By Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry
Read Online or Download Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern India PDF
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Extra info for Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern India
My dual status sometimes created false expectations for the research. After being introduced to one informant as an “American doctor” and “[someone] who can help you,” I had to explain in strong terms that I was neither and that my research would not directly benefit the person with whom I was talking. My fieldwork presented even more difficult dilemmas for my role as a nurse. Although I never let data collection take precedence over the welfare of a patient, I often had difficulty determining whether “help” was really helpful—if a hundred subtle suggestions were worth more than a single outright confrontation; if a bandage might enable a drug addict, or if a criticism would only fan the flames of the identified problem.
The term Hindu originally described a broad range of ethnicities and localities: those northern Indian communities that have geographic or cultural associations with the Indus Valley (von Stietencron 1997). The term was institutionalized during the Mughal Empire to describe non-Muslim subjects whose beliefs did not fit into any other clearly labeled religious category. Hindus were thus defined by what they were not; they were non-Christian, non-Parsi, non-Jain, and so on. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Hinduism consolidated into a rallying point for national identity within emerging independence movements.
Although the Kina Ram Aghori have left more written records than the ka mpa mlikas before them, a reliable history of the lineage before the 1950s awaits the discovery of sufficient primary source materials. ] Figure 4. Statue of Baba Kina Ram in the middle of Krim Kund, 2000. my definition of Aghor itself: that is, according to the stated beliefs of my informants. Although this definition is biased toward a postreform agenda, it is salient within the current Kina Ram Aghor tradition, its social and medico-religious practices, and the image the Aghori projected to the outside world.
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