From the Jacket
The Bagar region comprises the districts of Banswara and Dungarpur and the southern part of Mewar in Rajasthan. This region is mainly inhabited by the Mina Tribe, whose indigenous culture is gradually dissolving under the impact of modernization.
But still, despite the process of acculturation, the tribe retains its age-old beliefs and customs. Propitiating supernatural powers in the shape of snakes, ancestors, gods and mother goddesses hewn out of stone plays a vital role in tribal ritual.
Set carefully observed ritual accompanies the purchase, installation and worship of icons as Dr. Pramod Kumar explains in details in this fascinating and very informative study.
The stone carvings are executed by Sompura Brahmins and a few Mina tribals. Among the Centres of this activity are the townships of kesariyaji, Dungarpur, Sagwada, Talwada, Gopinath-ka-Ghada and Partapur.
In the performance of the social and religious ritual of the Minas the pivotal figure is the bhopa, the highly respected and revered priest. Possessed by a spirit, the bhopa hands down instructions to supplicants for the solution of everyday problems.
Witchcraft has a prominent place in the cultural traditions of the Minas, and the ritual for exorcising evil spirits with the aid of stone icons is elaborate and intricate. All these and many other aspects of tribal culture are described in this absorbing monograph.
About the Author
The author, Dr, Pramod Kumar, lectures in history at a college in Rajasthan. He has specialized in studies of Indian, particularly Rajasthani, culture. He obtained his PhD for a study entitled Folk Murals of Shekhawati and has contributed many articles on Indian art and culture to journals published in India as well as abroad.
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