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Publications

ID Bibliographical reference Referenced itemAbstract
35POITEVIN, G., RAIRKAR, H. Stonemill and Bhakti. Contemporary Researches in Hindu Philosophy and Religion, No. 3. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld, 1996.Primary data (corpus)
Grindmill songs of Maharashtra (sldr000717)
Tangible patrimony usually attracts attention and efforts of preservation. Intangible cultural traditions do often go with the winds of history when their social and material setting disappears. Such is the case with the songs that women in India, while grinding before dawn, have kept singing for ages on their hand-mill. Aside from the male society, they hoarded up for themselves a non-material matrimony. Today, though, motor driven flour-mills have put to rest these voices of silence, their legacy remains with them: immense and immemorial, purely feminine and oral, anonymous and personal, collective and intimate. Words from the heart, they glitter like flames in the domestic hearth.
This book is the first attempt of systematic cultural-anthropological study of that unique tradition. It offers keys to apprehend it. Why should this tradition, first of all, originate from a shared compulsion to “open up one’s heart”? This differentiates the women singers’ intentionality from the didactic treatment of pundits and sants who make grinding and grindmill the allegory of an advaitic bhakti. For women — Lakshmis dedicated to serve the Fortune of their family and its lineage — life in plenty is their raison d\'être. When preachers and swamis advocate a holy insensibility to earthly things and fellow human beings, the work of grinding — epitome of woman’s office — carries worldly utopias of abundance and reveals a quest for salvation through bonds of affective attachment. [...]