 33 16 Hindu Christian Faqir The Case of the Bhakti Saint In many ways colonial suspicions of the popular ascetic, the faqir or yogi, have been reinforced by Hindu sainthood studies themselves.
66 For Pollock too, practice, in this case of courtly patronage, is important, suggesting that the vernacular is more a product of elite culture than its rebellious opposite. 67 Finally, my use of the vernacular highlights the fact that South Asia contains not only complex interrelationships between cosmopolitan and regional, elite and popular, but also varied self-conscious debates about them. 69 It is common in individuals living in multiple ethnic, national, religious, and language contexts.
Hindu Christian Faqir : modern monks, global Christianity, and Indian sainthood by Timothy S. Dobe