Bonding with the Lord : Jagannath, Popular Culture and Community Formation

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    • Abstract:
      Few other Hindu gods guide a regional consciousness, pervade walks of everyday life and define a collective psyche the way Lord Jagannath does in Odisha and its contiguous areas. Jagannath is metonymic of Odisha and the Odia way of life, arguably much more than any other god for a particular geography or its peoples.While not derecognising the historical and the spiritual aspects of Jagannath, Bonding with the Lord attempts to look at the deployment of Jagannath in contemporary cultural practices involving the sensorium in the widest sense. The project of a cultural Jagannath not only materialises him in people's everyday practices but also democratises scholarship on him. The expansion of the scope of research on Jagannath to cultural expressions in a more encompassing way rather than confining to'elitist'religious/literary sources makes him an everyday presence and significantly enhances his sphere of influence. Jagannath's'tribal'origin, his association with Buddhism and Jainism and his avatari status make him an all-encompassing, multilayered symbol and a treasure trove for multiple interpretations.
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