Cultural Landscapes and the Lifeworld: Literary Images of Banaras

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Item Code: IDE314
Author: Rana P.B. Singh
Publisher: Indica Books, Varanasi
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 8186569456
Pages: 397 (B & W Illus: 26, Figures: 15, Maps: 26)
Other Details 8.8" X 5.8"
Weight 610 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description

From the Jacket:

This book expounds in a colourful way the diverse literary images that Banaras, the city known as the Cultural Capital of India and the holiest city for Hindus, has inspired and continues to inspire in different writers in the course of history. Few other cities in the world have so sparked the imagination of the artists as this paradoxical and undescribable city which seems to integrate all contradictions.

Kabir, Tulasi Das, Mirza Ghalib, Bhartendu Harishchandra, Rudra Kashikeya, Bishma Sahni, Raja Rao, Shivprasad Singh, Abdul Bismillah, Kashinath Singh and Pankhaj Mishra, all wrote about the Banaras of their time or of the past. Rana P.B. Singh analyses their literary images and the cultural traditions described therein, interpreting them in the purview of cultural symbols and lived traditions which have maintained their continuity since the ancient past. Each of the fifteen essays describes a time in the history of the city along with its culture, illustrated with Puranic sources. This work will certainly be helpful to understand the complexity and multiplicity of belief systems, and the historical perspectives of metaphor; symbolism and milieu.

About the Author:

Rana P.B. Singh is Professor of Cultural Geography at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, and Founding President of the Society of Heritage Planning and Environmental Health, as also of the Society of Pilgrimage Studies. He has been studying the city of Banaras/Varanasi/Kashi for most of his life, and is today an undisputed authority on the culture, geography and history of the city.




  Preface and Acknowledgements 11
1. Geography of Literary Images, and Search for Identity in India
Introduction: Geography, literature and cultural landscape; Intimate sensing and humanistic focus; Literary geography: a search for identity in India; Literary images of Banaras: the present book; References; References on India.


2. The Lifeworld in Ancient Banaras:
Shivprasad Singh's The Primordial Fire

Introduction: Canvas and context; The Issue of Aryan expansion; Mythology and history of ancient Kashi: Vaishvanara, the Sun's supremacy; Territory of Kashi and physical landscape; The temples and sacred spots; The social world; Tantric culture; the temples and sacred spots; The social world: Tantric culture: the other side; The antipode: Kshatriya vs. Brahmin; The Universal Manhood: Vishvamanusha; The message; Conclusing remarks.


3. The Medieval Kashi:
Shivprasad Singh's The Blue Moon

Introduction: historical outline; The canvas, and criticism; Metaphor and symbols; Anarchy and topophobia; Kashi: vividity of its personality: revelation and exposition, physical personality, temples and divinities; Kashi and vicinity; Face of the Ganga river; Other streams; An epilogue: Blue Moon hides in clouds.


4. Kabir's Revelation: Sahni's Vision
Introduction; Historical context and thought; Social strata; Defiled Hindus and Muslims; The mahant; Religion, status and powr; Kashi, centre of pilgrimage; Struggle for understanding; Kabir's revelation; Concluding remarks.


5. Tulasi's Visioon of the Lifeworld in the Middle Ages
Introduction; Historical context; The territory of Kashi; The glory of Kashi; Defiled Kashi; Concluding remarks.


6. On Banaras: Ghalib's The Lamp of the Temple
Introduction; The feelings, translation of The Lamp of the Temple; Remarks.


7. The Images in the Late 19th Century:
Bhartendu's The Love-Lord Female Ascetic

Introduction; Bhartendu Harishchandra: an introduction; Topophilia; Topophobia; Reaction on colonialism; contextuallity; An epilogue.


8. The Images in the 19th-Early 20th Century:
Rudra's The Flowing Ganga

Introduction; Rudra's novel, an introduction; The unique city; The city of gundas; Seasonal folk songs; Budhva Mangal: a unique celebration; Typical lived-world experiences; Red as symbol; revolution; An epilogue.


9. The Surrealist City:
Raja Rao's The Serpent and the Rope

Background and exposition; The Ganga and eternity; Cosmology and uniqueness; Territory, place and people; The major deities; Death, manes and meaning; Banaras is Banaras; Epilogue and destination.


10. Metaphysics and Life-philosophy:
Raja Rao's On the Ganga Ghat

Introduction; The Ganga: aesthetics and motherly river; The distinct Banaras; Shiva's city; A holy dip in the Ganga; towards pilgrimage; The cultural arena; Message: flowing Ganga vs. lifeflow; An epilogue; Towards the end.


11. The Muslim World:
Bismillah's The Threadbare Woven Shawl

Introduction; Banaras, glimpses of the city; Julahas: folk history, identity, and poverty; The Banaras weavers; their lifeworld; Marriage, divorce, and education; Julahas' belief system; Hindu Muslim conflict; Exploitation world; Realisation and raising voices: An Epilogue.


12. The Modern Lifeworld:
Shivaprasad Singh's The Street Turns Yonder

Introduction; Novelist's urban experience and criticism of the book; The canvas; Physical aspects of city personality; Metaphor and milieu: the spots; The Ganga; Metaphor and meanings; The polytheistic character of Hindu society; Place speaks: awakened and dead; Immoral educational scene; concluding remarls.


13. The Context of Students's March:
Kashinath Singh's Our Front

Introduction; The background; Education: the basic question; The language issue; The university; casteism as base; The Department; Teachers and students; Concluding remarks; the march ahead.


14. The Place-Ballet:
Kashinath Singh's Assi of Kashi

Introduction: reflections; Banaras and Assi; Ridiculous way & symbolic message; The place -ballet; Social dilemma; Unparalleled shows; Insider vs. outsider perception; Concluding remarks: awakening and message.


15. Banaras is Wherever You Are:
Following Pankaj Mishra's The Romantics

Introduction: Canvas and critique; Insider (Banaras) vs. outsider (Benaras); His own saga and scenes of Banaras; The Ganga, the city, and the pilgrims; the place-ballet; special scene; Society and defiling culture; An epilogue; no destination.


16. Literary Images of Banaras: Towards Closure


  References 362
  Appendix 374
  Publications on Banaras by Rana P.B. Singh 376
  Author Index 381
  Subject Index 386
  The Author 394

Sample Pages

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