An Audience with the Thakurs: Exploring the Potential of Vernacular Belief in Bengal [virtual]

Malay Bera (Ashoka University)

The word “vernacular” in vernacular religion/belief is often used to mask the assumption that the religion/belief in question is a lesser form and has little power as opposed to the mainstream belief or institutional religion. However, by exploring the potential of vernacular belief through belief narratives about Thakurs (vernacular deities) in Bengal I will show, in this paper, how vernacular belief is mobilized to overrule thousands of years old oppressive traditions in the provincial town of Bagnan in West Bengal, India. Vernacular Belief indeed has the potential to bring about positive changes in society.

Part of 07-03 Sacred Spaces [hybrid], Saturday, October 15, 8:30 am–10:00 am